With boxers having so much energy, it comes as no surprise that one of the most common questions I receive is about keeping boxers entertained and worn out. This article covers easy ways to tire out your boxer to keep them calm and happy. These tips work for puppies just as well as they do for adults.
The 9 best ways to keep your boxer entertained:
- The cup game
- Hide and seek
- Find the treat game
- Flirt poles
- Improve basic command training
- Have friends over with their dogs
- Keep toys on rotation
- Interactive puzzle games
- Frozen kong toy with peanut butter
All will be explained in full detail below!
Tiring Out Your Boxer: The Key Principle
In order to tire out your boxer, you must remember that it’s both physical AND mental exercise that they need.
Understandably, many owners focus heavily on physical exercise as the main way to “tire out” their boxer. But what they forget is that these fit dogs will be ready to go again after a 20-minute nap!
Physical exercise is absolutely important, but it’s the mental exercise that truly wears out a boxer. If mental stimulation is neglected, your boxer will never really be tired…
Therefore, the following tips focus on mental stimulation more so than they do physical exercise. Let’s get into it!
Keeping Your Boxer Entertained When You Are There
Let’s run through some of the most effective ways we know of to keep your boxer entertained.
⭐ These games will:
● Provide valuable mental stimulation
● Improve your boxer’s general behavior
● Improve your bond with your boxer
● Help to calm down and tire out your boxer
● Increase intelligence and obedience (over the long term)
1. The cup game
One of my all-time favorite games to play to give my dogs mental stimulation is the cup game. It’s simple, fun, and even entertaining for us, too.
It involves taking three plastic cups, turning them upside down, popping a treat under one of them, then moving the cups around and letting your boxer choose the correct cup. A true classic, that you likely already know.
Of course, when doing this for the first time, make it incredibly easy, help your boxer by pointing, and always let him have the treats.
But as he improves, swivel the cups around for longer and faster, and don’t give any help.
10 minutes of this game will leave your boxer calm, happy, and ready to nap. Not to mention, you’ve just become his favorite person 😉
2. Hide and seek
Hide and seek isn’t just reserved for our kids, oh no. And just like the cup game, this can be super entertaining for everyone involved, not just your boxer.
The best way to initiate this game is to hide somewhere in the house (typically behind a door) when your boxer is minding his own business in another room. Call his name, a few times, and that’s it… the game has begun.
If he doesn’t find you relatively quickly, don’t make it too hard for him. There’s a balance between fun and frustration!
Once he finds you, take him back to a central room or starting point and have your partner distract or hold him while you hide again, or take it in turns with other members of the house.
This game sounds very basic, but believe me, for your boxer, it will be extremely stimulating as he’ll be using not only his hearing but his sense of smell too. This simple game will be fun, rewarding, and thoroughly entertaining for your boxer.
3. Find the treat game
Nose work games like “find the treat” are easy to set up and prove to be very rewarding for your boxer.
To start, ask your boxer to sit and stay, while you hide a treat behind a cushion (while he is watching you do it!) go back to your position, and give the command “find it”. He should run straight over to the cushion and retrieve the treat. That was to start, now you can do it again while your boxer is in another room, and you hide the treat in a different location. Keep using the command “find it” until your boxer finds it.
Of course, in the beginning, don’t make it too difficult or he won’t grasp the game, but after 2 or 3 runs, he’ll know exactly what the game is, and you can make it harder.
A dog’s sense of smell is anywhere between 10,000 – 100,000 times more powerful than ours, making it the number one way a dog navigates throughout life. This is why their nose is glued to the floor all the time!
Any game or activity that utilizes the sense of smell, gets the brain extremely stimulated and uses a lot of energy. Your boxer will thoroughly enjoy this game so it’s worth a try.
Recommended Read: Can boxers eat cheese? What to know first
4. Flirt poles
Flirt poles are excellent if you have a spacious room or preferably, a yard.
Although caution should always be taken with your boxer’s bones and joints, a 10-minute session outside chasing and jumping for a flirt pole will provide both physical and mental exercise.
You can use it to encourage your boxer to chase the toy on the end of the pole, jump for it, or play tug of war.
As this game has both a physical and mental aspect to it, it will consume a lot of energy in a short space of time.
You can get a quality flirt pole from Amazon, or even make a simple one from home.
5. Improve basic command training
It’s easy to overlook basic command training once your boxer successfully “sits” or “stays” a couple of times in a row. But here’s why a simple daily training session can be so powerful.
Command training should continue to be a part of your boxer’s day for years to come. Not only will this continue to improve upon your boxer’s overall obedience and your bond with him, but will sufficiently stimulate his mind and keep him calmer, for longer.
