Training a SUPERdog

Rosie, as a puppy, going for a "walk". In the early days this involved more sitting than walking, but that soon changed!

From the first week we had her, I started putting a harness on Rosie (our Staffie puppy) and walking with her in our garden. Later we graduated to the  streets of our neighbourhood, where I would describe it less as me walking the dog, than me being dragged around the neighbourhood by the dog!

We walked early in the morning when there were few people, cars and other dogs to distract Rosie. I soon found out that this was just the right timeslot for us to be in. People walking their dogs at first light, are generally the ones with bigger dogs, who don’t behave well when there’s a lot of activity around. Or dogs who scare the other dogs. Even though Rosie is a smallish, very loving and non-aggressive dog, a lot of other dogs seem to feel threatened by her.

We quickly got to know the regulars who walk at this time. Rosie made friends with the dogs, I chatted to their owners. One lady (lets call her “Sue”) walked two dogs – a Saint Bernard the size of a small pony, and a huge, black Doberman who looked like he’d just stepped out of a horror movie. Both dogs behaved beautifully. They walked to heel, and obeyed their owner’s every command. These dogs had obviously been to Doggie School!

After we had been meeting up with Sue and her dogs for a couple of weeks, she took pity on me. She told me that I’d have a much pleasanter walk with Rosie, if I wasn’t being yanked off my feet all the time. No kidding. Sue then proceeded to give me some pointers on dog training every time we met, with tasks to practice at home. Sue was confident in my abilities to train Rosie. Although she did mentioned that two Staffies (and their owners), had recently been evicted from their dog training class for bad behaviour. But she thought this said more about the owners than the dogs. Mmmh . . .

For Christmas last year, Willie gave me the book “How to train a Superdog” by Gwen Bailey. (Rosie is his dog too, but it’s apparently my job to walk and train her!). It’s a lovely book filled with beautiful photos of dogs being trained to do all manner of clever things. For people (like me) who aren’t aware of a lot of dog facts, it also has information about different dog breeds, dog behaviour etc. Paging through the book, I noticed that there were very few photos (like maybe three out of hundreds) of Staffies. And they weren’t doing clever things in them either – they were misbehaving!

So how is Rosie doing now? Well, she walks a lot better. She knows how to sit, wait, come and fetch. She still refuses to lie down on command. And it’s unlikely that I’ll ever be able to train her to do “show-jumping for dogs” (or any of the other clever things in the final chapters of the book). She is an all-round super dog (as in a great dog), she’s just not a Superdog. Yet.

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Categories: Random


I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at and (my photoblog)


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6 Comments on “Training a SUPERdog”

  1. October 11, 2010 at 10:05 am #

    But she is just gorgeous! A super dog is much more fun than a superdog!
    Sunshine xx

  2. October 11, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    From our experience of Staffies, we’re bound to have a lot of fun then! 🙂

  3. October 11, 2010 at 10:28 pm #

    Awwww, she’s so cute. Thankfully Bella just followed the other dogs and we don’t have any problems taking her out for a walk. You clearly need another dog! 🙂

    • October 12, 2010 at 6:59 am #

      We were very tempted the other day to go and have a look at a new Staffie litter!

  4. Oregon Sunshine
    March 7, 2011 at 4:38 am #

    Eh, she’s a terrier. They have minds of their own. Unless you want to compete or gain a CGC title for the AKC or some such thing, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. After all, she’s doing the job you expect of her, right? Being your companion! Do you really need her to lie down? If so, I can come up with a few ideas that might work.

    Also, what IS your registration group there called?

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