This is a list of my observations with my Boston Terrier, Bruin. Mind you, I know some of these traits I can likely break with some hardcore training; however, I wanted you to know first hand, what it has been like so far with this little guy.
They Are Great Apartment Dogs
One of the first things I read was how great of an apartment dog these cuties were. Well, in my case, that turned out to be wrong.
Bruin is very vocal and will bark and whine throughout the day. If there is a person/animal around, a sound from outside, a car pulling into the driveway, he wants attention, can't find his favorite toy... he will bark at just about anything! It isn't a cute little bark either, it is a loud deep bark that sometimes will scare the pants off of even a large dog owner.
If you ignore him, the barking turns into a barrage of howls and whines. They will be all different pitches and sounds, as if he is trying to find the right one to get your attention. It can sometimes become so annoying and ear piercing that we need to discipline him to get him to stop. With Bruin, this can be something as simple as yelling at him or, at the other end of the spectrum, placing him in his crate for a time out.
Also, for a 21lb dog, he sounds like a heard of elephants as he trots or runs down the hall. At least once a day, he will suddenly get an energy burst and will run full speed around the house. We know when this will happen, he will pin his ears back and just go, all the while he is growling and barking, jumping onto anything that gets in the path of his imaginary race.
What Is That Noise?!
If you can't handle your significant other snoring so loud that you cannot sleep and flatulence embarrasses you easily, the Boston Terrier is not for you. That is right, my little dog is a snoring, snorting, fart machine that keeps me up sometimes.
Sure at first the snoring and snorting is cute, like when he was a puppy and you could barely hear it. As they get older, it gets LOUDER! This is because of the dog's short snout and can sometimes be caused by an obstruction. In my case, Bruin is healthy and normal.
That being said, there are some nights I am not sure if I should elbow my boyfriend, the dog, or both in some cases! He will nuzzle into me and suddenly, it sounds like someone is using a chainsaw in the room to cut down a 1000 year old tree.
Then the gas starts. At first it is funny and cute, a little poof sound comes from their backside that wakes up or startles them. They will sniff it to make sure everything is okay and you giggle. Then the smell hits you and you wonder how they survived smelling it that soon and close to the source. Surely, it has dissipated a bit since travelling to hit you, so just imagine the smell fresh from the source!
Next thing you know, every time your little bundle of fur hops on you for snuggles or lays down to sleep it turns into a constant windstorm of sewage smells in the room. You sit there gagging and Googling to see if it is normal or if you should seek vet help.
Yes, they do have sensitive stomachs which can attribute to this. I learned very early on that anything with chicken in it was a huge NO NO for Bruin. One little morsel of chicken and he would stink up the entire house, not just the room, and would spend most of his time outside going to the bathroom.
After joining a few Boston Terrier groups on Facebook and watching some of the billions of videos posted online of these cuties snoring/snorting/farting, I quickly discovered that this was all normal and that a Boston Terrier should clear a room in under 2 seconds with their gas.
Bruin will constantly lick anything he can get his little tongue on. If you have bare legs and feet, he will lick them. Trying to watch your favorite show, not happening because he needs to lick your face, neck, or ears at that exact moment. Won't let him lick your face; that is fine he will lick your arms, hands, or anything else he can reach with his tongue. He will even just lap up the air around you!
If he fails to lick you, he will then start licking himself. Normally, this would be fine; however, the noise and the pool of slobber it leaves behind can become annoying. If you try to stop him, he will just start licking the blanket, your clothes, furniture, floors, or heck even the walls.
I have read up on this constant licking and it can be caused by anxiety, lack of something in their diet, boredom, excitement, acknowledgement... Okay it seems it can be caused by just about anything.
In Bruin's case, I feel it depends on the scenario. If it is someone new or has not seen in a while, I think it is due to excitement with a touch of social anxiety that he displays when he is over stimulated. Other times, it seems that he does it out of boredom or to try to tick us off.
It's About Him ALL the Time
Bruin is an attention hog! I will admit, this one is on us for making him the center of attention for so long. We are trying to break this one; however, it has been a slow journey with little progress.
