The Boston Terrier, often referred to as the “Clown Dog” is a boisterous, fun loving, bully breed dog that is full of pure entertainment. When I was working as a professional dog walker my favorite clients were Boston Terriers. They are so much fun, and so full of personality. One owner had me walking her pup Luna everyday of the week. Luna was a handful, and her owner asked me one day, do Boston Terriers ever calm down?
Do Boston Terriers ever calm down? As a general rule Boston Terriers begin to calm down at the age of 12-14 months when they have reached maturity. Adult Boston Terriers are still active but exhibit a lot less energy than when they were puppies. Expect the first year of your Boston Terriers life to be highly energetic.
A Boston Terrier puppy, like most puppies, is full of life and energy. They are go-go-go, busy exploring, playing, and getting into a little mischief here and there. They also nap a lot. Puppies sleep upwards of 16-18 hours a day. But when they are awake, it is game time!
There are plenty of ways to direct your Boston Terriers energies that will calm them down, and keep them content throughout the day. It is important that you meet your dogs basic needs to ensure you can keep them calm when they should be calm.
Do Boston Terriers Ever Calm Down?
Boston Terriers believe it or not are considered a medium energy breed, and do calm down with age. The puppy stage up to 12-14 months is their most active, energetic, and hyper time of their life. Just like pretty much every puppy you’ve ever seen. Lots of energy, lots of curiosity, and lots of interest in new and fun activities.
Once a Boston Terrier reaches adulthood they do begin to calm down relative to the puppy years, but that doesn’t mean you are off the hook. They are still a breed that needs their basic needs met, and can exhibit some bad behaviors if you are not able to meet those needs.
If you Boston Terrier is constantly hyper, barking, destroying everything in sight when you are away from home, or even at home, you are not meeting their needs. There are easy solutions to these bad behaviors that can calm your Boston Terrier down, you just need to use them.
Why Is My Boston Terrier So Hyper?
The number one reason why your Boston Terrier is so hyper and has so much energy, is because of exercise, or a lack thereof. Despite being a medium energy breed, Boston Terriers still need exercise every day, whether they are puppies or adult dogs.
Physical exercise is important, but mental stimulation is often overlooked, and is just as important. Exercising your Boston Terriers brain is a crucial component to calming them down when they are hyper. These two basic forms of exercise can alleviate close to 90% of your dogs hyperactive behavior and serve as a great way to calm them down.
When it comes to things like separation anxiety, your Boston Terrier will have a hard time remaining calm, and exhibit hyper behavior while you are gone. This is a little different then just having an energetic puppy, or pent up adult, but there are overlaps in the solutions for both. I will discuss some tips for dealing with separation anxiety in the section below.
Do Boston Terriers Need A Lot Of Exercise?
Boston Terriers need exercise, but not a lot compared to higher energy level breeds. Other Bully breeds like the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Cane Corso, all need a high level of exercise when compared to the Boston Terrier.
Boston Terriers will typically benefit from 45-60 minutes of exercise everyday. Physical exercise, mental stimulation, and medium intensity activities can all be used together to meet these exercise needs. Your Boston Terrier will remain much calmer throughout the day if you can schedule in this 45-60 minutes for them every single day.
Boston Terriers need to be walked everyday from both a physical exercise and training perspective. Walking your dog is a perfect opportunity to work in a little extra training, and stay consistent with things like leash manners. Not to mention it’s good for you to get out and walk every day as well.
The physical and mental benefits from a daily walk have proven to be beneficial for us humans too.
Be aware that you can over exercise your Boston Terrier and this can lead to some serious health problems. Exercise in moderate to extreme heat conditions should be avoided. Boston Terriers are a brachycephalic dog and breathing is more difficult for this breed. Exercise to the point of exhaustion and hard panting should be avoided.
Activities like running or jogging can be great exercise for your Boston Terrier but constantly monitor their energy level and breathing while doing so. Introduce the activity slowly to gauge their ability to keep up and enjoy the exercise.
How Do You Calm A Hyper Boston Terrier? 8 Tips & Tricks
When you have a hyper Boston Terrier on your hands it’s important to have the tools available to know how to calm them down. Here are a few tips and tricks you can use to calm a hyper Boston Terrier.
Longer Walkers with a purpose
As I mentioned above, Boston Terriers need to be walked daily. If you are finding that your current shorter, perhaps meandering walks, aren’t cutting it, then it’s time to step things up. Pun intended.
I often see people walking their dogs, or should I say their dogs walking them, and I have to bit my tongue. There is a right and a wrong way to walk your dogs, especially if the goal is exercise and training.
Having your Boston Terrier wandering around in front of you on one of those flexi-leashes, doing whatever they want, is not optimal. This might actually be getting them more worked up and anxious because they think they are the leader, and for a tiny dog, that is a big job.
Adding in longer walks with a purpose can dramatically increase the energy spent and keep your dog focused on you as the pack leader. Having your dog focused on you and your pace and energy is the ideal way to walk you dog. This reinforces your role as pack leader, and provides the mental exercise, and more relaxed mental state of your dog when you take charge.
Adding an extra 15 minutes of straight walking can make all the difference in the level of calm your dog displays at home. Not 15 minutes of them sniffing around, that can be used as a reward on your command. I am talking about a good paced walk so the dog falls into a nice rhythm right by your side, no tension on the leash.
Give it a try, and be patient if it takes some practice. Consistency and routine will always prevail with your dog.
When you and your Boston Terrier have mastered the walk, adding in some mental stimulation is a great way to calm a hyper dog. Boston Terriers are pretty smart and working in some fun training activities during the day can be excellent in decreasing any pent up energy or boredom.
