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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So here's the deal. I have 9 hunting dogs, all beagles and pointers, and have worked with pits, GSDs, corgis, and what have you mixes. My dogs are level-headed, all eat together and feeding time is quiet, rarely squabble and recognize me as leader. I don't believe in punishment, alpha rolls, etc but use positive reinforcement and ignoring as a last resort. So.

My friend wants me to salvage his 2 year old male intact boxer. And he's done almost everything wrong. Rocky has had NO training, is kept outside mostly, allowed to roam freely in a rural area, kenneled at night, very little people interaction including play or walking, and is bored to tears.

I've been offering for ages to work with Rocky so he's trained for in-house lovable, but no. Now Rocky snapped at him when he tried to drag him into his kennel so all of a sudden it's an emergency.

Most info tells about puppy-training but not adult-training. And I know 2 years is a critical time for aggression, plus he needs neutering but we can't do it overnight. Any suggestions for training an untrained boxer? I'm not afraid of getting snapped at or bit. I don't use harsh methods. I think the owner screwed up too by swatting Rocky on the butt.
 

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Boxers respond well to praise and are very intelligent and eager to please. I think if it were me I would take the dog ASAP and train as if I were training a puppy.
 

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Boxers tend to ignore when harsh methods are used. They respond best to positive reinforcement and they are very eager to please. Sounds to me like Rocky hasn't bonded with your friend at all. Hopefully there is no psychological damage done as boxers are very attached to and crave the attention of their humans.

I agree that you should start from square one and train him as you would a puppy. Sounds like you're going to have to house train him as well! Best of luck to you!

Also, thank you for saving him! :)
 

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I've read that boxers are very sensitive to harsh correction. Do you find that to be true?
I would say...don't even think about a harsh correction! The term soft dog comes to mind! I gave a harsh 'SIT!" to my first Boxer/Mix and he looked at me like he was going to cry??? From that point on it was "Sit" and that's what he did! Brilliant and he was easy to train. When they know you are a firm and fair leader they will follow you to the ends of the earth!

The girls are a bit different they have a "are you serious phase???" that you have to work through!

If you just got him, I would start here:
I just got a rescued dog – what do I do? | stickydogblog

That helps to build a bond of trust, basically you just manage the dog and give him time to adjust. No real training during the adjustment period! Right now all he knows is new place same crap??

Then...post on loose leash training:
http://www.boxerforums.com/1614410-post2.html

And these two "The Place Command" and "Sit on Dog" both are very important and have been used by pros for decades! Both are deceptively simple but very valuable! They help build a bond of trust! And once you have that everything else is going to be easy! :)


http://www.boxerforums.com/1614458-post4.html
http://www.boxerforums.com/1614666-post8.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you for the great feedback !

I spent one day with him at his home expecting him to be reserved and suspicious according to owner's description but he's a love! He plays well, sits easily and walks on a leash with very little "pulling", responding to correction well.

He loves affection, is a "leaner," and isn't very touchy with stroking paws. He snarled at me once so I walked away with my back to him. (Not quite sure what triggered it while I was stroking him.) after a minute he came up to my side looking penitent and no more problems after that.

His kennel was full of crap so I insisted his owner clean it out. Boxers (and others dogs) don't like to live in their own filth. Play was a little limited because of the heat and somewhere I recall boxers overheat fast.

His owner sat about forty feet away watching all this, scared to death I was going to be eaten alive. It's not good that he's afraid of Rocky, but good that he's watching the training, I think. Rocky is very smart, eager to please, and affectionate but his biggest problems are boredom, frustration and lack of attention. I'm trying to get the owner to let me work with him more than once a week but he feels like he needs to be there (I don't) and he's "busy."
 

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I think you need to convince him to surrender him to you or your local boxer rescue group.

Boxers crave attention and love to live with their people. The leaning you mentioned is typical Boxer behavior. They love to be touching you at all times. Having him segregated in a filthy enclosure will do him nothing but harm (physically and psychologically)! And yes they are very sensitive to heat and cold! This is why they are not outdoor dogs!

It pains me to hear this...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Yeah, I hate it when owners treat their dogs like livestock.

But bringing Rocky home with me is not so simple. Nine dogs are a pack, and adding a dog causes ripples of tension throughout, potentially leading to fights among the most border-aggressive dogs. Plus introducing a new dog means he needs to be confident, calm and assertive because he will be mobbed by nine curious hounds. Rocky isn't there yet.

I can't surrender Rocky for the owner ; I'm not the owner. But I do know of a boxer rescue group. Rocky's best friend, the female Marley, will be devastated also.
 

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Honestly, by your description it doesn't sound like the owner really wants a pet. And he has two of them? ugh! :chair:
 
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