How To Teach Your Boston Terrier To Sit: Video & Guide


Boston Terrier sitting
Bella sitting on her bed.

Teaching your Boston Terrier to sit is one of the most basic obedience training commands, and frequently the first command we try to teach our dog. 

The question is, how do we train our Boston Terriers to sit successfully without pulling our hair out?

Boston Terriers have so many amazing traits from their intelligence to their social, friendly nature. 

As a breed, Boston Terriers are known to be quick learners, but they can be quite stubborn if they choose so. 

Teaching your Boston Terrier to sit is an excellent way to begin their obedience training. Plus, this will strengthen your relationship with them when they learn to respect you and your commands. 

This can be an exciting venture that will enrich your relationship with them. Let’s discuss the best ways to teach them to sit and what we should avoid when training our sharp, but stubborn Boston Terriers. 

How To Teach Your Boston Terrier To Sit

Here is a video Emily and I created showing you how we were able to teach Bella to sit.

I encourage you to watch the video just to see how our two-year-old plays as if nothing else is going on around here.

Emily explaining how we taught Bella to sit.

At What Age Should I Teach My Boston Terrier Puppy To Sit?

See when these Boston Terrier owners started training their Boston.

When a dog can begin learning commands is highly debated. Still, it is dependent on the attention span of your Boston Terrier. 

The Veterinary Centers Of America recommends beginning basic command training, like sitting, as young as seven to eight weeks old. 

Puppies begin learning immediately, and it’s important to instill healthy, positive habits and training as early as possible. 

Dog training is sometimes recommended to be started around six months of age. Still, the Veterinary Centers Of America discourage this as negative habits could have already formed. 

Teaching a boston terrier to sit
Bella as a cute puppy!

What If I Have An Older Boston Terrier?

If you didn’t have your Boston Terrier when they were a puppy, don’t fret! 

Boston Terrier adults are still highly trainable. 

If you do have a Boston Terrier puppy now, we recommend you take advantage of this and start as soon as possible so that they soak in as much information early on. 

What Do I Need To Begin Teaching My Boston Terrier To Sit?

Patience

Above all else, patience is needed for training your Boston Terrier to do anything. 

Boston Terriers are very bright, eager to please dogs, but like anyone, they need patience when learning something new. 

Your Boston Terrier may also have a difficult time paying attention, which can be trying, but you can overcome this. 

Treats

Treats will be necessary when training your Boston Terrier. Make sure you choose a small treat that they love and that is easy to swallow. 

If you pick a large or hard treat they could get distracted from the training when they stop to chew on it. 

It’s also important to note that you don’t want to give your Boston Terrier too many treats for their health. 

Pick small, easy to swallow treats to optimize their training while keeping your Boston Terrier focused and healthier. 

If your Boston Terrier is on a diet or you’re concerned about them gaining weight, consider using their dog food as an incentive. Using a few pellets of dog food should be enough to entice your Boston Terrier to comply without overfeeding them. 

Regardless of what you pick, choose something that excites your Boston Terrier!

What Else Can I Use Instead Of Treats To Train My Boston Terrier To Sit?

If you don’t want to use treats to reward your Boston Terrier for sitting, you can always you good old fashioned belly rubs.

The point of the treats or belly rubs is to give your dog positive reinforcement when they do something you like.

Once they realize you give them lovens for sitting, they will start to listen to your commands.

What Are The Benefits Of Teaching My Boston The Sit Command?

When your Boston Terrier respects your commands, they have direction and guidance from you, their “pack leader.” 

This can be useful when you have new people around, or your Boston Terrier is out with you, as you can better control them if they act out.

When you take the time to teach them commands and tricks, you’re also mentally stimulating them and keeping them engaged. 

Boston Terriers can run around to physically stimulate themselves, but they require help from you to keep their minds active. A stimulated Boston Terrier is a happy one as they are not prone to idleness!

Want To Start A 30 Day Training Program For Your Boston?

If you want to make training your Boston a priority, there are several training methods you can use and do.

Here is a training course you can follow for 30 days to teach your Boston 30 things. 

The basic 30-day training is $60.00 with online videos, Here Is More Information About The 30 Day Training Course.

In this course, you’ll learn bonding exercises, essential training skills, and ways to understand your dog better.

Boston Terrier Sit Command Training Steps

Training a dog to sit is mostly repetition. Some dogs may learn the command in a few sessions, but others will need more time.

teaching a Boston Terrier to sit.
Emily demonstrating how to teach Bella to sit. Sofia playing with her car in the background.

Here are the necessary, recommended steps for training your Boston Terrier to sit: 

1) Start with a treat. Show your Boston Terrier the treat until they show interest in it.

2) Your Boston Terrier will follow the treat with their head and possibly try to jump up to reach for the treat.

Be patient as you gently correct them, so that they are no longer jumping.

Do not be harsh with them whenever they jump or whine – remember Boston Terriers love fun, so make the training enjoyable for your pup!

3) Hold the treat over your Boston Terrier’s nose, so that they look up at it.

Then move the treat above their nose until they would have to sit their bottom down to reach the treat.

Your hand should move from hovering above their nose to above the middle of their head for the complete motion.

4) If holding the treat above their nose is not working, simply tap your Boston’s bottom to guide them to a sitting position.

5) Ensure you are giving a command you will always use to refer to sitting.

Emily and I use “sit” as our command. And we also do a finger snap to help gain Bella’s attention.

6) Give your Boston Terrier the treat once they’ve sat down, and you’ve praised them.

Gushing over your dog and telling them they are a good dog is a great way to make them enjoy training and sitting when told.

7) Your Boston Terrier should learn with repetition what the command for sit is. 

Eventually, you can begin to nix the treats and simply say your command or hand motions. 

Wag Walker recommends keeping your Boston Terrier guessing by having a treat sometimes until they’ve mastered this. 

How Often Should I Work With My Boston Terrier On The Sit Command?

For Boston Terriers, especially puppies, you must keep your sessions short and frequent. 

Puppies are particularly prone to losing focus or getting worn out, but even older dogs will need a break. 

It’s better to have frequent, short sessions that are a few minutes long and filled with plenty of praise. Make sure you are only focusing on training your Boston Terrier one command at a time to avoid confusion. 

Once your Boston learns the sit command, you can then start using it every day.

The best approach to put the sit command into daily practice is to have your Boston sit before you feed them every meal.

Common Mistakes In Boston Terrier Training

Boston Terriers are highly trainable dogs, but there are a few crucial mistakes that are commonly made during training. 

1) Harsh reprimand for incorrect behavior

If your Boston Terrier jumps or merely is not sitting, do not give in to frustration. 

You want your Boston Terrier to associate learning with fun, and being scolded is definitely not fun! 

Don’t even tell your Boston Terrier, “no!” According to the Dog Training Club, the lack of praise is enough for your Boston Terrier to know that they are not performing the behavior correctly. 

Boston Terriers are highly social and want to hear you gush, so when you don’t, they know that they need to change their behavior. 

2) Lack Of Consistency

This applies to not having consistent training sessions, as well as changing your mind about how to train them. 

Before you start, pick how you will train your Boston Terrier – hand motions, verbal cue, etc. 

Decide this and stick with it!

3) Thinking A Boston Terrier Will Focus For 15 Minutes Or More

Boston Terriers, especially puppies, have a short attention span. 

Keep your sessions short and sweet because after a few minutes, you’ve lost their attention, and they’re not learning anything anyway. 

At most, a 10-minute session for an older dog might be possible and still productive.

4) Multiple Commands At Once

Just like us, your Boston Terrier will do better learning one thing at a time. 

If you throw in many commands at once, they will likely be baffled. 

They should learn one command well, then five commands poorly. 

Final thoughts…

Training your Boston Terrier to sit can be a challenging, but rewarding time for both of you. 

If successful, you can channel the sit command into other learned behaviors like lying down or rolling over. 

Once your Boston Terrier learns one, it’ll be easier for them to pick up the next behavior, and you may notice a decrease in the time it takes. 

All in all, stay patient and have fun with your Boston Terrier. This is not a punishment or chore for either of you, but a fun, bonding experience!

Join The Boston Terrier Community!

Join thousands of Boston Terrier Owners in the Boston Terrier Society Facebook Group. 

In the group, we share photos, thoughts, and stories. As well as have contests with prizes and more!

This is a fun and friendly group. Feel free to pose any question you have about your Boston Terrier.

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Donnie Gardner

Donnie Gardner is the owner of the Boston Terrier Society. He has been raising Bella the Boston since 2010. He resides in Kansas with his wife, daughter, and Bella. His favorite activities are hanging out with family, traveling, running (but has bad knees), and reading non-fiction books.

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