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It’s time for your Boston to come home! You’ve shopped for supplies and puppy-proofed the house. You’ve planned for her every need, from buying the perfect crate to indulging in the newest leash-collar combo. Now the fun really begins!

When you welcome a puppy — or adult dog — into your home, the antics never seem to stop. Your intelligent little Boston will entertain you, challenge you, and push your limits from the moment she walks through the door. To keep your relationship thriving, you need to set up some household rules that dictate where she’s allowed to be, what she’s allowed to do, and how she’s expected to act.
Similarly, you should set up some rules for the humans in the household. By following regular routines and consistent training techniques, you and your family can teach your Boston how to become an integral part of your family.
A new home can be an intimidating scene for your new puppy, making even the boldest Boston quiver. In this chapter, you discover some ways to make the environment welcoming for your new dog, including how to introduce her to her new surroundings, introduce her to other pets, set up a schedule for eating, relieving, and sleeping, and establish rules for her and other members of your household to follow.


If you work Monday through Friday, try to bring your puppy home on a Friday afternoon or Saturday morning. You’ll have two full days to spend with your new Boston. You’ll be able to establish a routine for feeding, going to the bathroom, and playing. You’ll also be able to take much-needed naps when your puppy does!

Taking the Home Tour

The first thing to do when you bring your Boston home is show her around the house, focusing on the places that are going to be most important to her: her eating and drinking place, her sleeping space, her play area, and her bathroom spot outside.


While your Boston is a puppy, limit the number of rooms she has access to. Doing so helps your Boston feel safe and secure, and it teaches her boundaries. After she matures, you can expand her universe to include other areas of the home and let her roam around the house, following you from room to room.


Before entering the home, give your pup a chance to relieve herself out in the yard. That way, you can have peace of mind that she won’t have an accident while she sniffs and explores her new digs.

The pup’s eating and drinking area

The area where your Boston chows down and fills her belly will be one of her favorite spots.
A logical place to put your dog’s food and water bowls is in the kitchen, but some people prefer to put it in the laundry room, garage, or other out-of-the-way spot in the house, particularly if the kitchen is very small.
Wherever you decide to serve your pup’s meals, let everyone in the family know that the area is your Boston’s designated dining room. Introduce the area to your dog when she comes home, using lots of praise and enthusiasm. If she feels like taking a few bites, let her. If not, that’s fine too. She’s likely too nervous and excited right now.

The den and sleeping area

A crate acts as your Boston’s den and sleeping area. Typically made of hard plastic or powder-coated metal, this kennel is like your dog’s cave: It’s her safe place where she can enjoy some “me” time.
During the day, you will place your Boston in the crate with the door closed while you train her to hold her bladder. Dogs typically won’t relieve themselves where they sleep, so this teaches your dog to wait until you take her outside.

With the door open, the crate serves as your dog’s personal space. She’ll use it as a hideaway when she feels like a nap and as a safe place when strangers come over. At night, you will put her to bed in the crate until she’s old enough to sleep on a traditional dog bed.

If you’re using a different crate than the one you brought her home in, show her where it’s kept. If you’re using the same crate, set it up in its spot in the house, and then show her where she can find it. Toss a treat into the crate to encourage her to go in and take a look around. (For more on how to introduce your pup to her crate, flip to Chapter Housetraining for Bostons.)


Not sure where to keep the crate? Consider these questions:

Where do you spend the most time? Where will your Boston get the most opportunities to socialize and get familiar with new smells, sights, and sounds? Your Boston will want to feel like she’s part of the pack, and she won’t feel like that if she’s isolated in a room away from you and your family.

Will you have another crate in the bedroom? If so, purchase a second crate and line it with training pads. When she’s older and can spend all night in her crate without messing it, throw in a cushy pillow and warm blanket.

Are there any drafts in the area? Keep the kennel away from fireplaces, open windows, or heating or air conditioning vents so your Boston doesn’t become overheated or chilled. Keep the kennel out of direct sunlight, especially during the summer and in warmer climates.

Is the area easy to clean? Will you be able to clean up an accident quickly? Don’t put the crate on an expensive rug or near heirloom furniture! Put it on an easy-to-clean surface and, if necessary, lay down sheets of newspaper just in case.

