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Boxers are muscular dogs with strong jaws, so biting can be very dangerous behavior. Though they are not naturally aggressive or violent dogs, you should know how to stop a Boxer from biting in case it becomes a problem.
To stop a Boxer from biting, it is best to discourage the behavior with consistent and calm training from an early age. There may be specific reasons why your Boxer has developed a biting habit, so some adjustments to their lifestyle may also be necessary. Clear instruction and good leadership from you will show your Boxer that biting is harmful and inappropriate behavior that you don’t tolerate.
Dogs can bite for all sorts of reasons, but it is the responsibility of the owner to manage how a dog interacts with the world. This article will go into detail about biting as a behavior in the Boxer breed, including instructions for how to prevent your dog from causing harm to themselves or others.
How to Stop a Boxer from Biting?
All dogs, regardless of their breed, learn how to behave from their owners. There are no breeds that are inherently dangerous if they are raised properly and treated well. With that being said, some dog breeds have a history of guarding or being involved in cruel sporting activities which can mean they are more likely to have a defensive nature.
Boxers were originally bred to look after cattle so they can act as protectors, but in a way that is caring rather than aggressive. They are not considered to be a dangerous breed and are naturally loyal and loving animals.
However, Boxers are muscular dogs with powerful jaws, so if they do develop a biting habit, they can cause significant injury. Most Boxers don’t start biting with the intention to do harm, but they can act out of aggression if they have been poorly raised or improperly socialized.
Why Do Boxers Bite?
Before you can properly address any sort of behavior that your dog might exhibit, you need to understand why it is happening in the first place. There are many different reasons why Boxers might choose to bite, including:
- Play. Puppies gently use their mouths during playtime to have fun with each other while they get used to using their bodies. This habit can develop into more aggressive biting if it is not properly managed.
- Exploration. Boxers experience a lot of the world through their noses and mouths, so they tend to chew on things as a way of exploring what is around them.
- Teething. It can be very painful growing new teeth and chewing can help to relieve the discomfort that they are feeling.
- Communication. Dogs nip at each other as a way to communicate many different things, and they will often try to do this with you as well. It may be that they want to tell you when they are in pain or are upset, or they may just be trying to get your attention in the wrong way.
- Fear. Obviously, Boxers will try to defend themselves or the people that they love when they are frightened or feeling under threat. A happy and well-adjusted Boxer shouldn’t be nervous or afraid under most circumstances, but they may act out of fear more frequently if they have not been well socialized or they don’t feel comfortable and safe in their lives.
- Aggression. Direct aggression is not common among Boxers, but it is behaviour that dogs exhibit if they view themselves as the leaders of their pack and are trying to assert dominance over others. Your dog should always view you as the one who is in charge and look to you for guidance on how to interact with the people or animals they meet.
How to Stop a Boxer Puppy from Biting
If your Boxer is still young and they are playfully biting or nipping, it is important that you start to address this behavior before it becomes a significant problem. All good training requires a lot of patience and love, but it is a vital part of raising a happy and healthy dog. You need to clearly show your Boxer that biting is not acceptable behavior.
Firstly, your Boxer needs to know that you are the one who is in charge. When you are teaching your dog anything, you need to be consistent in your approach, so they understand that you mean what you say. If you are inconsistent with your leadership, your dog is much more likely to feel like they need to assert their own dominance.
For example, you should be able to get your Boxer to sit and wait before accepting treats or starting their meals, and they should almost always come back to you when you call. To make this happen you need to be very patient and reward the right behavior with lots of praise every time – never letting them get away with doing the wrong thing.
There are also some helpful tricks that can help your dog to view you as the leader of the pack. If you always enter and exit the home first, and you always eat before they do, they are more likely to see you as the one in charge.
Being dominant over your dog does not mean being aggressive or forceful. Pack leaders are like parents in a dog’s world: they should be loving and caring, demonstrate good behavior, and offer supportive guidance. Your Boxer should respect you, not be afraid of you.
