How to Crate Train a Boxer Dog

Medium
4-8 Weeks
General

Introduction

Boxers are a high energy breed, one that is very good-natured, loves to please, and is fun to live with--as long as they are properly trained. Trying to live with an untrained Boxer can be a very unpleasant experience. Your guests certainly aren't going to appreciate suddenly having a 70-pound "lap dog" jump in their lap. Many believe Boxers to be hard to train, however, this simply isn't true. The trick is you need to keep your pup interested in what you are trying to teach him. If he gets bored, he will simply start ignoring you.

Bear in mind that Boxers do not respond well to negative training methods, in fact, if you try to go this route, you may find your pup can out-stubborn you. Your best bet is to use positive training and reinforcement methods, take your time, work at your pup's pace, and, most of all, work with your pup to make the process fun. 

Defining Tasks

To a dog in the wild, a cave becomes a den. Somewhere he can stay out of the weather, he can hide from danger, or go to when he is sick. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to teach your Boxer that the crate you put in the living room for him is his den. You would think this should be easy and that your dog would instantly want his own den. Unfortunately, while this might be the case of a wild dog, domesticated dogs only retain the memory, not the built-in strong desire.

Essentially, what you will be doing is bringing this natural instinct back to the surface and using it to train your dog to stay in his crate when you are at work or at night when you are asleep. Keep in mind that you need to take his collar off when you put him in the crate to avoid injury. Crate training can protect your home and your guests as well as give your pup his very own safe place to sleep. 

Getting Started

When crate training any breed of dog, it's important to select a crate that is the right size, right now. For a puppy, you may need to start small and upgrade to a bigger crate in time, or choose a crate that will be suited to his full-grown size but that can be partitioned into smaller sections for now. Your dog should have enough space in his crate to stand up and turn around, but not enough extra space to be tempted to create his own separate sleeping and potty areas. 

You need the stuff to make the crate comfy, rug to cover the floor, a bed, a water bottle, and some toys. You may also need a few extras as part of the training process, including:

  • Treats – for training and rewards
  • Blanket – to create a dark "cave-like" environment
  • Time – you will need plenty of this
  • Patience – you are going to need an industrial-sized bucket of this

It is going to take plenty of time and dedication to crate train your Boxer. Be patient, calm, and relaxed, the time will come when he falls in love with his new den and will enjoy spending time there.

The Dinner Inside Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Introduce your pup to his crate
Place your pup's crate in an area of your home where the family spends a lot of time. Take the door off, let him explore it all by himself. Some dogs will give in to their natural curiosity and start snoozing in the crate all on their own. If your pup doesn’t do this, you can use a few treats to lure him into the kennel. Introduce a command, such as "kennel" or "crate" that you will use when it's time for him to go in. Keep this up over the course of several days until he will calmly walk all the way inside on his own.
Step
2
Time for dinner
Start feeding your pup by placing his food bowl near the crate. This helps your pup associate something positive with the crate. Start out by putting his bowl just inside the crate. Over the next several days, slowly move his bowl back until it is all the way at the back of his crate. Close the door, then open it once he is done eating. Slowly extend the time until he will stay in the crate for 10 minutes without fussing.
Step
3
Extend the time
Call your pup over, give him a treat and then give him the "kennel" command, let him walk into the kennel and close the door behind him. Find somewhere to sit quietly for 5 to 10 minutes and then quietly go into another room for a few minutes. Keep repeating this until your pup can stay in there for around 30 minutes. Be prepared, this can take several weeks.
Step
4
When you go out
Time to put your hard work to the test. Using your cue word, kennel your dog and give him a treat. Make sure he has a few toys to play with. Be sure to crate your dog no more than 5 to 20 minutes before you are ready to leave. Go ahead and head out the door without making any kind of fuss.
Step
5
When you come home
When you come home, give your dog time to calm down before you acknowledge him. Keep your arrival nice and calm as this will encourage your pup to behave the same way. Be sure to take him out to go potty and stretch his legs. You should put your pup in his crate from time to time when you are home so that he doesn't always associate being in the kennel with being left alone.
Recommend training method?

