Activities For Boxers

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Introduction

The Boxer is a silly, playful, and energetic dog who wants nothing more than to interact with his human family. The Boxer loves traditional games such as Go Fetch and Catch. He loves to run alongside you while you jog around the neighborhood, and, of course, he will enjoy curling up on the couch beside you when it's time to rest. One must remember, when planning activities for your pup, that the Boxer is a brachycephalic dog. Short bursts of play coupled with equal periods of rest will give your Boxer great exercise without causing them to become short of breath. (When a brachycephalic dog - one whose snout is shorter than normal - gets overexerted or too hot, his airways in effect swell, making it difficult for them to take in oxygen.) The optimum activity times for a dog such as the Boxer are early morning and late afternoon.

Flyball

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Hard
30 minutes
Items needed
tennis ball
spring-loaded ball box
hurdles
Activity description
Flyball is an excellent activity for your Boxer. Hurdles measuring up to 16 inches high (obstacles) will be set up, and a spring-loaded box will release the tennis ball. The objective is for your Boxer to chase the ball down while running and clearing the aforementioned hurdles. The hurdles are to be set up with the initial hurdle at six feet from the starting line and each remaining hurdle with ten feet apart. You will need to train your dog on how to play flyball, and, surprisingly enough, you will train him in the reverse of the actual course. Take the dog to the final hurdle within sight of another handler (it should be someone that he or she will be comfortable going to). The other handler will stand across the finish line. You will release your pup, encouraging them to go to the other handler. The dog should be rewarded at this point. Next, you will take the dog to the second-to-last hurdle and repeat the behavior. Do this until the dog has reached the hurdle closest to the starting line and successfully "jumped" it along with the other hurdles. Eventually, you will rig the box so that the ball will be released for your Boxer to chase while clearing the obstacles.
Step
1
Release the trigger
You will also need to teach your dog how to release the trigger on the ball box. Once you have rigged the box, show the dog where the ball is. Show your dog how to press the trigger, then walk him through the hurdles. Repeat this behavior until your dog will press the trigger, then walk through the hurdles and cross the finish line on their own.
Step
2
Add extra hurdles
Some pet parents use the original four hurdles set up when playing flyball with their pups. Other owners will add up to three extra hurdles (this is the number an actual competition will have). Other obstacles can be added if the owner or handler desires.
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Go Fetch

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
30 minutes
Items needed
tennis ball
Activity description
Go Fetch is an easy game to begin training your pup. The Boxer was bred for chasing, well, anything! Left to his own devices, the Boxer will chase small animals, or he may set his sights on slightly larger prey, such as a bicycle. Teaching your Boxer to fetch a ball will be quite easy. Simply show them the ball, encourage them to go after the ball, and throw the ball. Heap praise on your Boxer when they retrieve the ball, and encourage them to run back to you with said tennis ball. You will need to train your Boxer to proffer the ball back to you. Often, this is easily accomplished with a treat, which they gladly exchange for the tennis ball. Repeat as necessary. Wean them off the treat and replace it with a repeated throw. You may want to give your Boxer a treat once you are ready to stop playing for that session.
Step
1
Present the Ball
Show the Boxer the ball. After a time, they will begin to associate your word with your readiness to play a game. The dog may even retrieve the ball from a designated storage area and bring to you!
Step
2
Throw the ball and encourage chase
Get excited about throwing the ball! Encourage your dog to go get the ball and bring it back to you. You should always insist that they give you the ball before you throw it again. Some dogs want to tug the ball or otherwise fight giving it back to you. Discourage this behavior as much as possible.
Step
3
Repeat as needed
You can repeat steps one and two as much as you'd like! Keep in mind that your dog will become short of breath if you do not encourage him to take a break occasionally. Give him a treat at the end of play.
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Frisbee Fetch

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Easy
30 minutes
Items needed
A dog disk
Activity description
Playing Frisbee with your Boxer is not only fun for each of you, but it is also mentally stimulating for your pup! You might need to start out by introducing the disc to your dog. This may involve playing tug-of-war with the disc, or you may have to "scent" the disc by rubbing a hot dog on the item. Be sure to praise your dog for chasing the disc, and have a back-up disc ready to "swap out" with them when the dog brings the original disc back to you. In time, and with training, the dog will enjoy the "chase" of the Frisbee game. This is not only great physical play for your Boxer, but it taps into the innate desire to go after prey. While this activity is one strictly for the outdoors, be cautious about the time of day that you choose to play. Remember, cooler mornings and late evening (any time other than the heat of the day) is best for your Boxer. Never allow them to become overexerted, and provide water if possible.
Step
1
Sight and scent the disc
Introduce your Boxer to the disc. Some owners or trainers allow the disc to serve as a food bowl, and some take a hot dog and rub on the disc in order to scent it. Either way, get your pup comfortable with the disc.
Step
2
Roll the disc
You will need to initially roll the disc on the ground to activate your dog's need to chase prey. Gradually work up to throwing the disc. Your Boxer needs to understand that he is to chase the disc and return it to you.
Step
3
Throw the disc, reward the return
Once you have your Boxer returning the disc to you regularly, you can then work on throwing the disc. Of course, any time the disc is returned to you, praise your pup. You will need to have a second disc handy to "swap" with your dog. Practice throwing one disc, the successful return, and prompt the dog to give you the first disc before you throw the second.
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More Fun Ideas...

Agility Exercises

Any exercise that promotes agility is great for your Boxer, and many can take place right in your living room! Roll up a blanket and encourage your Boxer to "jump" over the obstacle. You can also set up a broomstick over two empty flower pots and ask your Boxer to come to you by crossing the obstacle. These easy exercises are both physically and mentally stimulating.

Jogging

Although the Boxer is a brachycephalic dog, he is somewhat more able than a Boston Terrier or a Pug should you desire taking him on a jog around the neighborhood. Again, be mindful of the time of day that you go for your run.

Conclusion

The Boxer is a great companion animal. He loves cuddling on the couch (and his large size often makes it difficult to share space!). He is always ready to jump up and join you for a fun game, a jog around the neighborhood, or for playtime outdoors. Don't forget that he will need to exercise at certain times of the day, and that he will need access to water during exercise. Playing games such as Flyball and Frisbee are not only great exercise, but these activities keep your Boxer mentally sharp as well!