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

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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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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.
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The Silence is Golden Method

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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.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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