Boston Terrier Obedience Training – Basic Commands

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by Lily Ferreras


Teaching your Boston Terrier basic obedience commands for good behaviour from an early age has many benefits for both of you. It’s a bonding exercise, as you get to know and understand each other better, removing the cause of many common problems.

As a dog parent, you get to feel confident about your dog’s positive responses to your signals and are able to keep him out of trouble!

So, what command should you teach your Boston Terrier first? Do you know where to start?

Continue reading for Boston Terrier obedience training and teaching your pup basic commands.

Boston Terrier Obedience Training

It is important to train your Boston Terrier so they learn to follow your command from an early age (if you have a puppy). If you have an adult Boston, you should start as early as possible.

As soon as your pooch comes home with you — that very first day — you should begin house-training him and little by little incorporating commands (like sit, down, and come) in those training sessions. 

Insider Tip: Encourage all members of your household and visitors to use the same commands with your Boston Terrier to avoid confusion. 

Also, follow a positive training method by rewarding your Boston every time he overcomes a challenge or achieves something. Use high-value treats for food rewards; these will motivate him enough to stay focused on you.

Keep the training sessions short, because Bostons can get bored easily, loose focus and stop learning if they’re not fully engaged.

Just take one command at a time and build upon them.

Even if you have a list of commands already, you may find that you need to take it very slowly, working on just one command a day or for a couple of days or weeks before moving on to another command.

Repetition is a necessary part of the training since all dogs, no matter the breed, learn from repeated actions. However, if your Boston Terrier performs an action well a few times in a row, it’s a safe bet to move on to something else until the next training session.

Finally, always finish on a good note, i.e., after a success! If he hasn’t achieved today’s training goal, refer to his latest success, signal him to perform that action and praise him afterwards and complete the training.

Boston Terrier Obedience Training with a Clicker

You can use a dog clicker for training your Boston. This is a sound-emitting device that can act as a signal to your dog that he has done the right thing.

If you decide to use it, here’s a tip: stay consistent and continue using it as part of your dog’s training.

Before you start to train your pooch with the clicker, introduce it (the clicker) by making the sound and immediately giving a treat to your dog. Repeat this a couple of times.

Once he associates the sound to the reward, you can move on to using it as part of your basic commands training.

This will be as follows: at the exact moment your dog performs the desired action, press the clicker, give him a treat and praise him.


Boston Terrier Basic Commands Training

Here is a list of some basic commands that will come in handy alongside your dog’s training:

  • Sit.
  • Down.
  • Come.
  • Stay.
  • Leave it.

Continue reading to see how to put each of them into practice!

Sit Command

This is one of the easiest dog obedience commands to teach, so it’s a good one to start with.

How to train a Boston Terrier to sit:

  1. Have your dog standing in front of you.
  2. Show him that you have a treat in your hand.
  3. Move your hand up and over your dog’s head, allowing his head to follow the treat and causing his bottom to lower. If your pooch is on the jumpy side, keep pulling back the treat so he learns that jumping isn’t the right behaviour to get a treat.
  4. Once he’s in sitting position, say “sit,” give him the treat and praise him.

Your Boston Terrier needs to learn the action first, so he can associate it with the verbal cue later.


Down Command

Like “sit,” you can also train the “down” cue with a treat.

How to train a Boston Terrier to lay down:

  1. Start with your dog sitting in front of you.
  2. Hold a treat near his face.
  3. Move the treat straight down to the floor, and then slowly away from the dog. He will follow the treat by moving his front feet forward, eventually lying down.
  4. Be clear with your movements, and once your dog lies down, say “down” and give him the treat.

You can also practise this cue without a treat, using your hand to indicate going down.


Come Command

This is also known as a “recall” command, i.e., your pooch will return to you when called. Teaching your Boston Terrier to come when called gives you a great sense of control over your dog.

What I mean by that is that you can keep him safe in potentially dangerous situations. For example, you accidentally lose grip of the leash or you encounter off-leash dogs that might seek unwanted attention from your pup.

How to train a Boston Terrier to come:

Recall On-Leash

  1. Put a harness and leash on your dog in a quiet area.
  2. Back away from your dog, go down to his level and enthusiastically say “come.”
  3. Alternatively, you can show your dog a treat to encourage him to head your way if he appears reluctant to move.
  4. When he gets to you, reward him with affection and a treat.

Recall Off-Leash

Once your Boston masters the recall with the leash on, you can practice the command without the leash, starting in a safe, enclosed area.

Over time, you can gradually increase the distance between the two of you, and start practising in a variety of situations. 

Insider Tip: “Make it a party” every time your dog comes when called. You want him to associate coming to you as the best thing that happens to him all day. This way, it won’t matter to him what he leaves behind.


Stay Command

Before attempting this one, make sure your dog is an expert at the “sit” command.

How to train a Boston Terrier to stay:

  1. First, ask your dog to “sit.”
  2. Hold a hand out in front of you (palm open) toward your dog and say “stay.”
  3. Take a few steps back, if he stays, immediately reward him with a treat and affection.
  4. Gradually increase your distance from your dog and continue practising.

This is an exercise in self-control for your dog, which is particularly difficult for puppies and high-energy breeds like Bostons. So don’t be discouraged if it takes a while for your pooch to master this.

After all, he would rather be moving around and being next to you!


Leave It Command

This cue can help keep your dog safe when his curiosity gets the better of him (for instance, he steals some dangerous table scraps).

Also, it’s a great way to end a game (especially if your Boston doesn’t want to let go of the tug toy!)

The goal is to teach your pooch that he always gets something better for ignoring the other item.

How to train a Boston Terrier to leave it:

  1. Place a treat in both hands.
  2. Show him your one enclosed fist with the treat inside, and say, “leave it.”
  3. Let him lick, sniff, mouth, paw, bark… to try to get it. Ignore these behaviours.
  4. Once he stops trying, give him the treat from the other hand.

Repeat this process until your dog moves away from that first fist when you say, “leave it.”

Next, practice only giving your dog the treat when he moves away from that first fist and also looks up at you (i.e., he gives you eye-contact).


Other Commands and Tricks

If your Boston Terrier knows many basic commands, you can work on teaching him tricks and more advanced commands.

This might include fun tricks such as “rollover” or more practical ones like “heel” to keep your pooch by your side during on-leash and off-leash walks.

Tricks are not essential but learning new things is vital for your Boston Terrier’s mental stimulation and to avoid boredom (which brings unwanted behaviours and problems). Use my favourite dog training method for brain games to keep your dog engaged and have fun with him.


What’s Next

If you’re just getting started with training your Boston Terrier, you probably are facing the 3 most common challenges:

  • Potty training.
  • Leash pulling.
  • Biting/nipping.

If so, I may be able to help with that. Click here to visit our Dog Training Essentials, where you will get a 3-part mini audio series + the everyday resource used by a well-known dog trainer.

You can also get this using the button below. Happy training! 😉

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