Owning a Staffy has been one of the single greatest joys in my life. Ever since High School I wanted to have a Staffy of my own. It wasn’t until I had finished college and out on my own that dream came true. I knew Staffies need attention but didn’t know until I brought my Staffy home what level of attention they needed.
Do Staffies need lots of attention? As a whole Staffies do need a lot of attention when it comes to their physical exercise, mental stimulation and family interactions. Staffies are very active, intelligent and family oriented dogs that will require a fair amount of attention each and every day.
As a Staffy owner I can tell you first hand that the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is not an independent dog. My Staffy as a puppy, adult, and now a senior still requires a good amount of attention. My Staffy has a very strong bond with me, and even at 11 years old still needs her daily exercise and activities to feel content.
In this post I will go over the amount of attention required to keep Staffies well balanced and content, as well as why your Staffy may be acting needy. Some of this will be required to attend to as an owner. Other more needy behaviors should be identified and addressed to prevent an overly needy Staffy. Let’s dig in.
How Much Attention Do Staffies Need?
As a general rule Staffies will require daily attention when it comes to their physical and mental exercise. Time spent engaged with family as well as daily training sessions are a must. Regardless of age. Daily walks of 60 minutes, training sessions of 15-20 minutes, and several time slots for fun family activities will be required.
Owning a Staffy is a big responsibility and time commitment. I feel it is my duty as a bully breed owner to provide my Staffy with the daily attention requirements needed to keep her balanced and content. As a result she is an outstanding doggie citizen, neighbor and friend. A true representative of how wonderful this breed can be.
Oftentime when you begin to see behavioral problems arise because of a lack of attention to their needs. Before bringing your Staffy puppy home know that you must dedicate several hours a day to their needs.
Why Is My Staffy So Needy?
Needy behaviors from a Staffy are often a result of several factors. Everything from stress and boredom to learned behavior and health issues can create a needy Staffy. Needy behavior will present itself in various forms. Crying, constant shadowing, and destructive behavior are a few common ones.
Some needy behaviors are a direct result of your lack of proper care and attention. Other times needy behaviors are learned and acquired over time and need to be addressed through proper training.
The following are several reasons why your Staffy is acting needy and some tips on how to resolve this behavior. By identifying which of these reasons are leading to your Staffy’s behavior you can quickly address their behavior, or yours.
Lack Of Exercise
A lack of exercise in your Staffy’s daily routine will create needy behavior. Everything from following you around the house constantly, to crying, barking, or destructive behavior. Staffies need to release a lot of energy every day, and a lack of exercise will lead them to find other ways to address this pent up energy.
Staffies should go for at least 2 walks of around 30-40 minutes every day. This can vary depending on age, but a Staffy needs to get out of the house and move. I take my Staffy out in the morning and evening for a good walk, and a couple shorter walks in the afternoon and before dinner time.
On the days I miss my Staffy’s walk she becomes very needy. My Staffy will become my little shadow, chew excessively, and as a puppy get into all sorts of mischief. Walk your dog and play some fetch to ensure they remain content and well balanced every day.
Staffies are very smart dogs and require a good deal of mental stimulation every day. Basic obedience training, trick training, food puzzles, and games with the family are a must. A bored Staffy will become restless, needy, and mischievous if not properly entertained a few times a day.
To prevent needy behavior from arising, set aside time each day to give your Staffy mental stimulation. I have a daily routine with my Staffy of doing some trick training and playing her favorite game tug-of-war.
I also like to give her a snack or a meal in a frozen Kong toy to give her a puzzle to work on. Kongs are a terrific way to provide some mental challenge when you have your hands full. My Staffy will spend 30 minutes working on a well packed Kong and is content as can be afterward.
Stress & Anxiety
Stress and anxiety can result in needy behavior. Oftentimes this comes in the form of whining and shadowing while crying. Staffies can be prone to separation anxiety and needy behaviors will develop if not addressed.
When an anxious Staffy has something like separation anxiety following you around the house will be a common behavior. Keeping a watchful eye on you to ensure you are not going to leave them alone. This is unhealthy for your dog’s mental state and needs to be addressed
There are some simple and effective ways to help your anxious Staffy. I have written an entire article detailing a full range of tips and techniques to help your Staffy when left alone.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are known to be highly affectionate dogs. The Staffy loves to cuddle up with their family and thrives on this sort of affectionate attention. When you are not paying close enough attention to your Staffy’s need for love, needy behavior will present itself.
One tip I will offer when this type of needy behavior arises is to ignore it initially. Rewarding the needy behavior in the moment with a belly rub, cuddle, or head scratch will be teaching your dog to continue the behavior.
Instead make sure you dedicate some cuddle time with your Staffy on your terms. When they are in a calm and relaxed state invite them over for some affection. This will have a double benefit effect as you are providing them with the necessary attention they need, and rewarding the positive behavior of being calm and relaxed.
My Staffy is a sucker for cuddles, but as much as I would like to, I can’t drop everything for some affection. She will loudly sigh, or cry when she wants some attention and cuddles, but I have to ignore her. Over time this behavior has improved dramatically, and she knows when I settle in that is an invite for a big cuddle session.
Hunger Or Thirst
Needy behaviors can arise out of your Staffy’s hunger or thirst. This can be your mistake much of the time when mealtimes are running late, or you haven’t topped up their water dish. I know my Staffy will let me know when it’s dinner time or she is thirsty.
To reduce needy behavior from even beginning with your Staffy keep a set meal routine. Regular set times when breakfast and dinner are served will keep your Staffy from whining, crying or pestering you for food. The only time my Staffy will become needy with food is when I have lost track of time and am late with dinner.
Monitor your Staffy’s water bowl as well. My Staffy will sometimes drink a lot during the morning, or hardly anything. Regular checks to see she has enough to drink at all times prevents any needy behaviors.
A needy Staffy can be a direct result of learned behavior. Over time a Staffy will learn that whining, crying, destroying or general neurotic behavior will gain a response and the attention they want. As this develops they can become needy without even knowing what it is they want.
This learned behavior is often a result of rewarding your Staffy with food, affection, or other resources and activities when they are in a state of anxiety or over excitement. Staffies will learn through association that acting this way will produce a desired result for them.
Oftentimes ignoring needy behavior in the moment and waiting for your dog to settle down is the most effective way to prevent this learned behavior. Withholding rewards of any kind while they are in this state will ensure they don’t use crying, whining, shadowing or destructive behavior to get what they want.
When Staffies are feeling ill or injured they can alert you by becoming needy. If your Staffy is otherwise fairly balanced and rarely displays this behavior you could be dealing with a sick puppy.
Give your Staffy a thorough look over if their needy behavior is out of the ordinary. Check for obvious injuries and symptoms related to illness, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or lack of appetite.
Consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible if your Staffy’s needy behavior continues, or if you identify an illness or injury. This is one of those times when attending to your Staffy’s needy behavior is a must to take action.
Staffies need a lot of attention, but that doesn’t mean they will always be needy. Providing your Staffordshire Bull Terrier with the attention needed to keep them happy, healthy, and well balanced is a daily routine.
Behaviors like whining, crying, barking, shadowing, and destroying are all indications you are not meeting their needs. Being proactive by providing the necessary attention required will help prevent all of these behaviors. It will also prevent learned behaviors from developing and require undoing through training.
Commit to your Staffy and their needs before bringing a puppy home. Know that this is a big responsibility and will require your attention. The reward of owning a well balanced Staffy is beyond words, and I promise the effort is worth every second of time you commit.