My boxer puppy is soon to be 8 months old. He is testing his limits of mischiefness these days. An example would be a shoe on the floor. He knows he can't play with them. When my back is turned, he grabs one and goes tearing around with it. When I see him he usually just drops it. Sometimes he will drop it and find one of his toys and play with it. At times I'll react by yelling "hey" and he drops it. I don't have problems with keep away though.
My way of dealing with this is kind of a Cesar thing. When he takes something he knows he's not supposed to, I look at him and / or yell hey and he drops it. I then follow through by looking at him and moving towards him. He may try to move away, but I'm in a small apartment and can eventually corner him. Sometimes I don't need to corner him. I keep looking at him sternly until he sits and lays down in a submissive manner. There have been rare occasions when I needed to tell him to sit, then down.
Once he he submits I turn around and walk away. He will then usually find a bone of his and quietly chew on it.
I'm assuming that this is just another puppy phase.
So this leads to a couple of questions. Is what I am doing good or bad or are there other things I should be doing? I do leave some shoes etc around so he has the temptation.
If what I'm doing is basicly good, and he is just testing his limits, how long should I plan on this phase of puppyhood to go on in an 8 mo boxer?
Well some dogs always do this no matter what their age They think its a game and you are reminding him that your things are not toys and that behavior is not acceptable. If what your doing is working that's fine. If it were me I would say DROP IT, and imediatly redirect him by giving him one of his own toys and not leaving it up to him to go get one. He is still very young and will test you for a LONG TIME TO COME By giving him the appropriate chew toy your sealing the deal with him as far as leaving certain things alone and what is ok to have in his mouth. Raven still picks things up that are not hers and what I do with her is just say DROP IT, and give her one of her own toys. She does not chew on anything none of my dogs do but sometimes they will pick up one of my sons toys and bring it to me, I don't know if that's just to tick off the kid or what but it still happens and my oldest dog is 3. I guess as long as your pup is not chewing the item and gives it up when you ask your ok
_______________________________ Ann "I AM ALPHA HEAR ME ROAR" meow!
I was reading some comments on leeburgs web site last night on some training issues. I want to go back and reread what he said. He did have a comment about someone who had a several year old dog that got up on furniture as they please. He said that in the house you should put a training collar on the dog and a short leash or rope to drag around with them. When the dog got up on a piece of furniture, he immediately gave a correction and then immediately praised the dog when it was no longer on the furniture. He seems to always use this immediate praise after correction technique.
My problem with this sort of a technique, in my case is usually as soon as the dog sees that I see he has a shoe in his mouth (for example), he drops it. He knew he wasn't supposed to have it.
Is it appropriate to keep a training collar / lead on the dog as described above and correct after the dog has already dropped the shoe? I've always used corrections during the bad behavior, not after it has stopped. I'm obviously talking about within a second or two of him dropping the shoe, not 10 seconds later.
I'm not so sure your boxer knows he's not supposed to have 'that thing' in his mouth. He is probably responding to your body language, facial expression and tone rather than an ethical code of practice that says "this is ok to chew, that is not."
The only effective correction is done while the action is taking place. Correcting him after he has dropped the item will not teach him not to do it again. Even if it is just one second. From your dog's viewpoint, the correction will be for dropping the item. Continuing to use body presence to get submission after he has dropped the item just kind of teaches him submission. It doesn't modify his behavior for next time.
I don't see his actions as testing his/your limits. Dogs don't understand the Faith No More song lyric that goes "It's in your face but you can't grab it". For a dog, if it's accessible and there's no one bigger to stop you, it's yours.
Yes, you can teach him to Leave It, but you can't really train or anticipate everything he might take into his mouth.
I suggest you teach him to "give" or "leave". In essence you teach him to exchange what he has in his mouth for something you want him to chew on. I can explain more if you want me to.
You can also teach Out (the schtuzhund Aus) as a positive drop command. Give your dog a positive thing to do to get the desired behavior rather than using punishment to prevent him from doing something.
I would also gently suggest that anything you don't want chewed gets put safely out of boxer reach. Every single time. I learned the hard way - still sobbing over that leather jacket - that there is a reason why closet doors and hangers were invented.
And you do know that Boxers are the Peter Pan of dogs, don't you? Puppyhood can last years. You are giving him good training so far, so don't think of it as an uphill battle. Cherish your spirited dog for the life and verve that make Boxers special.
We give dogs the time we can spare, the space we can spare, and the love we can spare. In return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal mankind has ever made. M Facklam
Thanks, Aussienot. that answers my timing on the correction question.
As to whether or not he knows he's not supposed to have it, let me give you a different example. I find it kind of funny, I hope it is considered in good taste here.
He knows he is not supposed to enter the bathroom. I also think he pretty much knows what he should and shouldn't be playing with. For example, if his bone is sitting next to a shoe, he will look at the shoe, then look at me to see if I am watching. If I'm not watching, he will select the shoe, if I am, he grabs the bone. I have confirmed this behavior by setting up mirrors. He can't tell I am watching in the mirror.
Back to the bathroom. He knows he is not allowed to enter. He also knows he can't play with towels (at least I believe he understands this). However, if I am "seated" in the bathroom he knows I can't move. He will look in the bathroom, notice that I am "seated", walk in brazenly, grab a towel, and run out of the bathroom with it. If I am simply standing in the bathroom, this never happens. It sure seems like he knows what he is not supposed to do or touch.
As for the drop command, saying " drop" and he will drop whatever is in his mouth. Since he understands and obeys this one well, is there a reason to do either the exchange or reward as you mentioned above.