The Give a Dog a Home Method

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0 Votes
Step
1
It all starts with a crate
Choose the perfect place for your pup's crate, one that is in the same place as your family spends a lot of time. Create the perfect den for him by laying down carpet, adding a nice comfy bed, a water bottle, and a few of his favorite toys.
Step
2
Enter the den
Call your pup over and put him in the middle of the den where he can find the toys. Quietly close the door. Let him get used to being in the crate and then after five minutes, go ahead and take him out, all the way out, meaning outside so he can pee. Start slowly increasing the time in the crate in five-minute intervals.
Step
3
Not so fast
Not so fast here--how many dogs are going to sit quietly in their crates right from the start? Not many. So, unless you are among the lucky few, you are going to be treated to a cacophony of noise as your pup tries to convince you he is dying in his crate. Eventually, he will get sick of hearing himself and settle down. When he does, give him lots of praise and, of course, a nice treat.
Step
4
Let him munch
Let your pup eat his treat and then open the door and take your pup straight outside to pee.
Step
5
The long and winding road
The rest involves taking your pup down the long and winding road to being able to stay in his crate for longer and longer times until he can stay in his "den" for as long as is needed.
Recommend training method?

The Silence is Golden Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Add one crate
Take your pup's crate and place it in an area of your home where your family spends most of its time. This will ensure your pup will never feel left out.
Step
2
Enter one pup
Pick up your pup and give him the "crate" or "kennel" command as you place him in the crate. Gently close the door and secure it in place.
Step
3
Let him squeal
Your pup is likely to bark himself silly at first, but it won't take long for him to quiet down. Just let him do his thing while you do yours. Totally ignore the noise and your pup until he finally stops.
Step
4
Wait for the storm to calm down
Wait for the Tasmanian Devil that is your pooch to finally wear himself out. When he does, go ahead and open the door and take him out to the yard to pee and get a little exercise.
Step
5
The road goes ever on
The only thing left is to keep extending the amount of time your pup spends in his crate slowly over time until he can stay in it as long as needed.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Smudge
Boxer
9 Months
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Question
0 found helpful
Smudge
Boxer
9 Months

Smudge is not left at home alone very much. We are home a lot and my husband works from home. However there are times, shopping trips etc. Where he will need to be left alone for short periods. When we do this he displays severe anxiety. He wets, soils, jumps up on benches Etc. And it’s getting more serious. Many have suggested a crate but I worry about a. The size of him and b. Doing more damage to himself in a crate.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
124 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here is some pretty detailed information on crate training. Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog's age, temperament and past experiences. It's important to keep two things in mind while crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don't go too fast. Step 1: Introduce your dog to the crate Place the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Take the door off and let the dog explore the crate at their leisure. Some dogs will be naturally curious and start sleeping in the crate right away. If yours isn't one of them: Bring them over to the crate and talk to them in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is open and secured so that it won't hit your dog and frighten them. Encourage your dog to enter the crate by dropping some small food treats nearby, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If they refuse to go all the way in at first, that's OK; don't force them to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If they aren’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days. Step 2: Feed your dog meals in the crate After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding them their regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, place the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If they remain reluctant to enter, put the dish only as far inside as they will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed them, place the dish a little further back in the crate. Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat their meal, you can close the door while they’re eating. The first time you do this, open the door as soon as they finish their meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until they’re staying in the crate for 10 minutes or so after eating. If they begin to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving them in the crate for a shorter time period. If they do whine or cry in the crate, don’t let them out until they stop. Otherwise, they'll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so they'll keep doing it. Step 3: Practice with longer crating periods After your dog is eating their regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine them there for short time periods while you're home. Call them over to the crate and give them a treat. Give them a command to enter, such as "crate." Encourage them by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise them, give them the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to 10 minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time and then let them out. Repeat this process several times a day, gradually increasing the length of time you leave them in the crate and the length of time you're out of sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you mostly out of sight, you can begin leaving them crated when you're gone for short time periods and/or letting them sleep there at night. This may take several days or weeks. Step 4, Part A: Crate your dog when you leave After your dog can spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving them crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put them in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave them with a few safe toys in the crate. Vary the moment during your "getting ready to leave" routine that you put your dog in the crate. Although they shouldn't be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate them anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Don't make your departures emotional and prolonged—they should be matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give them a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don't reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to them in an enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low-key to avoid increasing their anxiety over when you will return. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you're home so they don't associate crating with being left alone. Step 4, Part B: Crate your dog at night Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night and you'll want to be able to hear your puppy when they whine to be let outside. Older dogs should also initially be kept nearby so they don't associate the crate with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with the crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer, although time spent with your dog—even sleep time—is a chance to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Potential problems Whining: If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether they’re whining to be let out of the crate, or whether they need to be let outside to eliminate. If you've followed the training procedures outlined above, then your dog hasn't been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from their crate. If that is the case, try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, they'll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at them or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you've ignored them for several minutes, use the phrase they associate with going outside to eliminate. If they respond and become excited, take them outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you're convinced that your dog doesn't need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore them until they stop whining. Don't give in; if you do, you'll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what they want. If you've progressed gradually through the training steps and haven't done too much too fast, you'll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again. Separation anxiety: Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won't solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but they may get injured in an attempt to escape. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counterconditioning and desensitization procedures.

