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New Dog Guide – 63 Ways to be a Responsible Boston Terrier Owner

  • August 27, 2020
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New Dog Guide – 63 Ways to be a Responsible Boston Terrier Owner

We’re in a dog boom. Due to the pandemic, shelter in place and lockdown, dogs are being added to homes at an unprecedented rate.

Bad news is that there are a lot of novice first time Boston Terrier dog owners amongst us.

Recently a dear friend of mine announced that they were adopting a new puppy. I want to make sure that they are set up for success so I asked my fellow dog mom friends for their feedback and came up with this list of 63 ways to be a responsible Boston Terrier owner.

ways to be a responsible boston terrier puppy owner

1. Before You Decide on the Boston Terrier

Ask yourself what you want from your four legged companion. Do you want a dog to cuddle with on the sofa? Or do you want one to join you in ten mile runs. Do you want a dog to do sports with? Or are you more interested in the social aspect that your dog will bring you.

In all cases it starts off understanding what your needs are and then researching the breed to understand if it’s matched to your lifestyle.

What size of a dog do you want? What energy level would best suit you?

It’s critical to make the right selection before your puppy comes home.

Boston Terriers are small dogs but they still need exercise. Two daily sessions of at least 45 minutes is ideal.

They are bred for companionship. They want to be around you so if you want an independent aloof dog, then the Boston Terrier is not for you.  But if you want an active, sweet and sturdy best friend then you’ve made the right choice.

2. Understand The Cost

Boston Terriers are expensive. Can you afford to add them into your life?

Sure you can feed your dog cheap food but that means you may have to pay more if they end up having health issues when they are older.

Other expenses are:
– Training costs
– Travel costs (either if you board them or bring them with you)
– Extracurricular costs (if you do dog sports)
– Rent/Pet fee (if you don’t own your home)

3. Evaluate Your Schedule – Do You Have Time For A Boston Terrier?

Do you have time in your morning and evening to walk your dog before and after work?

Will you be able to spend time together on the weekends?

Boston Terriers are companion dogs. They do best when they are near you and sharing your life with you. But they can be mischievous when they don’t get exercise.

I truly had the most empathy for dogs that never get to go our when we were in safe shelter and quarantined for three weeks at home only leaving to go to the grocery store.

And even though we are an active family, it hit home more than ever just how important it was to stay active with our dogs.

4. Prepare to Wait For The Dog You Want

You cannot order a puppy like you would on Amazon. Breeders have a wait list and you might be waiting for 6 months to 3 years for the perfect puppy.  Learn the difference between a hobby and reputable and respectable breeder and understand how not to get scammed.

5. Learn About Their Health Issues

Just like humans, dogs get ill. Research any known health issues so that you can understand what may come up in your dog’s lifetime.

6. Start a Bank Account

Set asides at least $100, preferably $200 per month for unknown health expenses per year. Some years you won’t touch it and some years you will.

DISCLOSURE: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you click on a product link, I may receive compensation. This compensation comes at no additional cost to you, and as always I only recommend products I have tried and trust. Maggielovesorbit, Ilovebostons is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


7. Buy the Food Your Breeder Is Using

Talk to your dog’s prior owner or puppy’s breeder and purchase the same food they are feeding. That way your dog doesn’t have to go through a food adjustment period.

If you want to make changes to their diet – do so after they have settled into your home.

I feed Maggie and Orbit a balanced home meal and you can find my foundation recipe here.

8. Buy A Cheap Bed

Don’t invest in the most expensive bed out of the gate. Chances are your new puppy will treat their first bed like a stuffed animal.

TJ MAXX or Marshalls have great options under $20.

Once your pup has matured and you can be safe that they will not destroy their bed, look into options with memory foam.

My favorite type of beds are those that have bolsters on them so that they have a pillow to rest their heads.

9. Buy A Cat Collar

I put a cat collar on my puppies when they came home. This is so I could hear them when the moved or woke up.

I liked the cat collars that had bells on them. You can find them online or at your neighborhood Petco.

10. Buy Teething Toys

KONG makes great teething puppy toys.

I once met the inventor at SuperZoo and he explained that the more pigment the rubber has, the softer it became. If your puppy isn’t an aggressive chewer, you can get them the puppy pink or blue KONGS. Otherwise I’d get the black one (which is the hardest of all) or their classic red one.