The play areas

Bostons love to play, so you also need to create an area that is safe and fun for your pup to play in. When your Boston is a puppy, she doesn’t need much space: Keeping her in an X-pen or playpen will do. But as she grows and needs more room to play, expand the area to one or two rooms, such as the living room and the bedroom.
To help your Boston understand what area is her play area, keep her toys there, and when you introduce her to that space, take a few minutes to let her play with some of those toys in that space.


When deciding what areas of the house are suitable for your dog to freely romp in, make sure the area is easy to clean, doesn’t contain expensive furniture or harmful plants, and is a place where the family often gathers. Her crate should also be in or near that area.

Meeting Other Members of the Pack

Part of welcoming your Boston into your home is to introduce her to other members of the pack — including the children and other pets. With training and discipline, most Boston Terriers integrate into a household without a hitch. This section explores how to bring your new family together.

Kids, puppy. Puppy, kids.

If you have children or if kids frequent your home, they’re probably more excited about your Boston than you are! Most kids adore puppies, but a young person’s exuberant behavior can be a bit much for your new dog. Children who are awkward or inexperienced around animals may hurt the puppy by mistake. To prevent overstimulation or accidental injury (on the part of the kids or the dog!), here are two sets of guidelines: one for young children and one for grade-schoolers.


Children who haven’t been exposed to dogs need some extra handholding during the first few introductions. Instruct them to never approach a strange dog, especially when adults aren’t present. If they know the dog, tell them to never put their face close to a dog’s face or tease the animal. Don’t frighten the child, but let him know that dogs are animals and can behave unexpectedly.

Teaching the tiny tots

Younger children, including toddlers and preschool-age kids, will likely see your Boston pup as another one of their fuzzy stuffed animals! It’s easy to see why: The cuddly dog is a living, interactive plaything who delivers hours of entertainment. However adorable they are, Bostons aren’t toys. With improper handling, a pup can be seriously injured. Her prominent eyes can be damaged, or she can get overly excited and hurt herself.


When you introduce your children to your Boston, use these steps:

1. Sit on the floor or in a chair and hold the puppy in your arms. Ask the child to slowly approach, not moving too quickly.
Make sure that the child understands that he should not toddle up to or play with the puppy without you (or another adult) around.

2. Invite the child to pet the puppy. Show him how to handle a dog carefully and gently, modeling the behavior for the child and allowing him to mimic you.

Point out the puppy’s eyes, nose, and mouth. Let him know that these are sensitive off-limit areas on the dog’s body.
3. When the child asks to hold the puppy, have him sit on the floor and gently place the Boston in his lap. Tell him to handle and touch the puppy gently, not holding on too tight.
Stay nearby and supervise the pair.
4. Watch the dog’s — and the child’s — body language. If either starts to squirm or cry, playtime is over.
Place your puppy back in her kennel or playpen (after you take her to her bathroom area, just in case!). You want the experience to be a positive one for everyone involved, and if one or the other becomes uncomfortable, that can ruin the fun for everyone.
5. After your child and puppy have met, go over the rules with your child.
Make sure he understands that the dog is not a toy, that she requires special handling, and that you (or another adult) must be present when he wants to play with her.

Advising preadolescents

Little balls of energy, most grade school–age kids will want to immediately run and play with the puppy. When your Boston is older, those active games are okay (with supervision, of course!). But when your child is meeting the puppy for the first time, all that excitement will be too much for her to handle.


For the first few interactions, ask your older child to follow these rules with the puppy:

Sit and wait: Ask the child to sit quietly on the floor and bring the puppy into the room. The child may be tempted to turn toward the dog and pick her up, but tell him not to. Have him wait until the puppy comes to him.

Explore and sniff: Let the dog approach the child and sniff him. The pup will run her cold little nose all over the child, getting to know his scent. The child can have a toy or a treat in his lap to lure the pup over.

Doggy handshake: After the pup sniffs the child, have him extend a hand for the pup to smell. Teach the child that this is the appropriate way for a person to introduce himself to a dog.

Supervised play: When the dog is comfortable with the child, the child can then gently pet and play with the puppy. Don’t let him pick up the puppy without your permission, and remind him not to play too rough or exuberantly.

