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Ask A Boston Expert: Tips For House Training Your Dog

(Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Raising a puppy is no easy task, especially in a city like Boston where apartments are small and leashes are required. Living in a city requires a much more hands-on approach to puppy parenting. We talk to an experienced puppy mom to learn more about raising a fun, well behaved dog no matter where you are.

Suz Lewis

Dog Owner and Freelancer
North End
Boston, MA 02113

Suzanne is the mama of a beautiful and well-trained french bulldog named Pierre. The two-year old dog is social, plays well with other dogs, never has accidents and is an overall loveable city pup. Leading a career as a freelancer, Lewis is happy to share tips for Bostonians on everything from fashion to career paths. Among her expertise includes is her experience raising her house pup, who she visits parks all over downtown with. Today, she shares her tips on raising a well-behaved city dog in Boston.

Socialize Your Dog

One of the most important thing to do while raising a puppy is to make sure he or she starts to get comfortable around other people and animals. A dog learns obedience not only from humans but also from being knocked around on the playground a little bit. This will make it easier walking him on the street and ensure less aggressive interactions on the sidewalk. Take the puppy to dog parks so they can interact with dogs of all sizes while you are there to make sure everything is okay. Though dogs all have different personalities and some are rather shy, if they get used to being around kind people at a young age they will most likely grow up being comfortable and happy around people.

Use Treats

Some people use the clicker system, but Lewis found treats more effective while training Pierre as a puppy. Being rewarded for good behavior is a concept that dogs are quick to learn. Before you know it, your dog will be eager to please and will obey commands on the first ask. Just make sure to choose some healthy treats so your puppy doesn't put on too many pounds while learning new skills.

Provide Engaging Toys

Make sure your dog has lots of his own toys so he doesn't chew your shoes, furniture or other things around your home. You can also spray apple bitter on wood furniture to repel your dog from chewing things they shouldn't. Pierre loves his dental dinosaur toy which is not only fun to chew, but also helps clean his teeth.

Related: Boston's Best Places to See Standup Comedy

Feed Your Dog in its Crate

If you feed your dog in his or her crate, they will learn to like the crate and it will quickly become a safe spot for them. Once they think of the crate as a safe spot and a mini home, they will obediently go to their crate when you need them to. Owning a dog becomes much more challenging when they resent or fear their crate.

Pick a Favorite Pee Spot

Try to get your dog to pee in one spot outside. You can do this by taking your dog on similar walk routes each time they need to go outside, especially while they are young dogs. This will be helpful in winter months when you, the owner, don't want to be spending too much extra time outside waiting for your dog to select the perfect spot.

Related: Boston's Best Bars With Tropical Drinks

Cameron Bruns is the founder of and co-author of Just Us Gals Boston. She lives in Boston's North End, where her goal is to promote ethical, stylish, and sustainable lifestyle choices to all Boston residents. Her work can be found on


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