Proof: Boxers Are Great With Children

Last night, Hogan met his first toddler.

I was a little nervous that either he would be too rough with her or she would be too rough with him. After all, boxer puppies are bouncy and full of energy, while toddlers can be unpredictable and yank on body parts. I was very wrong! They are perfect for each other!

You can check out the video of this wonderful encounter here.

Never once did he nip, jump, climb or pull on his new found friend. I’ve always heard people say boxers are great with kids because they intuitively know how they should play with a child dependent on their age. Well, Hogan is proof of that. He was completely calm and docile around my boyfriend’s niece, but later that night, when Hogan met the neighbor’s 7 year old child, he climbed all over that kid.

Hogan also met a new doggy friend, a terrier mix. I just love how great he is with dogs of all sizes, never meets a stranger! ¬†So far he has already met 7 dogs ūüôā Even though his best friend is a huge german shepherd/husky mix, I think he thoroughly enjoyed playing with dogs (and people!) his size last night!

What about you and your boxer? How is your puppy doing on socializing this week?

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Your Boxer Puppy at 8 Weeks

Congratulations on bringing your boxer puppy home!

This next week will be full of changes for both you and your new friend. Give him time to adjust to his surroundings and expect to have a few sleepless nights here and there. All worth it though, I promise! You do, after all, now own the clown of the dog world! Very soon you will see what I mean and by the end of the week, after all the laughter you have shared, you might find yourself with some nice washboard abs (wouldn’t that be nice?).

Just like children, puppies are very impressionable at a young age. The events that occur in the next month will greatly determine what type of dog your puppy grows into. It may sound daunting, but after reading the advice below you will be fully prepared to take on this coming week!

1) Make a Vet Appointment Immediately 

If you do not already have a vet and do not know of a good one, ask your most responsible pet-owning friends who they see. All vets cost approximately the same, so if someone has incredibly low prices, steer clear! ¬†Buying vaccinations from feed stores is also no-no. The employees of such companies rarely know how to properly handle or store these vaccines, so don’t take your changes! Go see a trained professional.

 Vaccinating your puppy is a MUST. Without protection, your puppy is susceptible to many life-threatening illnesses. For example, puppies under the age of 20 weeks who contract Parvo,  have a death rate of up to 35% precent!

Make sure you have your puppy’s previous vet records from the breeder. Good breeders will provide you with this information, which should include when they were last de-wormed and when they received their first set of DHHP shots. If you didn’t get these records from the breeder, see if they can mail them to you. Your vet will want this information on file as well so go ahead and make copies. Almost all puppies will have had their first round of shots by this age. If yours hasn’t, it is even more imperative to take him to the vet ASAP.

Here is a list of shots your puppy should receive this week (assuming he’s had his first round of shots):

* 4 in 1 vaccine including protection against:  Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus (DHHP)

* De-worming, the vet may also take a fecal sample.

* Bordatella (if you plan on boarding, kenneling, attending doggie day camps, competitions, etc)

Your vet should also give your puppy his first round of heartworm medication along with flea and tick prevention. These pills should be given exactly a month apart for the rest of his life. Some vets offer heart worm vaccines that protect up to 6 months, but these cannot be administered until a puppy has reached his adult weight.

2) Begin Crate Training

I highly suggest crate training, and have written an article here discussing how to do it correctly. Hope it helps!

Hogan is very content in his crate now!

3) Start Housebreaking

Start on this today! Here is an article with all the details.

4) Establish Household Rules

You need to make these decision early on, as the choices you make will directly affect the type of relationship you will have with your puppy for the rest of his life. Some questions to think about are:

*Where will he sleep? In my room? In my bed? In a separate room?

*Will he be allowed on furniture?

*Are there certain areas of the house that are off-limits?

*How do we expect him to act around house guests?

Once these questions are answered, you need to stick to your guns. Being wishy-washy will only confuse him and frustrate you when he doesn’t obey.

5) Socialization

The next four weeks are the most critical time in a puppy’s life for socializing him properly. Though socialization should continue to occur after the 3 month mark, the way he is socialized between 8-12 weeks will play the largest role in his adult temperament.b lop90; It is important that he meets as many new faces as possible ASAP. Introduce him to your neighbor’s kids, your nieces and nephews, every child you can think of. You want your puppy to grow into a docile and patient dog amongst the pulling of ears. Try and check these new acquaintances off your list before he reaches 13 weeks:

* Infants

* Toddlers

* School- aged children

* Elderly, wheelchairs, walkers, etc.

