How to Stop the Biting and Growling of a Boston Terrier puppy?


Here is a question from Hilary asking for some suggestions about how to make sure her Boston Terrier understands it’s not ok to bite and growl.

She says : “Anyone have tips on how to stop the biting and growling of a BT puppy? This is more aggressive than puppy nipping. We’ve tried the stern “No!” And also tried the water squirt bottle. Re-direction to toys, etc is not working either. Also, if you had a puppy like this, how long did it take to get them to stop? I’ve reached out to local trainers. Waiting to hear back. He nearly broke the skin on my daughter’s arm this morning. And no, she wasn’t playing with him aggressively or inappropriately. Thanks in advance!”

Does anyone have any suggestions, experiences or recommendations?
Please SHARE and leave a comment!

How to Stop the Biting and Growling of a Boston Terrier puppy?

    Share your Thoughts

Leave a Comment

52 Comment threads
31 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
57 Comment authors
Bruce BanickPatricia RollinsJean JJ FourieFH FryerLucy Gomez McCay Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Bruce Banick

Okay, here is a trick that I learned a long time ago and it works for me. When you see aggressive behavior, gently roll the Boston on her/his back, lay
Your head on the belly, in a normal tone voice say no. You may have to do this a few times to train an obstinate doggie.

Bruce Banick

Oh, don’t forget to tell them how much you love them.

Patricia Rollins

Our Boston doesn’t bark at all, except when there are some nibbles on the coffee table he can’t reach.

Jean JJ Fourie

Maybe try and feed her

Lucy Gomez McCay

A firm NO then give him/her the cold shoulder for 5-10 minutes. My BT Baxter would always push my daughter away (she was 5 at the time) and Baxter was 12 weeks old when we purchased him from a breeder. Also remember there’s a pecking order with dogs & children. My Baxter was very jealous of my daughter so I made sure Baxter had his own time with me and slowly reassured him that we could all be together as one happy family. Baxter is now 13 years old & my daughter is 17. It just takes time. Hang in… Read more »

FH Fryer


Linda Walters Hess

I started my pup on bully sticks right away.

Douglas Fotia

Dominate her with love and press your face against her muzzle during the unwanted behavior

Mickey Hughes McClure

Say No !!!

Lissa Shelest

When the bite gets too rambunctious during play, make a hi pitched yip sound. This is how pups tell each other too much. Then stop with play and wait for reconcliatry behavior. If still rough walk away. This will get the dog thinking and respond more gently with you.

Vicki McKee Wragg

Only allow it to bite toys

Jeanine Kispert

I read a book that said for biting insert your thumb and just GENTLY hold her bottom jaw for a bit to the point she pulls back and you can see she doesn’t like it and say “no bite”. If you are consistent it works. We would then give our puppy an elk horn to chew (no rawhide or greenies they are dangerous) to show her it was okay for a bone but not people. After doing that a few times she quit completely. The growling from ours was always playful, so just watch that and be consistent with “No… Read more »

Jennifer Foster Loebs

Jeremy Loebs

Jeanie Shelton

Lizzy has never been a biter, but always a growler. If you roll over on the bed, and it moves her, just a little bit, when she is trying to sleep. She growls. At nearly 7, she isn’t going to change.

Shelby Heller-Seidner

My dog trainer said hold them down on their side.. you need to show them who is dominant

Renee Masterson Eddie Carr

yeah… wait 2 years!!! 😂🤣😂

Kathryn Marva

LOTS of chew toys, lots firm no’s, lots of patience.

Kathryn Marva

Any of course, lots of atta boys.

Deanna Marie

I had this issue with a very dominant female. What worked for us was 1. Toys, she even rated them by importance lol 2. Showing her I’m the boss not her 3. Other dogs, once she wasn’t so isolated and was back in like the “hierarchy” of the dog community she did relax.

These dogs have big personalities you have to find out what works for you lol.

Dayle Hayes

Distract with toys, lots of love & a sense of humor! They grow out of it. So sweet these Boston pups. Be very gentle with them…..

Susan Agner

In addition to my first comment, I just want to say that when we tell Lulu “NO” she listens and stops what she is doing. We all spend a lot of time with her. We take her a lot of places to meet other dogs and people. Boston Terriers are one of the best dogs for a family.

