When you got your new dog, you knew that training a Boxer puppy will be important to your relationship. After all, an untrained Boxer is little short of a “misguided missile.”
If they don’t know what you want, or even that you’re “the boss,” you can’t blame Boxers for being unsatisfactory living companions.
Besides this, an untrained dog can get into all kinds of trouble – including physical danger, so training is going to be important to his safety as well as both of your happiness.
When should you begin with Boxer puppy training? What should you do about the famous stubbornness when it rears its head? You’re doing your homework, and we’re here to help!
Boxer Puppies: Socialization Training
The breeder from whom you bought your Boxer puppy should have kicked off socialization training from the age of about 8 weeks. It will be up to you to reinforce that.
Socialization training is extra important because it helps your dog to have a positive and friendly attitude towards other animals and people. Without it, you will have a difficult and potentially dangerous dog on your hands.
Socialization training is relatively easy for both you and your Boxer puppy. Just make sure that he comes into contact with people and animals outside the family circle as often as you can.
Keep these experiences positive. If your puppy seems nervous or overexcited, try to calm him, and if all else fails, remove him from the situation for a while.
You will also want your dog to remain level-headed in all kinds of situations. Exposing your Boxer to the outside world where he will encounter new sights, sounds, and smells will matter.
At all times, be supportive of your pup and stay close so that he can turn to you if he needs reassurance.
Potty Training Your Boxer Puppy
For your Boxer puppy to truly become part of the family, you will need to get potty training underway as soon as possible. Be patient! It can take up to six months to get your Boxer reliably potty trained.
The more attentive you can be, the faster you’ll get it right. Your aim is not to punish your dog for doing what comes naturally to him.
It will only confuse him and make him more likely to skulk off in search of a hidden place in your house when he needs to do his business.
Instead, you will aim to take him outside often enough for most of his pee and poo business to occur in a designated “potty spot” in your yard.
When he uses the right potty spot, you turn it into a special occasion, rewarding him with love and attention, a treat, and maybe even a little playtime.
Do remember that Boxer puppies don’t have the physical ability to hold in their need to pee or poo for very long.
“Accidents” are almost inevitable, and it’s not your puppy’s fault. At first, your outings to the potty spot will be very frequent!
You can make life easier for yourself by sticking to a regular feeding schedule that helps you to get into a fairly predictable potty routine.
Boxer Puppy Essentials: Not Chewing People!
Puppies can’t help feeling the need to chew – especially when they’re teething. But just because this behavior isn’t “naughty,” doesn’t mean you want it to become a habit. Your puppy needs to learn that chewing people is right out.
Tug toys are a handy option since they let your Boxer puppy feel like he’s interacting with you, but if your Boxer has some other favorite toy, that can work too.
As soon as your puppy starts trying to chew your hands, fingers, or ankles, say “Leave” and give him the toy instead. Reinforce that you’re happy he’s chewing the toy.
Of course, this won’t always work. You can try teaching bite inhibition the doggie way. When a puppy plays with littermates, and bites too hard, they will yelp and move away from the game.
This quickly teaches puppies not to bite each other too hard. You can try this approach too. Make a sharp yelping sound, and move away for a minute or so.
Once he’s “got” that he shouldn’t bite too hard, you can move on to substituting a toy so that he learns not to chew people at all.
There’s also an affectionate kind of chewing that happens when a puppy is feeling loved up. Try giving him a toy or a succession of little treats to keep those jaws busy.
Boxer Puppy Training: Obedience
If you’ve never trained a Boxer puppy before, we strongly recommend that you and your puppy attend puppy training classes. This can begin as early as eight weeks.
Do remember that puppy training classes are primarily there to teach you! A good trainer will show you how to train your Boxer.
On their own, puppy training classes won’t be frequent enough for your dog to learn much from them. However, they do provide an extra socialization opportunity.
When choosing a trainer for a Boxer puppy, be sure to enquire as to their methods. Positive reinforcement is vital. One doesn’t “discipline” a baby, and your Boxer puppy is still very much a baby.
It’s still important to keep training a positive experience no matter what age your dog is. The message you want to convey is that good things happen during training, especially when your Boxer puppy gets it right.
Training basics include getting your dog used to a leash, and you will want to start with this before he attends his first puppy class.
Some puppies have no problem with a leash from the very first time it’s clipped to their collars – but others find it unnerving and act out.
Begin by “showing” your puppy the leash. Let him play with it a little. Drape it over his back.
Then try clipping it to his collar and letting him run around free with the trailing leash. Your aim is to show your Boxer that the leash isn’t an intimidating object.
Remember the power of treats and praise. It may take a few tries, but before long, your puppy will be used to the leash.
If he pulls, just stop and wait for him to slack off. Praise him when he does. Boxers are pretty strong when they’re full-grown, so pulling on the leash is something you want to nip in the bud.