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Question
Rosie
Boxer
12 Weeks
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Question
0 found helpful
Rosie
Boxer
12 Weeks

Trying to crate train - but she always pees in the crate. Even if I walk her, she will come back inside and walk in her crate And pee! Help!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Shana, Did you adopt Rosie from a Pet Store, shelter, or breeder that kept her in a cage or crate all day? If so she has likely lost her natural desire to hold her bladder in a crate, but there are a couple of other things that could be going on as well. First, make sure that there is nothing absorbent in the crate, including a soft bed, towel, or stuffed animal. Anything absorbent can encourage peeing and interfere with training. If you need to provide her with a bed in there, check out PrimoPads.com. Second, make sure that the crate is the right size. It should be big enough for her to stand up, turn around, and lay down, but not bigger. If it's big enough for her to pee in one end and then stand in the other end, out of the pee, it is too big. The crate needs to be small enough or it will not encourage her to keep it clean. When puppies are forced to pee in a crate for long enough they will loose even that though. If the crate she has now is too big, check to see if it came with a metal divider, or purchase one if it's a wire crate. If it is not a wire crate, you can place something chew-proof in the back of the crate to block part of it off, or buy a smaller crate to use until she grows. Third, clean the crate well with a spray that contains enzymes. Only enzymes will break down pee and poop at a molecular level, completely removing the smell. Any remaining smell will encourage her to go potty in there again. If the crate has been used by another dog and the smell is impossible to get out (which is more likely with a plastic or fabric crate than a wire crate) then you might need to purchase a new crate. Also, avoid ammonia - because it smells like urine to a dog. If addressing material, size, and cleaning does not help the situation, or you know that she was raised in a crate or small kennel, you will need to potty train her using a different method. Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Tethering" method if that is the case. When you need to leave for long periods of time, because you cannot crate her without an accident happening, you may need to confine her to an exercise pen with a disposable real grass pad, in a room where she will not be allowed to go at other times, now or as an adult later. The other option is to have someone come by the house and let her outside every 1-2 hours. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If you confine her in the exercise pen and teach her to go potty on the grass in there, you do not want that area to be something that she associates with the rest of the house. I suggest using a basement room that you can close off, with hard floors, a laundry room that normally stays closed, a bathroom that is not used often, or another odd room that is away from the rest of the house and has hardwoods, like an office, storage room, or bonus room. To teach her to use the real grass pad, check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Exercise Pen" method. Once she is trained not to potty in the house and she can hold her bladder while you are gone, then you can simply use the Exercise Pen less and less and expect her to hold her bladder while you are gone - as long as its a reasonable amount of time. The article mentions litter box training, but simply substitute the grass pads instead and follow the rest of the article's method. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Here is a link to a real grass pad. They are more expensive than pee pads but each one is advertised to last two weeks. Do not use Pee Pads for this!: https://www.amazon.com/Fresh-Patch-Disposable-Potty-Grass/dp/B005G7S6UI/ref=asc_df_B005G7S6UI/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=309763115430&hvpos=1o2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=4628430177348674255&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1015431&hvtargid=pla-568582223506&psc=1 Porch Potty also makes a more permanent grass toilet. When you know that her bladder is empty, you can practice crate training, to teach her to like the crate so that you can reap the other benefits of crate training, like preventing destructive chewing. You will have to treat the crate like any other training command that you teach her...You have sessions where you practice it, placing her inside with food stuffed chew toys and sprinkle treats inside while she is being quiet, simply to get her used to being in a crate. It is still worth doing, but you will have to go about it differently that normal, and use the Exercise Pen and tethering for the potty training. When you are at home, attach herself to the leash as much as possible and take her outside every one-and-a-half hours. Tell her to "Go Potty" while out there, and when she goes, give her four treats, one at a time. You can keep the treats somewhere out of her reach by the door to remind yourself. The more times that she pees outside, the quicker training will go. Likewise, the more accidents that you can prevent in the wrong spots, the quicker she will learn. Putting in the extra time and work should make other areas of life with her, like crate training, easier once she is potty trained, even though it will be a backward approach. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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