I can tell you from experience that walking an untrained Boxer on a leash is no fun, especially when walking two at the same time. These muscular exuberant dogs are hard to hold back if they start pulling and set their minds on going somewhere and believe me, you aren’t going to win in a pulling contest.
A boxer puppy pulling is just down to over-excitement and many dog owners let this slide, but if it persists, it will become a habit, one that is hard to resolve and will have you at your wit’s end
That’s why today’s post is going to give you some tips on how to stop a Boxer from pulling on a lead
Let’s delve in and see how to make daily exercise with your Boxer a walk in the park!
8 Tips for Loose Leash Walking with a Boxer
1) Start training early
Boxers are relatively easy to train even if they don’t always appear the sharpest tools in the box, so the good news is that with a bit of consistency and patience, your puppy should pick up basic commands like sitting and come in just a few weeks.
That means that if you start leash training at 8 weeks old, they should be on the right track when they are fully vaccinated and can go outdoors. Of course, there will be distractions but knowing the basics will definitely help stop pulling
2) Dog training tips 101 – focus
Boxers are easily distracted by carrier bags blowing in the wind, other dogs and basically anything that moves, so teaching them to focus on you, the pack leader, and what you want them to do can be quite challenging.
However, when your dog understands that giving you their attention and making eye contact will result in a tasty treat or reward, other distractions are not so important.
3) Impulse control is essential if your dog pulls
Does your dog charge out of the door as soon as you open it or jump all over anyone who visits? This is because they lack self-control; basically, they have none and this needs to be taught from an early age if you want a well-behaved adult boxer.
Teaching your dog to suppress their natural instinct and wait calmly for your permission to act isn’t as hard as it sounds and most pups get the hang of it after a few training sessions
This video shows some ways how to teach your Boxer impulse control
4) Having the right collar and lead helps
No matter the age of your Boxer, you need to make sure that any collars, leads or harnesses fit correctly. They are a brachycephalic breed with a short nose, so the last option is better than a standard collar. It allows your pup to pull with their whole body weight, so they are not for everyone; they do give more control than regular collars though.
You read more about the Boxer harnesses we like here.
You could try a gentle leader, head collar or use a regular collar until they learn good leash manners but never use a choke chain or prong collar.
The leash is important too; you don’t need a 100ft training lead when teaching them to heel, save that for recall training (that’s a whole other article)
5) What about anti-pull harnesses to stop your dog pulling?
Anti-pulling harness solutions and head collars can be a great tool, especially if you have taken on an older dog that pulls on the leash like a train. They are designed to make pulling uncomfortable for your Pooch without hurting them.
This is usually done by directing their body inwards towards you when they lunge forward; this alters their balance, gait and can discourage pulling in some dogs (not all). I have used the easy walk for my Boxers with great results; they aren’t a magic solution, though and are no substitute for proper instruction.
6) Use positive reinforcement
A dog learns certain behaviours through reinforcement, be it positive or negative. When teaching your Boxer to sit, stay or walk by your side, it’s essential to use positive reinforcement.
If your canine companion is in the heel position (or whichever word you choose), give them treats, whether it’s praise, a toy or a tiny piece of cheese. They will soon learn that staying by your side is advantageous, which will become ingrained throughout their life.
7) Don’t mistakenly reinforce pulling on the lead
If your Pooch takes off after some other dog at the dog park dragging you behind, it may be tempting to let this slide; after all, he just wants to play. However, this is a big mistake; your Boxer has now learnt that pulling has got him exactly where he wanted to be.
Instead, stand your ground, stop walking or even turn and start walking in the opposite direction. Once he is back at your side again, you can return to your original route.
8) You may have great success with a clicker
A clicker is an excellent option if it’s not always you, that’s going to be you exercising the dog. After all, different people have different tones of voice and may even use different commands. Clicker training is relatively easy; the only thing you need to master is the timing and many dog trainers swear by them as a positive reinforcement aid.
When your dog does what is asked, just click and reward. He knows that sound means he has done something right and will be rewarded. If your pup doesn’t respond, simply stop and stay calm until the lead is slack again, then click and offer a treat.
Why Boxer Dogs Pull
They want to get somewhere FAST!
Boxers are curious dogs that want to explore their surroundings; if they see a squirrel, rabbit, or god forbid a cat, they are going to do everything in their power to get to it, even if that means pulling your arm out of its socket.
They have never been trained to walk correctly.
An older dog that hasn’t been trained to walk on a lead will pull; they don’t know any different and whilst it’s possible to teach an adult dog to stop pulling, it’s much easier with a puppy.
They are opportunists
Give a boxer an inch and they will take a mile; if you speed up to their pace, it will just get faster and faster. They need to learn that you dictate the pace of a walk, not them. Don’t feel guilty; just have some tasty treats on hand and they’ll soon be walking nicely.
Keep training sessions short to start with and gradually increase the distance.
Boxers are intelligent dogs that are usually easy to train. Nine times out of ten, the owner’s errors cause their boisterous personalities to change into undesirable behaviours. Pulling on the leash is one of the most common problems, as most owners let this slide when they are puppies.
Training your best friend to walk by your side happily is one of the most important things they can learn and will result in pleasant walks with a happy dog. After all, when we get a dog, we look forward to countryside strolls and hikes together. The good news is that with a little bit of patience, consistency and practice, walks on a leash will be a positive experience.
We hope this post has given you some tips on how to stop your arm from being pulled from its socket, choosing the right equipment and training your Boxer to walk on a loose leash. Good luck!