Boston Terriers are intelligent, playful dogs. If you own a Boston, it is crucial to learn the common traits of this breed. I get asked by people all the time about how to train a Boston Terrier not to bite. With Bella, our Boston, her biting stage was when she was less than a year old. Then she grew out of it.
Today, she doesn’t “bite,” but she will put her mouth around your hand when playing.
How do you get a Boston Terrier to stop biting?
To train your Boston Terrier not to bite you will need to ensure your Boston is doing these things. Receiving 30-60 minutes of exercise every day, no rough play, being rewarded for positive behavior.
What Personality Traits Are Common For Boston Terriers?
Boston Terriers are happy and eager to please their owner. But like all dogs, they have some negative personality traits. Here’s a list of both the good and the bad characteristics common to Boston Terriers.
Bostons are good-natured and playful. They get along well with other animals if they’ve been raised together. If children are kind to them, they’re tolerant of them, because even though they’re small, they’re sturdier than other small dogs. Their favorite game is fetching.
Boston Terriers can be stubborn. You can train them to “sit’ or “stay” but sometimes choose not to obey their owner’s command. They’re fast runners so you must fence in your yard or keep your Boston on a leash when she’s outside.
However, we only put Bella on a leash when we think other dogs are around. Bella has been great about staying by our side outside and listening.
Bostons are protective and sometimes territorial, which can cause aggression towards unfamiliar dogs.
Why Do Boston Terriers Bite?
Boston Terriers are not aggressive dogs. They have prominent personalities in a small body. Sometimes they show signs of aggression towards people or other dogs, but I believe it is all talk.
Your Boston should know that you’re her “pack leader.” If she tries to dominate, this doesn’t mean your Boston Terrier is a bad dog. You can train her not to be aggressive.
Here are signs that your Boston is aggressive.
- Defensive – She’s fearful, or in pain or you punished her too much
- Dominant – They exhibit this through jumping up on your or other people
- Possessive – Growling when you get near her when she eats
- Territorial – Barking at other dogs (Bella does not bark at other dogs)
- Predatory – Chasing small dogs, cats or animals (Bella loves chasing rabbits)
There are two types of aggression seen in dogs.
These dogs seem confident. Ears perked up, and they look you straight in the eye. These Bostons demand when they want to go outside and when they want to eat, they’re possessive of their sleeping area. They don’t obey commands such as down or stay, or it takes three or four commands for them to follow. Purebred males are prone to this behavior.
These dogs seem friendly. They seem submissive-not looking at you, lowering their heads and tails. But they can bite out of fear, and they may snap if they are cornered.
How Do You Socialize A Boston Terrier?
Socializing your Boston is necessary, so you do not become a hermit. Also, many of the problems associated with biting can be cleared up with socialization. As your Boston becomes trained to be around people, so does the biting the problem. Do not take your Boston around people until she is ready, and you do not want her to bite someone.
Training any dog can be a challenge, but training Boston Terriers is challenging because they can be stubborn. You must be very consistent in your socialization training.
Steps To Socialization
- Introduce her to different situations, objects, people, and other dogs. The more she’s exposed to these, the less fearful she’ll be.
- She needs to learn that you will protect her; she needs to learn not to be territorial and try to protect you.
- Take her into large crowds only after she’ s exposed to smaller groups of people.
- Reward good behavior with treats, praise, and play. Bostons love to fetch.
- Don’t reward bad behavior. If your Boston shows lousy behavior, have her sit while you throw the ball to another dog to give her a time out.
- You’re the boss. Bostons are strong leaders and try to take over.
- Don’t coddle her if she gets afraid. Reassure her with praise.
- Reinforce her socializing even when she gets older
Techniques To Train Your Boston To Stop Biting
You should train your Boston to listen to you. Teaching your Boston listening skills can be beneficial if you need to train her to stop biting. Here are some ways to show your Boston to let her know you are the boss.
- Walkthrough a door first, this tells your Boston you are her pack leader. Emily and I always walk in the house first when we are returning home with Bella.
- Feed your Boston her food after you’re finished with your meal.
- Don’t walk around your Boston if she’s lying on the floor. To show you are the leader of the pack make her move out of the way.
- Your Boston might try to demand outside or play or food. Be sure you choose the time to do these things, not her.
- Bostons shouldn’t sleep with you in your bed. She needs her place to sleep.
After you’ve shown your Boston that you’re her pack leader, you can train her to stop biting. If she doesn’t know you as her boss, she won’t listen to you.
Teaching Your Boston Puppy Not To Bite
No roughhousing with your Boston puppy. No teasing, no poking or tug-of-war games. These games are confusing for your Boston if sometimes she’s allowed to bite and be rough, but other times it’s not appropriate.
Make The Sound Of A Dog
If your Boston puppy bites, let out a yipping sound like a dog makes when hurt. Tell her, “no bite” and say “kiss.” The puppy will lick you seeing you like this.
Keep your puppy exercised. A tired puppy won’t have the energy to bite.
Do Not Hit!
Never hit your Boston puppy. She won’t understand, but she will be afraid of you.
Reward Good Behavior
Always reward good behavior rather than focusing on bad behavior. Fortunately, Bostons are motivated by food, so you can use treats as a reward for training her.
What If My Older Boston Terrier Is Still Biting?
Typically, Boston puppies grow out of biting. If your older Boston Terrier continues to bite you, other dogs or people as she gets older, you may need the help of a trainer to teach you and her what to do in these situations. Here are a few reasons your older Boston may be biting.
Dogs learn that biting or nipping gets their owners attention. Smaller breeds are more apt to do this since their owners will pick them up and hold them to make them stop. Owners sometimes give their dog more attention when they nip or bite.
It’s a dominant-aggressive move by the dog. He’s training the owner rather than the owner training him.
Fear or anxiety
If your dog bites in a new place or when new people are around her, she’s fearful. If your dog is nervous or apprehensive, she needs more socialization rather than isolation or punishment.
Keep an eye out for nervous behaviors like:
- Head low
- Tail between legs
- Lots of panting
If your dog does any of these things, remove her to a comfortable, safe place where she can calm down. Give her praise and attention as she’s in new places so she can gain confidence.
Some owners also suggest placing your Boston’s a favorite chew stick into her mouth when visitors come. She’ll run around with it in her mouth. If she drops it, put it back into her mouth until she calms down.
An anxious dog will look forward to visitors if she knows she’s getting a chew stick.
What to do to stop the biting?
- First, you need to stop giving your dog special attention if she bites or nips you.
- Second, if your dog nips or bites, say, “Ouch!” or “No Bite!” loud enough for the dog to hear you without yelling.
- Leave your dog alone; don’t touch or talk to her.
- If she bites again, repeat no bite or ouch.
- You can put some pennies or marbles in a can to shake if she bites again. Repeat “No Bite!” Or “Ouch!” as you shake the can. The loud noise should startle your dog and make her stop biting.
- If your dog bites you when you’re playing a game with her, stop right away. Then wait for your dog to calm down.
- When your dog is calm and not biting, give her praise.
If your Boston Terrier is a puppy chances are they will grow out of this biting stage. However, be sure to follow the steps of no roughhousing, exercise, and positive reinforcement. If your older Boston is biting this may be a sign of some emotional problems that must be handled before you can begin socializing them again.