Susan Agner

We have had 4 Boston Terriers. They love to play. Lulu the one we have now is one year old. She plays with my oldest granddaughter like she is another puppy, growling and nipping, only playing. The younger granddaughter likes to hold Lulu and dress her up like a baby. Lulu does not growl or nip with her. She mostly wants me to throw her ball for her.

Debbie Maddux St Romain

Oh yes they can! I had one Boston that was a biter. If she was disturbed, she bit. My husband would move this leg at night and she attracted. It is a rude awaking to be sleeping and wake with a dog attracting your leg. We got to the point of having to cage her at night. We were playing one day and she bit me very bad on my hand. She could go from sweet dog to mean dog in a flash.

Vicki McKee Wragg

Sad but true

Sally Spikes

Give him a toy,chew toy, or rawhide. He is teething . You have a rare treasure in a Boston ,please have patience with him. Lucky you.💕

Cr Faith

Every time Matilda started to get a little too rough with biting (while playing) I would tell her how cute she is and give her a kisses and it immediately changed her energy. Her biting was never malicious. Sometimes she just plays hard and doesn’t realize how sharp her little teeth are. Another approach is shifting the activity. She loves to play ball so if she’s starting to get too bitey, I will say “want to play ball?” And she runs to the back yard. Both work for us. Sweetest little puppy I have ever had.

Sally Spikes

You are my kind of a pet owner.🦋

Michele Leviner

My Boston, Sadie has the same 1/2 mask! Cute!

Cr Faith


Lena Marikovics

I’m glad it worked for you, but giving kisses and what have you after biting usually condones the behavior. You’re telling your dog what she did was a good thing and she should keep it up. It’s also a good way to get bitten in the face. And then the dog gets blamed for human stupidity.

Kris Shahin

Why would I want too it’s so cutte!!!!!!!!!! Ashley Milonopoulos

Daniel Johnson

Those who say you should basically do nothing but ignore their growls and bites are the same owners whose dog growls bites my ankles when I come over to paint their house. They’ve gotta be corrected. When my Boston did it, I’d make a circle with my fingers around his mouth with one hand, and with the other hand point ☝️ and touch his nose and say “no” firmly. After about 4 days of this, I’ve never had a problem since! And he’s perfectly fine and happy:)

Jeanie Shelton

Kind of like people who don’t correct their 2 legged children.

Daniel Johnson

Jeanie Shelton Lol! Exactly

Cheryl Harris

I have had Boston’s for 14 years. Never, never punish the dog for this. You can give then a stern correction such as a verbal “no” then when they are quiet, reward with a treat and praise. It also depends very much on the situation. Boston’s are good watch dogs and will growl if a stranger is at the house. Get them to sit and reward them when quiet. Can also do this when you are out for a walk and they growl at people or other dogs. Patience, time and repetition works.

Sandy Hicks

Play time is important, but also is respect . they will get it in time . Patients

Gillie Groves

Hold him by his scruff firmly and shake him a bit, not hard but firmly, and growl back at him saying NO loudly and definitely, but only if he is being threatening to you, not if the growling is play, you must be able to tell the difference between the 2, one means he is going to bite, one he wants to play.

Sally Spikes

What planet or you from? Shake a Boston? I hope you do not own a pet, or a child.Shake a baby?

Debbie Maddux St Romain

Never shake a dog. Or hit

Sue Gardafee Meier

YOU DO NOT CORRECT AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR WITH AGGRESSION, NOT EVER! All thst does is get your dog to respond with more aggression.We worked with a behavior trainer with ours. She had me put her up on the couch, pet and gently talk to her and hand feed her. For a month she did not get her bowl of food. She had to come up by one of us and only be hand fed. I haven’t a clue why, but it helped immensly. Now she is far more gentle and responds to a pointed finger and no bite bites! And never… Read more »

Lena Marikovics

Gillie said hold him by the scruff of the neck, you know, just like the mother dog would do! All of you are super sensitive and are probably the ones with the kids running around the grocery store, screaming and knocking crap over. Doing what a mother dog would do is most definitely NOT abuse, people. Jeez.