* Men and women

* Friends of ethnic origins

* Large, Medium and Small-Sized, FRIENDLY, VACCINATED Dogs

* Cats (friendly cats! Hogan got scratched by one already and is scared to death.)

* Horses (if you live in a rural area)

* Other farm animals (but like most dog breeds, expect him to try and eat his friend the chicken)

You also want your puppy to be comfortable in common situations and around household objects like the following:

* Crowds of people (think playgrounds, parks, PetsMart). However, until your puppy is fully vaccinated, CARRY your puppy when at these places. These and the like are breeding grounds for Parvo outbreaks. Protect your puppy while still letting him experience new places

* Puppy classes

* Loud or obnoxious noises.

* Vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, blenders, etc.

*Car rides, car-washes

* Swimming pools, lakes, beaches, etc.

You can check out Hogan’s introduction to the pool here: Hogan’s 1st Day at the Pool

For a great checklist of things to introduce your new puppy to each week, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.

 6) Switch Dog Foods

Depending on what type of food your puppy was already eating, you may prefer he eat a more quality brand. I really like Blue Buffalo and highly recommend it. If the breeder didn’t send you home with any food, purhcase a SMALL bag of the brand he is already accustomed to, along with a large bag of what you would like him to eat. SLOWLY transition your puppy into his new food. Simply going from one to the other could cause stomach problems. Follow this schedule:

Day 1 & 2:  75% old 25% new

Day 3 & 4: 50% old 50% new

Day 5 & 6: 25% old 75% new

Day 7: 100% new

Expect to see loose stool this week. If it hasn’t cleared up within 5 days of the final transition, consult your vet.

7) Introduce the Collar and Leash

Your puppy should never be without his collar. Most dogs who are lost without identification never find their homes. Your puppy’s collar should include his name, your address and at least one phone number you can be reached at.

Leash training takes time, this week just focus on getting him familiar with the leash. Attach it to his collar for a few minutes a day and let him walk around with it freely following behind him. Only do this when you can keep an eye on him, you don’t want him strangling himself. Also, attach the leash during meal times so he will begin to associate it with positive experiences. Do not pull him around on the leash, this will only scare him and make leash training that much harder. Focus on the basics this week, we will take the next step in Week 9.

7) Make a Decision on Cropping

If you plan on cropping your puppy’s ears, this needs to be done no later than 12 weeks of age. Consult your vet on what time frame they prefer. Before deciding to crop, make sure you are prepared for the time-consuming effort you will need to put in on top of already raising a new puppy.

Search the internet for pictures of crops you like,  and crops you do not like; there are many different styles of cropped ears! Bring these pictures to the vet so they know what you are looking for as a final result.

You shouldn’t necessarily get your puppy’s ears cropped at your vet’s office. Some vets have more experience with boxer ears while others crop more doberman ears. You should pick a vet who is experienced with the boxer breed and can show you the results of past crops.

I am keeping Hogan’s ears natural, I just love the natural look, but that is just my preference! Though natural ears are now accepted in conformation competitions, more often than not boxer’s with cropped ears take home the prize.

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I hope these tips have given you a lot to do in the next few days! I look forward to sharing with you Hogan’s progress next week and introducing more ways to train your puppy!

Hogan’s Housebreaking Progress – Such a Smart Puppy!

I have great news that I just HAVE to share with my followers! Hogan just went over to the back door, scratched, then turned around looking at me expectantly.

I thought this was too good to be true, but sure enough, when I opened the back door he immediately went outside and used the bathroom.

I’m such a proud puppy parent ūüôā¬†

We have had the privilege of owning this little guy for only 12 days, can you believe that? In 12 days he has already figured out housebreaking! I’m sure we will still have accidents, but what progress he has made in less than two weeks.

If you would like more information on housebreaking, click here to read my post.

To celebrate Hogan’s success, I thought I would post some pictures of my favorite little man.

I will be posting an article tomorrow on all you need to know about raising your 8 week old boxer puppy!

Housebreaking – Real Solutions

Hogan had a great week! Look how patient he was waiting for the vet to come check him at his 9 week appointment yesterday:

Today’s post is pretty generic, it can apply to all dog breeds really. However, before I give you your “Life of an 8 Week Old Boxer” Recap, ¬†I figured we should first talk about crate training and potty training. Expect a post exclusively for boxers within the next few days!

