Housebreaking your Boxer does not need to be a struggle of wits or will power between you and your dog.
How do you properly house train a Boxer? By following 2 main rules:
1. Use a method that prevents your Boxer from eliminating inside the home
2. Provide and offer an area to relieve themselves that is both easily accessible and available when they need it.
Keeping these 2 training rules in mind, housebreaking your Boxer can be done without stress or frustration.
Rule # 1
The goal is for your Boxer to not eliminate inside the house but how do you accomplish this? It is really easier than you might think. There are 2 basic methods.
Watch them like a hawk - If you are lucky enough to be able to stay home with your Boxer until he or she is house trained, you can use the Umbilical Cord Training Method. If you are away during the day, default to this method any time that you are home and it can be reasonably incorporated.
You will simply put a leash on your Boxer and tether the other end to you. You may connect it to your belt loop or around your wrist. The important element is that your Boxer will never be more than 6 feet away from you.
With this method, you will take your Boxer puppy outside every 2 hours for a 2 month old, every 3 hours for a 3 month old and so on. In addition, taking the pup out for housebreaking should be done:
Whenever the pup wakes up from a nap
First thing in the morning
1/2 hour before bedtime
15 to 25 minutes after eating a meal
And importantly, with this method, it will be any time that you female squats or your male lifts a leg. The less a pup is allowed an opportunity to have an "accident" inside, the more successful the house training will be done.
And we must remember that essentially there are no accidents. When nature calls, a puppy will urinate or eliminate where they are at that moment.
Bladder and bowel muscles are not at full strength and the Boxer has little control in regard to holding needs. Therefore, it is the owner's job to make sure that their Boxer is outside in the bathroom area, at the time that the body calls for it.
The other method is confinement and crating is not recommended. For times that you cannot be right with your Boxer puppy, best is a gated off area. If the room that you choose has carpeting, it is recommended to obtain a piece of linoleum, that will not be installed, it will simply be placed down.
It's a good idea to keep the gate open when you are home, allowing your Boxer to check things out and even play, should he choose. It will allow him to get used to the area for times when you are not home. Do keep in mind that without full control over holding his needs, he must still be taken out at the times mentioned above.
When you are not home, pee pads or paper can be placed down; however do not expect your puppy to learn 2 methods of housebreaking. Dogs trained to go outside will have a 50/50 shot of hitting the mark on pads or paper.
The beneficial element is that it will be confined to one space (easy to clean up) and as the Boxer grows, he will be able to hold his needs for longer periods of time, with the end result being able to hold on for the 8 hours or so that owners are away for work.
Rule # 2
You must clearly show your Boxer where you expect him to go to the bathroom. If there are any doubts in your dog's mind about where he is supposed to eliminate this will make for one confused dog. And, it will most likely lead to that dog just giving up and going inside the home.
Choose a spot that works well in all weather. What looks like a great location on a warm spring day may not work so great when your older, trained Boxer has to hike thorough a foot of snow to reach it in the winter.
The area should be roughly 8 feet in diameter and used for nothing else but bathroom needs. If you want to play with your Boxer or do some outdoor command training, do this after he goes to the bathroom and in a separate location at least 15 feet from the bathroom area.
The location that you choose as the main spot for your Boxer to use as a bathroom is vital. A dog will become very confused if you show them a new area each time you bring them outside. Just having the yard or "somewhere outside" is not specific enough and will impede progress.
The #1 complaint that owners have in regard to housebreaking their puppy is that he or she urinates or eliminates right after coming back into the house.
While this may just be a matter of the dog's body not having the need while outside, most of the time it is because an owner did not give the dog an opportunity to do so. Puppies need to sniff around - stand in the center of the chosen area - and with your Boxer on a 6 foot lead, allow him to sniff away any where within that diameter.
