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Boxer Protection Training

4 Awesome Boxer Dogs Training for IPO, 2 incredible 'Hosts', 1 Really Cool Trainer... 
and a Great Boxer Dog Family

Meet Karoly Tihanyi ...
Karoly-Tihanyi -owner-of-4-Boxer-dogs
And Monika Vastag ... of Pécel, Hungary
This husband and wife team have four awesome Boxer dogs. Three of their Boxer dogs are trained in IPO obedience and all four practice the two other disciplines of IPO protection training and tracking. When we saw some photos of these Boxers and learned more about them, we knew that you'd want to check them out too. 
Tracking in the field; rainy day
Karoly got his first Boxer dog in 1970, and since then he has always had multiple Boxers, except for a period of 8 years when he worked in Canada. His wife, Moni, is also a great Boxer (and any dog) fan.

They have quite an exceptional Boxer dog family, with both of the parents, one of the sons and one of the daughters. 

IPO (Internationale Prüfungs-Ordnung) is a three part sport which includes: Tracking, Obedience and Protection (more ahead). IPO's governing body is the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale). 

Only certain breeds may compete in IPO events: Airedales, Belgian Shepherds, Bouviers, Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Giant Schnauzers, and Rottweilers. IPO is based off of Schutzhund (translation 'protection dog'), which is a sport in which only German Shepherds compete. 

IPO is a amazing sport that revolves around developing and honing a dog's skills in regard to temperament, endurance, ability to scent, willingness to work, courage, and trainability. In addition, IPO is considered a family sport; communication, trust and mutual respect are key elements. 
Uphill charge: Boxers: Borisz, Marci, Berry & Eszmeralda |  Owner: Moni 
The 3 areas of IPO are:
  • Obedience - This requires a dog to follow commands and perform a multitude of tasks while remaining calm even under situations that would otherwise cause a dog to feel stress. It involves such things as heeling in crowds of people and even when a loud noise goes off, retrieval work including agility such traversing through obstacles, and following all commands to a tee. To pass the tests, a dog must show that he is truly happy performing what is asked of him.
In order for a dog to be involved with the Protection aspect, he must master the Obedience exam.
  • Tracking: There are several levels to this, depending on which title a dog is working toward. However, all tracking in IPO events involve testing a dog's ability to focus on a scent without getting distracted and without getting frustrated. Once a scent is tracked down, the dog must signal that he's zeroed in on it, usually by lying down near the object. 
  • Protection: This part of the IPO may not be what people first assume. IPO Protection training is very precise protection work, in which a dog 1) First, finds a 'helper' (that is hiding behind a barrier and is wearing a padded arm sleeve 2) Holds him in place via body stance until his handler arrives 3) Only goes after the 'helper' by means of latching on only to the padded sleeve, when that person makes a move to escape or pretends to make threatening motions towards the dog and 4) Releases the sleeve on command without hesitation.
As you can imagine, a Boxer dog trained in IPO protection must have awesome self-control to be so riled up but then release on his handler's word. With this, temperament is key. Any nervousness or over-aggression prohibits a dog from being able to move up and gain a title.

And as mentioned earlier, for a dog to compete in the Protection activities, Obedience is a prerequisite.
Let's meet these awesome Boxers Dogs, showing their IPO protection training talents...
BORISZ (father) 
Pictured with professional trainer Tamás Majoros and Moni

MEOE-FCI Certificate No. Tűz-Box Dáriusz 7151/08) 
Age: 8 years, 6 months
Weight: 40-41 kg (88-90 lbs.)  
Height: 63 cm (24.8 inches)

BERRY (mother)
Pictured with professional trainer Tamás Majoros and Moni

MEOE-FCI Certificate No. Berry von der Töpferstadt Stoob, 8005/10                     
Age: 7 years, 6 months
Weight: 34 kg (75 lbs.)
Height: 57 cm (22.45 inches)

