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Your Boxer is exactly the devoted, playful, and energetic dog you hoped for. He’s forever wanting to charge around the yard and play games with you. He’s also the first one to greet when you come through the door after work. However, he’s not quite perfect. You often come downstairs in the morning only to put your foot in a wet mess. He isn’t potty trained yet, so he uses your clean, new floors as his toilet.
Potty training him only comes with benefits. Firstly, no more excessive cleaning and the smell of urine or worse coming from your floors. Secondly, because you have young children, potty training him will prevent them coming into contact with potentially harmful bacteria. Also, it means you can take him to friends' and family's houses without worrying about accidents taking place.
Fortunately, Boxers are an intelligent breed. This means yours should respond swiftly to the right training. So, the first thing to do will be to get him into a regular routine. Once you have done that, it will become a habit to only go to the toilet where you want him to. You will also need to incentivize him to go on your terms, while deterring him from going inside on your floors. But with the right tasty motivator, you will soon be in control of his toilet routine.
If he’s a puppy, he should be particularly receptive. This means you could see results in just a week. However, if he’s older, with a history of toilet mishaps behind him, then you may need a while longer. It could take several weeks to see consistent results. Succeed and you’ll never have to gingerly walk downstairs in the morning again.
Before you start training, you will need to collect a few things. Stock up on tasty treats or break his favorite food into small pieces. Some cleaning tools and spray will also be required. A short leash will also be needed.
Choose a spot you would like to be his potty. Then just set aside time at several points throughout the day to take him out.
Once you’ve got all that, just bring patience and some anti-bacterial spray, then work can begin!
The Routine Method
Make sure you feed your Boxer his meals at the same time in the morning and evening. If you can get his body clock into a routine, you will know when he will need a trip to the potty.
Secure him to a leash and take him out in the morning, a few minutes after he’s had breakfast. If he knows he will always get to go to the potty in the morning, he’ll be more able to hold it at night.
Take him back out to go to the potty at lunch time. Again, if he knows he will get to go out every lunch time, he’ll be more able to hold it in the morning. However, if he is a puppy, he may need to go out a couple of extra times in the morning while he’s growing.
Make sure he gets to go to the potty again in the evening. About 15 to 20 minutes after his evening meal he is likely to need the toilet. He may also want to go again before bed. Follow this routine every day and he will always be at the potty when he needs to go and he’ll forget he ever used to go inside.
Make sure he always gets a reward when he goes where you want him to. Hand over a tasty treat and give him some verbal praise. If he associates the potty with positive rewards, he’ll be more likely to go there again.
The Environment Method
Make sure you take your Boxer to the potty in the same location each time. He will feel more relaxed and inclined to go there. He will need longer to feel comfortable in a new location.
If he is struggling to use the potty, wipe some of yesterday’s toilet visit there. If he can smell that he’s been there before, he’ll be more likely to go there again.
Make sure he gets privacy when he goes to the toilet. You wouldn’t like it if someone always stared at you when you needed to go and neither does he. So, turn around and let him go about his business.
Make sure he gets a decent reward after each successful visit. Also, make sure he gets it within three seconds of going to the toilet. Any later and he may not associate the action with the reward.
Never punish him
It’s important you never punish him for any accidents. This could lead to him submissive peeing. Then you will have an even more challenging behavior to tackle. Instead, calmly remove him and clear up any mess with antibacterial spray. If he can smell he’s been there before, he may be more inclined to go there again.
The Verbal Cue Method
Take him out several times a day, at roughly the same times. If you can get him in a regular routine, it will be far easier to judge when he will need to go to the potty. You’re then going to use a verbal command to get him going to the toilet.
When you see him sniffing around and about to go the toilet, issue a ‘potty time’ command. You can use any word or phrase you like. Boxers can learn hundreds of different commands. Just give it an up-beat voice.
As soon as he’s gone to the toilet, quickly go over and hand over a reward. With consistent practice, he will soon start associating the command with the action and the action with the reward.
Bring it forward
Practice this every time you take him to the potty. After several days, the command should automatically trigger a need to go the toilet. So, when you need him to go, you can now just quickly give the command.
Cut out the treats
After weeks of no accidents and consistently using the verbal cue, you can start to cut out the treats. By this point, using the potty will be habit and he will no longer need a tasty incentive.
By James Barra
Published: 02/01/2018, edited: 01/08/2021