Like all dogs, boxers will fight if the circumstances demand it, especially if the owner ignores the warning signs. Territorial behavior, fear and poor socialization are primary precipitators of dog fights. Stopping boxers from fighting begins with preventing these and other triggers. Learn to spot the signs of a fight brewing before it actually happens.
Give your boxer lots of exercise. One short walk a day won’t do, boxers need stimulating, engaging exercise. Games of fetch and tug-of-war are ideal for burning off excess energy. Boxers are known for their high exercise requirements. If Tyson has a lot of pent-up energy, he may channel it into fighting with other dogs. A tired dog is a well-behaved dog.
Introduce your dog to other dogs in a neutral area. Territorialism can lead to dog-on-dog aggression. If you’re bring home another boxer or you’re setting Tyson up with a new playmate, introduce the pair at the dog park first. This means Tyson won’t feel the need to defend his turf.
Socialize Tyson with other dogs. Although boxers are very friendly and playful, they can be prone to aggression toward other dogs, particularly those of the same sex. By socializing Tyson regularly, you'll teach him to accept the attention of other dogs.
Observe the body language of Tyson and dogs he's with. Monitor him when he’s interacting with other dogs. Signs of impending aggression include a fixed gaze, flashes of teeth, avoidance of eye contact and a tense posture. By understanding which gestures occur in the lead up to a fight, you can pre-empt brewing trouble.
Leash Tyson in the presence of other dogs if necessary. If you suspect he may have an aggression problem, you can use the leash to control his movement and to discourage early signs of aggression. If Tyson begins to growl at another dog, for example, a gentle tug on the leash and a time-out can keep him in check. With sufficient repetition, Tyson will learn that his aggressive behavior results in being put in time-out. He’ll naturally favor more passive behavior to avoid this outcome.
Breaking Up a Fight
Distract fighting dogs by stamping your feet or clapping. This may be enough to disrupt them and prevent the fight from escalating, but distraction typically only works at during the early stage of the fight.
Grab Tyson by the collar. Dog trainer Cesar Millan recommends pulling the dog away from the other by gripping his collar and lifting him upward. If you put your hands near his head or try to pull him toward the ground, the dog may interpret this as a sign of your willingness to get involved in the fracas. Grabbing the collar is useful only during the early stages of a fight, when either dog has yet to land a bite.
Call for help if possible. If Tyson is fighting with another person's dog, alert that owner and ask them to take control of their dog. Male boxers can weigh up to 70 pounds and females up to 65 pounds, so controlling them is no mean feat.
Grab your dog's hind legs and lift them up so you're holding him like a wheelbarrow. Walk in a circle and turn your dog's head away from the other dog to prevent him from getting bitten. If he hasn't done the same, instruct the owner of the other dog to copy you. Boxers have very strong jaws. If one of the dogs has locked his jaws onto the other, grab your dog by the ribs and apply pressure. This can force him to open his mouth. Immediately pull him away. Release the pressure as soon he opens his mouth. Be careful not injure your dog. If that doesn't work, grab a solid stick and use that to pry his mouth open.
Walk Tyson away from the other dog calmly and give him a time-out. Don’t shout or hit him. Just ignore him. Once he’s had a few minutes to calm down, put him on a leash. This way you can control his movement and restrain him should he become aggressive again.
- Florida Boxer Rescue: Are You Right for a Boxer?
- Humane Society: Introducing a Dog to Other Pets
- Your Purebred Puppy: Boxer Dog Temperament What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em
- Cesar's Way: Breaking up Dog Fights
- ASPCA: Canine Body Language
- Leerburg: How to Break up a Dog Fight Without Getting Hurt
- petMD: Boxer
Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including "K9 Magazine" and "Pet Friendly Magazine." He has also written for Dogmagazine.net.