If you’ve ever seen a blue Kong – those come exclusively from veterinarians.

how to take care of a boston terrier puppy

11. Buy a Light Weight Leash

Your Boston Terrier puppy is probably going to weigh 5 to 7 pounds. A heavy leash will be too much. I normally go to the dollar store to get a very simple lightweight leash to use the first few weeks at home. I graduate them to the heavier adult leashes when they are about 3 or 4 months old.

Once they are fully grown you can get them a soft flat collar. I think Bostons look particularly cute in bowties.

I also tend to use harnesses a lot and I love the ones from Frenchie Bulldog.

12. Buy a Puppy Gate

You can set up a puppy gate by your front door to prevent your puppy from dashing out if someone comes to the door.

13. Buy a Puppy Crate

Start your Boston Terrier early and get them to love their crate by feeding them while they are in it. We love our crate by DIGGS.  You can find our review of that crate with videos on here.

I also have a simple crate bed for each of their crates.

Purchase a travel crate so you have one ready for when you pick them up. Maggie and Orbit travel in their Roverlund crate.

For camping I use a soft collapsible crate to bring along so they have a place to rest.

14. Buy Puppy Cleaners

I love the spray from Unique Spray. I met the owner at Super Zoo. The company is based out of Boulder, CO. Their sprays work!  It works on new and old messes.  It works to remove the smell of urine from wood and carpet.

15. Ditch the Puppy Pads – Know Your Puppy’s Potty Schedule

Don’t worry about the puppy pads (unless you want to) because all you’ll be doing is training your puppy to potty inside.

Instead, be sure to take your puppy out to potty as follows:
8 weeks – every 3 hours
9 weeks – every 3 hours
10 weeks – every 3.5 hours
11 weeks – every 3.5 hours
12 weeks – every 4 hours
13 weeks – every 4 hours
14 weeks – every 4.5 hours
15 weeks – every 4.5 hours
16 weeks – every 5 hours
17 weeks – every 5 hours
18 weeks – every – 5.5 hours
19 weeks – every – 5.5 hours
20 weeks – every 6 hours
21 weeks – every 6 hours
22 weeks – every 6.5 hours
23 weeks – every 6.5 hours
24 weeks – every 7 hours
25 weeks – every 7 hours
26 weeks – every 7.5 hours
27 weeks – every 7.5 hours
28 weeks – every 8 hours

Give them enough time to walk and explore their potty area. Cheer them when they potty and celebrate it by saying Good Puppy, clapping and showing excitement.

Also – if you have a distance to walk between the house and the potty area I would carry your puppy outside. Allowing them to walk to the door will only jiggle their bladder and they will most likely go on the floor on the way outside.

Once you have had them home a few days you can associate words like “go pee” right when they are tinkling and “good poop” when they do their business.

Be patient when it comes to potty training. My Maggie learned how to use the doggy door and go potty outside as soon as she was three months. Orbit was almost a year old before she stopped having accidents.

16. Stock Up On Good Poop Bags

Easily ordered on Amazon. You’ve got he recyclable type and the plastic bags.

Recyclable: I love my Lucky Dog ZERO Plastic Poop Bags.  They break down completely and leave no harmful residue.  They are plant based and fully decomposes in 3-6 months!

Regular poop bags: Earth Rated

Keep these poop bags everywhere. One roll in your car, in your purses and jackets.

17. Buy Water Bottle and Food Bowls

I like the food bows at TJ MAXX. Alternatively you can find uber cool ones like the Yeti Dog bowls on Amazon. Make sure you pick up a travel water bottle for your puppy too.

18. Get Dog Tags

Get your dog ID tags and have them ready before they come home.

I have multiple and you can get engraved pet tags, or digital tags.

19. Familiarize Your Self With Training

I like the videos by Kiko Pup and Zak George. They are both positive based trainers who have an excellent way in explaining themselves.

Even though at this time your puppy is not home yet, it can only help to start to learn the basics when it comes to positive reinforcement training.

20. Puppy – Proof your Home

Assume that your Boston Terrier will be a puppy for at least two years. Put yourself at their eye level and raise anything up or remove it from the floor if it’s of any value to you.

I can’t tell you how many times we thought we put something out of reach only to discover that they could jump up to grab it if they wanted it bad enough.

boston terrier puppy tips

21. Remove any Poisons

Inspect your yard for rat poison traps. These are deadly. You want to remove them off the premises. Look in your garage and remove anything that is toxic from the floor and store them in closed cabinets far away from your puppy’s reach.

Look at your garage. Remove any harsh chemical cleaning ingredients from the puppy’s level.

22. Secure the Yard

Inspect the perimeter and board up any holes or repair any loose boards.

23. Make an Appointment At the Vet

Have an appointment ready. Call your local vet in advance.

