by Bryn Nowell
Boston Terriers are curious creatures. While they’re tiny, they pack a punch. They are full of energy, comedy, and a goofy attitude. Both Bean and Yoda, our two Boston Terriers, are prone to evening “zoomies,” where they zip around the room, and hop from couch to couch with complete glee and total disregard for anything fragile. After their evening romping, they will play with each other for hours, with an occasional nap mixed in for good measure.
While I wouldn’t constitute a Boston Terrier as a breed of dog who have tons of energy or a propensity for being destructive, it is still important to keep them active and their minds stimulated. There are quite a few ways to help keep your Boston Terrier happy and healthy.
GET OUT OF THE HOUSE
We take Bean and Yoda for walks around the neighborhood as often as we can. They are armed with reflective leashes & harnesses, along with blinky lights that attach to their harness if we go for walks when it’s dark. In addition to our neighborhood, we also try to spice things up by taking walks on the local college campuses that are near our home. Sometimes we get to see different critters, like geese and the occasional fox. This also allows us to meet new people, which helps Bean and Yoda with their socialization skills and training (like “sit to greet” for example).
Going on a trip to the store? Try finding pet friendly stores that you can frequent while also bringing your pup. Bean and Yoda love visiting Lowe’s and Home Goods with us. If you’re not sure whether or not certain chains are pet friendly, helpful websites like GoPetFriendly.com can assist you. I still recommend calling the stores you’re considering visiting in advance since each manager may interpret their store’s policies differently.
Just because Boston Terriers are tiny, doesn’t mean they’re not mighty. We have hiked up some pretty large mountains in the area with the dogs in tow. There’s no reason you have to leave your smaller dog behind! Be aware of the signs of overheating, and be sure to bring plenty of water.
WORK THEIR BRAINS
Mental stimulation is hugely important for all dogs, large and small. There are tons of quick and cheap ways you can keep your dogs engaged and problem solving. Hide treats in paper bags or boxes, and spread them throughout a room. Have your dog “find it” and give them tons of praise and treats when they nose their way to the containers that have smelly goodness.
There are also a variety of puzzles available on the market along with toys that release treats or food once a dog solves the mystery of how to make the toy or puzzle work. Sometimes, we put all of Yoda’s food in a treat dispensing ball instead of putting it in his bowl, so he has to problem solve and work his nose to release his breakfast or dinner.
Training never goes away. It’s a lifelong process for human and dog. We continue to go to formal training in our local community. While both dogs know a lot of the commands, we also want them to be around other dogs, in a variety of sizes, so they are socialized. If it’s gross out weather wise, or training is cost prohibitive, you can also find lots of videos online or cheap online classes to work on training together in the comfort of your own living room or backyard.
The data that shows positive training with dogs is significantly more effective than any kind of training that involves punishment. We are fond of using a clicker for training, and bring that along with yummy treats with us wherever we go. If the dogs are playing gently at home, they’ll get a click and a treat. If they come when I call them for the first time, I’ll make a HUGE deal out of how amazing they are, and I’ll click and give them a treat. If they greet a new dog on a walk, calmly or if they ignore a distraction like a dog across the street or a squirrel, they get a click and a treat.
BE YOUR DOG’S ADVOCATE
I always love when people who are passionate about specific dog breeds or mutts, join facebook groups to “hang out” with fellow dog lovers. Each day, I see posts of obscure rashes, wounds, and gnarly looking growths in the groups along with statements like “Have any of you seen anything like this?” To which people will respond with their own stories and icky photos, and some questionable medical advice like “rub eye of newt on it.” Note, eye of newt has not actually been given as an idea, but you get the point. While I applaud everyone’s attempt to assist, I get nervous. It is your responsibility to be your dog’s advocate, and that means, if you see something that doesn’t seem right, you should be seeking the medical attention of a qualified veterinary professional. I know visiting a veterinarian costs money, but that is the cost of pet ownership that we should be able to undertake.
If you visit a veterinarian and don’t feel as if you’re being taken seriously, or if the medical advice offered doesn’t seem to work, it is okay to seek a second or third opinion. One veterinarian brushed off my concern over a bump I noticed on Bean, so I went to get a second opinion. It wound up being a cancerous Mast Cell Tumor that required surgery. I’m so glad I didn’t leave it be, to potentially get worse with time.
ENJOY YOUR TIME
Each moment we have with our beloved pets is priceless. They are only with us for a short while, so I hope you are able to savor your time together. Bean just turned 8 this past week and I honestly have no idea where the time has gone. She has changed my life in so many ways for the better and I’m so thankful to have her and Yoda with me on this crazy adventure called life!
Bryn Nowell is employed in Higher Education by day and is a Pet and Lifestyle Blogger by night and in her “free” time. She is passionate about the two things she loves – dogs and drinking, and writes about both subjects in her blog called A Dog Walks into a Bar. She is a three time finalist for the BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose awards (Best Blog Photo, Best Video in a Sponsored Post, and Best New Pet Blog) and was a finalist for the BarkWorld “Bark Tank” book pitch proposal. To date, she has been able to donate over $10,000 worth of money and supplies to local animal rescue organizations, thanks in large part, to the generosity of pet brands.