It seems that the common public perception of boxer dogs is that they are aggressive and/or dangerous. It’s also a regular question sent in from our readers, so I thought I’d create an article on it. Let’s get to the bottom of this.
Although Boxer dogs can be very friendly, approachable, and playful, they can also be aggressive. Aggressive behavior usually comes from a lack of socialization, punitive training, or lack of training altogether, as well as abuse or incorrect leadership.
Are Boxer Dogs Aggressive? The Truth
Boxer dogs certainly have the ability to be aggressive if feeling threatened, scared, or when negatively provoked. But then again, any breed could be aggressive under those circumstances…
What I think is more important to address is whether boxers are naturally aggressive in general? And the answer to that is no if they are raised correctly. Boxer dogs are some of the soppiest, friendliest breeds we know of. No joke!
However, due to their huge physical presence and deep bark (if you hear it), it’s not really a surprise that the public perception of these friendly giants is a negative one. Which is based upon our own fear and precaution (basic survival instincts).
What Impacts Aggressiveness In Boxer Dogs
Ultimately, the way the boxer is raised, their level of socialization, their environment, and overall stimulation levels will determine the boxer’s overall personality and character.
A boxer who is raised with ample socialization (the activity of meeting strangers and new dogs) will almost never be aloof when meeting new people later on in life.
Early-on socialization teaches dogs (regardless of their breed) social interaction skills and most importantly: not to be afraid of people and dogs they don’t know. And as we know, being fearful is one of the main drivers of aggression in the first place. If reduce fearfulness/suspicion we find that most instances of potential aggression are be avoided.
Guidance & training
In addition to socialization, it’s crucial for boxers to have firm training based on positive reinforcement, and a clear leader that shows them plenty of love and guidance.
It’s true that boxers can be unruly when they don’t have a good grasp of who’s in charge. Having a clear leader with rules they understand will help them know how to behave appropriately and as they should.
A boxer who is raised with punitive training methods and/or with no clear leader will grow to be fearful and fairly chaotic in their behavior. An aggressive nature is likely in these situations. Unfortunately, this is commonly seen in rescues or boxers that have been previously abused.
Lastly, their overall living environment will have a big impact on their character and behavior.
It’s found that dogs who live in a calm and relatively quiet home/neighborhood usually reflect this somewhat in their character.
On the contrary, it’s found that dogs who live in bustling/noisy/chaotic environments (animal shelters come to mind) typically have a higher level of anxiety and fear, both of which may contribute to an aggressive nature.
Boxers have an abundance of energy, and this energy must be expelled. Pent-up energy is a common cause of bad behavior and increased stress levels.
With sufficient physical exercise and mental stimulation (socialization being a great one) comes the important feeling of satisfaction and this will lead to a calmer and better-behaved boxer.
It might seem far-fetched to link stimulation to aggression, but it’s seen time and time again that the calmer and less stressed a dog is, the better its temperament.
Preventing aggression in boxers:
Using the above factors as help, let’s summarize the most important factors in raising a boxer that is naturally friendly, gentle, and approachable.
- Plenty of early-on socialization (doggy groups, dog park visits, friends over)
- Providing consistent training based on positive reinforcment
- Being a clear leader that the boxer can look to for support, guidance, and affection
- Creating a calm environment to avoid stress and anxiety
- Ensuring physical and mental exercise needs are sufficiently met (daily)
- Early correction of aggressive tendencies (nipping, biting, dominance behavior)
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Should Strangers Be Wary of Boxer Dogs?
If you’ve stumbled upon this article as someone who doesn’t own a boxer, you might want to know whether you need to be overly wary of them.
Unless the owner of the boxer signals to you otherwise then there should be no reason to be afraid of a boxer dog. Remember that boxers are incredibly friendly and approachable (when raised correctly). So if the owner doesn’t signal or say anything to you in advance, I wouldn’t worry.
If, however, you are approaching a property for whatever reason, and there’s an unattended boxer dog in the yard, I would treat this situation with caution. Even though boxers can be friendly, they can also be protective over their family and property. If the boxer feels you are a threat, they are more than capable of acting on this.
Other than this, I would personally like to see a general change in public perception, as most boxer dogs are nothing more than soppy angels.
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One Crucial Thing To Remember
For the owners out there, it’s necessary to remember that boxer dogs remain to be puppies (mentally) for up to 3 years but will be fully grown by 18 months. Many are unaware of this.
The reason it’s important to consider this is their behavior. Many new owners wonder why their 2-year-old fully grown boxer is still acting like a lunatic with unlimited energy! They are still deep into puppy mode.
Their energy and rambunctious nature mixed with their large physical size can be hard to control and overwhelming.
This is why it’s absolutely crucial to get their training and exercise needs down without a fault. This will help you raise a calm (relatively), friendly and obedient boxer.
Having good recall and obedience will prove to be invaluable when out on walks where your boxer may be off-leash.
Thank you for reading!
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