To get the most out of command training (sit, stay, down, paw, come here,) the trick is to always progress onto harder versions of the command. A simple sit is easy, but a sit and stay for 10 seconds while a treat is on the floor in front of him is much harder, and more stimulating.
I won’t go into all the ways that you can improve each command because honestly, there are so many! Whether it’s making him wait for a longer duration, or walking away from him before giving him the “go” command.
By adding in a 30-minute session of command training every day, your boxer will become better behaved, dramatically more obedient, and respondent to you, as well as sufficiently entertained. The benefits of this will flow into so many other aspects of his and your life, it’s certainly worth starting!
6. Have friends over with their dogs
If any of your friends or family members have dogs, invite them over for a doggy play date and a general catch-up!
Socialization for dogs is perhaps the most potent form of mental stimulation there is. No amount of fetch, tug of war, or nose work games can rival the power of sniffing other dog’s butts. lol. but seriously, socialization is a big one.
Of course, only invite those over with dogs that are friendly and willing to play.
One hour of socializing with another dog will leave your boxer extremely satisfied, worn out, and feeling good.
Behavioral experts have also noted a strict correlation between improved behavior, friendliness, and obedience in dogs that are properly socialized.
Related Article: Can you run with your boxer? 7 Tips owners should know
Ways To Keep Your Boxer Entertained While At Work
While you are out of the house or at work, it becomes a little harder to keep your boxer entertained, but there are still some things you can do!
As you aren’t there to facilitate the fun, you’ll have to rely on some alternatives tricks (not necessarily games) that should keep your boxer happy.
1. Keep toys on rotation
Keeping toys on rotation is a simple “trick” that every owner can do. You can do it in a couple of different ways, you can rotate single toys at a time, or batches of toys together.
Whatever you choose, the whole idea of this is to keep his toys new and exciting to him.
If he has 3 different sets of toys, that you rotate once a week, it will appear to him like he’s constantly receiving brand new toys. Sounds silly, but it really does work.
How will this help while you’re out of the house? Well, when a dog gets a new toy (or what they think is a new toy) they are very happy to play with it themselves for a considerable amount of time. It’s only when the toy becomes old and samey, do they tend to leave it alone.
By keeping his toys on constant rotation, he’ll think he’s receiving new toys, and will therefore keep his focus and attention on them even when you aren’t there. Though this won’t be a magical cure to his boredom, it will certainly help.
2. Interactive puzzle toys
Interactive puzzle toys are a must for anyone that’s leaving their boxer home alone, for any amount of time.
There are some interactive puzzle toys that are more suitable for when you are there to assist, but there are others that are ideal for when he’s alone.
One of my favorites is the Star Mark Bob a Lot. It’s like a cross between a kong classic and a slow feeder. You place the treats inside the ball, and your boxer has to roll the ball in certain directions for the treats to fall out.
The key to making this toy more entertaining is to avoid using his kibble as the treat. Using kibble is convenient, but let’s be honest it’s super boring. Get some new tasty treats to retain his focus.
And the final trick is to reserve this toy for only when you leave the house! When you return, remove it again. This will retain that “new toy feeling” for longer, especially when combined with new tasty treats. The Star Mark Bob a Lot could keep your boxer entertained for up to one hour at a time.
3. Frozen kong toy with peanut butter
Finally, we’re talking about the good old Kong classic toy!
Pick up a medium or large kong classic, stuff it with peanut butter (xylitol-free) and freeze it for at least a couple of hours.
Boy oh boy, this will zone out your boxer and make him forget you’ve even left the house. Most dogs absolutely LOVE peanut butter, which has been deemed safe for dogs to consume, as long as it’s low in salt and doesn’t contain xylitol. And just watch the calories!
The point of freezing is to make the peanut butter last a lot longer. Your boxer will continue to taste the peanut butter as it thaws, and will have that super satisfying rubber chewiness to keep chomping down on.
This is such a simple one and is one of my all-time favorites to do.
Interesting Read: Why do boxer dogs sit on their owners?
How Long Will Your Boxer Be Alone For?
If you’re going to be out of the house for several hours, these tips and tricks will likely not suffice.
They may work for the first couple of hours, but after that, your boxer will get incredibly bored and even anxious.
Boxers in general hate spending time alone, and they are a breed that gets very attached and reliant upon their owner’s company.
If you’re gone for several hours, the best thing you can do is get a friend or family member to go around to your home and keep him company. If that’s not an option, hiring a dog sitter is the next best thing.
Long-term isolation and loneliness can cause serious behavioral and emotional issues like destructive behavior and separation anxiety. These issues can be really difficult to handle and overcome, so everything should be done to prevent them in the first place.
⭐ How Are You Keeping Your Boxer Entertained? Please let me know your thoughts on this topic!
⭐ Thank you for reading and I hope this article has given you some ideas to work with.
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