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I have a nine month old boxer mix puppy. He's very smart and has learned lot's of commands but is already kind of selective in response. About once a month -it really seems to correspond to the week leading up to the full moon- he's really difficult: tearing up the house when I'm at work, playing too rough with other (smaller) dog, barking a lot more (at the cat, the other dog and sometimes just because), and often if I try to get him to stop messing with the other dog or if he wants to play with me when he's in this mood he'll nip at me (not excessively, maybe twice, or so) or actually "mouth" me harder than he should, and at this point I don't think he should at all. Everything I've read says that these behaviors are because of pent up energy but even I've taking him for a long hike he'll com home and sleep for a short while and cool off but in no time will be up again and acting like this with as much energy as before.
This isn't constant, it seems to be a monthly phase but that's part of what concerns me. If his behavior is not consistent I don't know if we've resolved the problem or if it's just a temporary reprieve.
Does anyone have any advice for any of this? Is it just something he'll outgrow?
 

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You have a teenage dog on your hands and on top of that part of that dog is a boxer - double whammy. ;) The good thing is that this is pretty normal for a pup this age. It's just going to take some extra work on your part.

Right now would be a perfect time to enroll in obedience class - even if you've taken one before, teenage dogs tend to forget everything you've ever taught them during this stage.

What's your exercise schedule? How long are the hikes? Are they off leash? If not, then they are not cutting it. My two boxers need AT LEAST 1 good hour of off leash running a day, and they're adults.

Also have you heard of NILIF?

http://k9deb.com/nilif.htm

Does your pup have a crate? I wouldn't let a dog this age run free to distroy your house because it will.
 

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The hikes are usually over an hour but I've stopped allowing him to be off leash for multiple reasons: he doesn't always listen to me, run's up to most other dogs he see's and sometimes is too energetic for them, also plays rougher than at home with my other dog when we're hiking for some reason -tumbles her over, etc. When we do meet another dog who will play I'll let him of the leash it's great but the last few times we went I only ran into really small dogs and mellower, older dogs who weren't appropriate playmates. I also have a big backyard and on days when we can't go hiking we go for a minimum of a 30 minute walk (lot's of steep hills and stairways) and this always seems fine for him. I don't feel comfortable crating him because I have along work day (long commute, actually). Do you think I should get him comfortable being in the crate all day? He doesn't have accidents but he will start crying after a while. For a while my neighbor was letting him out mid-day but it seemed that this was just getting him up and exciting him so I asked her to stop.
Though I have heard that boxers are high energy I should tell you he's actually very mellow, tires easily and get's hot and needs water and to rest during hikes. Other young boxers I've met are much more energetic. And let me remind you, he doesn't act like this all the time. The week before his he was mellow, didn't do anything to the house while I was at work, was being veeery good.
Good advice, though, thank you. I just keep hoping to hear some new tips or techniques. Perhaps it is time for formal training, though. I thought I was doing pretty well on my own. Oh, well.
One thing I was hoping you'd answer, though, was about the nipping. Is this still normal at his age?

oh, also: just out of curiosity for how long were your boxers adolescents in behavior. I've done my usual routine and re-read al the articles on his age group and am reassured that the period is just as difficult with every dog but how long will it last?
 

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The hikes are usually over an hour but I've stopped allowing him to be off leash for multiple reasons: he doesn't always listen to me, run's up to most other dogs he see's and sometimes is too energetic for them, also plays rougher than at home with my other dog when we're hiking for some reason -tumbles her over, etc. When we do meet another dog who will play I'll let him of the leash it's great but the last few times we went I only ran into really small dogs and mellower, older dogs who weren't appropriate playmates. I also have a big backyard and on days when we can't go hiking we go for a minimum of a 30 minute walk (lot's of steep hills and stairways) and this always seems fine for him. I don't feel comfortable crating him because I have along work day (long commute, actually). Do you think I should get him comfortable being in the crate all day? He doesn't have accidents but he will start crying after a while. For a while my neighbor was letting him out mid-day but it seemed that this was just getting him up and exciting him so I asked her to stop.
Though I have heard that boxers are high energy I should tell you he's actually very mellow, tires easily and get's hot and needs water and to rest during hikes. Other young boxers I've met are much more energetic. And let me remind you, he doesn't act like this all the time. The week before his he was mellow, didn't do anything to the house while I was at work, was being veeery good.
Good advice, though, thank you. I just keep hoping to hear some new tips or techniques. Perhaps it is time for formal training, though. I thought I was doing pretty well on my own. Oh, well.
One thing I was hoping you'd answer, though, was about the nipping. Is this still normal at his age?

oh, also: just out of curiosity for how long were your boxers adolescents in behavior. I've done my usual routine and re-read al the articles on his age group and am reassured that the period is just as difficult with every dog but how long will it last?
Well, lets see my male boxer Rowdy - who has lived up to his name in every aspect - became a normal dog around two. :rolleyes: Disco on the other hand, mellowed out around 1.5 years old - but she's always been the calmer one of the bunch.
I can tell you that the key to not pulling your hair out is TRAINING. Keep him enrolled or keep doing some type of training during this time in fact well into after his first birthday. And of course I would also encourage keeping up with this at home, too.
As for the exercise, I agree with you that not letting him off leash on the hikes is a good move, I certainly wouldn't appreciate it if some exhuberant teen came barreling toward me. I think some good off leash play in the backyard plus a good walk every day should be enough and of course don't forget the training. You should try and keep him as stimulated as possible.

For the nipping. Read this article by Dr. Ian Dunbar on bite inhibition. It will give you some tips on how to approach the nipping behavior.

http://www.jersey.net/~mountaindog/berner1/bitestop.htm

Crating - I'd say if you are gone longer than 8 hours a day, then you might try blocking him off in a dog proofed room. Securing the dog is not only safer for your house, but safer for him too. If you can still have someone stop by mid-day to let him out for a little play time, then I would say this is pretty optimal. Who wouldnt like a break from being alone? Especially for a dog this age...
One other thing you might want to do is tire him out in the mornings before you have to leave for work. If that means getting up 45 minutes earlier then do it. He'll thank you for it. ;)
 
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