Use caution: Instruct the child that a Boston’s eyes, nose, and mouth are off-limit areas that are prone to injury. Teach him to handle the puppy with extreme care, never poking at her, pulling her ears or tail, or pinching her.

Training the teens 

You can use the techniques in the “Advising preadolescents” section with adolescents and teenagers, too, modifying them depending on child’s maturity level. A responsible preteen may be able to handle holding the puppy and brushing her, whereas an active youth may need to tone down his excitement before hanging out with the Boston. You know your child’s limitations, so use common sense when allowing them to interact.

Introducing felines, canines, or small pets

Easygoing, affectionate, and highly adaptable, your pup will, after some supervised introductions and training, get along well with other pets in your home. Her size isn’t so large that cats will be overly intimidated, yet she still commands a presence that the other animals will respect.
Your pup and the other animals’ temperaments will determine whether they’ll become best friends or roommates who tolerate each other. Though she’s not a true terrier, your Boston does retain her terrier roots, and she may feel the urge to chase or play tag with your cat, other dog, or small animal. Similarly, some pets can be aloof and territorial toward new beasts.
Introducing the animals is another part of setting boundaries for your Boston and teaching her the household rules. If your dog knows that it’s against the rules to chase the cat, for example, she’ll be less inclined to do so, especially if she knows that there are consequences to her actions.
You can make the introductions easier by organizing structured and controlled visits to let the animals sniff each other and get used to each other. After the animals are comfortable with each other, you can let them have supervised visits.

Structured sniffs

Being driven by their noses, animals like to meet each other by sniffing their unique scents. Before your dog even meets the other animals in the household, she’ll smell them on your clothes, and she’ll know that she’ll be among other pack members.

Introducing your pets face to face can be very easy or very difficult. It all depends on the personalities and temperaments of the animals. To play it safe, kennel the puppy and bring her to the other pet. Let them look at each other and sniff each other. Watch their body language. Is the cat hissing or curious? Is the dog growling or wagging her tail? If the pup or other animal shows no interest in the other, don’t force them together; they’ll interact when they’re ready.
If they seem to get along well, let the animal out of the kennel and see what both pets do, being very watchful in case a fight breaks out. The two will sniff each other some more, check each other out, and nudge each other with their noses. If you’re lucky, they’ll start playing and become fast friends!


When you bring two dogs together, the current dog may see your puppy as a threat to his place in the pack, depending on his temperament and personality. Introduce them in a neutral environment, like a park or someplace other than your house (the current dog’s “turf”). Watch their behavior, and if the current dog begins to display dominant or aggressive behavior, separate them and try again later. They’ll eventually learn to live with each other.


Don’t worry if your pets don’t get along like loving siblings the first time they meet. Becoming buddies takes time. Make the introduction ritual part of your daily routine, and remember to give both animals all the positive reinforcement you can by praising them while they bond. You’re sure to see results.


When you’re introducing your Boston to your cat (who will likely be a little aloof and possibly defensive), be especially cautious of the cat’s claws and your pup’s eyes. If a fight breaks out, your cat can scratch your Boston’s delicate eyes, which will require an emergency call to your veterinarian.

Supervised playtime, protected alone time

After your pets begin to get along, let them play together — always supervised, of course! Sit back and watch them as they romp on the floor, play with toys, or just snuggle for a nap. After the animals recognize that their new roommate isn’t a threat, they’ll share the same space, becoming part of the pack.

Just because they get along, however, doesn’t mean you can leave them alone together while you’re gone. It will take a while for them to grow accustomed to each other, so plan to put them in separate rooms or leave your puppy in her crate if you run to the market. If you must leave them alone together, make sure that the cat has easy access to a high counter, or your pup has access to her kennel. If you have another dog, let him do as he normally does, but secure the puppy in her crate until you return.

Birds and bunnies and bearded dragons, oh my!

Other pets, including birds, small animals, and reptiles, can coexist with your Boston, too. Introduce them in the same way you would cats and other dogs: First, let them smell each other through your Boston’s crate or the other critter’s cage, and then let them meet face to face while you carefully hold the critter or bird.
Unlike cats, small animals or reptiles should not, under most circumstances, be allowed to play with your Boston. No matter how well-behaved your Boston is, a free-roaming rodent looks too much like a tempting treat or toy. Some reptiles can pass salmonella (a bacterium that causes diarrhea) to your dog if she licks him or ingests his feces. Birds, however, if they’re caged, or allowed to fly in the home and perch on a play gym, will do just fine with your Boston, as long as they have a safe spot out of your dog’s reach!

