How to Train a Boston Terrier Puppy to Not Bite

Easy
2-5 Days
Behavior

Introduction

A Boston Terrier puppy is a bundle of playful energy, and puppies often play by using their mouths to grab things--toys, rawhide bones... your hand! 

These people-motivated dogs like to play and bite at your hand or ankle to get your attention and let you know they want to play some more. Most puppies tend to be “mouthy” as their teeth come in, and because your Boston Terrier does not have opposable thumbs, his mouth is his best option for grabbing onto something, or someone! 

Boston Terriers tend to be a particularly “mouthy” breed. In a puppy this behavior is not generally meant to show aggression as much as it is a means of interacting with you, however, what is cute in a puppy will not be cute as your Boston Terrier gets older and biting becomes harder and more difficult to stop.  Even a small dog like a Boston Terrier can cause injury if they bite, especially on delicate skin or on extremities like the hand or ankle. Teaching your Boston Terrier good manners, which include not biting or nipping even in play will serve you and your dog well in the future. It is a lot easier to guide a puppy not to nip and bite during play than an older dog that has established this behavior as a way of getting what he wants.

Defining Tasks

Training your Boston Terrier Puppy not to bite is important in establishing boundaries that your dog will respect as he grows up. You will need to communicate with your puppy that biting you is not acceptable behavior. There are several things you can do to establish this important boundary: provide appropriate chew materials, ensure that biting behavior is not reinforced by allowing play to continue or giving attention after biting or nipping, and establish you are his leader--dogs do not bite at dominant members of their pack. A puppy may need to chew as they are teething, but they need to understand what is appropriate chewing material: toys and bones, not people. You will need to provide firm direction without losing your temper, which is an emotional state easily misunderstood by young dogs that can cause them to become confused or anxious as a result. Be calm and consistent to inhibit biting behavior in your Boston Terrier puppy.

Getting Started

Make sure everyone in your household, as well as visitors, are aware of your “no tolerance for biting” policy, to maintain consistency and avoid inadvertently reinforcing biting. You will need chew toys to redirect your Boston Terrier's biting behavior to a more appropriate target. You can use a deterrent like bitter spray as well to discourage biting in your Boston Terrier puppy. Always make sure you use something pet appreciate that will not make your dog sick. Appropriate products are available from pet supply stores. Remember to be patient and firm to direct your young dog.  

The Extinguish Biting Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Play with a toy
Play with your Boston Terrier puppy. Use a chew toy or other appropriate chewing target.
Step
2
Simulate sibling puppy
When your puppy grabs onto your hand or arm with his mouth, make a loud noise to startle him. This simulates what a puppy sibling would do, which is to yelp when bitten too hard. Let your arm go limp, but do not pull it away, which inadvertently reinforces your puppy by allowing him to “win”.
Step
3
Stop play
When your puppy releases your arm or hand, stop playing and walk away.
Step
4
Repeat
Repeat consistently. If your puppy bites or mouths you, startle him into stopping and cease play, affection and attention. Withdraw and walk away.
Step
5
Reinitiate play
Reinitiate play after about a few minutes, withdraw when biting or mouthing occurs.
Recommend training method?

The Redirect Biting Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Initiate play
Play with your Boston Terrier puppy.
Step
2
Distract
When your puppy bites, nips or mouths your hand, tap him on the side with a chew toy. You puppy should release your hand and instinctively turn his head to see what is touching his flank.
Step
3
Direct to the toy
When your puppy turns his head, wave the chew toy to get his attention focused.
Step
4
Play with the toy
Allow your puppy to grab and chew on the toy. Play with the toy, including tug of war or fetch.
Step
5
Be consistent
Never let him continue biting your hand, always redirect to an appropriate toy.
Recommend training method?

The Deterrence Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Apply bitter spray
Put a bitter spray on the sleeve of a long sleeve shirt and initiate play with your Boston Terrier puppy.
Step
2
Deter biting
When your Boston Terrier Puppy grabs your arm, do not pull your arm out of his mouth. Instead make a loud noise and grab with your other hand on his flank. Do not grab hard, but rather make a motion similar to what another, older dominant dog would do, to reprimand a wayward puppy.
Step
3
Command 'leave it'
When your startled pup releases you after getting a mouth full of bitter taste, and reprimanded with a “nip” on the side, release his side and say “leave it” or “no”.
Step
4
Repeat
Repeat over several days when playing to establish that biting and nipping are not pleasant.
Step
5
Use a command
Gradually start providing the command “leave it” or “no” as soon as your puppy starts mouthing your arm or hand. Your Boston Terrier should start to respond to the command as he learns that biting has unpleasant consequences.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
franky
Boston Terrier
11 Weeks
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
franky
Boston Terrier
11 Weeks

my dog keeps peeing/ pooping inside, is there any fast learning techniques to use so that she will know not to do her business inside?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
421 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jayda, I suggest using th crate training method from the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside All potty training takes time but the crate training method is typically the fastest method and if you follow it closely there will be fewer accidents to clean up during the process. The more accidents you can prevent and the more times you are able to reward him for going potty outside, the quicker the training will go. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to franky's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Murphy
Boston Terrier
11 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Murphy
Boston Terrier
11 Weeks

