Your boxer dog is a special little girl or guy. A cross between the stalwart English Bulldog and a lesser known breed called a Bullenbeisser, the result is a curious little pup with a WHOLE LOT of energy. So, what does Boxer dog training entail? Is there anything special that you need to do when training this breed? Today we’ll discuss Boxer dog tips and training secrets to help you to get the most out of the learning sessions you schedule with your new furry friend!
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If you are wondering how to train a boxer dog the first thing that you are going to need is a little patience. Boxers are very excitable and so it can take them awhile sometimes to ‘get the message’ when you are trying to train them. That said, you can train a Boxer how to do just about anything which you have the patience to teach them because they are smart little dogs and they want to impress you. Prepare yourself for a fun little journey together!
Boxer puppy training regimen
Training should begin early whenever possible. It is best if they are weaned between the ages of 10-12 weeks so that they have had a little time to learn socialization and other skills. From there you will want to keep training sessions short and sweet. Keep plenty of treats in your pocket to reinforce good behavior and try to focus first on potty training. When you take your dog outside, as soon as they squat down or raise a leg to ‘do their business’ be sure to offer praise and maybe a treat afterwards.
Boxer dog obedience training
Once potty training is out of the way, then start learning new commands such as ‘sit’ and ‘come here!’. The best way to do this with a Boxer is to focus only on positively reinforcing things when your dog does something good. Boxers respond very well to positive reinforcement. During your training, refrain from punishment, as most of the time your Boxer is simply not going to understand what you are upset about. Part of this is the excitability of the breed, whereas the rest is due to the associative memory of dogs. Unless you catch them in the act (and Boxers are FAST) then whatever they did is long out of their mind already. Punishment at this juncture will just make them scared of you and you don’t want that.
Teaching your Boxer to sit
‘Sit’ is a basic command that your Boxer will learn quickly. When you see your dog sitting, say ‘sit’ and give them a small treat. Other times when your dog is not sitting, hold the treat up and say ‘sit’ until the dog sits. At this point, give them their treat. You can teach them to ‘lay down’ similarly, although you might have to gently help them down from sitting and once they stay laying down repeat the command and give them the treat. After awhile when you have learned a number of commands together, when your dog sees you holding up a treat they will wait for the command.
Be careful with those treats
Make sure that you are ONLY using treats to reinforce commands. Too many treats being used as a means to control your dog in any scenario is a bad idea. It’s not healthy, for one, and secondly, you want the dog to associate the treat with being a
” You will probably go through a lot of treats in training.”
reward for performing a command. Eventually you will be able to wean them from always getting a treat for every command to only ‘sometimes’ getting one, but in the beginning you will probably go through a lot of treats in training. Just make sure that a command comes first!
Weaning your puppy from the treats
As your dog learns more and more tricks you will want to start lessening the number of treats involves. This isn’t Halloween, after all! So what is the best way to do this? Try after every 4th or 5th command holding off on giving the dog a treat. This is good for you and the dog, as your dog will wonder if maybe they didn’t follow your command quickly enough or if they did the wrong thing. This helps to get their attention focused on you and to discourage your dog getting lazy because it is too easy to get those treats.
Doggy time out
While we have advised against negative reinforcement, if your doggy is misbehaving then it certainly should not be ignored. So, what can you do? A good method of putting your puppy in ‘time out’ requires a crate or even an old baby playpen which you can place in the most boring corner of the house and put your doggy inside of when he or she misbehaves. Properly done, this method provides you with a constructive means of punishment that your dog will not misinterpret. Just make sure to follow these rules:
- Make sure there is nothing around for doggy to watch
- No toys in the time out crate, this is punishment
- Limit sessions. 3-5 minutes is perfect (unless your dog is barking or whining to get out, in which case you must wait until they are quiet. Do not take them out if they are still whining or you will be teaching them that whining gets them what they want. You do NOT want this.
- Catch them in the act – When your puppy is doing something bad, tell them ‘Time out!’ or ‘Puppy prison!’ and then lead them by their collar to the puppy crate. Let them out after 3-5 minutes and repeat as needed.
Training your Boxer is fun and rewarding and before you know it they’ll be amazing you with their intelligent tricks. Just be patient and consistent in positive reinforcement and see what happens. You’ll be happy that you did!