The Three Stages of Boxer Puppyhood

The age of your Boxer puppy when he first enters your household determines how you handle the arrival and what you have to deal with in the following weeks and months. You may decide that a very young Boxer puppy just won't work in your household.

Like all living things, Boxers have different needs at different stages of their lives. They react to their new environment according to their age, and your job is to be prepared for this. Knowing the various stages of a Boxer's life will help you meet their needs:

  • Birth to 7 weeks: In the nursery. During these first few weeks of life, a Boxer pup needs nothing more than she needs her mother and littermates. The mother and littermates provide sustenance, comfort, and warmth for a puppy. During this period, the pups find out that other creatures do exist and they have to learn how to deal with them. In this stage, the pup finds she must compete for what she needs. Boxer mothers teach their offspring a great deal during these first weeks of life, so having this time with the mother and littermates is extremely important to a pup's development.
  • 7 to 8 weeks: The diaper brigade. Around the age of 7 or 8 weeks is the perfect time to introduce a puppy to his new home. At this age, puppies are mature enough to readjust easily, but not old enough to have developed strong attachments to their mother or littermates. Puppies who remain too long as part of a litter instead of moving on to their individual homes can end up identifying with their siblings rather than transferring this relationship to their owners.
  • 8 weeks to 6 months: The terrible toddlers. Just as with children, the toddler stage stretches on for a bit in Boxers. And it's not only the time that is stretched — during this time period, you'll wonder just how elastic your patience can be as well. Between the ages of 8 weeks and 6 months, depending on the individual puppy, you may find yourself wondering at times whether your pup has taken leave of her senses with the nonsensical behavior and arbitrary balkiness she exhibits.
    Just remember that everything in life is an experiment, a pup's curiosity is endless. At this age, pups find it necessary to pull electrical wires, climb fences, and test all objects to determine their chewability. But the Boxer pup is still dependent on you during this stage and wants to be with you all the time, wherever you go. His confidence begins to grow, however, and the early dependency that was so typical may diminish almost overnight. Work with your pup during this stage of his life, and train him to be a good canine citizen.

When your boxer is 6 to 12 months old, he's an adolescent — no longer a pup, but not quite an adult.

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