Boxer-dog-IPO-Training-for Protection
ESZMERALDA (daughter)
Pictured with professional trainer Tamás Majoros

MEOE-FCI Certificate No. (Boxantusz Eszmeralda 8981/12)                         
Age: 4 years, 6 months
Weight: 38 kg (83.7 lbs.)
Height: 63 cm (24.8 inches)  

MARCI (son)
Pictured with professional trainer Tamás Majoros

MEOE-FCI Certificate No. Boxantusz Borisz 8976/12 
4 years, 6 months
Weight: 49-50 kg (108-110 lbs.)
Height: 73 cm (28.75 inches)  
We asked Karoly to tell us about his Boxers and he was kind enough to do so.  The following is excerpts in Karoly's own words, to help our readers learn more about these amazing Boxer dogs that are both involved in IPO training and are his loving canine family members. You'll notice that Karoly uses the word 'host' instead of 'owner'; he prefers to think of himself that way. 
Marci became the largest (and most beautiful to me) Boxer I have ever met. He has never been fed a single tablet of supplements or vitamins, (algae, calcium, etc.) yet he grown at a rate I have never seen before.  At 1 years old he was 41 kg (90 lbs.) and rather slim, high-built adolescent. Now at 4 years old he is 49 kg (108 lbs.) before a meal and 50 (110 lbs.) when fed. 

He does not look heavy, bulky; at a ten-meter distance, he looks like a large but slim dog. 

He is obsessed with toys; I often must restrain him, because he gets excited. He runs a lot, he hardly has any claws, all worn off.    

One may think that such heavy dog is slow and easy to dodge him.    
Not so; Marci is invincible in any games, play or fight. The other Boxers are not as quick and nimble as Marci; he can easily outrun anyone in the pack.

He nearly always grabs the toy first and the others are afraid of any collision with him. Marci is a kind Boxer and he has always been. He never takes a toy by brute force from Eszmeralda. Waits patiently or he is licking, caressing pampering Eszmeralda, until she forgets the toy and then Marci carefully takes it. 

Marci is Velvetsoul as we call him. He is not aggressive at all, rather insecure. Only recently trying to challenge Borisz, who is in charge as my vice if I am absent.

Marci is frequently watching Borisz in secret, he wants to learn from his father. It is not easy for him; to catch up with Borisz is nearly impossible.      
At play, Eszmeralda dodging as Marci charges
Eszmeralda (the first-born sister) is now 38 kg (87.3 lbs) and the most athletic Boxer lady I have ever met. Her paws are larger than his father's. She used to be very savage as a Kuvasz, but by now we managed to tame her. 

Before, we called her Bloodwolf or Kuvaszboxer. At first I thought she was untamable. Now Eszmeralda is the most obedient in the pack. She is happy to learn any new tasks and enthusiastic if there is a bite-work for her. Working made her obedient and wise. 

Her communication with us is very clear, determined, and straightforward. The world has answers for her, saying only yes or no, things are white or black. She is a cube-brain girl but very honest and straightforward. With protection training, she has the toughest bite and she never lets the prey go unless commanded. Then obeys immediately.   
"Got it!" - Borisz
Borisz, the father is a very special person. He is now 8 and half and 40 kg (88 lbs.), and he receives respect from people when he looks in the eyes earnestly. He is noble, wise, just, generous, smart, fearless, self-confident, faithful, reserved, reliable and honest. 

He always enters a room after me; If he gets there first, he waits. Wherever I go in and around the house and yard/garden Borisz is behind me and waits for me in front of the door if I am in private. If I leave, he takes over automatically as my vice.

Once workers did some refurbishment around the house. While I was there Borisz watched them friendly but with reservation. Then I had to leave and Borisz took over command immediately. 
He peed around the area where the workers were allowed to move and barked menacingly at them, saying "Don’t you dare cross this line" and kept watching them all along. Later, the people complained and asked me what happened that the attitude of this friendly dog changed suddenly. Nothing happened, simply he took command as my vice. 