When I tell my pup no, he barks and growls while pouncing and then will nip my hand. I'm hoping this is a puppy stage but I know an adult Boston who nips and I don't want mine to do that.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
421 Dog owners recommended

Hello Cindy, Check out the article that I have linked below. Follow the "Bite Inhibition" method while you also work on teaching Murphy the "Leave It" command from the " Leave It" method. Once he has mastered Leave It, you can switch to using leave when he bites or thinks about biting. If he disobeys the leave it command after he knows it well, you can then use the "Pressure" method to discipline the biting. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite There is an order to what you teach. Right now he is young and needs to learn how to control pressure, which the "Bite Inhibition" method and a good puppy class that has some moderated off-leash puppy play will help. Soon, he needs to stop biting complete, which is the point of Leave It. Before you discipline him he also needs to understand what you want him to do (leave it in this case). If you discipline him for biting when you told him to Leave It, then the discipline is for disobedience and he can understand. If you simply discipline without teaching him first, he likely thinks you are rough housing and doesn't know what no even means - so it is less effective. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Murphy's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Dayssie
Boston Terrier
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Dayssie
Boston Terrier
3 Months

Hello, my puppy Dayssie seems to have a biting problem. Although she loves to play, she is slowly getting into the habit of biting people as well. This is a problem because she has made me bleed several times & I have tried many things to prevent her from biting people. Is there any advice you can give me ?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
421 Dog owners recommended

Hello Katrina, Check out the article linked below. Start by using the 'Bite Inhibition" method, but at the same time work on the "Leave It" command from the Leave It method. It will take a bit for her to learn a solid Leave It command, so use the Bite Inhibition method while she is in the process of learning Leave It. Once she understands leave it and can leave moving objects alone (the method describes how to teach that), then switch from the bite Inhibition method to using the Leave It method exclusively. Once she can do leave it, you can also use the Pressure method as a consequence for biting if she continues to bite after being told Leave it. It's important for her to learn self-control (which the bite Inhibition and Leave It methods practice), so that she is able to control her mouth when excited. Expect all of this to take a couple of months. It is normal and even beneficial for puppies to bite at this age. They just need to learn how to control the pressure of it and when to use their mouths (like when playing with another puppy gently or chewing a toy) and when not to (not to bite us). https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Dayssie's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Hugo
Boston Terrier
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Hugo
Boston Terrier
2 Years

Bites every person who comes to our house

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
421 Dog owners recommended

Hello Mrs. Ferguson, Check out this video by Jeff Gellman, who specializes in aggression. Here he demonstrated safety measures (a back tie), when to have people reward a dog (during calmness and not during aggressive displays), and how to appropriately use punishment when treating aggression (with good timing, calmness, and in combination with positive reinforcement for calm behavior and with the appropriate safety measures for your guests). Aggression video: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A It sounds like he needs a lot of structure and boundaries in general to build respect. Have him work for everything he gets for a while by having him perform a command first. For example, have him sit before you feed him, lay down before you pet him, look at you before you take him outside, ect.. If he nudges you, climbs into your lap uninvited, begs, or does anything else pushy, make him leave the room. Teach him a Place command and work on him staying on place for up to an hour, even when you walk into the other room for a minute. Practice crate manners. Work on teaching a structured Heel. Forget about getting places during a walk for a while right now, instead go somewhere open, like your front yard, a park, or culdesac and practice a heel where his nose does not go past your leg. If you need to hire a trainer to help you with the aggression, look for someone who uses a lot of boundaries, positive reinforcement and fair discipline tactfully. Look for someone who is very experienced with aggression and different types of aggression - many trainers are only experienced with fear based aggression and you could have some other types of aggression happening also, so ask the potential trainer about their experience with aggression. Small dogs can have any of the types of aggression that larger dogs can have - they do not view themselves as any different than larger breeds. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Dog Training Do’s https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2016/09/08/the-ten-commandments-of-dog-training-and-ownership-do-2 There might be additional things that need to be addressed, but without specific details about his temperament, history, and the nature of the bites I can't include additional advice. It might be worth hiring a trainer who specializes in aggression to help you also. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Hugo's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Phoenix
Boston Terrier
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Phoenix
Boston Terrier
3 Months

My dog keeps biting me and when I leave him when he is biting he cries and he still bites when i come to him when he cries

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
421 Dog owners recommended

Hello McKenna, The fact that he cries actually means that he needs to practice being alone - in a crate or exercise pen if you will be gone for more than a few minutes, to keep him safe. If he is not crate trained I suggest teaching that to help him learn to cope with being alone. For the biting, check out the article linked below. Follow the Leave It method. Leave It will take some times to teach, so use the "Bite Inhibition" method while he is still learning Leave It - since the Bite Inhibition method is something you can use right away. When he cries stay gone until he gets quiet for at least two seconds. This might take a while at first and you may need to set up a camera to spy on him if he is not in an exercise pen, to make sure that he is not getting into things. Every time you return when he cries while he is still crying he learns that if he cries you will come back and he never learns to calm himself down. I also suggest joining a puppy kindergarten class that has time for off leash play for the puppies, supervised by the instructor so that no one gets too rough or overwhelmed. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Phoenix's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd