Is A Boerboel Right For You?
Boerboels Need Boundaries For Life
Why are boundaries so important?
The Boerboel was originally bred to be the farm and family protectors in South Africa. Their job was to be dominant, protective free-thinkers that knew how to perceive a threat and react appropriately to that threat (fight or flight) without direction from the farmer.
As the Boerboel matures its level of dominance and protectiveness also matures. I have found that the males in particular increase in their dominance level strongly between the ages of 2-4.
Currently most Boerboels are being placed in pet homes, not as farm protectors. In the home situation, we NEED the dogs to look to us for direction before reacting. This goes against their very nature and so it is our responsibility to teach and maintain that. This is where “Boundaries for Life” come in.
The big picture of “Boundaries for Life” is this:
I, as the human of this pack, am the leader. I say what you do, how you do it, when you do it. This is my home and I decide who can be in it, when they can be in it and for how long they can be in it. I decide who will greet me, who will shake my hand, who will give me a hug. I decide how much freedom the dog pack gets within the home, keeping in mind that the more continuous freedom they have, the more dominant/protective they will become over that area they have the freedom in.
If you’ve been to my home you will have noticed that all of dogs do not have the freedom to ‘hang out’ with you. Some will meet and greet and then be put away (the ones that tend to be more free-thinkers). The ones that are less free-thinking may get to hang out for longer and then get rotated out for someone else. BUT I make it a point to reinforce to them that they are not in control of my visitor, I am, therefore by putting them ‘away’ they understand that they are not on duty. That I have it under control. Putting them away could be in a crate in the same area we are in, in a room, outside, etc.
If you’re Boerboel is allowed too much freedom you will see their free-thinking take over in the form of unwanted dominance/aggression/protectiveness. It is in their very nature to do so and does not make them a bad dog or uncontrollable. Continuously resetting Boundaries for Life reinforce their reliance on you and your leadership over them. Boundaries make for happy, confident dogs, trustworthy dogs.
Boerboels Are Sensitive
Despite their big, strong appearance and attitude, Boerboels can be very sensitive. They are sensitive to their humans feelings and dispositions. They require an owner who can be as in tune with them as they are with the owner. They are intuitive to other people and animals as well. You need to be able to pay close attention to your Boerboel's demeanor and body language so that you are ready to intervene at any moment.
Boerboels are sensitive to man made toxins, processed foods, immunizations and monthly preventatives. Therefore their everyday care can take longer than you are used to. Purchasing and preparing RAW (either your own or pre-made), using alternatives to systemic flea/tick products, standing up to veterinarians who want to push multiple vaccines on you. All these things take time and an already over the top busy schedule will entice you to take short cuts that will in the end harm your Boerboel.
Boerboels Need Exercise and Training
Although the Boerboel is in the mastiff group, they are not lazy dogs. They are a working breed that needs plenty of exercise, room to run off their energy and strong training. They also love to cuddle, but a Boerboel that doesn't have enough exercise time will be miserable and make you miserable.
At some point most every owner will need to seek training from an experienced trainer. This means a trainer that is very comfortable working with dominant/protective breeds. Look around before purchasing a puppy to get an idea of cost and distance.