Ahhh… the dreaded housebreaking. The one part of puppy parenthood that separates the boys from the men… or is it the pups from the dogs? Hmmm, so I can’t find the right terminology. Okay, scratch all that, point being… after reading this post and following the advice given, you will be a Professional Potty-Trainer!

1) Only Feed at Certain Times of Days

Photo Credit: DogBreedInfo.com
Bruno The Boxer

While your boxer’s water should be available to him as he needs it, try letting him eat only three times a day (puppies need to be fed more often than adults). This allows you more control over when he will need to use the bathroom. Puppies at this age should need to relieve themselves 15-30 minutes after eating. A good way to stimulate the need for a potty-break is having a play session directly after meal time.

2) Designate a Potty Spot

Dogs are attracted to the smell of past eliminations, so taking your puppy out to the same part of the yard encourages him to use the bathroom AND preserves the rest of your yard!

3) Use a Repetitive Phrase

We use “let’s go potty”. Every time I take Hogan out to the bathroom, I tell him, “let’s go potty”. Once outside, I repeat the phrase “go potty” until he does so.

Luckily for me, the breeder worked with her puppies on housebreaking before sending them home. When I got Hogan, he already knew going to the bathroom was the first order of business.

4) Invest in a Clicker

A clicker is a great tool for training, including housebreaking. Go ahead and purchase one (about $2 at PetsMart), because all of my training articles will use this method.

Once your puppy has successfully COMPLETED using the bathroom, immediately “click” and give him a mini-treat. It’s important you wait until he is completely done pottying before clicking. Any sooner and you could distract him from finishing his business. ¬†If you use the clicker correctly and consistently, your puppy will catch on to the whole idea much quicker.

5) Shower With Praise

Dogs are people pleasers (especially boxers) and they love knowing when they have done something right. Make every successful outdoor-potty a celebration! Go overboard. It will feel silly and you will probably be self conscious that your neighbors can hear you, but it will pay off, promise.

6) The Backyard is for Business, Not Pleasure

You want your puppy to associate going outside with using the bathroom, not play time (for now).

Photo Credit: Kimball Stock

Encourage your puppy to focus on the task at hand. If after 10 minutes he has still not taken care of business, bring him back inside and either place him in his crate or keep a very close eye on him.

7) Recognize the Tell-Tale Signs of an Accident Waiting To Happen 

You can almost always tell when a boxer needs to poop. He will start sniffing around with his tail sticking straight out. His hind legs will become  bow-legged as he walks and the area beneath his tail will swell. Take your puppy out immediately!

Catching a puppy before he pees is the more complicated manner. Until about 12 weeks of age, puppies have little to no control over “holding-it”. There have been a few times where me and Hogan have been playing when without warning, he just starts peeing. My best advice is:

A) Take your puppy out about 10-15 minutes after he drinks water.

B) Take your puppy out after each play session or nap.

C) Keep your puppy in areas of the house with easy to clean floors.

8) DO NOT Beat or Scream at Your Puppy When Accidents DO Occur

This is all new for him. Did your teachers rub you face in your paper if you made a bad grade? No! Same goes for puppies. Give him a chance to actually learn what is expected. When catching a puppy in the act, sternly (but not angrily) say “NO” and put him outside in the designated potty area. Tell him “go potty” (or whatever key phrase you use) and leave him outside for at least 10 minutes.

*Practice Prevention, Not Punishment*

9) Do Not Punish For Past Actions

If you find a mess in your house, but didn’t catch your puppy in the act, do not drag him over to it and show him how angry you are. Your puppy will realize that you are angry about the “mess”, but will not realize it was the ACT of making the mess that is the issue. Using this technique will not reinforce him to use the bathroom outside, rather, it will reinforce the idea to hide his messes more strategically in the future.

Only show your displeasure if you actually catch your puppy pottying in the house.

9) Remember, These Things Don’t Happen Overnight

Don’t expect your puppy to be FULLY house trained until about 4-6 months.

Follow these steps and next thing you know your puppy will be picking up after himself!

Okay maybe not, but he WILL go potty outside!

Crate Training Made Easy

Look at Mr. Hogan, isn’t he just the happiest puppy ever? He already loves to ride in the car and even went to the drive-in movie theatre with us last weekend!

The first night I had Hogan I was really worried I would be kept up by his persistent crying as he frantically tried to escape his crate (as most puppies do). To my amazement, he whimpered for only five minute before passing out.

A miracle right?

