Like many terriers, Boston terriers are an intelligent breed and respond quickly to training. Because Boston terriers are very affectionate and people-oriented, building a trusting relationship with your new dog is the key to effective house training. Never scold or hit your dog for having an accident in the house. This only teaches her to be fearful of you, and in the future she will eliminate in hidden areas.
A crate creates a den-like atmosphere that appeals to a dog's instincts. If used correctly, the crate is a safe haven for a Boston terrier and becomes her own personal nest. Crates are useful house training tools because dogs instinctively know not to soil their dens. This helps them learn to wait until you take them to their toileting area. Select a crate appropriately sized for your Boston terrier. She should have enough room to stand up, lay down and turn around comfortably, but do not give her additional room in the crate until she is progressing in her house training; otherwise, she may eliminate in one corner and sleep in another. Do not use the crate for punishment, and do not leave a dog in the crate for extended periods. A good rule of thumb is one hour for every month of the dog's age. When you take your dog out of her crate, lead her directly outside or to her designated indoor toileting area.
Take your puppy outside every 10 to 15 minutes in the initial stages of house training. As soon as she eliminates, praise and reward her. Remember that Bostons thrive on your affection. If you catch your Boston terrier eliminating in the house, quickly redirect her outside and use a verbal cue (such as "outside") to help her make the correct association.
If you want your Boston terrier to learn to eliminate outdoors, do not use training pads. Owners sometimes make the mistake of starting with training pads with the intention of transitioning the dog to outdoor toileting, but this only adds unnecessary steps to the training process and confuses the dog. If you live in a place where outdoor access is difficult, such as high-rise apartment, training pads may be a good permanent toileting area for your Boston terrier. Select an acceptable area of your home for the permanent location of the pads. Use several pads to cover a large area, and use the same principles as in outdoor training. Your dog will naturally select a certain area to use repeatedly. You can gradually reduce the area covered by training pads, leaving one only in the dog's favorite area. Replace soiled pads often.
Litter Box Training
You can train small dogs such as Boston terriers to use a litter box. Purchase a box large enough for your dog to stand and circle in comfortably. Some manufacturers make boxes and litter specifically for dogs. Place your dog in or near the box at regular intervals until he eliminates. Praise and reward the dog for using the litter box. You can also encourage the dog to eliminate in the box by placing some of his feces or urine in it. Clean the box regularly.
Indoor Grass Patches
Indoor grass patches are a relatively new house training option for dog owners. You can create your own or purchase one with either real or artificial grass. These grass patches are a good tool if you need to transition your Boston terrier from toileting outdoors to indoors. However, they are difficult to clean.
Layne Wood began writing in 1990. Her work has appeared in publications by the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium and Appalachian Writers Heritage Symposium. Wood specializes in articles on Appalachia, literature, dogs and relationships. She has a Bachelor of Science in English from Radford University.