I prefer the Banfield Hospital group. They are open 7 days a week and if your local location is busy you can almost always find another vet at a different location in town.

24 Join Your Local Facebook Group

Just like mothers have support groups, dog moms do too.

I am a member of the San Diego Dog Mom Group on Facebook as well as the Boston Terrier Responsible Owners Group.

You’ll find the members to have quick and easy referrals to whatever you will need as your puppy grows up.

And join our Facebook Group where we learn how to raise a healthier and happier Boston Terrier.


25. Decide on the Name for Your Dog

Have your name ready to go. You can even share that name with your breeder if there is a longer period of wait time.

26. Consider a Pet Insurance Plan

Two that I can recommend are Nationwide and Eusoh.

27. Buy A Month’s Supply of Food

Talk to your breeder and find out what they were feeding the puppy and buy the same food. Since Boston Terriers are small, you’ll need a medium size bag.

This will give you time to research what the best food is for your puppy. I would transition over a period of one week, decreasing the amount of kibble and adding the new food until after 7 days you’re on your new food.

I often get asked what the best food is for a Boston Terrier puppy and my answer is to feed them fresh real food as opposed to dead, zombie brown pellets (aka kibble).

I’m biased I know but after I researched how kibble is made I vowed that I would never ever again give Maggie or Orbit kibble.

Cooking for them is easy. You can easily find products like Dr. Harveys to use as a base mix which takes the worry in balancing their meals out of your hands. All you have to do is add protein, organs and omega oils.

If you want to learn more about how to cook food for them you can read my foundation recipe here: Foundation recipe for home cooking a balanced meal for my dogs.

I also recommend keeping something in your pantry for when your dog has bad poops.  Slippery Elm is my go-to.  I use a tincture or the way to give it is to feed through Honest Kitchen’s Perfect Form.


28. Take A Week Off For The First Week Home

If you have vacation time, schedule a week off or at least a few days off for puppy’s first week home.

Investing this time getting to know your puppy and setting a schedule will reap you benefits in the years to come.

29. Never Take Your Eyes Off Your Puppy

Puppies are like babies. They cannot be left alone. Be sure you keep your eyes on them at all times or put them in a crate when you cannot attend to them.

30. Training Tips For Your New Boston Terrier Puppy

Focus on their Name: They need to love their name so you can station treats around the house, and when you call them over with their name, give them a treat.

Keep their names sacred: Don’t use their names when you are correcting them.

Rather focus on getting them to love their names. I love to play the name game with my two. It’s a very basic way to get your puppy to love their name. I have sessions when all I do is say their name and then give them a treat.

Since puppies are basically hoover machines, teaching them to leave it is the next command to train.

Focus on recall: I played recall games with Maggie and Orbit every day several times a day by stationing treats around the house. If they were in the other room I would say Maggie Here and when she came, I’d give her a treat. I’d recall her from the yard, from the kitchen; basically 20 times a day so that we had a solid recall.

Only call them when you can reinforce the command. If you call them and they choose to ignore you because you’re too far away then all you have taught them is they can ignore you.

how to get ready for a boston terrier puppy

31. Focus on Socialization

I have an older article on the puppy rule of 12.

Make sure that your puppy has their full vaccinations before attending public events and places.

Always monitor your puppy’s stress levels and fatigue. There is a fine line between learning and fear.

32. Give Your Puppy Time To Nap

Just like kids, puppies get cranky when they are tired. Schedule naps through out the day.

If you’re following the potty schedule above then I would schedule nap time in between each potty break.

33. Get Them To Love Their Leash

My first Boston Terrier – Zoey – would see the leash come out at the beach and bolt and run in the opposite direction. It was the equivalent to the bouncer at the club turning on the lights to end all the fun.

So I vowed that with my next dogs I would get them to love their leash and collars.

Now what we do is have a “place” where they get their gear put on.

I ALWAYS have treats 100% of the time so that way the collars, harnesses and leashes mean tasty food.

Instead of me chasing them around to put on a collar I have them jump up on the bench (they get a treat) and then I put on their gear (they get more treats).

34. Keep Them On Their Leashes

Off leash privileges are earned.

Keeping your Boston Terrier on their leash sets them up for success and ensures that their safety is in your hands.

If you go out on road trips, no matter how short the distance is from your car to your front door, keep your puppy on their leash. Don’t let them run from your car to the front door unleashed.

When you go to your friend’s house …. Keep the leash on them until they are calm. I wouldn’t let them have free rein in your friend’s homes because they are likely to explore and have a piddle party in some corner.