As they are sniffing, their body is readying to push out a bowel movement and an owner must allow for enough time to go by for this to happen. The mistake occurs when an owner heads back in with their Boxer, only minutes before the dog is ready and that is when the dog eliminates seemingly right after entering back inside.
As digested food moved through the intestinal tract, the puppy clenched bowel muscles in anticipation of being taken out. A pup needs 15 to 20 minutes to find just the "perfect" spot and to relax enough to do the deed.
How to Begin
Using the above Umbilical Cord Training Method Each time your puppy makes a motion that implies that they are about to eliminate, you must bring your dog outside to a designated area. In some cases, you may need to pick up your puppy and run to that spot - expect to do this several times, as even finishing in the designated bathroom area is preferred to not at all.
Still give praise even if he only finished up there. Don't scold for what's been done inside, as again, the dog went to the bathroom in the area he was in at the time. Taken outside enough will stop this from happening - and don't worry, as your Boxer matures, he will be able to hold on for about 1 hour extra, for each month that he ages.
As soon as your Boxer is done with their business, give tons of praise. A puppy has no idea that he did something right, unless it is conveyed to him via words and at times, additionally a treat. You do not need to give your dog a treat each time they "perform" good; but you should shower your Boxer with pats and tons of happy and excited words. Act as if your dog just did the best possible action in the world!
A dog aims to please their owner; if you make your Boxer feel as if he did something extraordinarily wonderful, he or she will be prone to do it again.
This does not need to be done forever. Once a dog performs enough repetitions of a certain action, it becomes habit. However, an occasional "good dog!" will help keep a dog reminded of lessons learned.
Young puppies should not have free reign of the home until they are 100% housebroken. Block off certain rooms that are not in use and use a gate to keep your Boxer on the level of the home where you are. If "allowed" to have accidents, they will continue to believe that they can go urinate or eliminate inside of the home.
Even if you yell "NO !", it can actually encourage going to the bathroom inside - when a puppy has an accident and the owner rushes over, and the brings the puppy outside.... the pup thinks "If I go to the bathroom inside, I get an awful lot of attention".
This is where the gated area will come into play. Be sure that it is large enough for the pup to: play, sleep, eat and go to the bathroom. Crating does not work when a dog is left home alone. Canines do not care to go to the bathroom in a confined space, but if left with no other choice, they will...and this causes a dog unnecessary stress.
Bring your Boxer out about 20 minutes before you leave. Bring him out as soon as you arrive back home. Don't scold for any messes that occurred while you were gone, it makes no sense to reprimand a dog for a natural bodily function.
Leaving Your Boxer Outside
The Boxer is among the top dog breeds that are stolen. Where are they taken from? Their own yards! A Boxer puppy should only be kept outside if there are no other alternatives, the yard is 100% safe and for a very short amount of time. A fence may keep other dogs out, but it will not keep out a thief intent on jumping over the fence to take your helpless puppy.
Until a Boxer is old enough to scare off a thief, do not leave your puppy outside. In addition, outside elements such as the hot sun can quickly overheat a dog causing heat exhaustion, which ultimately leads to death if treatment is not given in enough time.
How Often Does a Puppy Need to Go Outside?
Your Boxer puppy should be taken out many times during the day, given that he or she sleeps through the night:
When they first wake up
After each meal (3-4 times a day)
A general guideline in house training a dog is that a 2 month old Boxer puppy can hold its needs for 2 hours, a 3 month old for 3 hours and so on. The maximum time that any dog should ever be expected to hold their needs is 8 hours and this is for a full grown adult canine.
Try to not give your Boxer water right before bedtime unless they seem very much in need of a drink. Wearing your Boxer out with some playtime before bed will also help your puppy sleep through the night and not need to get up to go to the bathroom.
Housebreaking in Cold Weather
Many Boxer owners live in areas in which winters are harsh, cold and very snowy. While some dogs love the snow, others hate the cold and often refuse to go outside. Learn what steps you can take to help train your Boxer to actually enjoy going outside in the cold.