aggressive boxer

Posted by hailey-arnold
Dec 27, 2012
hello, I am wanting some advice about my 6 year old male boxer Bo. I adopted Bo from a shelter 8 months ago. The only history I have on him is the owner locked him in a basement for a year b/c she was afraid to have him around her new baby. The shelter also told us he hates cats, and gets along with only some dogs.

We have two other boxers (one male, one female) and Bo gets along GREAT with them. Bo loves everyone in the family, but does NOT do well with strangers. When people come over he charges at the door, jumps at door, barks, growls ect. Once he realizes he knows the person he is fine. He is very leery of strangers, and has bitten two strangers.

The 1st incident a friend of my mother-in-law's came over for the 1st time. I introducted her to to the dogs and everything seemed fine. After a couple min. I took her for a tour of the home. We were both comming out of the door way at the same time and bumped into each other and I yelled. Bo then jumped up and grabbed her by the arm and held her there. I immediately yelled "Bo, no!" He stopped, ran away from her, then came back slowly and licked her. She stayed for 2 hrs. after this happened and he was fine with her after that.

The 2nd incident we had several people over for a card night. It was dark out and someone else pulled in the driveway. My husband opened the door and let the guy in. Bo was growling at him, but we thought everything was ok. My husband walked away and Bo charged at him and bit in on the arm several times. I scolded him and removed him from the room (put him in another room downstairs).

I'm at a total loss of what to do. We love Bo so dearly, but I know we can't continue on with this aggression. I'm not sure whats causing it. He's extremely protective with the family and other dogs. He gets very nervous where theres lots of people around (more than 6). Even if he knows everyone he lays down beside me and burries his head behind my back. I've been working with him on the Alpha dog training and he's doing pretty well. Please let me know any advice you have.

Thank you!
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Jan 1, 2013
Hi Hailey,

I am not a professional trainer or a behaviorist but I do think Bo is not ready to be around a lot of strangers. Because of his experience being locked in the basement at his previous owner's, he must be very confused to be among a lot of people and he has lost trust with strangers. It is very fortunate that he trust you and your husband. He will need to develop his trust towards people at his own pace so exposing him to more people than he can handle might actually cause a back fire. It is hard to imagine how much damage his previous one year has given him. He needs to take one person at a time.

I don't know much about Alpha dog training but Bo needs to learn that people are good to him so he doesn't need to be afraid of. If you can ask every visitor to give him a treat and if he takes a treat from them, it will be a good excercise. If he refuses to take it, don't force him. It will be better if the visitor doesn't look at Bo and waits him to come close to them. If you think he is too nervous,and stressed leave him in the bed room or the utility room. It might take months but I am sure he will be trustworthy if you can be patient with his pace.

Good luck..