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Old 08-27-2012, 11:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Rescue boxer advise: aggressive behavior and lack of playfulness

Hi all,
I adopted a boxer from a local rescue group; his name is deco. He has been with me for a little over a week and I'm starting to wonder if he is the right dog for my family for 2 reasons: 1. Lack of playfulness & acting like a typical boxer 2. Aggression issues. If anyone has any advise or similar experiences, please share. I realize a dog is a long term commitment and want to do whats best for my family and for deco. *I dont want to give up on him if there is light at the end of the tunnel. Do i just need to give him time/training or would he be a better off with a different family?

His background: 1-2 years old; un-neutered (i have him scheduled for neutering this friday). His family was deported and he was left with a neighbor. The neighbor had a party and somehow the dog was stabbed three times. Miami animal services seized the dog and stitched him up. He was noted as being aggressive and was scheduled to be euthanized. The rescue group came and took him out of the shelter(off death row). The rescue group told me that he must have been mistreated to be marked as aggressive b/c he was really a sweetheart. I took them at their word on that. They also said, he did not like confined spaces (kennel/crate) and I didn't foresee this as a problem as I prefer to let my dog roam the house if they are well behaved or confine them to an area like the kitchen if needed. In hind site, I feel like I should have seen this as a red flag, but just thought the behavior was due o being treated cruelly.

Our background: my husband and I lost our long time pet three months ago (Doberman/rottie mix). I always loved the personality of boxers (goofy, playful, energetic) and after much research on dog breeds, we decided this would be our next dog. We also plan to have children in the next two years so our dog needs to be good with kids. We feel equipped to deal with normal dog training and dominance issues, but aggression towards humans is another story. Does his behavior mean there is a good chance he will show aggression towards children?

Behavior: deco seems to be very comfortable here and he is well behaved in the house. *Initially, I didn't see that he was affected by his past. He was friendly and confident, however he is not very playful and sleeps most of the day. I thought he was just recuperating from stress by sleeping but now I'm wondering if that's just his energy level. The whole reason we decided on a boxer in the first place is because of their bubbly playful personality, but I don't see that in him. We go on two walks/runs per day and at least one is with my neighbor and their boxer. they get along very well. He is good on the leash Most of the time, but does pull and fixate if there is a dog behind a fence or walking towards us.

Secondly, I had an incident with him a couple days ago. My parents brought their golden retriever, jazzy, over. She is fixed, but deco humped her insesintly for a couple hours. I tried to get him off and he snapped at me & growled. This was the total opposite of how he acted all week. I realize his hormones are involved since he's not neutered yet and i moved up his neuter appt because of this, but what came after was even more concerning. After his humping spree was done, he guarded jazzy. me and my parents could not get within 5 ft of either dog without him growling/snapping at us. He bit me once although he didnt draw blood. This lasted all night. The next day, we kept them separated and he was calm and friendly again. **At that point I noticed He was a little wary around men approaching him as well.

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Old 08-27-2012, 12:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hello - Although I am no expert on rescues but having 2 boxers (just got an 8 week old pup) it does take time - he is adjusting just as you are! You will find alot of people on here who have great information and insight that are always glad to help with any advice. Seems like you are a great mom!!! Be patient....it will get better!
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Wow....you're going through a lot...and so id Deco. I adopted Winston about 2 and a half years ago. He was a senior and certainly didn't have the SAME issues as Deco, but he came from a abuse/neglect situation. Doesn't sound as bad as Deco had it. My point is this. The first week home Winston didn't pay us any mind. He was good in the house and well trained...but he just preferred to be AWAY from us. I would say it went on for two weeks that we'd be like, "where's Winston" and find out he had gone into the study or the guest room to get away and sleep. While Winston is a champion sleeper still, he was just asleep for his first 2 weeks with us and wasn't very interested in being around us. It really DID change for us. He is so great, I LOVE Winston to death and he is a real Moma's boy now! Obviously, these are different issues than what you are going through. I think the neuter might help the "agression" issues tremedously especially since Deco only got aggressive when he was trying to get some. I would give his personality time to come out. He is in a new environment and probably isn't to sure about you guys yet. I hope this is helpful and I wish you luck and thank you for giving Deco a home.
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies. Here are a few pictures of Deco.
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Rescue boxer advise: aggressive behavior and lack of playfulness-deco.jpg   Rescue boxer advise: aggressive behavior and lack of playfulness-deco-2.jpg  
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well he sure is a gorgeous boy!!!! I hope that the neuter helps, and I think it will. As for the rest, he might need a little adjustment time and I'm betting he wasn't trained very well in his former environment.
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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What a sweetie - don't give up on him! Time will make things better for you both!
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Here is my Winston when we first got him


And here he is now
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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First off congrats on the rescue and getting a beautiful dog. I personally have no experience with rescue bit a week is a short time and she does have to get to know you and there is a decompression period. But it's never to early for her to know your expectations. While on walks teach her commands and the most important part LOTS of praise This will benefit both of you & boxers love it. This will turn the ship around. Running and exercise is fine but mix it up! Also training classes to help him socialize would be good. Good luck & my hats off to you.

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Old 08-27-2012, 01:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for the suggestions. I've been working on commands at least once per day, but only inside. He already knew sit and down. He picked up on the wait command very quickly. He doesn't listin as well out on the walks so maybe I'll bring some treats with me and work on training away from the house.

After his surgery, then I'll check out an obedience class
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I was thinking maybe he is part mastiff and not all boxer. That could be a reason for the low energy.
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