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How to Train a Boston Terrier with Ease: Overcoming Challenges & Understanding Their Quirks

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Table of Contents

Anyone who’s ever shared their life with a Boston Terrier knows these little tuxedo-clad companions are a force to be reckoned with. They’re bundles of smarts, energy, and a healthy dash of stubbornness that, as a dog owner, I’ve come to appreciate. Understanding the Boston Terrier mindset is the secret to making training a fun adventure for both of you! Let’s dive in!

Meet the breed

Boston Terrier dogs are fun, lively, and amiable little canines that will make wonderful pets in your household. They can be easygoing and get along with other animals. Bostons are intelligent, respond well to the tasks you give them, and love to interact with humans. Yet, at the same time, they can be a bit stubborn.

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It is that stubbornness that can make training more challenging. But they are not on the same level of stubbornness, say, a Jack Russell Terrier or a Siberian Husky.

This feisty dog breed was developed back in the 1800s. Fun fact: They were the first American-bred canine. And to this day, Boston Terriers remain one of the few truly American-developed dog breeds. American Kennel Club has him among the top 30 most popular dog breeds.

They were originally bred for their fighting prowess. Yes, as they got smaller, they charmed their way into American households. Their signature looks and gentle nature earned them the nickname, the American Gentleman.

Bostons are easily recognizable by their tuxedo-like appearance.

Boston Terrier Training Challenges

Let’s take a look at some of the challenges for how to train a Boston Terrier.

  • Short Attention Span: Ever tried getting a toddler to focus? That’s a bit like training a Boston sometimes! Keep sessions short and sweet (think 5 minutes, a few times a day). Break tasks into tiny steps, use super yummy treats and make learning feel like a thrilling game
  • Stubborn Streak: Bostons are independent thinkers – they love a challenge. So, instead of battling wills, make “obeying” feel like their idea. Use their smarts against them by turning commands into puzzles to solve, making the reward for figuring it out extra special
  • Sensitivity: These little guys wear their hearts on their sleeves. Harsh words shut them down faster than anything. Think of their sensitivity as a superpower – positive reinforcement makes them absolutely glow, and they’ll work twice as hard for your praise and attention!

The Boston Terrier Personality

Prospective dog owners often ask what is a Boston Terrier dog breed personality like. Well, think of a Boston Terrier puppy as the perfect mix of bubbly and cuddly. These dogs love their people and pet parents and are always ready for snuggle sessions. These dogs are true social butterflies, which makes them the ideal family pet.

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They are smart cookies who love to please, making training a breeze. Just a heads up. They sometimes have a squirrel instinct, which is due to their terrier nature. They might get a bit too interested in smaller pets like cats. With that in mind, here are their three main personality traits:

  • Intelligent & Playful: Their brains are always racing, so channel that energy! Turn training into a series of fun puzzles. Teach simple tricks, and hide treats for them to find – they love having a “job” to do
  • Food-Motivated: Let’s face it, these dogs are walking stomachs! Use this to your advantage. Tiny, high-value treats (think bits of chicken or cheese) work wonders but don’t overdo it. Their enthusiasm to learn should be just as rewarding
  • Loyal & People-Oriented: Bostons adore their humans. Make learning an activity you do together, filled with smiles, laughter, and tons of happy praise. Their bond with you is the most powerful motivator

Training Tips

Now let’s talk about how to train a Boston Terrier puppy. With the right approach and set of tools, you can train your pet to do anything.

Start Young

You can train a dog at any age, but we suggest starting as early as possible. A Boston Terrier puppy is like a sponge and will accept anything you tell him. If you are getting a young puppy from a breeder, begin the second you enter your home.

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Set up a routine

Boston terriers, like most dogs, thrive on routine. They are creatures of habit. Once you set up a routine, training will be easier. These dogs will expect meals at the same time of the day, walk at the same time of the day, and everything in between.

Patience is a virtue

For some dogs, dog training comes naturally. That happens with a working dog breed and a herding dog breed. These dogs were bred to work and train. But that is not true with a Boston Terrier. The American Gentlemen does need more time to pick up even some basic obedience commands.

Praise and reward

Positive reinforcement is the dog training method that works best for a Boston Terrier. Praise and reward your puppy anytime he does something desirable. Most owners make the mistake of only punishing bad behavior, and forgetting to reinforce all the good behavior in between. Don’t be like that.

Do not use negative words

Speaking of punishment, do not use negative words. These words can often confuse your dog and make it harder to understand. Instead of negative words, you can try positive commands like sit and stay.

Consistency is key

Be consistent in your obedience training efforts. Stick to your schedule and ask for consistent results. Try to establish consistency throughout the entire household. If you do not allow something, say, jumping on the couch, no family member should allow it.

Use consistent commands

Speaking of consistency, use the same words every time. You cannot use “come” once, then “come here” and “come back”.

Practice in different settings

Always begin the basic obedience training at home, and from there, move on to different settings. You can practice different settings even at home. Train in the yard one day, then inside the other.

Keep it short

As I said before, Boston terrier dogs have a short attention span. They can also be a bit stubborn. So, keep the training session as short as possible. Five to seven minutes is more than enough. And always end a dog training session with a win for your puppy. It will boost his confidence and make him more willing to train again the next day.

Make it fun

These dogs can be stubborn, but also fun-loving lively dogs. Boston terriers enjoy playing, so try and turn a training session into a fun game.

How Much Exercise Does a Boston Need?

You might be looking at the size of this puppy and think it is a small dog. But do not let the small size fool you. These dogs are like bundles of energy and need 45 to 60 minutes of physical activity and mental stimulation per day.

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Think of a couple of brisk walks, some fun play sessions, and maybe a good brain teaser with a puzzle toy to keep their minds sharp.

Important note for puppies: Young Bostons have delicate joints, so lots of short play sessions are better than one long walk. Also remember, the Boston terrier is a brachycephalic breed. These dogs have trouble breathing, so do not train when it is too hot. Avoid too much running and jumping. Now, a Boston is not lazy like a French Bulldog, English Bulldog, or Pug. But you need to be careful and avoid overexercising.

Final Words

Boston Terriers make us laugh with their silly antics, but their training doesn’t have to be a struggle. Embrace those quirks, be patient, and focus on building a strong bond. Before you know it, you’ll have a well-behaved little gentleman or lady by your side, always ready for the next adventure!

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