Why should you follow this blog? What makes it unique? Well that is an excellent set of questions. We try to post some fun stuff on the blog and lots of pictures of Lucy (the title character of the blog) and an occasional video or two. We write about things that matter to dog lovers and especially boxer dog lovers. So, here are the details of who Lucy the White Boxer Dog is...

Lucy the white boxer dog has been in our family for a little over six years now. She is not truly white but rather what is referred to as a "check boxer" due to her spots. She is not an albino! She has brown eyes and splashes of black on her in addition to her spots. She is a full blooded boxer. She is also extremely healthy with the exception of having a sensitive stomach.

Want to learn more about Lucy and the things we write about her, follow her blog. Better yet, check out some of the older posts. There is a lot of information on the care of boxers and dogs in general... We look forward to see your comments on some of the posts... Happy blogging to all!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Combination Approach To Feeding Your Boxer!

Most commercial foods will offer your Boxer great sources of protein and vitamins, although fresh food contains far more essential sources. Chicken and meat for instance, have far more protein and minerals than any type of commercial dog food. Fish is anotsher great choice, as it contains a lot of the protein your dog needs to maintain a healthy body and brain.

Although you can get commercial food for your Boxer, the ideal way to feed is to use a combination approach of both commercial food and fresh people foods. Most commercial food is good for your Boxer, although it lacks nutrients and vitamins that fresh food has. Vets will tell you that fresh food is good, providing you don’t overdo it. Boxers love fresh food as well, as tshey can smell it a mile away. If it smells good to them - they’ll want it!

All dogs are well within the capacity of staying healthy, although you need to provide them with the minerals they need. Each dog is an individual, meaning that you can’t continue to feed her the same food on a daily basis. Boxers love people food, and they also love variety. What they need one day may vary tshe next, so you should always mix it up a bit and give them something different each day.

To be on the safe side, you should give your Boxer a little bit of everything. This way, she will get everything she needs with her diet. When you design the diet for your growing Boxer, you should always make sure to include animal protein. This is very important for your Boxer, as she has to have it. Without animal protein, your dog will find herself literally struggling to stay healthy.

To keep your Boxer healthy, it is very important that she gets quality nutrition. Although quality nutrition is very important, you should never let her eat so much that she gains weight too fast. If you monitor her diet and know exactly what you are feeding her, she should remain in her weight class. Sometimes this can be hard to help though, especially if your Boxer starts to develop allergies to a certain type of food.

If you ever have any questions regarding the diet of your Boxer, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask your vet. Your vet could make some recommendations for you, even tell you the best type of commercial food for your dog. Depending on her individual needs, what she requires may be totally different than what another dog needs. As long as you keep your dog on a healthy diet and make sure she gets the food she needs - she should grow to be a healthy dog with plenty of energy.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Socializing Your Boxer!

Let's start from the begining with your Boxer. Socializing your Boxer is very important and it should be started at a very young age. As you may already know, all dog breeds behave different in front of strangers, with some dogs choosing to ignore people altogether. They may choose to glance at someone, then go on to pay no attention to him. On the other hand, some dogs are the total opposite and love to meet everyone they can. These types of dogs love attention, and will take any attention they can get.

Some Boxers are happy with those they have come to know in their own family, or those they have selected to be friends. Others on the other hand, may feel comfortable just around those of the same sex. Most Boxers like children, although there are a few rare cases in which certain types of Boxers like adults but not children. This is extremely rare, and is normally due to the way they were bred or raised.

When your puppy is between the ages of 8 weeks and 8 months, socializing him is extremely important. During this time, you should always do everything you can to ensure that your Boxer meets other people. Although he may be shy at first and not have much interaction, he will eventually come around. You will need to be patient with him during these times, as he will need quite a bit of reassurance from you.

Your dog’s parents also contribute to socialization. If the parents of your Boxer were good with people and other dogs, the gene could very well be passed on to your dog. On the other hand, if the parents were shy or aggressive dogs, those genes could be passed on as well. Pups inherit the traits of their parents ,which is why it is very important to make sure that the dogs being bred are compatible with each other - and share a passive temperament.