If you do want to let them walk around, drop the leash so you can easily grab it if you need to and keep them in your line of sight.

35. Socialize Them With Your Friend’s Dogs

Ask your friends who have older, balanced, even tempered, mellow dogs to meet up with you so that your puppy can learn from older mentors.

Puppy party meet ups have their place but they won’t learn from other puppies. They will only learn from older dogs on “dog manners”.

36. AVOID the Dog Park

Please don’t take your new Boston Terrier puppy to a dog park.

Most other dog parents are on their phones and you have no idea what their dogs are like. All it takes is one bad scuffle for your puppy to get hurt.

37. Enroll in a Puppy Training Class

We send our children to Montessori and Kindergarten and so we should send our puppies to puppy training class.

Ask your local dog moms in your area for recommendations on the best puppy classes.

38. Enroll in Dog Day Care for Socialization

I love our local dog day care. I’ve had a relationship with them for 11 years. I sent my first Boston Terrier there and my other two have gone as well.

They can’t attend until they are 16 weeks but they are worth every penny because your dog will learn how to play with a variety of different personalities in a safe and structured environment

39. Enroll in Dog School

Your puppy’s temperament will change as they get older.

At around 8 months they enter the adolescent stage and your previously obedient and sweet puppy will now start to challenge you. Training is critical during this time.

40. Learn How To Read Your Dog and Other Dogs

Learn how to listen to your dog’s cues. There are many videos online to teach you how to read what your dog is saying though their body positions.

Evaluate play styles of their dog friends and choose wisely. For example some dogs like to wrestle some like to chase. You want to pair your dog up properly so that they don’t get hurt especially if your dog is the smaller one.


41. Do Not Let Your Dog Go Nose to Nose

Teach your dog to learn how to walk past other dogs without playing. You can let them do a one second sniff. Cue them back to you and reward them so that continuing their walk with you is MORE fun and rewarding.

One of the reasons I advise against nose to nose is if you do not know who the dog is, you have NO idea if they are reactive.

There are a lot of reactive dogs that will snap when another puppy or dog sticks their nose up against theirs and the only way to protect your puppy is to avoid these interactions unless you know the dog or puppy they are saying hello to.

42. Learn First Aid

Enroll in a puppy first aid class or at least familiarize yourself with what to look for and what to do for common accidents and ailments.

Purchase a dog first aid kit. We love the one from REI.

I also love having slippery elm on hand because your puppy will most likely have an upset tummy or diarrhea at some point.

For cuts and scrapes I like Vetericyn which you can get on Amazon or Chewy.

For a simple list, reference the first aid and emergency evacuation kits below compliments from

list for emergency first aid kit for dogs
list for emergency evacations for dogs

43. Brush Your Puppy’s Teeth

Get them used to your hands in their mouth right away. You can get a basic toothbrush set.

Or you can give them dental chews.

And not greenies (which are junk). Rather you can give them bully sticks or chews from REAL DOG BOX.

44. Keep Their Nails Short

I’ve had the same nail grinder for 11 years. I got mine from Amazon and it’s made by Furminator. It’s no longer available but I found an equivalent.

Keep in mind it may take weeks for your puppy to get used to the nail grinder.

Step one will be to feed them treats while the grinder is on next to them.

Step two will be to start to put their paw on the grinder handle while it is on. Give them treats so they get used to the sound and vibration.

Then you can start to grind their nails. It may take several days to do all of their nails. Enlisting a friend will help make this easier on all parties involved.

45. Put Toys Away When You Are Not Playing With Them

Don’t keep toys around on the floor. Put them away when play time is over.

Also avoid rope toys like the plague. There are too many accidents involving puppies and dogs tearing apart rope toys, digesting the string and then getting extremely sick because the string gets tangled up inside them.

46. Never Yell At Your Puppy

It doesn’t help and it will just make them scared of life and of you. Don’t rub their noses in the carpet if they have an accident. All they will end up doing is getting confused and start to find hiding spots to pee in.

If they are doing something inappropriate … redirect them to do something else.

47. Establish Routine

Puppies and dogs generally thrive off certainty. Establish a routine that is predictable for your new puppy.

48. Wash Your Puppy’s Bedding and Blanket Weekly

Keep where your puppy sleeps clean. Make sure you wash their bedding and blankets every week. This will clear it off dust mites and be a good preventative against fleas.

49. Repel Fleas and Ticks Naturally

San Diego is lucky in that we can use natural methods to keep our home free from fleas. Every spring I use nematodes for the yard.