Sectioning off areas of your home

If all else fails and your pets just don’t get along, you may need to section off areas of your home to keep the household peace. Some Siamese just don’t want the Boston around. Some Bostons can be too playful for a 9-year-old Persian. Sometimes, it just doesn’t work out. So what do you do?
Most homes can be divided to allow the cat to have his space and the dog to have her space. The easiest way to do this is by putting up a baby gate between the two areas. The cat can explore the dog’s space and still escape in case of a squabble. It may inconvenience you and your family, but if means keeping the peace, it’s worth it!

Surviving the First Night

After a day filled with exploring her new home and meeting her new family, your pup will be pooped. You’ll be ready for a long night’s sleep, too, after picking up your new puppy, introducing her to her new home, and getting used to this new arrival. But the truth is that the first night with your Boston will be a long one for both of you.
Instead of cuddling with her mama and littermates like she’s done her entire life, your pup will be bunking in a new bed. She’ll be confined to an unfamiliar crate, and surrounded by strange smells and sounds. She’ll be scared, and rightfully so! As a brand-new puppy parent, you can expect to be up all night tending to her needs.
Here’s what you can expect the first night:

Lots of potty breaks. Your Boston has not yet learned to control her bladder or bowels, so you’ll take her to the bathroom area at least every two hours. After she eats her final meal of the day, take her outside to use the bathroom. If she doesn’t go right away, take her back inside and try again in 30 minutes or so. Put her to bed after she eliminates, and then set your alarm (mental or manual) for two hours. When you take her outside throughout the night, don’t make a big deal of it and don’t get the pup excited. Let her know that you mean business — and that she should do her business!

Lots of cleanup. Even though you’ll take your pup to the bathroom every couple of hours, she may accidentally soil her kennel. Line her crate with absorbent pads to soak up any messes that may happen, and arm yourself with a pet-safe cleanser and several rolls of paper towels.

Lots of whimpering. Your pup will be lonely. All her life, she’s been surrounded by sights and smells she knows, like her littermates and her mama. Now, she’s confined to a strange kennel with no one around, so of course she’s going to whimper! As difficult as it will be, do not take her out of the kennel to comfort her. If you do, you teach her that she gets her way when she cries — and that’s a hard habit to break!

Lots of comforting. Though you should not take the pup out of her kennel throughout the night (except for bathroom breaks), you can comfort her by speaking softly to her, consoling her when she cries. This works particularly well if you kennel your pup in your bedroom. If you kennel her in the living room or other area of the house, however, plan to get up to comfort her when she cries.

By the time the sun rises the next day, you’ll be exhausted, but you will have survived the first night. This will become a regular routine for several months until your Boston becomes housetrained and trustworthy. Don’t worry: It will get easier, especially as your pup grows accustomed to the routine.

Creating Consistency

Dogs like consistency. From puppyhood to adulthood, dogs like to follow a regular routine of sleeping, hunting, eating, and playing. This need for routine reaches back to dogs’ wild days when their pack leader dictated their schedule of resting, scavenging or hunting, eating, and socializing with other dogs in their pack.
Modern-day dogs are no different. They prefer a regular schedule of sleeping, eating, and playing — and sleeping and playing some more! They don’t need to do it for survival as their ancestors did, but they still have an innate need for consistency.
Dogs also want to know the rules. They look to the leader for direction on what to do next. When a pack member falls out of line, the leader puts her back in her place. This sets up a consistent pattern of what the leader and other pack members expect.
In your Boston’s life, you are the pack leader, and providing your Boston with regular schedules and rules sets her up for success. Instead of letting her do whatever she wants and run the household, you should establish her routine as soon as she comes home. It’s all about shaping her behavior so she integrates with her new pack.

