Starting one week after you get your
puppy (age 8 or 9 weeks), get him out at the very least one
day a week to a new situation he has never seen before. This
takes some planning, but is worth the effort. You will have a
wonderful companion in your dog for up to 15 years so the
effort you put in now will reap rewards for many, many years
to come. Below are just some suggestions, remember it is also
important not to take your puppy where he will be in any real
danger. If he or she shows fear stay where you are until your
puppy relaxes and then give them much praise when they relax.
It is only human to want to comfort a puppy who is tense or
unhappy with a situation, but if you do this you are only
teaching your pup that fear is good and this will lead to
problems later in life.
8 Weeks: A walk (off
leash) in a field or park with medium tall grass. Keep him
with you by voice. Encourage him to climb over a little mound
of dirt or a log. Praise his efforts to do something he has
never done before. Walk just fast enough that he has to strain
very slightly to keep up with you. At this age his desire to
stay with you is very keen. Capitalise on that. The walk
should take no more than 20 minutes.
9 Weeks: Another
walk, this time in the bush. He is in taller grass and weeds.
He must occasionally climb over small logs (Just big enough to
be a challenge). He goes up the hill, down the hill, over the
rocks, maybe down a small bank. The perfect setup is where he
goes across a small creek. He gets wet up to the chest. He
scrambles up the bank to follow you. He goes through a thick
carpet of leaves that crunch when he walks. Encourage him all
the way. Praise him for meeting the challenge. The walk takes
about 20 minutes.
10 Weeks: The same as age 9 weeks but a
bit more difficult. Occasionally hide momentarily from him
when he is distracted in the woods. Watch him. Does he notice
you are missing? If he does, and starts to look for you,
suddenly appear and praise profusely. If he doesn't look for
you, toss a pebble to make him notice you are missing. Then
call him from your hiding place. When he starts to look for
you, appear and praise him. This will teach him, as it is
repeated time and time again, to watch you when you are out in
the woods, instead of you having to constantly be watching
where he is. This makes him take that responsibility of
staying with you. Play this game over and over through many
weeks until you cannot hide from him because he is always
watching. This only works when started young.
Take him swimming. You hold him and wade out to knee deep
water. Point him toward shore and gently let him go. Be sure
he gets his head up and he heads for shore. Have someone on
shore encouraging him in a positive way. Another way to
approach this is to entice him into the water by going in
yourself and encouraging him to follow. Do not throw him in!
When you are through get him out and dry him off and go home.
Don't let him get chilled.
12 Weeks: Take a trip to the
farm. Let him see cows, horses, chickens and whatever else you
can find. This time you can keep him on leash. Make sure he is
safe from the animals and let him get close enough to sniff.
This outing can take 20 or more minutes. You have a positive
attitude about all this. Be nonchalant about it all, as if
this is what every 12 week old pup does.
13 Weeks: Take
him on leash to town. Walk him on a main street with medium to
light foot traffic. He sees and hears cars, trucks and heavy
street traffic. He passes by many people walking bicycles,
deliverymen with hand trucks, etc. This should be a short
outing about 10 minutes. Praise him lavishly for positive
behaviour. Be nonchalant and very encouraging. When you get
back to the car, lay on the praise for his remarkable feats of
14 Weeks: A trip to the beach or some other
special place he has never been. Perhaps a trip to the local
primary school front lawn when all the children are pouring
out. Let the kids stop and pet him. Let him see and be in the
15 Weeks: Another trip to town.
16 Weeks: Your
pup's major learning age of his entire life is now over.
Hopefully you have given him a very wide range of experiences.
If you have done all this faithfully you will have taught him
the most important thing of all to learn and it will stay with
him the rest of his life, enabling him to continue to learn
throughout his lifetime. Other good places to go are outside
industrial sheds that make a lot of noise, to the bus depot,
to the train station, to the wharf, down jetties or planks -
just remember to keep it safe for your puppy.
17 to 21
Weeks: This is a bad time to subject your pup to stress, such
as plane trips, a stay at the vets, boarding kennel or any
threatening situation. Many pups act very fearful at this age.
This should be a quiet time in their lives.
you should be doing with your pup are:
Baths: Get your pup accustomed to
getting a bath while he is still small enough to handle
easily. Give him 3 or 4 baths between the ages of 2 and 5
months. NEVER, EVER USE HARSH SHAMPOO'S and NEVER USE LAUNDRY
PRODUCTS - your dog's system can not cope with these and they
could cause serious long-term harm. If your puppy is not
smelly use warm water only, if in need of a shampoo use a mix
50% baby shampoo and 50% water, or purchase a very mild gentle
dog shampoo for dog and water that down. Take care not to get
water in his ears or eyes, or shampoo anywhere on his head.
Leave his head dry if possible and use a wet towel or cloth to
rub his head down. Boxers are naturally clean dogs and most
adults rarely need baths - many grown Boxers are probably
bathed only every 3 - 4 months, if that! Of course if your dog
is smelly or dirty they require a bath, but be aware that
frequent bathing will strip the natural oils from his coat.
There is absolutely no excuse for your puppy to have fleas and
or ticks in this day and age. There are many good products on
the market and are available at your vet's. Many people avoid
using anything 'unnatural' on their dogs (for very good
reason), but current flea treatments are the exception. The
health problems associated with fleas and ticks are much worse
than the products available - "Frontline" or "Advantage" are
very popular but there are a couple of other good products as
well, speak to your vet about what would best suit your dog
and even your lifestyle.
Nails: You must keep your dogs
nails trimmed. A dog that lives inside and doesn't get his
nails trimmed may have damage to his feet from too long nails.
Start trimming your pup's nails as soon as you get him. Trim
the nails about every other week. If you do this now he will
learn to accept it Wait until he is grown and you will
probably have a fight on your hands. Don't put off learning to
do your dog's nails. "I can't do it because I am afraid I will
hurt him" is no excuse. Everyone has to learn sometime. You
owe it to your pup to keep his nails clipped. You will hurt
him more by letting it go. Get your vet or someone experienced
in nail clipping to demonstrate the correct procedure.
Grooming: Put your pup on your washer on a towel for
grooming sessions. Brush him and clip his nails. Do this right
from the first weeks you get him. Expect him to stand still
and let you groom him. Don't let him get out of this by acting
up. This is all part of taking care of your dog.