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Q:  Last November I bought a female Boston Terrier puppy from a breeder inPa.She is a good dog but when she sees strangers she gets aggressive where I am afraid she may bite them if they go to pet her. It’s not all the time though, sometimes when she is on one side of the street and they are on the other she just stops and looks at them. She is not a mean or aggressive puppy its only with strangers until she knows them. Otherwise she is loving and friendly and playful. I thought allBoston’s were quiet and friendly. Is this just a stage she is going though where she is protective of us?  How can I get her to stop?

 

A:  If there are words I would choose when describing Boston Terriers, quiet would certainly not be one of them!  Like most terriers, they are barkers.  In your case, I think you have to watch your pup carefully to observe what her body language looks like when strangers approach.  Is she tentative, scared, or nervous?  You say you are afraid she may bite but then say she is not aggressive so there is a disconnect here.  Many fearful dogs fit that description.  If a puppy is acting fearful or aggressive or both, it is a huge alarm for concern.  Puppies should not be either.  You should talk to your veterinarian as soon as possible to find out if there is a treatment path you can begin and try to build better behavior in your dog.  Best of luck to you.  The fact that you have reached out is a great sign that you are going to be tuned in to your dog’s behavior. 

Tracy Kroll, DVM

Dr. Kroll graduated from Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine. She completed her residency in behavioral medicine at Cornell University after three years of general practice. Dr. Kroll joined Oradell Animal Hospital where she consults clients and treats pets that have behavioral issues. Dr. Kroll uses an approach that is individualized to the pet and its concerned family. Her philosophy is to use behavior modification techniques that are both realistic and doable. Dr. Kroll is available for house calls.