Help in Motivating...Please

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Boxer Pal
Hi everyone! I'm new here. I don't personally have a Boxer, but my parents have a beautiful 18 month old female Boxer. They're having trouble motivating her in her training. She is not food motivated at all, is this normal for a boxer? She's also not very motivated towards toys. She is a great dog and doesn't need a lot of training she just needs to learn to listen. My Mom is at her wits end and is talking about finding her a new home (Not a Shelter). I would hate for them to rehome her because of something that could be easily fixed. If they can't get her trained I've volunteered to take her. My male Siberian Husky and her are best friends, they grew up together :o). Boxer's and Sibe's play alot alike so they are a great match together. I'm just hoping that if it comes to that Rosie, the boxer, and Spirit, my female Sibe, get along. :o)
just a thought, maybe she isnt motivated by the food thats being offered to her? there are plenty of dogs that will ignore kibble, or dry biscuits...maybe try something more delicious & higher value, like bits of steak or theres a recipie you can search for on BW called "tuna fudge" (that my dog goes nuts for)

also, maybe they could try training her before her normal feeding time..that way she will be hungry, and more likely to respond. you can cut back the normal amount of food you give her, in relation to how much you are giving her in treats (so that she winds up getting about the same # of calories, etc)

as far as toys go, you could try having one really special super great toy that only comes out during training time ( i use a "planet dog" ball on a bungee) you have to make this toy seem like it is waaaay better then all of her other toys. something to tug with might be good, that way you are engaged with it also. and then put it away after the training ends!

im sure others on here will have some great suggestions for you
good luck,

~kelly & jezebelle, CGC


Boxer Pal
I've suggested all of those things to my parents and they've tried it to no avail. Every training trick I've used for my Siberian Huskies(not the worlds easiest dogs to train.) I've suggested to them and even tried it myself. I think affection and loving would work, but I've never based any of my training on that alone. Has anyone else done it that way and achieved success? If so please let me know some specifics on that. I am against using corrective collars as a all around training method and of course so are my parents. Thanks for any advice you can give!


Boxer Insane
I agree with you on not using those corrective collars.

Adam doesnt respond to food or toys. I have tried all sorts of brands of treats, cat food, hot dogs. He just wont take anything, especially when we are out walking. When we are inside, he learns from my older boxer, Evie. (She has been through training). But, outside, another story. I walk him twice a day the whole time talking to him. He responds well to my talking. He has picked up all sorts of odd ball training words like "sidewalk" this means to stay off neighbors lawns/flowers and walk on the sidewalk. They also know "this way" which is right and "that way" which is left (weird but the dogs kinda decided this one). He will also "walk with Evie (or for Evie Walk with Adam) they will walk just in front of me, but next to each other.

The neighbors must think i'm nuts with all the talking I do while out on walks. But, hey, the dogs respond!!! Good luck on training!


Boxer Insane
What type of training issues are they having? Is this for the trial ring, or just general 'around the home' things?

Your parents may need to think a little creatively about motivation. A friend of mine lets her dog play with an empty ice-cream container as a reward. With my silly male, I let him play with one of his canine friends as a reward when we are out at training. Have they tried a laser pointer? Can you think of anything their Boxer is at all interested in or driven by? Our older girl loves nothing more than a game of wrestle and box with her human mum or dad.

Another option might be to divide her meals up into small amounts and use her dinner as the rewards spread throughout the day. Or, is she on a free feeding schedule?

Yet another option may be to work on creating drive for a toy - this article is quite good (but probably only for the seriously dedicated):
I've had to create toy motivation in all of ours - they are major food hogs but with little toy drive (we needed toy drive for agility).

If it comes down to re-homing her, then they may like to consider putting a 'Rough Love' program in place. The booklet about this is available at the website linked above.

Sibes are wonderful dogs - you must have a lot of fun with them :)



Boxer Pal
I do love my Sibes. They keep me very active even on the days when I want to be lazy LOL. I also really like Boxers which is why I volunteered to take Rosie(the boxer) if it comes down to rehoming her. Her and my male Sibe are best friends have been since they were 4 months old(they're 20 months now.). Her training is just around the house type training. She's a very smart and good dog. Her biggest problems are not coming when called and basic obedience commands such as sit/stay. She's doesn't jump on people and doesn't run out the door when it's opened. I am going to give them the suggestion of giving her smaller portions at meal time and/or dividing her meal times up. I'm also going to have them try even higher ended treats then they have been trying. If that doesn't work I think I'll have them try a wrestling match as reward. How do you start rewarding with something like that? If you start wrestling doesn't it kind of interrupt the training session?
Rosie absolutely loves to wrestle. Niko(my Sibe) or me are usually the ones that will wrestle with her. Unfortunately my parents are of the older generation that believes that once a dog hits a certain age they can't be trained anymore if it's not already done. :( We'll see how well these suggestions work. If anyone has any other ones please feel free to send them on. I'd love to hear them. I like having a lot of options when obedience training.

SC's Mom

Super Boxer
My 2 year old, Caesar is very difficult to train because he is not food driven at all. I honestly think he couldn't care less if he ever ate again! He also isn't very toy driven either. My biggest problem is that he has major allergies (food and seasonal) so if I find a food that he loves he usually has some sort of reaction to it. Anyway, I'm way off base now, I have finally found a toy that he just LOVES! We have to hide it in the closet in order to get him to stop playing with it--it's a cuz ball. It's just a white ball with feet! Caesar has made it his goal to try to chew the feet off. It's really holding up! You'd never know how much he's been working these feet. I'm trying some training using this ball. You may want to have your folks look into it. We got his at Petsmart for around 10 bucks. The best 10 spent to date on something for Caesar.

Good luck and I'm glad that you'll take Rosie if need be.


Boxer Pal
Rosie has bad seasonal allergies too. Is that a Boxer thing? I am just now starting to learn alot about Boxers. I want to know as much about them as I can if I am going to take Rosie. I truely believe that alot of dogs end up at the pound from lack of research on the owners part. I know Rosie but I also want to know what to expect from a Boxer in general. If none of these suggestions work and she comes to live with us then she'll be going to obedience class. I prefer that then to training at home because she'll get socialization and learn in a distracting environment. :) Unfortunately though my parents schedules don't allow for a professional class.


Boxer Booster
clicker training

I am absolutely no expert on dog training (I just got my first puppy ever 2 weeks ago) but I've read about clicker training. Have you heard about it? Basically you buy this little gadget that you can click, and when she does something good you click then praise. I'ver read about it for puppies, I don't know how well it would work with a grown dog... anyone else heard about this? anyways, good luck!
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