The Boxer is a breed that is well known for loyalty and steadfast determination when it comes to family. Boisterous and full of energy, as a puppy the Boxer is a fantastic family dog and can be trained to be the perfect companion and pet. As a result, the Boxer is often raised to act as a guard dog for the family home, barking warnings when strangers approach the door, keeping an eye out for trespassers, and maintaining an intimidating presence for any who may get the idea of entering your home without permission.
Training a dog to act as an effective guard is nothing to be taken lightly, especially due to there being a distinct difference between cautious and aggressive behavior. Boxers are medium to large sized dogs with the capacity to do some damage if handled inappropriately. For your Boxer puppy to become a guard dog and still maintain good behavior around the family, you will need a discerning eye for the behavior that you want to reinforce.
Keep in mind, there is a difference between a guard dog and a dog that is trained for protection. A guard dog simply keeps watch and alerts for potential threats using barking or howling. There is no physical aggression or attacking involved.
Training your Boxer puppy to be a guard dog can start as early as eight weeks, but you should be prepared to continue this training through the next few months and even sometimes into early adulthood, if necessary. It will take some practice and observation to capture the right behaviors to reinforce while also maintaining your puppy’s other needs.
To begin, determine if your Boxer puppy is a puppy that will actually bark. If he doesn’t, the chances of him being an effective guard dog are very slim. Guarding means being able to alert in some way, and a bark is generally the easiest form of that. If he is timid or doesn’t seem to make a lot of noise, you may want to reconsider this choice of work for him.
If he is prone to barking, then get some treats together to mark the behavior at the right times. Remember to never punish your puppy for performing the wrong behaviors. You want to reward the right ones, instead. If you choose to use a clicker for this training, then be sure to get one or two of them to have in your home.