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Basic Obedience Commands Training

Although Boxers are unique among dog breeds for many reasons, basic obedience commands are still the best place to begin their training.

The goal of obedience training is to teach your Boxer to respond to the following commands: Sit, Down, Stay, Heel, and Come. Begin obedience training in a puppy or beginner's training class, but practice and reinforce it at home.

Start training at approximately 8 weeks old if you have a new puppy. Begin with the simplest commands and work up to the more challenging ones. Once Sit and Down are mastered, add Stay, then Heel, and lastly, Come. Training sessions should be short, but frequent. Two or three 5 to 10 minute sessions a day are better than one 30 minute session every two days. Boxers are easily bored and distracted, and you want to make training fun, not a chore. Have training sessions when your Boxer is somewhat tired and a little hungry, such as in between meals and after play sessions. Boxers that are wound up or have a full belly are much less likely to pay attention.

No matter what command you are training, the basic steps are the same. Get your Boxer to focus on you, say its name, and then speak the command. Next, entice or gently guide it into the position of whatever command you are training. Reward the position with praise and treats immediately, and repeat the process. Look for opportunities throughout the day for your Boxer to practice and show off the learned behavior, and reward it every time.

When speaking your Boxer's name and commands, be sure to use a friendly, calm tone of voice, and be very gentle when you are guiding your Boxer into position. If you become impatient, or your Boxer begins to struggle with you, end the training session. Never use obedience commands in conjunction with or as a means of punishment, even if you are using them stop undesirable behavior.

Some Boxer owners train Off and No in conjunction with the five basic obedience commands, but use them sparingly. Boxers love to jump on everything, and a Boxer wouldn't be a Boxer if it wasn't somewhat mischievous! Be wary of focusing too much attention on what your dog does wrong. Boxers are independent thinkers, and they tend to block out reprimands given too often, or do what they want regardless of them. Reprimanding is a form of positive reinforcement, just as giving praise is. Your Boxer will learn that it gets what it craves “ your attention - for the wrong behavior. A much better approach is to end the undesirable behavior by replacing it with a desirable one, and rewarding the replacement behavior.

Once they are mastered, be sure to practice obedience commands with your Boxer in a variety of places, with increasing levels of distraction. Use them to help socialize your Boxer, and as a tool that allows it to enjoy more freedom.

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