Boxer dogs are usually great pets, but sometimes these dogs can also display destructive behavior.
Boxers may become destructive due to lack of attention, separation anxiety, boredom but also some health issues. In order to prevent chewing and destroying things, provide plenty of daily exercises, play, and mental stimulation to Boxers. Destructive behavior may develop if Boxers have a problem with obedience, aggression, or dominance issues. Proper training can help a lot.
What Are The Most Common Reasons For Destructive Behavior in Boxer Dogs?
Lack of Physical Activity
Boxers are cheerful pooches that need everyday physical activity. If they cannot spend pent-up energy on running or playing fetch, they will become destructive.
Boxers need at least 1 hour of physical activity every day, divided into 2 walks. Make sure you go out with your dog early in the morning.
You can schedule the second walk for the afternoon ( but not less than 2 hours before sleep time, otherwise his night sleep could be disturbed )
If you have a healthy adult Boxer forget about easy pace walking around the block. That’s not enough for him. Though that could be enough for some older Boxer or a dog with compromised health.
Healthy adult Boxer will benefit from some good cardio exercise such as running or playing fetch or Frisbee. Don’t spare your Boxer, tire him well!
Lack of Mental Stimulation
Although the physical activity will exhaust your dog’s body and mussels, his brain is still fresh. Boxers are smart creatures, they need to keep his mind busy otherwise they will think of something bad to do.
Organize at least 2-3 times a week some games such as hide and seak or hide some treats and encourage your Boxer to use his sense of smell and find them. Boxers love these games.
Praise them once they complete the task successfully and give them a lot of treats. You can also arrange a ”hunting game” for your pet.
Hide small piles of his food in a few places in your house or in your back yard and let him ”hunt” his meal.
Purchase some good-quality toys for your Boxer. That can be a Kong toy or some treat ball toy. Kong that is stuffed with peanut butter will keep your Boxer busy and entertained for quite some time.
If you notice that he gets it too easy, you can freeze the peanut butter and make even more fun of it. There are great puzzle toys. Once your Boxer solves the puzzle he gets some treats. A great thing to distract him and keep his mind stimulated.
Don’t forget chewing toys. Dogs like to chew. That is totally natural thing to do but you should be the one to show your dog what items to chew on.
The young dogs like to chew on things as they relieve the pain caused by upcoming teeth that way. Dogs of all ages like chew as they explore the world this way.
Adult dogs keep their jaws strong and their teeth clean by chewing. Chewing also helps dogs to release stress. So chewing isn’t a bad thing to do for dogs but only if they are chewing on the right things.
Always choose high quality chewing toys made of rubber or nylon. Avoid those made of plastic.
It’s recommended to be around your dog when you give him a chewing toy as there is always a possibility to crack/break the toy and to ingest some small piece of it. Get rid of any toy that is broken.
If you prefer more natural chews, you can always treat your Boxer with a nice marrow bone. He will be thrilled gnawing the bone but like for the other chewing toys, you should be around making sure he is going to crack/break the bone and hurt himself.
If the Boxer is left alone for a longer period of time every day ( more than 6 hours) he will definitely develop some kind of destructive behavior.
The same thing will happen if you keep your Boxer outside. Boxers are very social dogs. They like to be in the company of their human family. If they are isolated outside, no matter how hard you try to spend a certain amount of time with them, they will be unhappy.
If you have a full-time job out of your home and you are forced to leave your dog alone for many hours every day do think about some solutions.
First of all, think about a neighbor, cousin, or friend that could stop by every day. Your Boxer will have to go to the toilet so it will be nice to take him out, then to play a little bit and spend some time with him.
If you don’t have such a person, think about a professional dog sitter who can come over to your place and be with your dog while you are not there.
Another option is dog daycare facilities. Some dogs are doing great there because of the company of other dogs.
Lack of Proper Training
Training is a must for all dogs, not just Boxers. They have to learn how to behave with humans. It’s recommended to start with training as early as possible. Obedient and properly trained Boxer has a very slim chance to become destructive.
With some basic voice command training, you can start when your Boxer puppy is 3 weeks old.
Obedience training should begin once your puppy turns 1 year. Of course, it’s never too late to attend obedience training.
If your Boxer has behavioral problems, is aggressive, or tries to be dominant you can also ask a professional trainer for help.
Dogs are used to live in packs in which hierarchy existed. The bottom line, your dog has to understand that you are the ”the top dog”, alpha.
If he thinks that he is above you in rank, he will start showing dominant behavior, which is totally unacceptable.
Although there are many good trainers out there, there are some who are doing their best but simply not able to achieve the goal. If you hired a private dog trainer but you have noticed that your Boxer’s behavior is not improving search for another trainer.
You should also have one thing on your mind – if you don’t follow the things the trainer taught your dog, then you are wasting your money!
Don’t expect a trainer to make miracles. He is the person who has more experience than you and he has the skills to communicate with your Boxer easily. It’s true that he can teach your dog many good things, he can also give you useful advice but this is not the end.
If you were making mistakes in the past in interaction with your dog, you will have to change your behavior. The key is to be consistent and patient.
No training will give exceptional results in a week or even a month but slowly you will start noticing improvement.
When you train your dog by yourself, remember that dogs in general (especially those hyper breeds such as Boxers)cannot focus on one thing for more than 5-10 min at once.
Don’t let training sessions last longer than that. Always finish the training with something your Boxer knows how to do as success is a great motivation for Boxers. Always remember to give some treats when your dog does things right.
Never punish your Boxer. These dogs don’t handle physical nor verbal corrections well. If you use aggression to punish your dog, that will only make him an even more aggressive dog, so don’t do that. Treats and positive reinforcement are the right way to discipline your dog.
Fears and Phobias
In case of loud noises, thunderstorms, firework or similar, dogs may display destructive behavior. On these occasions, Boxers usually tend to destroy windows including window frames, doors, walls. They are simply too scared and try to escape. The problem is that they can hurt themselves badly.
Try to predict such situations and put your dog in his safe zone. It can be a crate but if he likes to hide in the closet, let him do that. Make sure he has his favorite toy with him. Close the windows, lower the blinds, put some relaxing music or TV on to cover the scary sounds.
If your Boxer has displayed some destructive behavior and you cannot see the obvious reason for it, do consult the vet as some health conditions can contribute to destructive behavior.
Your vet will perform the physical examination first and then order some blood tests. For example, if blood tests show an imbalance of thyroid hormone level, that could be the cause of destructive behavior.
If your dog is eating non-food items, your vet will order blood and stool tests to check if your Boxer has some disorder or nutrition deficiency that could lead to PICA ( medical term for dogs eating non-food stuff).
The requested tests will show if your dog is able to digest properly and to absorb the necessary nutrients from food.
If you have an older Boxer that recently has developed destructive behavior, your vet will request an MRI of the dog’s brain to rule out brain disease or tumor that can be a cause of behavioral problems.
If you have a dog on a low-calorie diet, he might chew on and destroy different objects in order to get some food. These objects are usually somehow related to food or smell like food.
When you take your Boxer to an annual health check-up ask your vet for Canine Dominance Aggression Assessment. It’s a questionnaire that can help your vet to determine if your dog has or your puppy tends to develop aggression-dominance issues.
Even if your dog doesn’t have that kind of problem you should answer those questions and let the professional take a look at the score.
Your vet will determine if your dog has a health problem or destructive behavior is strictly a behavioral problem. Upon that he will decide on therapy.
But even for behavioral problems especially if they are specific ones like Obsessive – Compulsive issues or Separation Anxiety and Aggression problems, the combination of training and medications gives the best results.