Episodic Aggression in Boxer Dogs

Training your boxer puppy early can help reduce aggression episodes.
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Boxers are generally friendly dogs, albeit a little high-strung. Overall, boxers love people and children. As long as they're properly socialized, they get along great with other pets. But boxers do sometimes have aggressive tendencies that need to be kept in check.

Same-Sex Aggression

The most common problem with aggressive behavior in boxers is territorial and dominance aggression toward other dogs of the same sex. This is especially true with female boxers. Although they generally get along fine with male dogs, female boxers tend to pick fights with other females. Male boxers who haven’t been neutered, meanwhile, can be aggressive toward other male dogs. Boxers also tend to hold grudges; once one becomes angry with another dog, he might consider that dog to be a lifelong enemy. It’s generally best to never place a female boxer in a home with another female dog and to make sure male boxers are neutered early to keep them from developing aggression toward other dogs.

On-Leash Aggression

Boxers need to be exercised regularly; unfortunately, being on-leash sometimes brings out their territorial nature, causing them to behave aggressively toward other dogs they meet. Boxers also sometimes become more protective and defensive of their owners while on leash. A head collar with a loop that goes over the muzzle can give owners more control and help to keep this sort of aggressive behavior in check. In the event that it goes too far, such a collar can help the owner to regain control of a fighting boxer without getting in the middle of the fight.

Prey Instinct

The boxer was originally bred from crossing a bulldog with a bullenbeisser, which is a German hunting dog. As such, the boxer inherited a strong instinct for catching prey, which leads the breed to display aggression toward small animals such as squirrels, rabbits and birds, and even sometimes larger animals such as sheep and deer. The family cat should be safe if the boxer is introduced to her as a puppy; but unfamiliar cats, as well as other small pets, are in danger of falling victim to the boxer’s prey drive.

Dealing With Aggression

Boxers are highly energetic dogs who require daily walks and other forms of exercise to help them release pent-up energy and stay calm. They are strong-willed and need owners who are both willing and able to be strong, dominant leaders and establish firm boundaries for acceptable behavior. It’s important to show your boxer from a young age that aggression will not be tolerated. Early socialization with other animals and people can help avoid aggressive tendencies as the boxer gets older. If your boxer shows aggressive tendencies despite your best efforts to contain them, consult a veterinary behavioral expert for help in getting the aggression under control.

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