When your Boxer nips, you need to respond in the right way. Immediately take a position of authority, perhaps standing up from where you were or placing them onto the ground, and ignore them. They may try very hard to get you to notice them, but you need to show your puppy that biting is not a way to get your attention.
Let them become aware that you are ignoring them and wait for at least 10 minutes. After that time, you can return to your dog and speak calmly to them. If they don’t nip or bite, you can return to the position you were in before and give them some praise and attention for communicating in the right way.
This works particularly well when your dog is playing because they will quickly learn that nipping or biting causes playtime to stop, but when they are gentle and safe, they get to have fun with you.
It is really important that you are consistent with your response to biting every time, or you can send your dog very mixed messages. If you allow them to nibble or gnaw at you when it isn’t annoying or painful, they will find it very difficult to understand what the boundaries are and what you are okay with.
Keep them Entertained
Puppies tend to use their mouths a lot more than adults and it can become very tiring while they are still learning. You will find that any destructive behavior is greatly reduced when your Boxer is getting enough exercise and entertainment, as they will have less pent-up energy to work out. Toys, training, walks, and games are all great ways to tire out an overexcited puppy.
How to Stop an Adult Boxer from Biting
If you have an adult Boxer with a habit of biting, it can be a lot more serious and is potentially a lot more dangerous. Make sure that you are still establishing yourself as the leader of the pack and responding in the right way when they do bite, but this behavior is likely to be a result of more than just playfulness and poor communication.
If your adult Boxer is biting you may also need to consider:
- Socialization. If your dog is not very experienced with meeting new people or other dogs, they can be more nervous and aggressive. Socializing your Boxer is really important so they can feel safe in different environments, and they know how to interact appropriately with others.
- Lifestyle Changes. Your Boxer may be biting because they are stressed or anxious, so you might need to find ways to help them feel more comfortable in their daily lives. Many Boxers find being alone very stressful, for example, and they need good training to be comfortable by themselves for even a few hours out of the day.
- Professional Assistance. If your Boxer is aggressive and biting in a way that you can’t handle, it’s important that you speak to a professional. Your vet can help you to understand whether your dog is struggling with pain or hormonal issues and trainers or behaviouralists are also there to help you.
You never want to let difficult behavior go too far. Address any biting as soon as you can for the sake of your Boxer as much as for the people and animals your dog may interact with. There is no shame in asking for help when you need it.
How NOT to Stop a Boxer from Biting
Almost as important as knowing what to do when your Boxer is biting is knowing what not to do. Reacting in the wrong way can result in your dog becoming more aggressive and more dangerous. Physical punishment and yelling have been shown to increase anxiety and encourage aggression. If you want your dog to be calm and act responsibly, you need to show them what that looks like.
- Don’t yell out.
- Don’t scold.
- Don’t use physical punishment.
For safety, your Boxer may need to be removed from a situation if they are resorting to biting, but you still need to remain patient and quiet. Wait for their behavior to subside and praise them when they calm down, instead of reacting in a negative manner.
All dogs learn best from positive reinforcement, loving support, and consistent communication.
Summary: How to Stop a Boxer from Biting?
To stop a Boxer from biting you need them to know that you are in charge, and then you need to effectively communicate to them that biting is not acceptable or a way to get your attention. Some gentle nibbling or mouthing is pretty common and is generally harmless, but it can become dangerous if it is not properly addressed.
It is best to address challenging behavior like this from a young age, but even older Boxers can quickly learn that biting is not okay with the right training and a bit of patience. A bad bite can be life-changing, for your dog as much as for someone else, so it is important that you respond appropriately and take action as soon as you can.
If you are really concerned about the way your dog interacts with the world, you should get in touch with a professional and seek some assistance. Fortunately, Boxers are not aggressive dogs at heart and, if they are doing the wrong thing, they usually just need a reminder of who is in charge.