How to Build Your Boxer's Muscles

Close-up of boxer dog in park.
Close-up of boxer dog in park. (Image: Michael Lofenfeld/iStock/Getty Images)

Building your boxer's muscles as your workout buddy is a fun activity that promotes bonding with your pet. Outdoor activities include swimming, roadwork, and weight pulling. Indoor exercises of playing with a flirt pole and running on a treadmill can be helpful when the weather is bad outdoors, or for a change in your boxer's routine. Your veterinarian should evaluate your pack member first before beginning a muscle-building routine so he is safe in his exercise program.

Safety First

Before beginning a muscle-building routine for your boxer, take your dog to your veterinarian for an evaluation. Your vet can decide if the dog has any health problems that prevent certain strenuous activities, such as heart, lung or joint deficiencies that would dictate a low-impact workout plan. All muscle-building exercises should be brief at first and work up to longer periods, to keep from pulling muscles or causing discomfort for your pet.

Low-Impact Workout

Swimming is a low-impact workout to build muscle strength, improve endurance and strengthen the lungs and heart. Start with a game of fetching a toy from the water and work up to swimming for longer distances. Boxers generally like the water and will swim with their human pack leaders for fun and for endurance.

Endurance Training

Roadwork is a form of endurance training for building front and rear muscle groups. If you enjoy jogging, enlist your pooch to be your workout buddy, starting with walking, then jogging, working from short distances to longer ones over time. A jog or trot for 20 minutes or more builds a boxer's muscles. If you are no so athletically inclined, you can attach a dog tether to a bicycle for your part of the exercise instead of having shoes on the ground.

Building Chest Muscles

Weight pulling increases chest muscles in a boxer. Make certain you have your dog in a harness for weight pulling that fits him correctly. First, get your pooch used to walking in the harness, then attach it to a cart with wheels that are at least 6 inches in diameter. Help the dog become used to the contraption behind him, then allow him to pull the empty cart. Add a cinder block or human weight lifting plates to the cart one at a time and allow your dog to slowly work up to additional weights to prevent muscle injuries.

Weight Vests and Collars

Specialized collars and vests with pockets for inserting weights serve to increase endurance and build muscles in dogs. Let your dog become accustomed to the collar or vest without any weights, then add the smallest amount of weight, slowly working up to more weight in each pocket. Be sure to add equal weight on both sides.

Flirt Poles

Dogs love to play with flirt poles indoors when the weather is bad. It's like a combination of fetch and tug all rolled into one fun game. Your boxer should know the sit and drop cues before beginning muscle-building exercise with a flirt pole. Start by telling him to sit, drop the toy onto the ground and quickly move it around for him to chase it. At first, let him catch it after a few seconds, then work slowly up to longer periods before you let him catch it. Tell him to drop it, and start over again.

Treadmill Exercise

Treadmills give good workouts to dogs as well as humans. It takes a little patience and training to get your dog rolling on a treadmill, though. Have him just stand on the treadmill at first, but do not turn it on. Give him treats and praise, then turn it on the slowest speed while you walk him with a leash standing next to him. Increase the speed slowly and set the treadmill on an incline. He will become a pro; ultimately he won't need a leash to exercise on the treadmill. You'll need to supervise during his entire indoor walk, though.

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