Carla Guitzkow Joyce

Sue Gardafee Meier awesome advice

James Trenchard

Also, try and find videos of Boston mum’s playing with their pups and mimic the mum’s behaviour…..

James Trenchard

A stern NO. Get up and turn your back and walk away. I can play fight with my dog. He bites, growls etc. But as soon as I say NO, he stops, sits and looks all cute…. Then I praise him for being a good boy and we stop…. At this young age he should be playing with chew toys also, playing tug of war is in their nature…..

Brenda Geluk

Ours used play bite childerens toos so it put peanut butter on them and now its a too licker haha

Brenda Geluk

Grab him in neck and remove from toy.

Andrew Goldie

Our Boston growls and shows her teeth but she is mostly playing a big act and is harmless.

Sarah Louise Young

My two used to nibble with excitement so one worked with a toy instead my boy I just used to tell him no nipping nicely and he stopped just patience and not shouting just make them know it’s not nice. That worked for me. I was told that I should nip it in the bud As young as possible 👍🏻👍🏻hope this helps Xxx

Gina Morgan

A firm “Hey” has always worked here

Holly Miller Lewis

I do “hey” also and Lucy goes and finds a ball instead. Bostons are so smart! Now she doesn’t do that behavior anymore.

Gina Morgan

Holly Miller Lewis same here

Marcia Collins-mcmurry

Age will take care of that.

Deanne Comito

And… make sure to have lots of other things your puppy SHOULD be biting like strong chew toys. 😊

Helena Kosonen

It’s a puppy. It’s supposed to bite and growl to learn life. And when it’s theething. Give it lots of toys and bones and exercive playing.

Mack Bennett

Had the same problem with my Boston Bulldog. Got me a pair of leather work gloves. Brushed his teeth about 4 times a day, and got my hands in his mouth several more times. By the third day, I could pull his his jaws apart with ease, or just stick my finger in his mouth and open it with the other hand. Before that, he had kept me bloody any time I got near his mouth.

Terrie Venie

Check in with a trainer. Correct reaction on your part may avoid a bad situation later.

Sally Spikes


Glenn Moore

Yeah you let him to grow up to be a adult dog but right now it’s a puppy it’s time to play bite and growl let you know it’s the boss

Melissa Van Ert

You are the alpha! Growl back but with intent. This is their first language. Their puppy mama would do it too.

Helena Kosonen

You are not alpha. That is false knowledge. The dogs owners are the new parents of the pup. Like a mother you are there to guide and help and protect him. Not being an alpha! Positive training. But of course moms growl, to let the pup know bad behavior, pup language!

Sally Spikes

You are nuts, a human growling at a baby. Bostons are easily trained,smart, loving, want to please you. I saw so many at a rescue for Bostons in Fla. ruined by such treatment you condone. All people do not need a pet.

Madeline J. Power

Trapper Joel ?

Angie Liberman

With that face I’d deal with anything, what a cutzie!!

Joyce Powell

Puppy training and obedience school. My boy went through two classes and lots of social puppy playtime.

Bea Jacobson

I had one I know what you mean. Mine was over protective over me. That was a real problem !!!

Kathy Kent Burr

My male is so over protective of me. In bed if my husband gets up tommy gets up barking pretty aggressive at him. One it hurts my husbands feeling now he just gets mad at him. I don’t know if he will bite him I don’t trust the dog. 😩

Katrina Steriovich

He looks sweet enough 🙂

Scott DeAnn Polk

Remember to distract them with a chew toy or stuffed animal when they start to growl or bite. Always distract with something, never punish for what is very normal.

Deanne Comito

Yes. Replace with something appropriate to bite. Good advice!

Helena Kosonen

This is good! Positive training has never failed before!

Nadia Pereira

my daughter use to hold him in his back,belly up,they hate it but don’t cause any harm. Andt tell him no,this is not a good behavior

Laura Skorczewski

Patience. Whatever you do, don’t raise your voice. Bostons are very sensitive and you might make the situation worse. Don’t punish for dog nature. With their growing sense of feeling secure they will outgrow these unwanted behaviors.

Mark Hutchinson

Start training..with lots of love and affection.