Boxers have a lot of energy, both throughout their puppyhood and adulthood. And while this is to be expected, most owners want a calm and sensible boxer for at least some of the time, but can this be possible? This article explains when most boxer dogs calm down, how to help a hyper boxer calm down, and one big mistake to avoid.
Boxer dogs calm down somewhat after 2-4 years. As boxers take a long time to mature, their playful and energetic nature stays with them for a while. However, it’s advised that owners do not rely on age alone if they want a calm boxer.
What Age Will Your Boxer Calm Down?
Most boxer owners report a slight “mellowing” happening somewhere between 2-4 years, around the time when boxers start to mentally mature.
The truth, however, is that there’s no guarantee the difference in energy will be as significant as most are hoping for. Boxers are a very active and playful breed throughout most of their entire life, so it’s unlikely they go from hyper to monk-mode just because they hit a certain age.
I’ll explain in the next section why you really don’t have to wait years in order to have a calm boxer.
Why Aging Doesn’t Equal a Calm Boxer
Perhaps the biggest mistake owners make is simply waiting for their boxer to calm down with time alone. I have friends that have done the same only to be disappointed when their boxer is still bouncing off the walls at 6 years old!
In order to have a truly calm boxer (regardless of age) we have to be proactive in managing their energy. If we don’t take matters into our own hands then our boxers will be left bored, frustrated, and have pent-up energy for most of the day.
You probably guessed it, the answer is stimulation, both mental and physical (with more emphasis on mental). Dogs require their minds to be worked just as hard as their physical bodies. And we do this through training, socialization, nose work games, puzzle toys, and other stimulating activities. This will leave your boxer feeling relaxed, calm, accomplished, and tired!
Why Do Boxer Dogs Have So Much Energy?
The reason boxers have so much energy is due to the fact they were originally working dogs. And as with all working breeds, they have a huge output ready to go every day. Boxers, in particular, were used as guard dogs and hunting dogs.
Dogs that have been accustomed to working long hard days are still not quite ready for the relaxing non-eventful lives that most of them live today.
Ultimately, working dogs must be put to work in order to be happy, content, calm and obedient. Without this stimulation, boredom, frustration, and hyperactivity take over.
6 Ways To Help Your Boxer Calm Down
I’ve used the tips below to help calm down any hyper dog I’ve had to look after or train. By incorporating a few of these activities into their daily routine, you’ll slowly notice a shift in behavior during all other times (much calmer!).
Every opportunity to socialize your boxer should be grabbed with two hands! Socialization is the most potent form of mental stimulation for a lot of dogs. Sniffing buts, wagging tails, chasing, and even play-fighting will stimulate your boxer’s mind more than most other things we can do for them.
If this means visiting the dog park more, inviting friends over with their dogs, or scheduling in doggy meet-ups, whatever it takes, it’s absolutely worth doing. If you can implement more socialization, your boxer will soon be calmer, more obedient, friendlier, and content overall.
2. Exercise at the right time
We all know how important exercise is, and I’m sure most owners are already giving the 60-90 minutes of moderate to intensive exercise a boxer truly needs.
But the most important thing here is the time of the day you choose to take your boxer out. Due to our busy lives, many of us leave our dog’s exercise to later in the day or evening… This isn’t ideal as it leaves your boxer with pent-up energy for the full day.
If you can squeeze in at least 30-45 minutes of fetch first thing in the morning, your boxer will start his day off with a calmer demeanor. This is such a simple tip but will have a huge impact on their day.
This also coincides with leaving your boxer home alone, which should be kept at a maximum of 4-5 hours, to avoid boredom and frustration.
3. Puppy pens
Puppy pens are essentially a large (more liberating) crate. It will confine your boxer but with a lot more space. Limiting a dog’s space and movement pretty much forces them to chill out for a moment.
Of course, this isn’t designed to be a punishment, and we encourage you to spend 1-2 weeks building positive associations between your boxer and the puppy pen. Place him in there with treats, new toys, and plenty of praise.
As long as your boxer has a positive relationship with the puppy pen, you’ll be able to use it for quick time-outs whenever you need.
4. Basic command training
Oftentimes, we stop teaching our dogs the basics from the moment they learn them… It doesn’t take long for dogs to learn “sit and stay”, but how often do you continue to work and train that command?
Even though these are basic and easy, our dogs still find the activity stimulating and rewarding. And you can always make the challenges harder with a little creativity.
It’s crucial to continue working those basics commands like sit, stay, paw, down, and here every single day for at least 20-30 minutes. Your boxer will receive important mental stimulation, not to mention his behavior and obedience will keep improving from it.
5. Offer a calm environment
Another proven way to calm dogs down is to ensure their environment remains calm. Everything from outside noises, our own voices, and people moving around in the home.
If we live in a bustling chaotic household, our dogs will reflect a similar behavior and demeanor. If we can remain calm and ensure our home is somewhat peaceful, our dogs will benefit greatly.
Extra tips here would be to ensure your boxer resides in a quiet part of the home and to remain as calm as we can ourselves. Dogs with calm owners, are usually calm themselves. You can also play calming music and consider a lavender or vanilla diffuser (both proven to have a calming effect on dogs).
Some dog behavioral experts believe this to be one of the most important factors in raising a calm dog.
6. Puzzle toys
If you need your boxer to stay occupied on their own, then puzzle toys can help you out here.
You could try the classic KONG toy or you could opt for one of our favorite options: the Star Mark Bob-a-Lot puzzle toy. This is essentially a slow feeder and you can use regular dry kibble or treats.
Your boxer will need to roll the ball around until the treats fall out. It’s simple and will occupy your boxer’s mind for quite some time. You can also adjust the hole to make it easier or harder for the treats to fall out.
Summary of Important Points
Let’s run through some of the most important points to take away from this article.
- Boxers may calm down a little between 2-4 years old, but the truth is that you don’t need to wait years in order to have a calm boxer
- Exercise your boxer first thing in the morning (and again in the evening if possible)
- Keep training your boxer even if they already know the basics
- Take every chance you can to socialize your boxer with other dogs (this is potent mental stimulation)
- Try your best to create a calm environment for your boxer. A calm environment will reflect in your boxer’s demenour
- Try using a puppy pen to limit your boxers movements and calm down (must not be seen as a punishment)
- Interact with your boxer and show him plenty of attention
- Try not to leave your boxer home alone for more than 4-5 hours at a time
Ultimately, boxers are an energetic breed, and their playful bouncy nature usually stays with them for most of their life. And there’s nothing wrong with that! It’s important we manage our expectations, as we can’t expect a completely placid temperament from a boxer.
However, we also don’t need to settle or accept hyperactivity. It’s crucial that owners be proactive in managing their boxer’s energy, instead of waiting for a special moment they suddenly become calm (which may not ever happen on its own)…
As long as you provide sufficient stimulation, prioritize your boxer’s needs, and create a calm living space, your boxer should grow up to be happy, content, and calm.
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