Boston Terriers were originally bred to be fighting dogs, but you wouldn’t think so with the modern Boston Terrier being a very friendly and loving little dog.
Boston Terrier exercise needs
They are fairly high energy and also very intelligent and require an hour of exercise a day but would be more than happy to go for much longer.
Some people confuse them for the French Bulldog. When it comes to exercise needs they couldn’t be more different. The French Bulldog is generally exercise intolerant due to their compromised air passages and they tire easily. The Boston Terrier can go hard and play for hours and take a fair amount of activity to tire.
Without the opportunity to release all that pent up energy and to challenge their minds they can develop behavior problems. This can include barking, digging, destructive behavior and escaping to explore on their own.
There are three main types of exercise and activity you must provide your Boston Terrier every day.
- 1. Daily walk
- 2. High-intensity purposeful activity and Free Play.
- 3. Mental stimulation
We will look at each of the three categories in more detail below. These recommendations are for a healthy adult Boston Terrier. The exercise needs of a puppy are different due to the fact that their bodies and bones are growing. For more information on how to exercise a Boston Terrier puppy, see the bottom of this article.
For older dogs, the amount of exercise they need will be less. However, daily exercise is still crucial to keep there muscles and joints supple and to manage weight. For more information about exercising your senior Boston Terrier, see the bottom of this article.
Can Boston Terriers run long distance?
Boston Terriers are a high energy dog. Although they are not necessarily the best breed as a running companion they can run well. Running for distances of up to 3 miles is fine. Anything further would depend on the individual dog’s fitness level.
As with a human or any dog you need to build the distance up gradually to prevent injury and avoid over-exercising your Boston Terrier. For more tips on running with your dog see here.
Over exercised symptoms
Is it possible to over-exercise your Boston Terrier? Over-exercising any dog can have severe consequences such as muscle, tendon and joint injury, overheating and heatstroke and even collapse. It is important for a dog owner to know the signs to watch for to prevent over exercising their dog. Read “Over exercised dog symptoms” to learn more about potential problems and solutions.
Boston Terrier Walking
The daily walk is essential for a Boston Terrier not only to release some pent-up energy. The walk allows your Boston Terrier to stimulate the mind with the sights, sounds and smells they come across.
The length of the walk is only limited by your time and energy as a Boston Terrier can go all day long. Ideally, the minimum should be 45 to 60 minutes daily. This can be just once a day, or two walks a day would be better if your schedule allows. Dogs also like routine, so try to schedule the walk for around the same time each day. Daily walks are much better than nothing all week and a big walk at the weekend.
If your Boston Terrier has good recall and comes on command, walks at the park off the leash are ideal. This will give them the opportunity to burn off more energy and explore stimulating their minds. Alternatively, you can use a retractable leash to allow them more freedom while maintaining control.
High-intensity purposeful activity and play
The Boston Terrier is quick and surprisingly agile. They are often very good at dog sports such as agility. In addition to their daily walk, you need to find activities that can burn energy in a short period of time and use these skills. Free play with toys is another great way to encourage exercise for your Boston Terrier. For the Best type of toys for Boston Terriers see here.
Here are some recommended exercise ideas for your Boston Terrier.
A Flirt pole is like a giant cat tickler for dogs. It has a long handle with a bungy type rope with a lure or toy attached to the end. You simply move the lure along the ground around in circles or in different directions as your dog chases it. It works directly with their natural prey instinct. Be sure they have a good leave it command and don’t allow them to destroy the toy. This game is excellent for burning up that pent-up energy in a short amount of time. For a full guide to flirt pole exercise for dogs see here.
View the range of flirt poles on Amazon.
A Jolly Ball is a nearly indestructible ball for dogs that they push and chase around. They come in a variety of sizes, styles and are also available with a handle or rope attached for tug of war. Check out the video to see what great exercise and fun they are for dogs.
View Jolly Balls on Amazon.
Tug of War
Boston Terriers love a good game of tug of war.. Make them crouch and pull back to use extra energy. Ensure that this is a controlled game and they release when you want them to. Also, a great way to build muscle and strength. Another option is a Spring Pole (see below) that allows your Boston Terrier to play tug of war by themselves.
A spring pole is simply a spring connected to a rope that hangs from a tree branch or beam with a lure or toy attached to the end. This allows your dog to play tug of war with him or herself even if you are not there. Popular with a lot of dogs that love a good game of tug of war.
View Spring Poles on Amazon.
Playing Fetch with your Boston Terrier is another fantastic way to burn pent-up energy. Boston Terriers are generally ball or toy crazy can play this for hundreds of throws. A great alternative is to use an Automatic Ball Launcher so your dog can play Fetch by themselves. As a Boston Terrier is smart and highly trainable as long as you focus their attention they learn to use this quickly. For more information check out “Automatic Ball Launchers for Dogs”
Check out this video to see a Boston Terrier their automatic ball launcher.