Puppy school will help you with basic commands, but you can begin training your Boxer on your own too. Once again, remember that your Boxer is just a baby.
If his attention wanders, that’s to be expected and shouldn’t be punished. Give it a break and try again later.
The absolute minimum your Boxer needs to know includes sitting, lying down, staying, and coming when called.
Try these tips to make it easy – but do remember that it takes patience and repetition. Arm yourself with treats and try these tricks.
Teaching Your Boxer To Sit
There are lots of ways to teach your puppy to sit, but this little trick is a winner!
Stand in front of your dog with a treat. His eyes will be on the reward. Now, move your hand up over your dog’s head while giving the sit command.
As his eyes and head follow the treat, he will naturally sit down. Now, it’s time to praise your dog and give him the treat. “Good sit!” you say enthusiastically.
Your Boxer may have no idea why you were so pleased with him, but with repetition, he is sure to get the idea. In fact, after a while, he’s likely to sit the minute he sees you standing there with a treat!
This is extra handy because you can now use a hand signal or a command, and your dog still knows what you want. Genius!
Boxer Dog Training: Lie Down
Now that your dog knows how to sit on command, it’s time for the next lesson. Once again, we’ll use a sneaky strategy involving a treat.
Show your dog the treat, holding it quite close to his nose. Then move the treat downwards towards the chest and onwards to ground level while giving the command. Your dog will “follow” the treat into a lying position.
You know what comes next! Lots of praise and a little celebration. Rinse, repeat.
Teaching Your Boxer To Stay
This is a tough thing for any Boxer to learn. You will have to do it in baby steps.
Begin with your dog lying down. Now, give him a hand signal to stay and say the word. Wait a few seconds, and if he’s still lying down, give him a treat.
Keep doing this until your dog seems used to it. Then try taking a step back before giving him the treat. Once he’s used to that, try taking a few steps away from him, and so on.
Remember, patience and repetition are the keys. Keep those training sessions short but frequent. Give your Boxer time to learn.
Teaching Your Boxer To Come When Called
Training a Boxer puppy to come when called is an important milestone. Never try to drag him towards you by force.
He must come to you willingly and with the expectation that something great is going to happen when he does.
You may need a little help with this one! Get a friend or family member to hold your puppy gently by the collar. Show him a treat or a favorite toy.
Walk a short distance away. Now, crouch down and call your puppy while your training partner releases him. When he comes to you, reward him and tell him how wonderful he is!
Start training your Boxer on this command in your own yard. If your Boxer puppy gets distracted while he is off-lead in a public space, he could get into danger.
Once he’s coming reliably in his own home yard, you can progress to training him on a long lead.
Super important: your dog must have nothing but positive associations with coming when called. That means you will never call him and then tell him off for something else he’s done.
Before we begin with this section, just a reminder that “stubbornness” from your Boxer puppy and not knowing what you want him to do are two different things.
All the same, Boxers can be genuinely stubborn. If you give in to them, they’ll repeat the behavior to get their way next time.
You may also find that your Boxer listens to you and not to other family members or listens to you most of the time, but not all the time.
This happens when your Boxer doesn’t know his place in the “pack.” And teaching him where he stands in the pecking order will save everyone, including your Boxer, a lot of frustration.
Food control is an important way of demonstrating who is in charge. Feed your Boxer at set times, and ask him to sit before he receives his bowl.
Take turns with other household members so that they also get a chance to be seen as being higher up in the pecking order than your dog.
Another important tip is to teach your dog to walk to heel. If he’s pulling you along, he can be pardoned for thinking he’s in charge of the walk.
If he starts to pull or wants to go in another direction to the one you’re going, stop and wait for him to get the message that you’re not going to follow his lead. Pet him when he releases the tension on the lead.
Do consider yourself and your relationship with your Boxer. If he doesn’t trust you or is nervous and afraid, he won’t obey.
That’s why positive reinforcement training is the best way to go. And don’t forget that Boxers, especially white ones, can be deaf. Don’t rule out physical issues unless you’re sure of your dog’s health.
Sometimes, disobedience is just a matter of Boxer over-excitement. In this case, try to move him into a calmer space.
Do consider why your dog gets this way. Is he getting enough exercise, play, and mental stimulation? Is he properly socialized?
If you’re not sure what to do about any bad habits your dog seems to be developing, ask your veterinarian to recommend a good trainer or behaviorist. Some cases are tough to understand and deal with, so professional advice can be a huge help!
Training A Boxer Puppy: The Rewards Make The Effort Worthwhile
Boxer puppy training isn’t all that difficult. Boxers are eager to please, smart, and very trainable.
Dedication from your side is going to be a must. Your aim is to make obedience second nature to your pet.
Your reward is a happy, secure dog who knows what’s expected of him and who respects you as his leader. As for the love, with Boxers, that’s a given!