I worked yesterday doing in-home obedience training with Boston (see photo), a 22 week old American Staffy. Now I know that 22 weeks is almost 6 months old and I know that he's done the bulk of his growing but this dog is HUGE! His father apparently has the dubious honour of being the largest AmStaff in the Southern Hemisphere weighing in at 85 kg - for a Staffy!!
Now what's most important to me is temperament and I was absolutely rapt to find that Boston has the sweetest nature imaginable (as Staffies tend to have) but I do worry and wonder about the incredible size of our dogs. We love to maximise or miniaturise - what's this about?
The reason why I visited Boston is because although he is the loveliest boy imaginable his puppy training wasn't quite cutting it. Puppy training is great and it gets all those basics like come and sit in place but puppy training doesn't tend to cover teaching a 20 or so kilo PUPPY how to say hello to people or other dogs appropriately. In Boston's beautiful friendliness he thinks that everyone loves him as much as he would like to love them which results in a super-sized puppy getting a little more up close and personal than most dogs or dog lovers can handle. So really the only dogs who actually want anything to do with him are equally supersized or very playful adult dogs. Two huge negative effects here - all of these dogs are now learning that socialising consists primarily of barrelling up to dogs of similar size and potentially flattening them, and all the little dogs at the park are running for the hills!
Obviously puppy training, ideally followed with one-on-one dog obedience training in the park , is the ideal way to teach these supersized dogs how to socialise properly with dogs of all sizes but it still comes back to the question of "why do we need 85 kg Staffies?" or any other dog, to be honest - my understanding is that these dogs will have shorter lifespans, more likely to have joint issues due to the rapid growth and the weight that they're carrying and they're much harder for their people to handle as they're so strong (yes, good puppy training and obedience training should help with that).
So I'm putting the question out there - why do we need a 5-6 month old puppy to be the size or larger than that breed would normally be as an adult? To me, blogs are a great forum for discussion and I never feel that I know it all so please enlighten me and share your thoughts.