Popular Dogs: Boxers

The people-oriented Boxer possesses a delightful but challenging overabundance of personality that demands management.


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3. Busy Bodies
Boxers are athletic, high-energy dogs with lots of muscle to maintain. They are also intelligent, and if you don't keep those brains busy, you'll have a bored buddy. In fact, mental stimulation may be even more important for Boxers than hours of physical exercise. "Mine are perfectly content to lie around the house. It's simply a matter of devoting enough time, attention and training to them," says Zurflieh.

Satisfy your brainy and brawny Boxer by getting involved in organized activities, such as agility and competitive obedience, or more casual pursuits, such as hiking, walking and mastering tricks. Agility, in particular, is a Boxer favorite. Confident enough not to fear the equipment, this breed also has the strength and flexibility to fly through an agility course with speed and style. "Boxers love agility, and they do agility much better than obedience because it's freer and it's fun. It appeals to the fun side of them," says Dr. Wallner.

Boxers' high energy and intelligence mean you must also be ready to stay one step ahead of them, during activities and at home. "Boxers are notorious for foiling your efforts to keep them under control. I've had [Boxers] that could figure out any kind of latch for any crate or pen in no time. Sometimes they have the door open before you can turn around and walk away," says Dr. Wallner. Boxers are good jumpers and may also escape from fenced yards if they are bored and see something fun to chase on the other side of the fence. 

4. Stimulation Required
Because Boxers are strong and curious and need lots of stimulation, a bored Boxer can easily become a destructive Boxere -- especially in puppyhood. Roy, one of Zurflieh's Boxers, shredded the door to the laundry room by peeling off the veneer, strip by strip, down to the plywood underneath. "Then he did it to my kitchen cabinets, but when I placed him in a home where he was the only dog and was doted on all the time, he became the most perfectly behaved dog with the most wonderful temperament," says Zurflieh.

Boxers must have plenty of chew toys and lots of mental challenges, and they must be trained starting in puppyhood to know what is and isn't allowed. "My advice is to take your Boxer to obedience class, and don't think one class is going to be the end of the training," says Dr. Wallner. "Training is ongoing. You can't get a dog and never do anything with it and expect it to be perfect, to not chew things, to not misbehave, to not be destructive. You have to show it how to be a good dog," she says.

5. Independent Companion
Some dogs are clingy and needy. Not Boxers. They don't crave constant attention; they just want to know where you are. "Boxers are independent and can amuse themselves with a toy for hours," says Dr. Wallner. "They may follow you around, but they don't have to be touching you all the time like some breeds," she says.

Their independence is due in part to their heritage as working guard dogs, responsible for alerting their owners to the presence of intruders. That same independence means Boxers can be a challenge to train. "They are way too independent to fall all over themselves doing what you want. But, if you make it fun for them, they learn so fast, it's almost scary," says Dr. Wallner.

Within 24 hours of bringing Sable home, LaGasse taught her to ring a bell to go outside. "Every time I took her out, I would ring the bell, take her out, then give her a treat. She figured out how to do it on her own in 24 hours. I think that's pretty impressive," says LaGasse.

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Ashley   Clarksburg, West Virginia

3/25/2015 9:48:20 AM

#5 Some dogs are clingy and needy. Not

Absolutely disagree. Every boxer I have ever met has been extremely clingy to their people, going a bit beyond normal dedication and loyalty to their human

My own boxer is sharing a kitchen chair with me as I write this, yes a kitchen chair, she makes me scoot to the edge so she can sit behind me. She follows me to the bathroom, all around the house when I do chores. As much as she likes following me she would much rather be leaning against me or touching me somehow and especially likes evening TV time on the couch so she can sit directly on my lap. At night time if she is not sleeping on top of my legs she is snuggled up against my back as tight as she can get. The only exception to this is after walking she will lay down alone for about a half hour or if the house is especially warm she will not want much contact because she gets hot so

But yes, overall, boxers are naturally clingy.

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Jessica   northlake, Texas

6/4/2013 9:23:49 PM

I have a 6 and a half month old boxer and I find number 5 to be especially true for him. He LOVES pig ears and he loves to chew on bottles, tennis balls, squeaky toys, etc. He doesn't always need me to play with him or dote on him, in fact he prefers to do things himself. He lets you know if he needs you to play or cuddle and he won't object any attention given to him without his "permission" (I can't find the right word right now haha) he just likes to figure things out on his own. He will spend hours chewing on his pig ear and he will follow you from room to room only so he can see where you are at. He hates it when you close a door on him though it is not because he is clingy. I think it is because boxers are protectors and in order to protect someone/thing you need to be able to see them and see what they are doing.

I also find the bit about the training in number 5 to be especially true as my pup doesn't do well unless it engages him. If it isn't fun for him, he gets distracted and/or disinterested and tries to venture off to find something to do. If it is entertaining for him, my goodness he picks it up fast - i'm talking within hours fast. Every boxer has a different personality more so than other breeds - they are much like people in that way. There is another boxer pup that is about the same age as mine that lives close by and he is very calm and reserved whereas mine is hyperactive, nosey, and seems to get a high off of adventuring no matter where it is.

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Tori   Houston, TX

5/16/2011 3:20:48 PM


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girldoglover   havre de grace, MD

11/17/2009 6:25:45 AM

I have a year old male. He listens fairly well to me (female) but is becoming increasingly aggressive with my husband who is not consistent in his type of play with him. Nor does he not assume the role as the pack leader. He rough-houses with dog then dog seems to expect it all the time and will initiate playtime with husband. So you see, I have a problem with husband unwilling to be consistent with training. Anyone else experience this?

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