If you have a Boxer puppy, then chances are you’ve been nipped a few times. As with all puppies, Boxers are very mouthy when they’re little. Nevertheless, this is not to say you should simply accept it, or turn a blind eye. Instead, you’ll want to train your Boxer not to bite, particularly before those adult teeth come in. But how can you do this? And how long will it take? Here’s everything you’ll want to know about it.
So, how can you train a Boxer puppy not to bite? You can train your Boxer not to bite in several ways, including ignoring him, using a leash, and having chew toys available as alternatives. Puppy classes and learning the “drop it” command are also useful.
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How To Train A Boxer Puppy Not To Bite
You can help train your Boxer puppy not to bite by making sure he isn’t stressed, angry, bored, or suffering from a medical problem. Get him to puppy classes so he can learn good behavior around other dogs and people. When he does bite, ignore him, use leash training, or redirect him to suitable things to chew on. Teach children how to play with your puppy to not overexcite him. The “drop it” command is also useful (and can even be life-saving).
Look at Why Your Boxer Might Be Biting
Most puppies nip while they’re exploring the world with their mouths, and even more so while they’re teething. However, there are other common reasons your Boxer pup might be biting, which are worth knowing about before trying techniques to get him to stop:
- Your pup is stressed or angry. A Boxer who bites out of stress or anger is like a young child throwing a temper tantrum. Fortunately, there are several ways you can help your Boxer (see below).
- Your pup is bored. It can be tricky to spot boredom, especially as dogs tend to be bored when their people are absent. But if you find your Boxer pup repeatedly chewing on things that smell like you (shoes, for instance), or if you know you’re gone for long periods each day, it could be your Boxer is bored and needs more stimulation (mental and physical).
- There’s a medical problem. Boxers can be prone to hip dysplasia (especially if they use stairs as puppies), Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), cancer, skin problems and hearing loss. Your Boxer may bite to help take his mind off of pain. He could also bite you if you accidentally do something that exacerbates his pain.
- Your Boxer pup hasn’t been socialized enough. Puppies usually learn to control their biting behaviors from their littermates as well as other dogs, but perhaps your Boxer pup needs more socialization.
Train Your Boxer Pup Different Behaviors
If your Boxer pup has any medical issues, the obvious first step is to get those looked at. In addition, here are some things to try with your Boxer pup to help him stop biting:
- Ignoring him when he bites. If your Boxer bites you, let your hand go limp and ignore him. When you remove your hand from your Boxer’s bite, do so slowly. If you jerk your hand away quickly, your puppy might see your hand as exciting, moving prey. Don’t react (easier said than done), don’t speak or look at him. Make a point to ignore him for a few minutes and then go back to him so that he sees that biting causes a withdrawal of what he craves (your attention).
- Putting him on a leash indoors. Use a leash with a flat collar, and when your Boxer pup bites, give a gentle pop on the leash to startle and distract him (while removing the hand calmly). Ignore him (as above) for a minute or two before resuming petting or play.
- Keeping suitable alternatives for biting and chewing on hand. Arm yourself with the right chew toys, teething items, tug toys and other things your puppy can bite to his heart’s content. When your Boxer pup bites you, redirect him to one of these items. You want him to learn that unlike your hands, he can chew on these things as much as he likes.
Note: Many websites suggest that you yelp like a puppy to let your Boxer pup know that he’s hurt you. With Boxers, however, this can only make your puppy more excited. Model calm behavior for your dog.
Take Your Boxer Puppy To Puppy Classes
Puppy classes are brilliant for teaching your Boxer pup how to behave around other dogs and people. Your puppy will love the added attention, too.
Note: Before letting your puppy interact with other dogs, make sure they’ve had their appropriate vaccinations.
Teach Your Boxer The Drop It Command
No matter what breed of puppy you have, the “drop it” command is an extremely useful one. If your puppy picks up something toxic, it can even save his life.
Here are two methods for teaching this command, one using food and the other using toys (most dogs usually have a preference for one or the other for training).
Here’s how to use food – either treats or pieces of kibble – to teach your Boxer to “drop it”:
- Put a treat on the floor while saying “drop” once. Your Boxer will then look up at you for another treat, at which point you’ll repeat the same thing. Do this over several short sessions for ten times each. You’ll know your Boxer is ready for the next step when he looks for the treat on the floor as soon as he hears you say “drop”.
- Trade food for a toy. Choose a toy for your Boxer that he likes (not his number one favorite, though, as he probably won’t want to relinquish it). Allow your Boxer to play with the toy for a few seconds, then say “drop” while putting a treat on the floor. See if he gives up the toy to take the treat (don’t help him as he needs to do this himself). Repeat this process until he gives up the toy, ten times for each session, as in the previous step.
- Don’t offer the treat till he’s dropped the toy. Say “drop” and wait till your Boxer puppy drops his toy before putting down a treat. Once he is releasing the toy consistently for the treat, repeat this process with a toy he likes a little bit more. Keep training him at this stage until he’s willing to give up his favorite toy – you’ll know he’s then got it!
Note: If at any time your Boxer seems to find a particular step too challenging, go back to the previous step. Sometimes we go too fast for our furry friends.
Here’s how to teach your Boxer “drop it” while using toys:
- Start with a toy swap. Get two toys for your Boxer pup that are either exactly the same or similar in value in his eyes. Toss one of them for him to fetch and let him bring it back to you. When he reaches you with the toy, start playing excitedly with the second toy so that he drops the one he has and wants to play with the ‘new’ toy. Use two tug toys if your Boxer likes those.
