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Doesn't like cold

Boxer Dog Doesn't Like Being Outside in the Cold

Q: My Boxer puppy seems to HATE going outside. We live in Chicago and it is currently winter and very cold with some days of intense snow... and I have a hard time getting him to go outside to relieve himself. I am also in the process of trying to housebreak him ... any suggestions?
A: Some puppies and dogs love the cold, especially being able to run through the snow. Other puppies or dog avoid it at all costs. In general, with Boxer dogs and cold weather, you need to keep an eye on the time that they are exposed. 

With Boxers in snow, this can cause additional obstacles and possible health concerns if they stay outside too long. In your case, obviously, we need to work on getting him outside in this weather so that he can do the deed.

Owners of small breeds dogs have a good alternative; they can train their tiny dog to use a litter box or pee pads. However, this is not applicable to the Boxer.  If you try to train a young pup to use pads indoors during cold weather, you will end up with a large adult dog that expects to go to the bathroom inside... Not what most owners want.
There are some ways that you can make going out into the cold more comfortable for your puppy and help train your Boxer to go outside in the cold for housebreaking:

1) Put a canine sweater, vest or coat on your puppy. Some Boxers need clothes, and specifically a coat or vest that helps the dog maintain core body temperature.  In the winter, most will do well with a water-resistant fabric. 

When your Boxer is led outside with an outer layer of protection, and realizes that the cold air is not biting at him, he will be more prone to actually enjoy being outside, exploring around a bit and relieving himself. 

2)  Protect the paws. A dog's paw is made of skin. While it is thick skin, it is still skin. It is a very huge misconception that a dog's paw can handle any surfaces. When it's really cold out, the ground is even colder than the air. And this will be transferred to a puppy or dog's paws. It can end up really chilling a dog. 

You can use a quality paw wax, which has the added benefit of keeping the paws moisturized, protected from ice and 'snowballing' (when tiny pieces of ice or snow get stuck between the toes or between paw pads) and will offer a dog better traction in what can be slippery surfaces. 

Note: If your Boxer has very dry paws, you will want to use a paw balm that heals dry skin. 

Another option, but one that only some dogs tolerate (Boxers seem to either love it or hate it) are canine shoes. If you do opt for this, look for those that close around the ankle with velcro, as these are very easy to get on and off. 
3) Keep an eye out for salt and ice melt chemicals. The salt that is commonly put down on ice and snow can cause great discomfort for a dog. It can not only sting when a dog steps on it, but the salt can often cause quite a bit of irritation if a pup stands on it for too long of a time. Ice melt chemicals can cause chemical burns. Even if you do not use this on your own property, this can be tracked into your neighbor as vehicles enter from other areas. 

Paw wax will help protect a Boxer from this and if you are not protecting the paws, try to bring your Boxer to an area that is not treated. 

4) If it has snowed, be sure to shovel a good sized path to a good sized area in which your dog may eliminate. Dogs do not like having a very small area. 

They like to be able to choose "just the right spot". Providing a well shoveled, good sized area will allow your Boxer to feel as if they have enough room to roam, find the right spot and then eliminate.
Once making the above changes, each and every time that your dog goes outside with you and handles it well...be sure to give a ton of praise when he is outside and when he is done can comes back in. 

Offer excited, happy words, pats, and a tasty dog treat.
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