Trying to learn a new trick. If they have the sit and stay stuff down, work towards high fives and waves. There are plenty of tricks your Boston can learn, and the more you keep it fun and practice, the better. Some tricks I consistently practice with my Staffy Ruby are:
- Spin – both clockwise and counter direction
- Back up – exactly what it sounds like. Useful one in general.
- Forward – allowing her to move forward towards a treat or toy, but not take it just yet.
- Speak – this was the best way to teach her when it’s okay, and not okay to bark.
- Freeze – basically a beg position with her hands in the air
- Bang! – playing dead laying still on her side. I let the tail wag slide if she is still motionless.
- Car Wash – having her squeeze between my legs from front to behind me.
- Wait… – this is a great challenge with food. I can place up to 20 pieces of kibble on her legs, feet and head and she will stay perfectly still while she “Waits”
Get creative! Invent something on your own, and work on it daily. Your Boston Terrier will love it if you keep it fun and rewarding. When it stops being fun, then stop.
Medium Intensity Activities
Activities can achieve the best of both worlds in a lot of cases by incorporating exercise and a challenge. These are great ways to drain your hyper Boston Terrier’s energy and keep them snoozing for hours afterwards. Some suggested activities include:
Food Puzzle Games – interactive food puzzles and Kongs can be a great way for your Boston to use their brain and chewing skills to work through a challenge and get those treats.
Tug-of-war – playing games with your Boston Terrier is important to them, and tug-of-war can be a great way to build their strength, and give them a challenge at the same time. Be sure to work on your “drop” or “release” commands every time you play this game. It is important you control when the activity starts and stops.
Flirt poles – unleash your Boston Terrier’s prey drive with a flirt pole. Minimal effort on your part, but a great form of exercise and mental stimulation for your dog. Flirt poles are affordable and can have a variety of different toys attached at the end. I recommend this Outward Hound one from Amazon.
Fetch – a good old fashion game of fetch is a fantastic way to drain your Boston Terriers energy
Agility – whether you want to setup a course in your own backyard, or head to a professional setup, agility course are a fantastic activity. Your speedy little Boston Terrier will love the challenge, and burn off all the hyper energy in no time.
Chews & Toys
Chews and toys can be a great outlet for your hyper Boston Terrier to entertain themselves. This shouldn’t be your first option, but is great for after some exercise and training to burn off that last little bit of energy.
It is a perfect option for your teething puppy to calm themselves and self soothe those sore little gums.
Rotate your dogs toy selection every other week to keep things interesting for them. This doesn’t mean you need to be constantly buying them new toys. Once you notice they are losing interest in one toy, put it away and bring in another toy, and eventually re-introduce that old toy.
There are options like Bark Box that provide a subscription service that delivers new toys, treats and chews each month. This can be a great option to keep your Boston Terrier always interested and engaged in these sorts of activities.
Yes you heard that right, music therapy for your dog can be an option to help them calm down and relax. This is a relatively new area of study by veterinarians, and there hasn’t been a lot of conclusive research done in this area. However the National Library of Medicine has noted:
“Overall, exposure to classical music appears to have a calming influence on dogs in stressful environments, with no additional benefit observed from any music purposely designed for dogs (specifically “Through a dog’s ear”). Given the cost effectiveness and ease of implementation, music therapy holds promise in veterinary medicine and animal welfare.”
This option is worth a try if you ask me. Some people have made anecdotal claims that using classical music during scary events like thunderstorms, or for separation anxiety has made a world of difference.
Aromatherapy using essential oils can provide your Boston Terrier an extra layer of calm. Though you need to be careful which oils to use and which oils to avoid as some are toxic to dogs. Using a diffuser that is well out of the reach of your dog is an important aspect of this technique.
Essential oils that are claimed to have calming and anxiety relieving benefits for dogs are:
Essential oils that you should definitely avoid are:
- Juniper wood
- Ylang Ylang
Before you begin using aromatherapy as a calming technique for your Boston Terrier be sure to consult with your vet first. They are the experts and can advise for and against certain aromas and applications.
Who doesn’t like a good massage? Giving your Boston Terrier a nice calming and relaxing massage can work wonders on their anxiety and overall mood when administered.
You can easily have your dog melting into a deep relaxing with nice gentle strokes of their belly, in between their eyes along the forehead, or gently stroking their ears.
This technique is best used after an exercise or training session when your Boston Terrier has depleted a lot of excess energy. A gentle massage session can be the perfect way to lull your dog to sleep, as well as have a look over your dog’s body checking for any dry skin, lumps, bumps, or out of the ordinary things.
Supplements can provide some calming effects for your more anxious Boston Terrier. Always consult with your vet before you begin supplementation, and look to increased exercise and mental stimulation first.
Sometimes even a well exercised and stimulated dog can still suffer from some anxiety, especially separation anxiety, and supplementation of things like CBD oil for dogs, are a safe alternative to provide relief.
I have previously written an entire post on some of the best CBD oil brands for dogs, with a full breakdown of their quality, testing standards, dosages, and price on my CBD Oil For Dogs page.
Boston Terriers can be prone to separation anxiety and these forms of supplements paired with a good amount of exercise and calm behavior from you, can help to alleviate some of the distress they feel when you leave the house.
When your Boston Terrier is a puppy it may seem like they may never calm down, but they will. With the tools, tips, and techniques I have mentioned in this post you should be set up to conquer any hyperactive Boston Terrier activity that can carry over into adulthood.
Remember to always meet your Boston Terriers needs for exercise, mental stimulation, and fun, engaging activities. These 3 alone can keep your Boston Terrier calm throughout the day, and with some of the added bonus tips I have added, can ensure a peaceful, happy dog.