- Be sure both toys are equally rewarding. When your Boxer drops the first toy, say “yes!” (you may have to wait). Keep your energy and enthusiasm high while you play with the second toy with him so that he learns that dropping a toy can bring rewards.
- Repeat the previous step with the second toy. By repeating the previous step with the second toy, your Boxer will learn to drop the toy as soon as you offer him the other toy (this will take time).
- Now teach your Boxer to drop the toy when he hears you say “drop”. Do this by saying “drop” when your Boxer gives up the toy in the previous stage. Keep swapping between toys, saying “drop” each time your Boxer gives up a toy. Once your Boxer lets go of a toy as soon as you say “drop”, you can then get him to drop the toy on command without offering him a replacement toy (but still offering him a reward, like words of praise or affection).
Teach Young Children The Right Way To Play With Puppies
Young children usually get highly excited around puppies, which can have an eager puppy bite out of overwhelm.
Teach young children to play with the puppy when he is calm, petting him gently or offering him a chew toy.
When children are running around outside or wanting to play while making loud noises, keep your puppy out of the action so that he doesn’t get overexcited and bite.
Teach your children what the signals are that puppies give when they are starting to get frightened or overexcited.
How Long Does It Take To Train a Boxer Puppy To Stop Biting?
By the time your Boxer puppy is seven or eight months old, he’ll usually stop biting, provided you’ve been consistent in your training. As long as your Boxer pup has adequate chew toys, he’ll be able to learn that there are other things more rewarding to bite than hands!
The Nature Of Boxers
Boxers are smart, playful dogs who have lots of energy and prefer to be around their people, so they require lots of interaction and socialization. These dogs need both mental and physical stimulation to be happy.
They are fiercely loyal and will guard their home and family against strangers, which is all the more reason to train them not to bite people.
Here are some final things to bear in mind when teaching your Boxer puppy not to bite:
- Never hit or yell at your puppy – not even with a tap on his nose or a whack with a rolled-up paper. Punishments will only make your dog more fearful, and your Boxer needs to know he is safe at home with you.
- No dog does well with harsh treatment – and Boxers tend to shut down if they are mistreated.
- Positive reinforcement is key when training your dog – rewards like treats, praise and cuddles will go a long way toward motivating your Boxer to do the right things.
- If there are particular items your Boxer loves chewing on that you want to keep safe, you can try using a bite-deterrent spray (though this is in addition to training).
- Be on the lookout for any signs of resource guarding (which can happen particularly in homes with several pets or when your dog is bored or stressed). Resource guarding can lead to other aggressive behaviors in addition to biting that you’re better off without!
Why Do Boxer Puppies Bite?
To help curb boxer puppy biting, it’s crucial to look at the potential underlying causes.
Let’s explore some of the most common reasons below.
Like all puppies, boxers go through a teething stage during which their baby teeth fall out and are replaced by adult teeth.
This process can cause discomfort and pain, leading your pup to chew on various objects, including your hands or feet, to alleviate the irritation.
Boxer puppies are known for their exuberant play style, and biting is often a natural part of their play.
They may nip at your hands or clothing as a way of engaging you in a game.
While play biting is normal, it’s essential to teach your pup the difference between acceptable play and biting that’s too rough.
A bored boxer puppy is a recipe for trouble.
When they don’t have enough physical and mental stimulation, they might resort to biting as a way to entertain themselves.
Ensuring that your pup has plenty of toys, exercise, and mental challenges can help curb this behavior.
Puppies, including boxers, use their mouths to explore the world around them.
They’ll often bite or nibble on objects, people, or other pets to learn more about their environment.
This behavior is normal, but it’s crucial to teach your puppy the limits of acceptable biting.
Boxer puppies might also bite as a way of communicating with you.
For example, they might nip at your heels to get your attention or bite your hand to let you know that they’re hungry or need to go outside.
Recognizing these signals and responding appropriately can help you and your pup communicate more effectively.
Understanding the reasons behind your boxer puppy’s biting behavior is crucial to effectively managing it.
Training plays a significant role in helping your pup learn how to behave while ensuring that their biting doesn’t escalate into a more serious issue as they grow older.
By addressing the root causes of your puppy’s biting and establishing clear boundaries, you can help your boxer develop into a well-behaved, happy, and loving companion.
I actually developed a resource to guide you through the process of training your boxer puppy.
Its called “The Bite Stops Here: Techniques for Training Your Puppy to Stop Biting” which you can take a closer look at here.
This comprehensive guide provides valuable information and step-by-step techniques to help you teach your pup the right way to interact with you, other people, and pets.
With consistency, patience, and the right guidance, you can successfully curb your boxer puppy’s biting behavior and strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend.
Related Boxer articles you may want to see:
- Best Crate For Boxer [This Is the One To Opt For]
- Best Dog Food For Boxers With Allergies
- What Are Common Food Allergies For Boxers?
- Best Dog Treats For Boxers [That They’ll Be Sure To Love]
- How Much Exercise Do Boxers Need? [Activity Guide For Owners]
- Are Boxers Good With Cats? [Owners Guide & Introduction Tips]
- When Do Boxers Stop Growing? [And How Big Do Boxers Get?]
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.