If your puppy was separated from his mother before he reached the age of seven weeks, he won’t learn many of the social signals taught to him by his mom and his siblings. Boxer pups that are brought to a new home earlier than seven weeks will normally tend to end up somewhat aggressive around people. Although they may be aggressive towards people, they may be shy or fearful around other dogs, as they lack the social skills needed to be themselves. Or you could have a reversal where the Boxer is shy or fearful around people and aggressive toward other dogs.

Sometimes, if a puppy was injured or frightened during his early years, he can end up with a state of trauma. This type of thing leaves a huge scar in the mind of a puppy, making it very hard for him to get past it. Most Boxer pups that have been injured or frightened by an individual never get past it. They may end up fearing humans in general, or being very aggressive towards them when they feel frightened. When you take your puppy home for the first time, you should always make him feel welcomed, and never let anyone or anything harm him.

To better socialize your Boxer, you should always make sure that he gets plenty of interaction with other people and other dogs in his breed. This way, your Boxer will learn how to socialize at any early age. When he gets older in life, he will carry these skills with him. Boxers that are sheltered or not given the proper amount of interaction will turn out shy towards people and other dogs. With your Boxer being your companion for life - you should always ensure that he gets the socialization he needs.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A great image!

I found this picture on the Internet and had to share it with all those who live with a white boxer. This picture so typifies our white boxer Lucy! I'm interested in acquiring pictures of other dogs to post on this blog or links to other photos. If you have some great shots of dogs doing crazy or cute things, please pass them to me and I'll post them or link to them.
thanks, :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A thought on basic command training for your Boxer!

My friends over at "Dogs Deserve Freedom (their address is in the Links section of this blog)", brought up a training issues that I thought I would address on this site. "Yelling at your dog is not very good for many corrections."

In my day job I sometimes teach a Communication Course. One of the stats that we through out there is that words have the least amount of meaning in any conversation due to the filter involved in the Communication Loop! The stats break down something like this:

Words = 7% of meaning
Tone = 35% of meaning
Body Language = 58% of meaning

Guess what, your dog actually understands about 6-10 words total and I'm talking about a truly intelligent dog here! This is a big filter to get through. You may as well be speaking French to your dog! What they do understand is tone, body language, and association of meaning. They reach this association of meaning through training, repetition, and socialization.

So, yelling at your dog to get him to sit, hold, come to you, or whatever you are trying to achieve is the least effective method of training your dog! What follows are some tips for training that I've found to be very effective in dealing with our Boxer- Lucy.

When we were training Lucy we found that if we used the formula of:

Name it!
Praise it!
Click it!
Feed it!

You need to start off by buying yourself a clicker, some dog treats, a leash, and some time. Don't expect your dog to get it right the first couple of times you do this training. Association of meaning may take longer for some dogs. Pavlov didn't get his dogs to salivate on the first attempt either!

For the sit command, start off with a treat in your hand raise it above your dog's head. This will induce him to look up and bring his rear end down, sometimes in the position that you want him in. Once he achieves the sitting position, click your clicker and give him the treat. Every time you have a positive behavior that you are trying to teach, click the clicker and reinforce with something the dog likes such as a treat, a favorite toy, or praise. Lucy likes treats so we use treats. Yelling won't be necessary if association and reinforcement methods of training are used.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What makes a good dog owner?

I've been doing a lot of reading and reflecting on this subject lately and here's what I've found!

To be a good owner? First of all, you can't own a dog! You can be a member of their pack and they can be a member of your family, but you just can't own a dog. You own things not dogs! So let's change the subject to- How do you become the good alpha member of your dog's pack and they a trusted member of your family? It works both ways.

First of all, you must be willing to put in the time to train them on how to behave. This means providing them with the tools to be good family members. You must supply them with the basics first- A clean, dry and inviting environment that they can call their own. Just like with a child, you need to do a bit of dog proofing around the house as well as setting the boundaries of good behavior. You must supply them with exercise time and toys that are theirs. And most of all you must be consistent in what you do with them and for them.