Boston Terriers are agile and very good at running agility obstacles. Set up an agility or obstacle course in your backyard. You can use items you have around the home, build your own agility or you can get reasonably priced agility sets on Amazon.
You can include tasks such as the weave, hurdle jumps, tunnels or jumping through hoops or a platform to jump on and stay.
Dog toys that move on their own
There are many dog toys available that shake, rattle, roll and move about on their own. These are ideal for a Boston Terrier as they cater directly to their chase and natural prey instincts. See “Dog toys that move on their own” to learn more.
Play with other dogs
Provide the opportunity for your Boston Terrier to play with other dogs. This is not only great to burn energy and stimulate their mind, but teaches them important social skills. It also provides social enrichment to help tire their minds.
Your Boston Terrier will get some mental stimulation and enrichment from their daily walk and time spent with free play. However, it is a good idea to provide other activities that stimulate the mind. Mental exercise can burn as much energy as physical exercise.
Many dog behavior problems are a direct result of boredom. Read “Mental enrichment and mind stimulation for dogs” to learn about the six categories of enrichment for dogs.
Some ideas to provide mental stimulation include;
Puzzle toys are a great way to test your dog’s intelligence and improve their problem-solving skills. Check out “Top puzzle toys for dogs” for my top picks.
Kong toys which you stuff with food and treats work in much the same way. Read “How to use a Kong for dogs”.
Puzzle toys are great for times when your dog is home alone. If your dog is home alone while you are at work or out you may find some helpful information at “Leaving a dog alone while at work”
Teaching new commands and tricks is also excellent to provide mental enrichment. A popular game that involves learning is to teach them the names of their toys. Dogs can learn hundreds of words and names.
Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs and has many benefits including maintaining dental health and keeping them occupied. It also as mental health benefits. When a dog chews it releases endorphins to their brain making them feel calm and relaxed helping to lift their overall mood.
For more on the benefits of chewing and the best chew toys for your dog see here.
A Snuffe Mat is another great way to provide for your dog’s natural digging instinct and to provide mental stimulation and relieve boredom. A Snuffle mat is a mat that is made of fleece and you can hide dry food or treats into it. If you are someone that is good at crafts you can try to make one yourself or check out the range of Snuffle Mats at Amazon.
Turn mealtimes into an opportunity for your Boston Terrier to get a mental challenge and enrichment. Instead of feeding them from a bowl, give them activities that require them to work for their food. To learn more about feeding enrichment for dogs see here.
Enrich their environment
Environmental enrichment is the process of making a dog’s living space more engaging and interesting. To learn more about environmental enrichment for dogs see here.
How much exercise does a Boston Terrier puppy need?
The exercise suggestions above relate to a healthy adult Boston Terrier. The exercise needs of a puppy are quite different. With puppies, their bones, muscle, and joints are still growing and developing.
Overly strenuous walks are not necessary and in fact, could possibly cause harm. An activity that is high impact on the joints should also be avoided.
The best exercise for a young puppy is free play with age-appropriate toys. Socializing with other puppies or friendly adult dogs is a great way to burn some of that puppy energy along with teaching them the social skills they need.
As your Boston Terrier puppy gets older you can take them for short informal walks allowing them to sniff and explore and get used to being on a leash. Puppies under three months probably haven’t had all their vaccinations so shouldn’t be walked in public. Check with your vet when it is alright to venture out to the park or street.
The general rule of thumb for walking a puppy is around 5 minutes for every month of age. So, for example for a 4-month-old puppy, a walk of 15 minutes to 20 minutes is enough. Monitor you Boston Terrier puppy on the walk for signs such as lagging behind, lying down or panting. End the walk if they seem too tired.
Mental stimulation is important for puppies and can tire them just as much as physical activity. For more on mental stimulation for puppies see here.
For more on exercise for your Boston Terrier puppy read “How to exercise your puppy”
How much exercise does an older Boston Terrier need
As a dog gets older they become less active and have lower energy levels. However, it is still important that they remain reasonably active to keep their joints and muscles mobile and to manage their weight. Read ” Dog exercise for a senior dog” to learn more.
Many dogs develop arthritis as they age. Exercise for them becomes a balancing act. It is important to keep their joints mobile and manage weight, but too much can make them sore. Read “How to exercise an arthritic dog” to learn more.
Summary – Boston Terrier exercise requirements
Boston Terriers are fairly high energy and also very intelligent and require an hour of exercise a day but would be more than happy to go for much longer.
This should include a daily walk of between 30 minutes to an hour, plus free play and some high-intensity purposeful activity (see above for ideas). Mental stimulation and challenges should also be included to help challenge their minds and tire them mentally to prevent boredom.
Let us know in the comments how much and what types of exercise your Boston Terrier gets.