Christy, Gracie's mom writes:Hi. I am so happy that I stumbled on your site when I was searching "Boxer personality". It led me to your post on the "quirkey" Boxer, and WOW, you totally described our Gracie. We adopted Gracie from the Humane Society this past April, when she was about 10 weeks old. She is sweet, smart, energetic, and naughty! I've attached two photos of Gracie, and although she is not a purebred Boxer, her mother was. Clearly the other part is some sort of hound, although we're not sure what kind. In fact, people are always asking if she is a Beagle (although at 35 pounds she is already larger than an adult Beagle and is only 5 months!).Gracie's mom was dumped in a high kill shelter in Murray Co., GA when she was pregnant with her litter. The woman who dropped her off turned her in with papers and all, and told the shelter workers that she was "ruined" because one of the neighboring hunting dogs had gotten with her. Thankfully, the shelter contacted the Murray Co. Humane Society and they were able to get her in a foster home until she could have her pups, and then she found her own forever home - yeah! Gracie and her litter mates were transferred to Atlanta where she immediately captured our hearts.So back to the "naughty" part. Although we love Gracie, she is a handful to say the least. She eats everything (or at least tries). We can't leave anything on the counter tops, the table, the desk, or anywhere! She puts her paws on everything, including us (we're working on that!) and although she is not aggressive towards the cat, she might possibly "love" her to death one of these days! She treats the cat like a litter mate, which was okay at first but now Gracie is 35 plus pounds and the cat....is not. It seems like most of our day is spent by saying, "Gracie no", "Gracie leave it", or "Gracie down". Her favorite game is to grab something the minute we turn our back (kitchen towel, toilet paper, one of the kids toys, the remote control, etc.) and then wait for us to notice. Then it's game on as she runs back and forth from room to room until we have to enlist another family member to catch her! This is NOT our favorite game.For the past 3 and a half months I've been convincing myself that because she doesn't look like a Boxer, she must not have the personality of a Boxer, and have proceeded to read all I can about Coonhounds. What is that saying? "It's whats on the inside that counts?" So today I gave in and started my research on the Boxer breed, which led me to you.I've really enjoyed your site, and quite honestly it has been the most helpful of anything I've read about this breed. I actually assisted with dog training years ago, so I know the basics and work with her daily on no jumping and walking on the leash. And and on a positive note, she was very quick to crate train and potty train! But she is quite easily the most stubborn dog I have ever worked with and she is proving to be quite the challenge.
We love Gracie's story and she seriously has the sweetest face! Thank you so much for all the compliments on the site and we are so glad it was helpful.She definitely has the boxer head tilt in the first photo (I am giggling)! My first question reading your email was "how much is Gracie being exercised?" And I am not talking about running in the house or backyard. Boxers can definitely be a handful if not properly exercised. They need structured and unstructured exercise AND LOTS of it. Get her active, lots of walks/runs (structure)- make a game in the backyard "Gracie in the middle" and throw a ball to each other or throw something that she wants and let her run (unstructured). Seriously, after I had my boxers trained by verbal command, I taught them to run next to the bicycle (see http://dailyboxer.com/video/
how-to-exercise-your-boxer- properly/)! The second thing I thought was ... she is an attention seeker (a true boxer) so GIVE her the attention. If you don't, she will make a game of everything and continue to drive you crazy (taking food, counter surfing, all the things she shouldn't). And remember, you running after her equates to "look they are playing with me"- in her mind anyway. Let her have it and get something else she will want more (in other words outsmart her). Boxers are super smart so you ALWAYS have to be 1 step ahead! You can also try "planned ignoring" - so for example if she takes the dishtowel, completely disregard it -in fact look right at her (say nothing) get another dishtowel and then purposefully turn your back to her. Again, outsmart her!
Training her early is the best thing you can do! So kudos on the early start! It will get easier (especially with your entire family on board). I was talking to a neighbor last year about how active and puppy crazy Rosco is still and she said "don't worry when they get to 3 or 4 years old they calm down" - my answer was "Rosco's 5" 🙂 In addition, you will learn to love her spicy little personality.