Establishing a schedule

As soon as you carry your puppy across your threshold, you will set up schedules for her. You will feed her three to four times a day at regular intervals. You will take her to her bathroom area after mealtime, playtime, naptime, and every couple of hours in between. You will also put her to bed at the same time every night. By doing these things, you create consistency for your Boston, and help her develop habits that will last her lifetime.
These schedules also help you as you train your Boston. They set her up to successfully integrate into your household. Housetraining her, for example, will be much easier if your dog is eating at the same time every day because you can expect her to use the bathroom at regular times after she eats.
To help your puppy plan her day, feed her at regular times each day, take her to her bathroom area on schedule, put her to bed at the same time each night, and give her plenty of exercise to help her burn off extra energy.

Regular meals

Your Boston puppy requires at least three to four meals a day. (See Chapter Eating Well for details about what to feed your pup.) You need to feed your puppy right when she wakes up in the morning, late morning, early afternoon, and dinnertime — about every three to four hours or so. Whatever times you decide, stick to them.
Adolescent and adult dogs require two meals a day. Feed her in the morning and in the early evening, at the same times every day.
By doing so, before long you’ll be able to predict when your Boston needs to take a trip to her bathroom area!

Regular bathroom breaks

Regular trips to the bathroom area are essential in housetraining your dog. (Skip to Chapter Housetraining for Bostons for tips on housetraining.) Your Boston puppy, while she’s learning to control her bladder, won’t know to ask to go outside to use the bathroom. It will take her several months before she learns to hold it until she goes outside.
To help train the puppy, take her on regular bathroom breaks throughout the day, including when she wakes up in the morning, after a nap, after she eats, after she plays, and every couple of hours in between, depending on her age and maturity level.
When your Boston gets older and learns bladder control, you still want to take her to the bathroom area or let her out to the yard on a regular basis. Only when your dog knows how to tell you she needs to go can you let her dictate when to go to the bathroom.

Regular bedtime

Regular bedtime also teaches your dog routine. Your pup’s growing body requires lots of sleep at night, despite all the naps she takes during the day! To teach her to crash at the same time every night, put her to bed at the same time. Say, “Time for bed,” in a positive, soothing voice, put her in her crate, and turn off the lights. Before long, she’ll know when it’s time for bed and head to her crate.
An older Boston will fall right into the habit, especially if she’s had a routine since birth. She may pace and wander occasionally, trying to get settled, but when you tell her it’s time for bed, she’ll fall fast asleep in no time.

Regular exercise

Puppies need exercise to burn off excess energy and stretch their growing muscles. Your Boston puppy will want to play with her toys and roll around as you tickle her belly. She’ll look forward to the time spent with you.
Your adult Boston also needs exercise to burn off steam. In an enclosed yard, she’ll run around and patrol the territory, hunt for imaginary intruders, and chase them away. She’ll enjoy long walks with you, too, through your neighborhood, to the park, or on a trail through the forest.
Get out and move with your Boston at least once a day. The activity not only helps her sleep at night, but it also helps her focus and be a well-behaved member of your family.

Setting up house rules

As pack leader, you dictate what rules your Boston should follow. You tell her where she’s allowed and where she’s not. You tell her where she sleeps, eats, and plays. Begin teaching your Boston these rules immediately because it is much easier to teach her the right way first instead of having to break bad habits later on.
It isn’t just the pup who has to learn the ropes. The other pack members — the humans — have rules to follow, too. To raise a happy, healthy Boston, each family member needs to tend to puppy-related chores, and use consistent training and teaching methods.
Here are some points to ponder when establishing rules for everyone in the home.

For the dog . . .

Dogs are creatures of habit. After your Boston figures out the routine, she’ll do the same thing all the time. When you set up household rules and enforce them (with love and positive reinforcement, of course!), your Boston will fall into line.
As you and your family discuss how your Boston will be treated and cared for, consider the following questions:

How do you want your Boston to behave? Begin training your puppy to act the way you want your adult Boston to act. Though those cute puppy behaviors may be endearing at first, they can be the beginning of bad habits. Discuss with your family how they think an ideal Boston should behave, and work together toward those goals.

What area will your pup use for housetraining? Select an outdoor bathroom area and use it consistently with your Boston. Choose an area that’s easy to access, that doesn’t get muddy when it rains, and that’s easy to clean. Also decide whether you will use an indoor bathroom area, such as a dog litter box, if you live in an apartment or townhouse. (See Chapter Housetraining for Bostons for more hints on housetraining.)

