Overly excited and playful puppy with particular people?

I am a 20 week old Boston Terrier and I love to play with Dad! Mom takes care of me too, but when I see Dad I have to play 24/7 until I am completely exhausted.... sometimes I get so excited I need to have a time out for a few seconds so I calm down. I go to the dog park almost everyday, go on long walks twice a day and still seem to have so much energy when playing with Dad.... sometimes I bark and nip at feet to get his attention telling him I want to play. Is this normal to associate one person with playing all the time?

Asked by Maddie on Jun 21st 2009 Tagged bostonterrier, playtime, nip, excited, bark in Exercise & Play
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Best Answer


Hi Maddie,

To be honestly truthful, no one knows what is normal or abnormal behaviour in our species. No one has actually conducted research regarding our ethogram.

You are high energy dog, and although exercise is crucial, mental stimulation is more important. Your dad needs to work your brain more, and when this balance isn't reached you can (you usually do) become obnoxious.

I suggest dad play physically with you, and mom (or other siblings) play mind games, or as we say in the business, enrichment, such as puzzles (Buster Cube, Kong...), scent discrimination, find the toy (or any other object) word object association... Basically, any type of mental stimulation done by another family member will create a new bond.

Clicker training is a good way to get the energy focused on the task, I suggest you find a good clicker trainer that will teach you how to do it.

Best of luck ;-)

Havana answered on Jun 23rd.

Other Answers



Hi Maddie!
Of course it's normal! Your human dad is playing with you, and you love to play, so of course you're going to try to spend every minute playing with him!

You don't mention if this is a problem for your dad, but I'm going to assume it's annoying at times (I know I get annoyed when a dog won't stop trying to play with me!) So, my suggestion is to turn some of that play time into training time. Believe it or not, learning something new and practicing it actually burns mental energy and will help you calm down!

Here is a link to my trainer's website, which has step-by-step instructions on things you can learn:

When learning something new, you should be well-exercised and a little hungry. Very small, very yummy treats will get your attention!

Once you've learned how to pay attention and sit, try the "go to your bed" command. This will work when you get too excited - it will give you an alternative behavior. Enjoy!

Katie answered on 6/21/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


i thought i was the only one who loves my dad. i am a boston terrier also and i need to be with my dad all the time.the best day of my life is when i rescued my dad.i realy tire him out. sure glad he is retired.

Jake answered on 6/22/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Maddie sees dad as a sibling or playmate-hense the lack of respect (nipping). Mom is the pack leader:)

Camo answered on 6/22/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


hi maddie
i have 2 bostons named maggie and major. both are rescues

but to answere your questions, you need to share your love. you have more then enough to give to both mom and dad.

i think a check up at the vet mioght be in order. sometimes a loveable dog can love one person too much and develop seperation anxiety. beleive that is no fun.

Member 598595 answered on 6/22/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Yes it is completly normal Especially with a Terrier (boston) breed.

Just becarful not to over work him bostons
are known to get Luxation Patella when over
worked to young, i learned this the EXPENSIVE way.

I have a English bulldog/Boston terrier/Amstaff and
1500.00 later i learned if i hadn't let her over
work herself it wouldn't have occured so
early (at 4.5 months old) and it may have not
happened at all had she been limited in
excersise till 1.5yrs old. She always tried to
keep up with the bigger faster dogs wearing
down the cartilage/joint, untill one day she had
a extream limp where she couldn't bare weight
on it anymore.

You can try Agility with out the jumps or have
the "jumps" at 1-2" high, this will mentally
and physically tire your puppy AND instill
great habbits of obedience ;)

Tia answered on 6/22/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


maddie should interact with more different people and should be token to the dog park more often. you should maybe dad should leave the house or ignore her a day out of the week. give it a try! she might start to calm down.

sassee answered on 6/22/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Hi Maddie!!! I'm Annie and I'm a bug(boston/pug mix) and am the same way with my Mom!!!! Sometimes she has to tell me to slow down or she will quit playing with me. But it is really hard to so I understand. Mom said it the boston terrier in me as chinese pugs are usually very laid back. Tell your Dad a good chew or a few like my favorites cow hooves and bully sticks help alot too, when he's too tired to play anymore, Good Luck!!!!!

Annie answered on 6/22/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


It is normal, if the person Maddie focuses on is unavailable most of the time. Even though Maddie may have other folks around, still the one Maddie prefers may not be available as much as the others, such that Maddie's focus is on that person. Perhaps Dad has to be at work for long hours every day, or when he comes home he is tired and focused on talking to other humans only. Maddie then wonders if there's a need to get Dad's even share of attention.

Member 619176 answered on 6/22/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Curtis Leroy Pudgett-HPS

I am like that too except I do not play with anyone except my mom. She must play ball with me all day and evening. They make me take breaks cause I will play till I cannot catch my breath! I thought I was the only one like that.

Curtis Leroy Pudgett-HPS answered on 6/23/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Granny Annie

Training time is a great idea. BUT Dad, could you maybe adopt another Boston to keep Maddie company? I live in a wonderful house with 10 dogs five are Bostons. Two are about the same age. Those two, Mickey and Sophie and also Jack who is a little Cairn mix are (ages 1-2) play constantly. As a result, it's show time (lots of toys), and then it gets really quiet in the house.

I am oldest of everyone. So I just sleep all day and get chubby. My mom takes me for rides in the stroller at night when it's not too hot.

Granny Annie answered on 6/23/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Dont worry Maddie, your not alone in the puppy world of wanting attention from your human daddy. We have a puppy, her name is Sedona, and although she gives her mom attention, by playing with her, sometimes, she would much rather play and cuddle with me and will actually go out of her mothers arms just to make sure I am playing with her instead of the other puppy's.
Its normal for that to happen as she ( Sedona ) is not the only one who does this. Her Dog mother does the same thing. My advice is to have your human Mom take time with you away from your human Dad and just play the same way you would with your human dad. Your Mom could do this for awhile and make sure, that you still play with Dad, hes family too and loves you just as much as your Mom does. I hope this helps.

Member 736879 answered on 6/23/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I am an 8 month old mini schnauzer and I would only play and want my mommy the 1st few months she had me. My mommy was worried also but then I started growing out of it recently. If there are other people around besides you give those people a treat so your dog can go to other people and smell them. That helped me branch out to other people. Also if you join a dog class it will help you and your dog. Good luck.

Bezly answered on 6/23/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Mariah has this issue too. We call her a "Daddy's Girl." I asked a simular question to our vet (and on Dogster) and I was told it's because my husband feeds her in the morning. Apparently, dogs have a special appreciation for the master that provides their food. I will always have her appreciation when it comes to going for walks, which is her other favorite past-time, but dad usually has a treat waiting when we get back home. Maybe you could win your dog's favor by supplying a favorite treat or new toy that only the two of you share? Show him/her that we are each special in our own way. Hope you guys have lots of fun! :0)

Member 781750 answered on 6/23/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer