Aggression in Boxers
There are certain breeds of dogs that tend
to be more aggressive than others. We all
have heard stories of pit bulls, chow-chows,
and boxers that show aggressive behavior,
growling, snarling, and even biting people
and other animals. Signs of hostility in
a dog include bared teeth, flattened ears,
erect tail, stiff legs, and bristling back
hair; the dog may growl or bark.
If you see these behaviors, you should
keep your arms at your sides and slowly
back away, while firmly saying "No."
Why do certain breeds tend to be
aggressive? Let’s look at Boxers as one breed
that can behave aggressively under certain circumstances.
Why do Boxers tend to be
Sometimes, Boxers are aggressive just because
it is part of the breed’s specific instinctual
behavior. It is not learned, but inbred over time.
Boxers also tend to become aggressive
when they have not been socialized adequately as
puppies. A lack of exposure to “the world,”
including other animals and people causes boxers
to fear the unknown. They show aggression toward
other animals and people because they are unsure
Boxers are strong-willed dogs;
they have minds of their own and they don’t
hesitate to act on their own. Boxers need confident
owners who can take charge of the animal, train
properly, and maintain control at all times. Be
aware that sometimes aggression can be caused by
Always have your dog checked by
a vet when it shows aggression to rule out medical
Understanding Your Boxer
Many Boxers have protective instincts
toward their owners when strangers are near. They
need extensive exposure to friendly people so they
learn to recognize the normal, non-threatening behavior
of family members, friends, and neighbors. Then
they are able to recognize the differences when
someone acts threatening.
Without extensive socialization
from an early age, they are suspicious of everyone,
which can lead to biting, snarling, growling, and
aggressiveness or are so fearful of being harmed
that they become aggressive in their own defense.
Many Boxers are dominant or aggressive
toward other dogs, especially those of the same
sex. Some have strong instincts to chase and kill
cats and other animals. If anything goes wrong in
the breeding, socializing, training, or care of
this breed, it is capable of injuring or killing
If a Boxer puppy is removed from
its mother before seven weeks of age, it will not
learn canine social signals such as bite inhibition,
which are taught by the mother dog and siblings
during this time. The puppy will be “mouthy”
and nip, resist being handled, and act aggressively
and fearfully toward other animals.
Conversely, if a puppy lives with
its mother or siblings for more than 12 weeks, his
position in the "pecking order" may be
so ingrained that he will always act dominant (if
he was at the top) or submissive (if he was at the
bottom) toward people or other dogs.
to Control Aggressive Boxers?
The best way to begin socializing
your Boxer is to bring him home at seven or eight
weeks of age and get him out into the world daily.
Yes, daily is what it takes to establish a strong
bond with your dog so that he will trust, respect,
and obey you. This is “socializing”
your dog, i.e.; getting him used to people, other
dogs, other animals, and the world. This has an
incredible impact on your dog’s behavior as
he grows into adulthood.
It’s also crucial to socialize your adolescent
dog, between the ages of six and nine months old
to three years old. This is a difficult time of
life for dogs; they are changing physically and
learning constantly. They must be taught how to
behave around people and other animals.
Continuing to socialize your Boxer during adulthood
will not change the attitudes your dog has developed
as a puppy, but can help to control his behavior
so that he doesn’t act afraid or aggressive.
Socializing begins early and continues throughout
your Boxer’s life. Take him for rides in the
car. Take him to pet stores and other stores that
allow dogs. Expose him to other animals at dog parks
and as you take walks. Visit friends with him and
have friends come to your home. Teach the dog to
greet visitors. Use praise, praise, praise and affection
constantly to encourage good behavior. Build a strong
relationship with your Boxer; you are the leader
and as the leader you must be calm, strong, loving,
Touching has a powerful emotional effect on many
dogs. It is part of the bonding process between
the owner and the dog. Your dog must be willing
to accept touching so that you can groom him, care
for injuries, and put leashes and collars on him.
Also, touch will help develop a strong, loving relationship
between you, leading to his desire to please you.
A daily “touch” session of five minutes
or so is invaluable.
Most puppies are ready to begin obedience lessons
at six to eight months of age. The first lessons
should be brief, 10 to 15 minutes a day (in addition
to socialization activities), and gradually increase
to 30 minutes. Training works best with lots of
praise and a stern "no" for corrections.
The trainer should always be consistent in reinforcing
good behavior and correcting bad behavior and should
never strike a dog. Many trainers use a leash and
chain-link collar, known as a choke collar. In spite
of its name, the collar is never meant to choke
a dog, but is used to deliver quick snaps to gain
a dog's attention. This training collar is useful
in teaching basic obedience commands, such as sit,
stay, heel, come, and down.
You must establish yourself as the leader of the
dog’s pack. If you don’t, you will never
have your dog under control. You must be strong,
calm, firm, and respectful of the dog. Your behavior
will determine whether your dog will obey you and
respect you. The well-trained dog isn’t ultimately
trained by treats, collars, or demands; he is trained
by his love and respect for you.
In training Boxers to be non-aggressive, the owner
must commit to daily socialization and training
sessions for the duration of the dog’s life.
The respectful and loving relationship between the
Boxer and the owner is the most important factor
in the Boxer’s acceptance of and non-aggression
toward people and other animals. The owner must
be the pack leader – firm, loving, consistent,
and in control at all times.
Train Your Dog to Obey You and
Stop All Bad Behavior, Excessive Barking
Here to find out more on Boxer Dogs