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10 week old boston terrier puppy



This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers. not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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We have an aggressive Boston Terrier female who is 12 weeks old now. and about 10lbs. We have 3 kids, 2 who are dilligent about training her with patience and consistency. So, along with the 2 adults and 2 kids being consistent about disciplining unwanted behavior, why is her behavior seem to be escalating instead of improving.

Just for example, when she does the familiar puppy bite of feet and hands. kids get the most of this. we stop, firmly say "LEAVE IT!" and make the attempt at redirecting her to a chew toy. about a 50% success rate. But the crux is that ANY correction. from the kids especially. and some from the adults. escalates her energy/frustration and bad behavior. She then growls, jump and bite. This is a BIG problem for the kids who are getting tagged in the thigh, chest, arm. she does regularly break the skin on any of us at these times.

Sunday she bit my son's lip to bleeding. He told her "NO BITE." when she bit his hand. He stopped petting her and turned his back and got up. she ran around him, jumped and bit his FACE!

I have noticed that she will target our face first, hands second at these times. We are very firm with her when she gets to this point. and she gets to this point rather quickly. Keep in mind, our energy level is consciously calm. the 2 boys are really good at keep a level head and calm energy with her.

"NO BITE!" is beginning to be the most used words in the house.

When she growls. we calmly move her on her back/side until she calms. Sometimes this can take a minute or so.

WHAT can we do. We cannot have a dog who could bite at any provocation. It may begin in puppy play. but she resists CALM correction and responds aggressively.


I used to foster puppies for the shelter, and some were aggressive. I would only do this with small dogs, so it should be fine for a Boston. I would flip them over on their back and tell them NO in a growly voice when they got aggressive. This should never be done with bigger breeds because it could cause you to get bit but it worked really well for me with the smaller pups. Good luck.

"Sunday she bit my son's lip to bleeding. He told her "NO BITE." when she bit his hand. He stopped petting her and turned his back and got up. she ran around him, jumped and bit his FACE!

I have noticed that she will target our face first, hands second at these times. We are very firm with her when she gets to this point. and she gets to this point rather quickly. Keep in mind, our energy level is consciously calm. the 2 boys are really good at keep a level head and calm energy with her.

"NO BITE!" is beginning to be the most used words in the house.

When she growls. we calmly move her on her back/side until she calms. Sometimes this can take a minute or so.

WHAT can we do. We cannot have a dog who could bite at any provocation. It may begin in puppy play. but she resists CALM correction and responds aggressively. "

It sounds as if you have taught to chase and play-bite when someone says "no bite!" With excitable puppies, it is unusual that trying to use the same word to them NOT to do something only works if you first teach them TO DO IT on commands. Example: Your dog barks compulsivly, and in order to stop it, you must teach them to bark on command for you around a week before teaching them the "quite" command.

The reason is, he has NO IDEA WHAT BEHAVIOR you don't want. Are you correcting him for looking at you, jumping up, sitting, looking to the side, wiggling hit butt, or any number of behaviors could be confusing for your dog at this point.

The best thing to do is WALK AWAY to a nearby wall and plant the front of your body there until he calms down, then WITHOUT SAYING ANYTHING TO HIM, go sit down quietly. You've got to move fast, and trying to "correct him" (which will omnly frustrate the dog and you more) will only slow you down, and make things harder for your pup to understand.

I know its a pain in the rump, but he is ONLY 12 weeks, so hang in there!

UPDATE: on my last post hehe!

I just wanted to drop a note about rolling puppies on their backs. This is a DANGEROUS GAME that you should never do to your dog. In fact the man who created it, apologized for putting that out there because it has caused so many bites, and uneeded stress on dogs. He apologized on his deathbed hoping to undo the trouble he started, but people never got that second message.

There are separate studies done proving that upon healthy social interactions, when a dog does a roll over on another dog, their pure intention is to KILL the dog. Now imagine what we put our dogs through each time we do this as a "correction." The only response you will get is either a dog who becomes SO arounsed and anxious that they have a much harder time later in calming themselves down, and the flip side is when the dog goes into what is called a "state of suppression." This is where the dog shuts down mentally and doesnt show ANY behaviors which causes the person to think it "worked." But in reality, this type of supressed stress causes problem behaviors on a much more severe level that spreads to a variety of situations instead of just the play biting.

ALSO, be mindful of the energy you put into praise. Often, if you praise them excitedly, they just lose control again and start right back at the biting game. That is the interesting thing with positive reinforcment, half the time is keeps the dog out of the energy level that allows them to RETAIN INFORMATION.

