How A Rescue Staffie Turned Into A Show Champ

There’s perhaps no dog with as much of an unfair reputation as Staffordshire bull terriers. For many people, they are dismissed as aggressive or even unsafe dogs.

But staffies can make excellent pets – and as Tug-E-Nuff Dog Gear customer Jennifer Olley and her staffie Rocky have shown, they can even win big in the show ring.

Jennifer, who lives in Grimsby, first met four-year-old Rocky when he came to her as a foster dog. After a difficult start in life, Rocky was terrified of human touch and ever more petrified of other dogs.

Jennifer knew that Rocky was far from the ideal pet and that he needed a lot of work if he was to stand any chance of being adopted and given a forever home.

‘I decided to join some group obedience classes as Rocky was so scared of other dogs that he would be aggressive towards them and I knew that sort of behaviour wasn’t acceptable,’ said Jennifer.

‘But the group sessions didn’t work very well as Rocky was so distracted by his fear of the other dogs that he couldn’t learn anything.’

Turning point

So on the advice of her trainer, Jennifer enrolled Rocky in some one-to-one training.

‘This marked a real turning point for us,’ said Jennifer.

‘The key was working out what motivates Rocky – and we realised that he prefers toys to treats so we started to focus on training through play using dog training toys like the tug and we began to see great results.

‘After a while, Rocky was even able to re-join the group sessions.’

After such an improvement in his temperament, it was time to think about putting Rocky up for adoption. But when it came to the crunch, Jennifer just couldn’t let him go.

‘I realised that what Rocky really needed was stability so I decided to adopt him myself and now he’s very much part of the family,’ said Jennifer.

‘A few months into our obedience classes, Rocky’s trainer noticed that Rocky has a natural prance so we began to focus on that in our sessions.

‘Then, a couple of months later, we decided to enter him into a Young Kennel Club competition.

First prize

‘He was incredible in the show ring, he didn’t miss a beat, and we were absolutely blown away when he won first prize which qualified him to compete at Crufts.’

Rocky was the first ever rescue staffie to compete – and although he didn’t win Jennifer couldn’t be more proud.

‘It’s amazing to think of how far he has come. In less than a year, we have helped a terrified little dog learn to trust humans again – and to win shows!’ she said.

‘It goes to prove that you shouldn’t judge a staffie by their reputation. A little love goes a long way!’

Huge thanks from us all at Tug-E-Nuff to Jennifer for sharing her inspirational story. If you’ve got a story you’d like to share, email us at

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