And I use a natural spray during the flea season to keep fleas off my dog.

50. Start a Health Journal

Familiarize yourself with what is normal for your puppy. If they have loose stools, take a photo and log it. If they throw up or regurgitate, take a photo or log it.

Tummy upsets can range from inconsequential to very serious. You can always call your vet, to describe their symptoms and they will tell you if your worries warrant a vet visit.


51. Keep Their Water Bowls Fresh

Change out their water twice a day when you give them breakfast and when you give them dinner.

52. Choose Treats That Are Natural

I look for treats that have one single ingredient or if there are multiple ingredients, then I need to be able to pronounce them and preferable keep that list of ingredients less than five.

53. Brush Your Boston Terrier Puppy

Even though our Bostons have short fur, doesn’t mean they don’t need brushing. I love my Kong Zoom brush. Not only does it circulate their blood, gives them a good massage, I can inspect for any lumps, bumps, or cuts during grooming sessions. I brush them out once a week the same time they get their nails done.

54. Familiarize Yourself With Boston Terrier Health Issues

This lovable breed luckily don’t have as many health issues are other breeds but we do have our share such as issues related to their eyes.

Recently Maggie had an eye injury and in the cases of their eyes, do NOT try to treat it home – bring them to the vet immediately. Time is only your side when you do.

55. Microchip Your Puppy

When your puppy is old enough – get a microchip from the vet

56. Keep Your Puppy Clean

Bath your puppy every two to three weeks. I have a variety of products depending on what their skin conditions are telling me they need.

Wipe their paws or even rinse them after city walks.

57. Know That There Are Things That Come With The Puppy

Boston Terriers are companion dogs – they will follow you around.

Boston Terriers love to kiss. They will give you slobbery kisses.

Boston Terriers can be known to fart. So they might clear the room with their gas.

These are all things that “come with the dog” so you have to be accepting of these traits and breed behaviors.

58. Don’t Skip Your Wellness Checks With Your Veterinarian

This way your vet can help check your puppy and dog as they grow – to make sure there are not health concerns that pop up.

59. Never Leave Home Without Water

Always carry water with you. Even if you think it’s not that hot outside. Your puppy needs hydration at regular intervals.

I went through several water bottles till I found one that let’s me save the water they didn’t drink.

60. Don’t Let Your Boston Terrier Puppy Overheat

If the sidewalk is t0o hot for your hands, then it’s too hot for your puppy. I discovered that Maggie and Orbit can’t handle temps over 70 degrees for hikes. For very short walks under 2 miles it’s possible with frequent shade breaks.

Don’t leave your puppy in a parked car. 65 degrees is too hot in a an enclosed car when it’s in the sun.

On long hikes I’ll start by giving them some coconut water prior to the start of a hike.

This makes them less thirsty during the hike and we wait until the cooler months before we do any long hikes.

61. Get a Light Up Leash For Night Time Walks

In the winter the sun doesn’t come up until 7:30am and goes down just before 5pm. I make sure I’m visible to others by using a light up collar and reflective leash.

61. Remember Your Puppy Only Has You

You may have your family, your friends, your work and basically your own social circle. Your puppy only has you so be sure you become their best friend and strongest advocate.

62 Be Aware That One Day They Will Get Old

Be prepared for hard work both at the beginning and the end of their life. An old pet is just as rewarding as when it is young.

63. Show Your Puppy You Love Them

And finally and it goes without saying, make sure you show your new puppy just how much you love them.

I hope you enjoyed reading this list of tips as much as I enjoyed writing it.

If I missed something – be sure to share those tips in the comments!

Did you like this article?  Here are more about Boston Terriers

Why Are Boston Terriers so Gassy?

How To Get Ready For a Boston Terrier Puppy

Are Boston Terriers Born With Tails?

Should I Get A Second Boston Terrier?

Boston Terrier Lifespans


Hannah Zulueta and her two dogs Maggie and Orbit

Hello, my name is Hannah and I dance with my dogs.

I am a Boston Terrier Breed Advocate.  I started this blog because there isn’t enough space to tell our story on our Instagram.

My mission is to bring Boston Terrier dog parents the best, most accurate information to help your dogs live happier, healthier lives.

I have two Boston Terriers of my own. Maggie is my socially awkward heart dog while Orbit is my shadow and soul dog.

You won’t read about cats here, but you will get a fairly large dosage of articles dedicated to this wonderful breed to help you learn more about them or provide practical tips as you raise your own. Read more about us.

By, August 27, 2020
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