Interesting stuff, and very important info to know!

This really sounds like puppy behavior out of control. that does not mean your dog is aggressive, just unruly. Also, remeber that those puppy teeth tend to be needle sharp, so I have no doubt that a bite will draw blood.

You are onto a good start, but it doesn't sound like you really are being totally consisitant.

First, I would never use hands or physical corrections on a puppy. Really, they do use their mouth the way we use are hands and you have to teach them what is proper and what is not. Your dog is way too young to merit any physicl corrections and I would never suggest rolling a puppy. Even Job Michael Evans, the first advocate of rolling a dog, has expressed regret for suggesting this technique, saying that dogs who submit to it don't need it and dogs that don't could be dangerous. It is also a good way to create and escalate fear aggression.

Second, what would you like your dog to do instead of nipping? Maybe you can train a place or go to your mat command for when the puppy gets too excited. A crate is great for a time out, but make sure that it is not a punishment.

The redirection is fine, but if it is really that out of control, I wouldn't give a second chance. At the first nip, I would remove myself from the situation. Get up and walk away with the toys. It's no fun for the dog to play by itself.

Lastly, be sure to reinforce good behavior. So often, we just take the good for granted and ignore it. When the pup IS playing nicely, reward generously.

BTW, your pup is not too young to be working some simple obedience to try and tire his mind.


I'll try to help here. Some Bostons are a bit more aggressive than others. Bostons also have a tendancy to aim for the face or nose. Remember that these little dogs are the decendants of three different types of dog:

Bulldogs -bred to fight bulls. They would grab the bull by the nose and hang on.

Pit Bulls- bred to fight other dogs, catch wild boar and bulls by the nose.

Terriers- scrappy small dogs that were used to kill other animals such as rats, foxes and badgers.


Though most of the aggression has been bred out of the dogs, sometimes a little will show up in some Bostons.
What you are doing with her is right for many pups, but I disagree with the comments that she isn't understanding that you don't want her to bite or be aggressive. Bostons learn VERY quickly. If you've been working with her for 15 minutes on this, she already knows what you want! Bostons just don't always want to do what you want and they can be very stubborn about this! The fact is that she knows, doesn't care, and being dominant over you is more important to her than the meager punishments that are being delt out to her. Some of these little dogs are tough and they will subject themselves to all sorts of things in order to get what they want!

The first thing to try is when she bites, you Growl AAGHT! and squirt breath freshner, vinager and water or bitter apple spray in her mouth. This works well with many puppies. In fact they will act like you are "playing dirty pool"! Of course if you train this way, all of your family members will need to carry their own little squirt bottle.

Stay on top of her. Don't let her get away with anything. After she flings herself at your face she should be disiplined! Grab her by the scruff of the neck and growl AAGHT! at her. Glare menacingly at her. If she growls, give her a shake. It should be quick and firm. Sometimes with a very aggresive boston pup I have been known to put thier muzzle in my mouth and gently bite them like the mother dog would have done. This seems to have and imediate effect but can only be done on a pup. Whatever you do, You need to do something quickly and with a whole lot of theatrics. It is more like you are acting a part in a play as the top dog than physically disiplining a puppy.

Also, hold your puppy on her back a lot. when you wrestle with her, roll her over during the mock battle. Don't let her win the play games. Dogs often learn their position in a dog pack by playing. Those mock battles really do mean something. Also, wrestling with your pup will allow you to teach the pup to control how hard it bites. When you get too hard of a nip, Yelp out OUCH! qickly grab the pup by the scruff for a jerk, then stop playing. You are doing what a high ranking litter mate would have done. He would have yelped, then bit the pup that was too rough, and then stopped playing.

Another time to hold your pup on her back is when she is settled and sleepy. Gently roll her to her back and scratch or rub her tummy. Soon she should happily roll over so that she can get belly rub or scratch.

Teach her some manners and inforce them! No going through a doorway before you. Make her wait in her crate with the door open till you say OK and she can come out. Teach her to sit/stay for her food. Take her to a puppy class(Sassy started going when she was 12 weeks old). She is not to young to learn! Sassy had already been taught sit/stay, down/stay, come when called, turn left, turn right, touch a target with her nose, stand, walk on a leash, shake paws, play dead and go down a slide before she was 12 weeks old! Train and Disipline NOW with something that gets your pups attention! The longer you wait, the harder these habits will be to break!

If you get through to her now, you will end up with a good pet!