Boxers are intelligent, affectionate and active. They make great family pets, but as with any breed of, obedience training is essential for harmonious existence within your nest. Understanding the boxer’s temperamental characteristics and likely behavior will give you a great head start when you begin obedience training.
Exercise the dog. Take him for a long walk, if you have access to a secure area, allow him to run off-leash. Boxers have lots of energy and require daily exercise (reference 1). By burning off some of that energy before training, your boxer is less likely to become distracted. Don’t tire him out, but give him a chance to stretch his legs before training.
Remove all distractions from the training area. Ideally, a room with a closing door is best as foot traffic and noise will distract your pet. Rid the room of toys and other pets and, if necessary, close the windows to shut out sounds. Boxers are easily distracted by the sounds of nearby dogs or people because they have strong guarding instincts.
Fill your pockets with food treats. You can use these as lures during training.
Teaching the Sit
Take a treat in your hand and walk toward the boxer. Raise the treat over his head and say, “sit.”
Move the treat toward the back of the dog’s head, repeating the sit command. Your boxer is a smart dog and will most likely park his backside on the floor to allow himself to follow the treat with his nose.
Release the treat as soon as your dog’s bottom hits the ground. Then give lots of physical affection. Boxers love human affection. With sufficient repetition, your dog will learn that sitting when commanded results in affection. This is a positive outcome for the dog. Eventually he’ll perform the sit without the need for the treat. The trick is to time your sit command with him voluntarily sitting so he associates the word with the action.
Teaching the Come
Allow your boxer to wander around the training area.
Call his name or make a sound to get his attention.
Crouch down as soon as he looks at you. This gesture is inviting to the dog. Hold out a treat and say, “come.” If he looks away, stop the command. At this stage, the dog will choose whether to come or not, as he doesn’t understand the command. The trick is to make him want to come and time the command so he associates his choice to approach you with the sound of the come command -- if you continue to say it when he is looking away, it loses its effectiveness.
Release the treat and give lots of physical fuss as soon as he comes to you. Repeat this exercise until the dog instantly approaches as soon as he hears “come.”
Correcting Unwanted Behavior
Observe your boxer at all times if he is freely interacting with other people or pets.
Call his name if you spot him displaying aggressive body language. This distracts him.
Issue the sit command as soon as he looks at you.
Issue the come command once he is seated, and reward him physical affection.
- The boxer is a strong dog with an instinct for protecting his family. If he feels startled or threatened, he may react aggressively. Always supervise your boxer when around new people or animals.
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.