Which rooms will your Boston have access to? You want to limit your Boston’s environment to one or two rooms where the family spends the majority of their time. These rooms shouldn’t have expensive rugs or heirloom furniture, and they may need to be blocked off with baby gates. If you can’t watch the puppy, she needs to be confined to her crate or X-pen. When your Boston is an adult, she can have access to the rest of the house.

Where will your Boston sleep? If your answer is “In bed with me,” you may want to rethink your strategy. Your puppy can fall off the bed during the night and injure her leg or back, or you may inadvertently roll over and crush her. Instead, let her sleep in a crate in your bedroom so she feels close to you. You’ll be able to hear her if she cries in the middle of the night. Another behavior issue to consider is if you and your Boston share a sleeping area, she will think that you and she are equals — and you essentially relinquish your post as pack leader.

Will your pup be allowed on the furniture? That’s up to you and your family. Because your Boston won’t exceed 25 pounds or so, she’ll fit quite nicely on the chair next to you or on your lap while you enjoy some television or a good book. At the same time, if you allow her access to the couch during her first days at home, it will be very hard — and confusing for her — to restrict it later on.

Where will you feed your Boston? Are you okay with feeding your dog in the kitchen? That’s the most logical place to set up your dog’s food and water station. She’ll quickly learn where her next meal will be served. Keep the water bowl in an area where you can see when it gets low. You should empty, clean, and refill her water bowl at least once a day.

Will you give your Boston table scraps? Besides encouraging a lifelong habit of begging, feeding your dog table scraps can cause her to forgo her dog food for people food, or she could eat both and put on unwanted pounds. People food can also increase the likelihood of bladder stones, diabetes, and pancreatitis. Instead, offer her treats like cheese, cooked chicken or beef, or crunchy vegetables (in small amounts) in her food bowl on special occasions. Your Boston will appreciate them a lot more than food thrown from the table on a daily basis!

What training method should you use? Many training methods exist, so do your homework and choose a humane approach that includes positive reinforcement. Make sure that your entire family — and friends — follows the same training regime.

Where will your Boston stay while you’re away? If you’re running out to the market for a few hours, your puppy will be content in her crate. But if you’re going to be gone longer, consider a dog daycare (if your pup is old enough), or restrict her to her X-pen lined with newspaper.


Come up with rules for your Boston before you bring her home, and begin enforcing the rules right away, being as consistent as possible. She is an intelligent dog and will pick up on these rules quickly, but practice patience and diligence in your training. It’ll be worth it!

From the pack to the family

By nature, dogs are highly social. This behavior reflects back on their ancestors — wolves — who lived in closely knit packs with a social structure built around a dominance hierarchy.
When dogs became part of human families, they viewed people as part of their pack structure and interacted with us using the same behavioral patterns they would for canine members of their pack.
Dogs happily accept a subordinate role to people who assume a dominant position toward them. The degree to which they do depends on the breed, gender, and individual differences. Females, for example, more readily accept dominance from humans than males.
Modern-day dogs love socialization, and they’ll do almost anything for praise and affection — especially for a dominant member of their family! When you assert your role as pack leader early, you’ll raise a healthy and well-integrated canine member of your family.

For the rest of the pack . . .

You need to set up household rules for the other members of your family, including the children, adults, and other pets. Consistency is key to raising a well-trained pup, so all the parties involved have to follow the same routines and use the same training commands to ensure that your pup doesn’t get conflicting messages.
The rest of the family will also have some new chores, too, with regard to routine care of the puppy. Unless you’re a one-person household, or one (responsible) person chooses to be responsible for everything, give everyone who is old enough or capable enough a chore to do to help raise your Boston puppy. Some jobs aren’t as glamorous as others, but they’re all necessary to raise a happy, healthy dog. To keep it fun, consider rotating job duties or encourage various family members to become experts at their specific chore. (Flip back to Chapter Committing to a Lifetime of Care for a refresher of what duties you can delegate.)


Small children should be supervised by an adult while doing their puppy-care chores. And you should check on older children to make sure they’re doing their dog duties. A responsible overseeing adult can make sure that everything gets done and can be on the lookout for health problems that may arise.

by Wendy Bedwell-Wilson

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