How to Train Your Boxer Dog to Hunt

Hard
2-6 Months
Work

Introduction

Boxer dogs are strong, formidable and originate from Germany. They’re intelligent, fearless and full of energy. They possess virtually all the characteristics you need to make the ideal hunting companion. However, a hunting dog needs to be disciplined and excellently trained. Currently, your Boxer lacks that much-needed discipline. You can barely keep him off the furniture, let alone transform him into a stealthy hunter. Getting him to ‘sit’ or ‘wait’ is an uphill battle, so training him to shadow you and hunt still feels like a long way off.

Training him to hunt will not only bolster your hunting performance, it’s also a fantastic opportunity to bond with your canine companion. You’ll also find this type of training will help you to train him a range of other useful commands too. 

Defining Tasks

Training any dog to hunt is a challenge. Fortunately, your life is made a whole lot easier if you’ve already got a Boxer. You’ve got one of the few breeds that are naturally suited to hunting. Having said that, you’ll still need to follow a rigorous training routine. This routine will consist of obedience training to emphasize that you are pack leader. You’ll also need to get him familiar with his new prey. Not to mention you’ll need to find a suitable incentive to keep him on task throughout training. 

If he’s a puppy he should be a fast learner and you could see results in just a couple of months. If he’s older you may need up to six months. Get this training right though, and you’ll see a noticeable difference in your hunting success. Not to mention you’ll have a well-trained dog who’ll find it significantly easier to follow other commands too.

Getting Started

Before your work begins you’ll need to gather a few items. You’ll need plenty of treats or his favorite food broken into small pieces. You’ll also need some decoy toys and scent spray. A long training leash will also be required.

You’ll need to set aside 15 minutes each day for training. You can start off practicing in the yard but later you’ll need a local field to train in. 

The only other things you need are patience and a proactive attitude. Once you have all that, you’re ready to get to work!

The Start Early Method

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Step
1
Day one
The earlier you start training him the quicker you will see results. Boxers are most receptive when they are just puppies. So, start your obedience training as early as possible. Start by teaching him ‘sit’, then move onto to ‘down’, ‘wait’, and any commands you might use.
Step
2
Encouragement
It’s important you encourage the right behavior as early as possible. If you see him chasing, stalking or sniffing the ground, make sure you go over and give him a reward. This could be a treat or verbal praise.
Step
3
Set boundaries
You need to set clear rules and boundaries from the beginning. It’s important he knows that you are pack leader and that you are in charge. For example, don’t let him jump up on furniture. Don’t let him destroy things he shouldn’t.
Step
4
Reward
Make sure he gets a generous reward whenever he goes out hunting with you. It’s important to start with that he still gets treats even if he doesn’t catch anything. If he doesn’t, he will quickly give up trying.
Step
5
Never punish him
You must not punish him if he does something wrong. Boxers can become defensive and then aggressive. You don’t want him biting or attacking in the wrong situations. So, deal with him calmly at all times.
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The Scent Method

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Step
1
Decoy play
Spend a few minutes each day playing with your Boxer and a decoy. You can play tug of war, fetch and anything else that will get him excited. Encourage him to bite, chew and get the decoy as much as possible. You can also apply some scent spray to the toy. This will all help get him familiar with his new prey.
Step
2
Scent trail
Head out into the yard and create a trail with the scent spray. Have it go around the yard and leading to the decoy toy. You’re going to use this to teach him to sniff out and follow his prey.
Step
3
Head out
Secure him to a leash and take him to the beginning of the scent trail. Encourage him to sniff the ground and help him follow the scent by guiding him with the leash. Keep him on task until he finds the decoy at the end.
Step
4
Reward
Make sure he gets a generous reward when he finds the toy. Give him his favorite food and really shower him in attention. Now practice this every other day, creating new scent trails. After a couple of weeks you can start making them in local fields.
Step
5
Up the stakes
Once he’s got the hang of it, you can take him out on a hunt for real. Try and follow the same steps you did when you took him on the trial scent runs. Guide him to start with and always give him a big reward. He’ll soon enjoy it so much he’ll actively seek out his prey.
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The Lead By Example Method

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1
Play time
Spend a few minutes each day playing with a decoy toy. This will get him familiar with his prey, but it will also allow you to encourage the behaviors you want to see. You can play tug of war and fetch. Make sure he gets a tasty treat as you play.
Step
2
Hunting environment
You need to get him used to the hunting environment. If he’s never heard a gun shot before, for example, you may find he bolts when he’s out on a hunt. So, get him used to stealthily walking through fields and the noises and sights he’s likely to encounter.
Step
3
Point and shout
Whenever you are out on a walk and you see your prey, you need to get him excited. Point at it and talk in an animated voice. Really try and get him to focus on it. Dogs mirror their owners behavior, so if he sees you excited by it, he soon will be too.
Step
4
Give chase
If he doesn’t automatically start chasing it, start running towards it yourself. Keep pointing and shouting as you go. You may look like a crazy person, but it’s guaranteed to get your Boxer worked up.
Step
5
Reward
Whenever he starts chasing with you or shows any interest in the prey, give him a reward. If there is an incentive to give chase, he’ll soon be running after them every time. The greater the reward, the quicker he will learn. To start with, reward him even if he isn’t successful.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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