When he wants to play, it is on his time and will last almost every waking moment. He could care less if you do not want to. He will bring his ball to you and if you ignore him, he slowly nudges the ball closer to you and whines. If that does not work, the whine slowly changes to a bark and a paw stomp. This is then quickly followed up by a drool soaked ball dropped on your face, hand, or lap and a bark. Trying to sleep, but he is not tired, here is a ball in your face! Most days, you will throw that ball so much you will actually start to tone the muscles in your throwing arm. If his ball goes in a spot that he cannot get to, he will whimper and go on like it's the end of the world until you finally break down and go get it for him.
If my boyfriend gets close to me, it is met with a barrage of barks, licks, and him pushing between us for him to join in and get some love too. If my boyfriend's children are playing together and ignoring him, he will get between them with a ball or a lick to try to get in on the action. If we have visitors and we are talking among ourselves, he will go from person to person trying to get attention by licking and whining.
For example, as I write this at my kitchen table, the little monster is feeling ignored so he is nudging me with his backside while sitting at my feet. Every once in a while he will bring me his ball or whimper slightly while staring at me.
I must note, he is not aggressive when trying to get in on these things. He simply wants to be a part of whatever two or more people are doing. Sometimes, simply acknowledging him verbally is enough to satisfy his need for attention and after being ignored for a while, he will go find his own thing to do by himself.
Silence Is Not What It Seems
Just like kids, silence is not always golden when it comes to any dog. With Bruin, it certainly does not mean this! I have grown to learn that if it is quiet in the house, he is into something.
At first, silence started out with him escaping his pen and tearing up the paper towel or a toy, while making a mess on the floor. This was somewhat acceptable at the time, as he was just a pup that was still being trained.
As he grew, we discovered the silence meant he had stolen something, a paper roll from the bathroom, a sock or underwear from the bedroom, a piece of paper that had fallen, etc... We would then find him silently chewing it on our bed. He knew once we caught him, that he was in trouble and would try to flee.
A lot of times, this was due to boredom; however, now he does it for vengeance. If he feels we are not paying attention to him enough, he will sneak away and steal my underwear or a sock and sit on the bed and wait in silence. He even resorted into breaking into my boyfriend's sock drawer to accomplish this.
Once we catch him with it placed between his paws, with his mouth hovering over it, he will look at us slyly and almost grin. He knows we will get mad and try to chase him to get it back. He sits there poised for our attack and the minute he sees our hand go towards the object, he snatches it up and turns his back to us and continues to grin, waiting for our next attack. It is a game to him, something to get attention with, even if it is negative attention.
We have been lucky thus far, in that he does not chew on the furniture or any part of the house. He does have a passion for destroying his own toys in 2 seconds flat regardless of the material it is made of. He also has the knowledge to try to chew the personal effects, such as socks and underwear, of the person he is mad at. This is something we have not been able to successfully break him of; however, we can now get it from him without too much damage being done.
Still My Fur Baby
I am sure after all of this, many of you are thinking, "Wow! That dog needs to be properly trained," or "Wow! All she did was list the bad things about her dog." You are absolutely right in thinking that.
I know my dog needs more training and that some things in this write-up are brought on by our lack of training, his lack of respect for us as "pack leader," and us letting him do those behaviors for far too long. But, I also know that Bruin is a work in progress and that he can change with our help and training.
In the end, these things are quirks that I think make him who he is. Yes, some of those quirks will change with time and training, but, I can still reflect on them and realize they are part of the journey that is dog ownership.
Do I get frustrated and feel like giving up some days? Sure I do, as any frustrated dog owner would with a stubborn breed like a Boston would feel in that moment. Will I give up on him? No, absolutely not.
When I got him, I agreed I would take care of him, train him, and love him for the rest of his life. If that means I need to be tougher on him, change our own behaviors as his owners, and go through extensive training to break some of these behaviors, I will. If it means putting up with the annoyances that we cannot break, then so be it.
In the end, I know he will always be there for me, as long as I have his favorite ball in hand, and listen to me, when he sees fit, when I rant. He will always be my fur baby that I will love forever.