In the past, Borisz has tried to form sounds like humans. He talked long from his throat to the other Boxers, never to us. It happened when some important situations occurred and as if Borisz was trying to convince them, thinking human talk is more effective than Boxerly murmur or barking. 
Borisz (front) with Eszmeralda (rear)
He never plays with the pack; he does not want to risk his prestige in case someone else is better at a game. Actually, he is right, Marci is much stronger now, yet accepts Borisz as the leader of the pack. 

Borisz often leaves some chunks of food for his folks as a good boss, when having his meal. Marci waits patiently until Borisz says to him, "Now you can have it". 

When a noisy and fearsome object is around, Borisz always shows how courageous he is; he walks to the thing, seemingly ignoring, not looking at it, sometimes peeing around it. The rest watches from the distance and admires fearless Borisz. 

He is much too dominant to take him in social dog events. Nothing matters, he is the boss and nobody else. 

Yet he is playful and friendly with other single dogs if they are submissive in the beginning. When he was first taken to do protection training, he knew by instinct what a Boxer is supposed to do. The trainer was convinced that he had already taken bite-work courses.

He is very passionate and never lets the prey get taken back, we need to dodge him somehow. When Berry was younger, he often attacked Borisz for reasons we could not identify. He has never ever bitten Berry, and he has received many bites yet he just pushed down Berry on the ground and kept her down until she calmed down. From time to time he tried to let her up and if she was still in fighting mood he pushed her back. 
He has several scars on his front leg, Berry has none due to the knightly attitude of Borisz. 

When we are out in the field or forest and we meet horse riders, bikers, game or other dogs, we call them in well in advance of the encounter. All but Borisz obeys immediately. Borisz looks around, detects the potential threat, then barks menacingly and after he comes to me slowly. So, I could talk a lot about my friend Borisz (as I guess nearly all dog owners could), but he is beyond praise, he is my respected Borisz who never makes me disappointed.
 Berry; "I am fed up with you commanding me"
Berry, the mother has a different personality. She changed when she became a mother. Reliable, very-very smart, loving and lovable.

Her default mode is happiness. Except when she is hurt, when she thinks she deserves much more love, caressing hugging talking, etc. Then we need to invest some extra caressing, pampering, flattering to chase away her dark thoughts. She needs comfort in every respect. 

We can take her everywhere without a leash, she is so obedient and friendly. She does not care so much about other dogs, she hunts for hugi-hugi from people. She is nearly disloyal if there is a chance for a pampering. 

She has a very high social IQ. If there is some disagreement in the pack, she is frightened, desperate and worrying. She works for peace, calming down the others. 
Once I noticed that she was playing with her puppies in a very rude way; growling and nipping, jumping and the puppies were frightened. I scolded her for being so rude. She came to me tail-wagging and laughing, snapped my hand with frightening growling and murmuring, but hardly touching my skin, shake it vigorously, yet in a gentle way, looked in my eyes and went back to the puppies and continued the seemingly rude play.

She demonstrated that she never hurts them, it is just a lesson, a type of play that a good mother must teach the puppies that things like this happen in life. She was sure that the silly Host understood what she demonstrated to him, otherwise she would not have continued it.
"Tough Boxer life"
four Boxer dogs sleeping
Eszmeralda, Berry, Marci on the sofa, Borisz on the blanket
More about life in this multiple Boxer household...
My Boxers need to stay busy every day. Walking, running, sniffing, tracking, rope-pulling, rag-tearing, bite-work and a lot of physical contact with us. 

If we can’t go out for some reason, we play in-house; we hide little scented things in a small perforated tube, have them sniff it, order them staying in the kitchen and walk away and hide the tube somewhere in the house which is big enough for such play. 

Then we let them go and order “find it”. They all, but Borisz, sniff and run up and down get the scent and they find the tube. Most of the times Marci or Eszmeralda finds the hidden object. Borisz is bored with this activity. Once it happened, that he went straight to the well-hidden tube and pointed out its place without any search, and then checked out; "I can find it if I want but I’m not interested". 

