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Just got my boxer, Ares yesterday and everything's been going well.  His behavior is good except for a few small things we need to work on.

I am just curious though, after a walk today, he was laying on the ground by the couch (he's not allowed on the couch, bed, etc)...and I went over to lay next to him and watch some tv where I had the fan pointing.  As soon as I get level with him, he jumps up and just starts starring me down and starts barking.

I tried it again later, got down on my hands and knees and he got the same way.  I just stood up and kinda walked toward him like "hey man I'm the boss" you know...

The second time though, my girlfriend was watching and she seemed to think it was a problem...and I don't want her to be afraid of Ares.

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So I mean is this something I should do something about, is he playing, is he 'challenging' me...  I have no idea.

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Also, sometimes he'll let out a little growl -- like if we're sitting on the couch, he'll bring his chew toy over and give out a nice grunt while he looks at you.  I just ignore it and he stops...I think that's just like him saying "hey I'm here, I want you to play with me" -- but I don't want to 'give in' and do things on his terms.  Once he stopped with that and the nudging, I called him over to pet him some.

I don't think that's a problem really, just probably his way of communicating (which will stop when he realizes that doesn't get us to do what he wants), but I would like a bit more understanding of what that is when I get down on the floor and he seems kind of mad or 'challenging' if you will...and what I should do to nip this in the bud now.  It doesn't necessarily bother me because I'll stand up and show him that I'm the alpha dog, but I definitely don't want him getting like that with my girlfriend or anyone else you know.
 

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If Kiah has a toy in her mouth she will come up to me and talk.  It is not really a growl just a sound she makes before she does her Woo Woo!
 

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It sounds like he's using the growl as his way of getting his way. Angel has done that as well if she isn't happy with not getting attention. I don't tolerate that, a very firm "no" has worked well for me. A lot of dogs are not comfortable about looking them in the eye..Shepards are especially bad about that, altho I have never had that issue with any of my boxers. This is still a learning time for all of you, but definitely it's best to try to stop any bad behaviors quick. These could have been things Ares had done before and he's used to it. Yes, you do need to let him know that you are the boss and your actions and body language will help with that as well. Never show fear or that you can be intimidated...
 

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Yeah, I hear you both, thanks.  And  yeah, I definitely let him know that I'm the alpha dog...I read that boxers don't have a problem as long as they know exactly where they fit in...

Any time we walk through a door, I make him wait for me to go first.  Any time we walk down a skinny path, he gets behind me, etc.

We're doing very well together and his walking has improved by a TON...I may have to pull him back next to/behind me 5 times or so on the whole walk.

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I heard boxers are fearless, but Ares is scared to death of those sewer grates when they make the water noise on walks ... lol ... wimp.   :D
 

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They may be fearless, but I have found each one of mine have their own idisyncrisies that they develop..Buck hated diesel engines, Tia hated motorcycles, Samson disliked bicycles, Angel, well she's not liking thunder at the moment....Lol
 

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Advice from a trainer/behaviorist:

My first point is that your not a dog.  Dog (Boxers especially) need to know that we are the leaders.  

I also think you should read the Dog Body Language stickey that I wrote.  It will give you alot of insigt, not only into your dogs body language, but also what our body tells our dogs.  

As for your dogs behavior when you get down on the floor...

Imagine waking up from a nap with a persons face (with whom you've only known a day) in your face on your level, when you thought you were safe...
What would you think if that happened to you?
What would you do if you weren't completely awake and you opened your eyes to that?

Let me tell you what I would do...

I tend to wake up swinging when something like that happens...So I probably wouldn't ask questions...I would probably just knock them out.

As for your dog...

I think you're startling him awake and he is assessing the situation as well as trying to tell you to back off because you scared him.  Before you get down on the floor in his occupied space (irregardless of whether that space is yours or not) you should say his name in a calm voice  or put your hand up to his nose to alert him to your prescense.

Liz and Lilly
 
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