I thought it was too good to be true so I crossed my fingers the next night when I placed him in his crate at bedtime. Well, after 10 days of having Hogan, the verdict is in: Hogan is the BEST at crate training! He never cries when I first put him in his crate at night! He does throw in a good solid effort for about 5 minutes when being put back in his crate after his midnight potty break, but hey, no one is perfect (though he’s sure darn close)! Just look at how content he is in his cart when I get home from class:

So why is it some puppies do well in crates while others cry as if their leg has been dislocated?

The first thing that comes into play is how the breeder raised him as a puppy. My breeder crated Hogan and his siblings all in one kennel at night. When brought home, Hogan wasn’t use to sleeping alone, but he WAS use to being inside a crate. I think this is a key ingredient to a crate-happy puppy! Of course, you can’t control how the breeder raises their puppies, and whether or not she crate trains shouldn’t make-it or break-it for you if you have found the puppy you want.

When bringing a puppy home, he is already experiencing so much change in one day. You just took him from his mother and siblings, the only thing he has known in his short little life. You have then introduced him into a completely new environment with strange new people. If you THEN put him in a kennel by himself and walk off, what do you expect will happen? If the breeder hasn’t already predisposed him to a crate, this initial experience could be quite traumatizing.

Don’t make these mistakes! Follow these simple rules:

1) Have the Right Sized Crate

Your puppy’s crate should be just large enough for him to stand up, turn around and lay down. Any bigger and you risk the possibility of him pottying in one corner while sleeping in another. Dogs inherently despise sleeping where they relieve themselves, so a more confined space eliminates the chance for accidents.

I personally bought a large crate with a divider.

That way, I can increase the size  as Hogan grows without having to purchase an entirely new crate
(they are expensive!).

2) Wear Your Puppy Out Before Bedtime

Run that little guy in circles around your living room, play tug of war, whatever it takes to exhaust your puppy. This rule is a BIGGY! All too often, new puppy parents let their new family member lay in their lap the last two hours of the night while they watch TV. When they later move him to his crate for the night, he is awake, re-energized and ready to play. Instead, make him so tired he wouldn’t mind sleeping in the sink if he had to.

3) Make His Crate Comfortable and Comforting

Your puppy needs something soft to lay on while in his crate. Hogan has a nice squishy bed with raised edges that¬†LOVES it! It’s seriously more comfortable than my bed (spoiled!). Don’t forget to include a bone and stuffed animal to keep him occupied in case he gets bored in the middle of the night or wakes up earlier than you do (kong, anyone?). Hogan loves his turtle, so I keep it in his crate every night!

If your breeder sent him home with anything (a blanket, a toy, etc) make sure to put that in the crate as well! Your puppy will appreciate something familiar next to him his first few nights alone. Lastly, cover the crate with a large blanket that blocks out light. This will help make his crate more den-like and block him from visual distractions.

4) Put the Crate in YOUR Bedroom

I never realized I had to explain this to people, because I enjoy having my puppy near me. Once Hogan is potty-trained, he will sleep in his bed, un-crated, next to mine. Actually, if we are being honest, he will more than likely sleep at the foot of my bed…or up next to my face… (again, spoiled!).

Keeping your puppy crated in your room makes him feel safer, knowing you are near. It also keeps you within earshot so you can let him out when he needs to potty in the middle of the night (and he will, puppies may not sleep through the night until they are 4-6 months old). If you can’t hear your puppy whining to go out, you can’t be angry with him if he uses the bathroom in his crate.

5) Learn the Difference in a Potty-Cry and an Attention-Cry

When your puppy wakes up in the middle of the night and starts whining, chances are he needs to use the bathroom. THIS is a “potty-cry” and is a cry you ¬†SHOULD¬†respond to. Take him outside and let him relieve himself. Keep the process as low-key as possible, you don’t want to excite him into thinking it’s playtime. Immediately afterwards, put him back in his crate. He will more than likely whine for a bit. THIS is an “attention cry” and one you SHOULD NOT respond to. Even if you angrily tell him to be quiet, you have reinforced the idea that you are listening and responding to his whimpers. Give it 20 minutes, he will more than likely give up. These first few nights might be rough, but if you refuse to respond to his attention-cries, it will pay off.

6) Eliminate the Chance of an Accident

To reduce the number of times your puppy needs to go out at night, feed him two hours before bedtime. Then, take up his food and water for the night.

There you have it, all the tools you need to successfully crate train your puppy! Let me know how it goes, and I will keep you posted on Hogan’s progress as well!

Question of the Day: In what weird places does your boxer like to sleep?