Boxer Puppy Training Tips

Puppy training is important no matter which breed of dog you choose, but there are behaviors to which boxers are prone. You should be aware of those behaviors and effective training techniques before selecting your boxer.

Puppy Training: Socialization

Since boxers are one of many breeds bred to serve as guard dogs, they have a tendency to be suspicious toward new people if not properly socialized. Before your boxer is 14 weeks old, make sure he has met several different types of people and been exposed to a variety of situations, such as skateboards and bicycles, in a positive manner. If he seems afraid, don't force him to meet. But if he seems curious, reward.

It's even more important that your boxer be exposed to other dogs. True to their names, boxers tend to use their hands a lot in play, hitting other dogs. They also tend to slam their body into other dogs. Many dogs will find this offensive, so it's important to expose a boxer to many different breeds so he can learn appropriate play styles.

Don't just expose your boxer to other puppies. Make sure he meets older dogs, and allow those dogs to correct him when upset. That's how he learns.

Also be sure to expose your boxer to little dogs, which he will sometimes treat as prey if not properly exposed. If the little dog seems frightened, intervene. Give your dog a timeout so he knows when he is being inappropriate.

Puppy Training: Polite Greetings

A properly socialized boxer tends to be very excited to meet new people. Since they spend much of their life vertically, jumping is a common problem among boxers.

When you come home, ignore your boxer if he's jumping. Don't look at him, touch him (even to correct) or talk to him (even to yell). As soon as all four feet hit the ground, turn to greet him. If he then begins jumping, stand up and walk away again.

However, since boxers are large, you can't expect your family to participate in this ignoring behavior. Instead, when you have company, put your boxer on leash. Don't let him near your company until he begins to calm down. Let them in the house and begin the visit, but don't let your dog greet until he can do so politely. If he jumps at any point, pull him away again.

The leash is only temporary. Eventually, he will be able to do this without a leash.

Puppy Training: Loose-Leash Walking

Boxers can get to be big and strong, so it's important to train loose-leash walking as soon as your puppy is old enough for walks. To do this, don't use a correction collar. Boxers have difficulty breathing as it is, and those collars can further damage your dog's breathing passages.

Instead, when your dog pulls, simply stop. When your dog turns to look at you, making the leash loose, praise and begin to walk. Repeat this each time your dog pulls. If it takes more than a few seconds for him to look at you, turn and walk the opposite way until the leash is loose. Then, praise and walk back toward whatever your dog was excited to smell. Never let your dog get what he wants when he pulls.

If you practice these skills when your puppy is young and keep reinforcing them when he's an adolescent, you will have a well-behaved adult boxer.