Boxers are rather interesting characters. First of all, they are rather large and full of energy, yet they fare better when kept inside because their coat and short muzzle make them unfit for cold and hot weather. Secondly, these dogs are known to remain young at heart for as long as a couple of years after they have reached full physical maturity. That means they can be very difficult to control and manage if they are unruly. Therefore, early training is paramount.
With that goal in mind, here are five basic tips concerning Boxer puppy training, keeping in mind the characteristics of this breed.
Boxer Puppy Tip #1: Consider The Boxer’s Nature
Although these dogs are nowadays mostly contained to in-house living and are kept as regular family dogs, they come from a tradition of guardianship. As a matter of fact, they are still classified as working dogs in America because they were bred to be guardians. This means a few important things for Boxers.
First, they retain great trainability due to these origins, and they are very intelligent and accessible. Secondly, they maintain a natural suspicion of strangers, whether they are human or animal. This is essentially a good thing, but it has to be accounted for and molded through training to prevent the instinct from turning aggressive. Furthermore, when it comes to their family, Boxers couldn’t be further in the opposite direction. Not only are they devoted and affectionate but they suffer greatly when left alone for too long and too frequently. You will have to spend a lot of time with this dog and train him consistently and regularly.
Boxer Puppy Tip #2: Make Training Pleasant and Engaging
While they are clever and quick learners, Boxers can start to stray toward independence and even spite if mistreated or trained in a harsh, scolding manner. Therefore, they thrive on positive reinforcement and friendliness. Apart from that, they also like highly engaging and creative training because they find it fun. Experimentation is thus welcome to a moderate degree. If possible, train your boxer outside or in groups. They will find this very stimulating.
Keep in mind the Boxer’s somewhat childish demeanor and be understanding if he gets distracted. Don’t force the training sessions and keep them short to avoid blowback. If you commit to training a Boxer pup from around three weeks of age, their goofiness and slow maturation will be a good thing. You will have a dog that listens when you want him to but is also fun at the same time.
Boxer Puppy Tip #3: Socialize Him Early
Boxers are another one of those breeds where this is one of the most important aspects of life that may not ever be neglected. While just socializing your Boxer and letting him mingle without any limits or a program will most likely suppress his guardian instincts, it is a sure way of making sure he doesn’t grow up aggressive. It may not be exactly what the dog was bred for, but it is more than reasonable in accordance with regular, modern living.
Boxer Puppy Tip #4: Be a Firm Leader
These dogs respect and wish to follow a leader that sets a strong presence and is always in control of the situation. The Boxer’s occasional independent tendencies will not come out as long as they are positive that you are a solid role model. Dogs relate this to how much you train them, how well you train them, and how much of their life you control.
Apart from frequent and prolonged obedience training, this means structure and schedule. Make sure that your Boxer has to follow certain rules in most things he does in life, such as eating, walking, and playing. Meals and activities should be scheduled, consistent, and ultimately habitual. If your dog gets to eat whenever he barks at the cupboard, for example, he will quickly loose respect for you and your orders.
Boxer Puppy Tip #5: Take Him Along
The guarding Boxer is the kind of dog that wants to ride shotgun in your life. You can never do wrong by taking your pet along with you for a ride to the countryside or a fishing trip. He will expel a lot of energy in the outdoors and be fulfilled as a result. More importantly, he will be doing what he wants to do most: staying by your side, bonding, and guarding. Use every opportunity to reinforce his obedience training too and carry on with it well into adulthood.