Yesterday I wrote about Lucy's routine. Dogs love a routine! They like to be able to predict what the next event of the day is going to be. Lucy's routine is on a schedule and she let's us know when that schedule is out of whack! Her behavior will tell us every time that we've messed up her schedule. A typical event that would indicate a problem is when she gets on the counter in the kitchen or perhaps has an accident in the house. These types of behaviors indicate to us that we've obviously messed up her routine. Yes, I'm saying that it's not necessarily the dog's problem, maybe the alpha person has done something to throw the dogs behavior out of whack!

Hey, the phone just rang and I have to run! I'll continue this thread tomorrow when I have more time. Let me know what you think of the ideas presented. Later!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Stay on Schedule...

Wow, I didn't realize the schedule that Lucy keeps! It's been unchanged ever since Lucy came to live with us! Our day begin at 6:30am when Lucy jumps into bed with us. Imagine 65 lbs. of dog jumping into bed with you every morning! She always manages to push me out of bed to get to the most comfortable and warm spot she can find. She sleeps for the 30 minutes it takes us to get ready for work.

At 7:30, she's ready for her morning walk. If I'm not ready, she sits there and woo-woos at me until I am! Every morning when I open the garage door she's looking for the neighborhood squirrels to "mock" chase. Yes, she's on a leash! I go flying out of the garage to the park area behind our house in the tow of "Lucy the eager boxer/hunter."

By 7:45 we are back into the house. Actually I drop her off the leash and she runs to the back door of the house. She knows that Terri has her breakfast already in her bowl and she's excited to get to it!

In order to accommodate Lucy's needs, I leave from work to go to lunch around 11am. When she was a pup I'd go home mid-morning and then again at noon. But now that she's more mature, she can handle things until about 11:15am when I get home to walk her. During the lunch walk we repeat the morning adventure of hunting the local critters and do our business. We then spend some quality time together at lunch playing, training and eating.

The afternoon break is no longer necessary but when she was a pup, Terri or I would break out of the office to go let her out for a potty break. But now the schedule is to wait for me to get home around 5:15pm. This is when we spend more time outside exploring the neighborhood and taking longer walks. One thing I can say about Lucy is she never tires of taking walks... most boxers don't!

Terri and I keep different schedules. She gets home later than I do, therefore we have that event to look forward to. Lucy knows when she should be home and her behavior reflects the fact that when either of us aren't on schedule she let's us know about it. Anyway, Lucy greets Terri with the classic boxer dance when she gets home and then strategically places herself between Terri and I. Yes, she likes to rule the pack...she's an alpha, which means I have to be an alpha+!

Lucy's next big event is after dinner when we go out one more time for our evening walk. This is the walk where she has to ensure everything is secure for the evening and a last chance to check for the squirrels again! This usually happen around 9pm in the evening.

Now you may be asking yourself right about now, why is this guy writing about a schedule for his dog? Because, in order to have a dog as a member of your family you have to make a commitment to do the right things. Raising a well socialize and behaved dog requires a lot of dedication on the owner's behalf. It's a commitment to the care of another one of God's creatures. What you sign up for when you have a dog is much like what you sign up for when you decide to raise children. It requires you to be caregiver and schedule keeper. I'll talk more about this in my next post.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Memphis Tigers

If you've been following the news on sports at all lately, you'll know that all good things come to an end. The University of Memphis has lost their head basketball coach to the University of Kentucy. I guess they just had to much money for him to say no too! Well the entire basketball program is up in the air at the moment. The grade "A" recrutes that were coming to Memphis are now headed elsewhere. As a matter of a fact, we no longer even have a basketball coaching staff at U of Memphis. Hard times are here again! The bright spotlight on Memphis has extinguished itself, maybe to never relight again. We'll just have to wait and see! A short tradition of great basketball in the City of Memphis has come and gone... This is a mystery wrapped in an enigma!