The Boston terrier is a dog of surprising heritage. Bred from pitbulls and bulldogs this little terrier’s personality is as far removed from a fighting dog as they come. Nicknamed ‘The American Gentleman’ the Boston terrier is a compact, companionable dog that loves everything and everyone he meets.
Startlingly different from his Yorkshire terrier, Jack Russell and Airedale cousins, physically he has much more in common with his bulldog ancestors, and indeed is easily mistakeable for a French bulldog.
One trait that runs through the terrier breed is a streak of stubborn wilfulness and the Boston terrier temperament is no different.
As with any terrier they can be notoriously difficult to train and require very firm handling, especially to avoid the development of SDS (small dog syndrome).
SDS is the name given to small dogs that have picked up bad, sometimes aggressive, habits that would otherwise have been firmly forbidden should the dog have been bigger. For example, a 140-pound Alsatian would not be allowed to jump up at visitors, but because it is only a 15-pound terrier it is ignored, or even encouraged.
When beginning Boston terrier training you must first have ground rules in place. These must include where the dog is and is not allowed, where the dog sleeps and what commands will be given, e.g. come or let’s go, stay or wait, down or lay etc.
Boston terrier dog training centres around positive reinforcement. The advancement in our own knowledge of dog psychology has shown us that treating a dog like a human and attributing human feelings to it do not work and have never worked. Dogs are extremely adaptable but they do not automatically understand what we want them to do. They will comply and adjust to avoid pain and fear, which is the reason why pushing a dog’s nose in its mess will get you that ‘guilty’ look when you come home. This look is not an understanding on the dog’s behalf that they have been bad to make a mess; it is fear of what you will do upon discovering it. The only successful way to discipline a dog is to catch it in the act and use voice or distraction methods to discourage the behavior.
Positive reinforcement works so well with terrier training because a dog is not born with a sense of what is right and wrong, but by reinforcing everything good that your dog does makes him want to do it again, just as ignoring bad behavior allows him to work out that it won’t get him what he wants.
The reason Boston terrier training can be hard is because they will push boundaries and are lightening quick to sense and take advantage of any crumble in your resolve. If you allow your terrier to ignore your ‘come’ command once, he will not see the point in obeying it at any time other than when he wants to.
Boston terrier training tricks and tips include:
• Don’t let your dog fool you! He may act distracted and appear untrainable but with perseverance and a firm will he will learn to listen and respect you
• Never punish him when he does something wrong, remember you are teaching him what is right by rewarding that behavior not teaching him to fear making a mistake
• End training on a good note and don’t make training sessions last too long
• Reward him with treats, playtime, walks and dinner
• Use hand signals whilst training
• Train him whilst sitting, squatting and standing and change locations regularly
• Make training fun for the both of you by teaching tricks such as: dance, paw, roll over, play dead and catch the treat
Professionals can give Boston terrier training information at obedience classes that will be specific to your dog. If you feel you are having a problem, one-on-one help may be required.
Boston terriers can be notoriously difficult to housebreak. Potty training will provide a good example of the consistency that will be needed throughout your dog’s life when training. It is very important not to give up, as Boston terrier puppy training is a much easier task than trying to potty train an adult dog that has been allowed to develop bad habits.
For more information about the Boston Terrier, check out the highly recommended Insiders Guide To A Happy, Healthy & Well Behaved Boston Terrier package today!