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My dog will get into anything. He's a boxer and is 1 year old. He even jumps on the table! All of my family thinks we should get rid of him, but there needs to be a way to train him. We've tried a professional dog trainer but it still didn't work. He gets to ponchos, pillows, blankets, shampoo, basically everything. I've bought him tons of toys and still nothing. He caused me having to replace $5,000 worth of carpet and blinds. What do I do?

  • Of the toys which does he favour? If rope toys, try providing more of these... Does he behave better after long walks? – Aravona Jun 28 '15 at 17:55
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    What did the professional trainer try, that didn't work? It might help us to learn a bit more about your boxer's psychology. – Vixen Populi Jun 29 '15 at 5:21
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    Also, how much workout does he get? Is he alone at home? Why? How much time do you HAVE to actually work the dog? Sorry for the chain of questions, but those details may help :). – Layna Jun 29 '15 at 11:02
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First things first, you need to exercise the ever living crap out of this dog. I'm not sure that a lot of people see a boxer as a high energy dog, like a german shepard or an Australian shepard, but they are. You need to be taking this dog for a walk first thing in the morning and then in the evening before bed. Walks offer mental exercise as well as physical. He shouldn't be pulling on the leash or stopping to sniff things. He needs to be concentrating on where you're going and staying with you. You decide when your pack gets to stop and sniff, which shouldn't be often. You aren't depriving him of anything, because dogs noses are excellent and just because he can't stop, inhale, and mark over another dogs pee, doesn't mean he can't smell it perfectly well.

Don't expect him to be perfect on the walk. I imagine that he'll pull, bounce around, take the leash in his mouth, etc... You should just gently correct him and keep walking. He'll get better over time. You can also work on leading behaviors at home with a clicker and treats, which is something else I'd suggest. You'll kill two birds with one stone here. You are mental working him out as well as building skills. Just keep in mind that no dog, and especially a hyper one is going to be able to focus for more than 10-15 min at a time at first. The trick is to do multiple sessions in a day. Whether it's dogs or horses, I go in with a plan on multiple things to rapidly work through. If I find a problem area, I make sure it's on the list for a week or so, then start randomizing it again.

You should be playing with your dog as much as possible as well. This really helps burn off excess energy, though it's not mentally draining. It's like playing a video game. Yeah, you're concentrating on it, but you're not really draining your energy reserves. The dog may physically wear himself out, but is still mentally looking for something to get into. I love to take my dogs to the river in the summer and wear them out to wear they go lay down by the back of the trunk and just pass out till time to go home.

Lastly, you need to contain him when he is in the house. He needs to be in a confined area when unsupervised. This could be a kennel, an exercise pen, or a room like the kitchen. The point is he needs to be contained to a smaller area, where he can't do a lot of destructive damage. I do encourage you to let him into the rest of the house as much as possible when you're there to supervise him. If need be, you can put a long lead on him and use it to make minor corrections if he doesn't listen to your voice yet. You can also give him toys to keep his mind occupied. I'd probably start with a kong and a treat ball. The kong is a tough toy that you can stuff with peanut butter or other things and let him lick it out. When it gets too easy, you freeze the peanut butter. This can provide a lot of entertainment for him and distract him from things he shouldn't be chewing an licking on. The treat ball is a ball with holes and when it's rolled around, a couple will occasionally fall out. This will teach him to think things through and will make him easier to train in behaviors, because he'll think his way through what you want. It also sets him up for harder puzzle toys. You can look on amazon for these and there are impressive videos of dogs solving some really tough ones on youtube.

So to summarize, lots of structured exercise, lots of play, training to focus, supervision, and distraction. If you stick to these things, you'll end up with a great dog. It's not too late to have your dog do a 180 on his behavior. Especially if the family helps. They shouldn't complain about the destructive behavior if they're not willing to help. They tacitly agreed to take on the responsibility of dog ownership when they let you bring it in and need to step up to some degree. I don't know of one person who couldn't use a little more exercise. If each person took him on a short walk everyday, it'd really add up.

Just keep in mind that you have to be patient and consistent. You can't expect perfection after even a month, but it will get steadily better. You also can't have one person training a cue or correction one way, and another person giving the cue another way and getting frustrated at the dog and yelling at it. If you put the work in and gain control, you'll have a great pet. If you get lazy and slack off in it, you'll have an aggravating nightmare. You get out what you put in. If you can be honest with yourself that you will, then keep the dog and keep at it. If you know that you probably won't, then find the dog a good home.

I wish you lots of luck either way, and I feel really confident about the path I laid out. I think that if you try it for even a week, you'll see quite a drastic improvement in your dogs behavior.

PS - I meant to add something about the dog trainer comment. I know there are lots of good dog trainers out there, but I can tell you from personal experience that my grandmother paid one to come over who had no idea what he was doing. I know now, that what he was doing then was generally correct, but he went about it the wrong way and didn't account for dogs having different personalities and adapting to them. So you may not have had a good trainer. Secondly, she didn't follow up with one thing that the trainer taught the dog. They aren't mechanics, where you can fix your car and it runs smooth for anyone who gets in it. You're always training your dog, good or bad. The benefit of a trainer is that they can communicate more easily with your dog and deal with hurdles like confusion and stubbornness that you might not know how to handle correctly. They teach your dog that the human will keep on trying things till they do as they're asked, so it's better to just go ahead and do it, then when you ask them, they might try you, but if you correct as the trainer does, they figure you're willing to go just as far and don't bother questioning your cues.

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  • Wanted to add to this great answer that the trainer can tell you what to do all day long, but it's up to the family to enforce proper behavior. And a lot of family dogs have big issues with consistency : dad says no but mom says "awww, but it's cute!". Everyone needs to be on the same page and consistent. Also, one walk may not be enough for this dog, the objective is to wear him out, and some dogs need 2 walks. – rlb.usa Jun 29 '15 at 18:47
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    Thank you. I did suggest two walks. One first thing in the morning and one before bed. I think it would greatly benefit if they were an hour long, though I know most people don't put in that kind of time and any additional walks they gave in between would be great. – Dalton Jun 29 '15 at 19:22
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The first thing to remember is that it is easier to train a dog to do something, and harder to train him to NOT do something. Find a decent trainer in your area. Second, as the previous answer said, you need to exercise the dog until he can't move anymore. Make him run until he just wants to sleep for hours and hours. Third, put him in a dog kennel when he is supposed to be in bed/asleep. Don't give up yet! He can be helped!

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