Since then he shows a remarkably bored face when the rest is in a great search. When they find the tube they all get some treats. We never put the treat in the tube, they must not eat the found object.

Laser dot hunting is also a great fun, except for Berry. She is bored and she shows it, when the rest is happily chasing the laser dot. But when I grab the rope, she is all at a once alive and pulls the rope with enormous strength, for no matter how long, she never gives up and never gets tired. 

Borisz usually request a private laser dot hunting.

Not that he does not want to mingle with his folks; no, he simply does not want to risk being tossed meters away by his son Marci who is outrageously strong now with his 50-kg weight. Instead, he calls me for a little secret laser hunting. 

When we two separate, he warns me to make sure the pointer is with me. When I show him it is in my pocket, he comes with me as if he were dancing.
Tracking in the Field
 Marci, Eszmeralda and Moni
Boxers have excellent communication. They broadcast always, but the owners do not always have the receiver. They all frequently push my right hand with their wet noses. 

First, it is a greeting. When I get home, they all do this at least once saying "Hi, Host". This is also an important calling sign, "come with me I’ll show you something", "My bowl is empty, get me fresh water please", or "Please open the door." (they can themselves; Eszmeralda pushing down the handle and Marci pulling the lower edge of the door inward). 

Hand pushing also means “I’m sorry”.  When they have a false alarm with great amounts of barking and I’m nagging, they come one by one and push my hand to say "I’m sorry".

Questions are also asked by hand pushing. The other day Marci went out in the rain and he was doing his toilet in the wrong area and we all saw that offense happen, yet I let him do it without a word. The same moment, Eszmeralda pushed my hand very firmly, looked straight into my eyes for a second, then looked at Marci, and again in my eyes, questioning, "Why are you letting him do this?" 

For a great offence, they apologize with stretching. 

If the stretch does not help to make it up, they stretch once more. The final desperate apology is yawning. And looking aside. If they are at a loss or embarrassed, they yawn. The morning greeting is also stretching, they all do this. When we return their happiness with words, they stretch once more.

There are many other signals, words in the Boxer language, and those are not necessarily identical in communication with different persons or Hosts. They use personalized language.

In full agreement with my wife, we can say that living together with four Boxers in a mixed Boxer-Host pack is a unique and marvelous experience. There were times when we could not believe that living with four large Boxers in great harmony would be possible. It takes some input and sacrifice from all parties, but it is worth it.
Eszmeralda's 4th birthday
Up, Berry and Borisz, front Marci and Eszmeralda
In regard to these Boxer dogs doing protection training with the IPO, along with tracking, obedience and agility, Berry, Borisz and Eszmeralda have passed the Obedience test. Borisz is the exception. All four Boxers have been trained for Protection and are ready for the exam. 

Marci will be the best, he is strong; obedience and drive for prey is well balanced in him. He understands immediately what the Trainer or Host wants him to do.

Eszmeralda is a fierce fighter and she has the strongest bite. She has already tried Agility and she was not bad at all (at that time she had obedience problems), maybe next spring we'll enroll her again.

Berry is also tough, she can be spun around while holding the prey, (with her higher than optimal BMI) and never lets go of the prey.

Borisz has the strongest drive for prey and keeping the prey. He obeys on command but is very passionate in all actions. He takes it seriously. 

Tracking is a favored activity for all. When we track outside, Borisz is guarding while the rest is engaged. We do not plan joining an organized tracking activity, maybe just with Marci.
A huge thanks to Karoly for giving us a peek into his Boxer household; Borisz, Berry, Marci and Eszmeralda are truly incredible Boxers. Karoly did a lot of work to help us bring his story to you. And a shout out to trainer Tamás Majoros for his awesome facial expressions and letting us see what it feels like to have huge Boxers leaping at you! 

Want to see more about Tamás, the trainer who is pictured in this story? Check out: Boxer Dog Bite Training
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