Gouden raad van Ané

een uit het hart geschreven tekst over leven met en opvoeden van een Boerboel, door Ané van der Merwe (Centurion, Z-Afrika)

Met dank aan Ané dat ik deze tekst mag gebruiken.

If  I may. I do not want to step on any toes or allege that anyone does not know how to handle a boerboel. I have a few things I have to get off my chest, though. Please bare with me.

I am Afrikaans speaking so my English is not that good.

I was born and bred in South Africa. I had boerboels in my life like forever. The boerboel is hands down the best dog for me in all aspects because of it. They are intelligent, athletic, loyal, fearless and great fun.

Boerboels are not couch potatoes. Or.. they are not only couch potatoes.

The boerboel was bred to be an all-round dog. Guard, worker, protector, family member and family pet. And it is excellent on all these roles.

You will have to allow him to be all of that in one way or the other from day one. If not you are going to have a frustrated, dominant, aggressive, giant, heavy and extremely strong dog you will not be able to handle. And they are STRONG!

I understand that you might not need your boerboel to be a guard dog or protector. Not as much as we need them to be in South Africa.

But it is part of who he is. Don't ignore it. Don’t be scared of it. Work with it. Enjoy it. Make it fun.

Here is a short summary of what I know about a boerboel:

He is the Alpha from the get go. Irrespective of his age or who else is in the family for how long.

If  you do not take the role as your own he will run with it. Earn his respect by being strict, constant and calm.

Do not be aggressive. A boerboel is scared of very little in life. He is just going to see you as a threat that needs to be eliminated. But he will follow your lead if he respects you.

Your boerboel will appreciate it if you take on the role. It will give him the opportunity to concentrate on other things like playing, being goofy...

Training is therefore essential. And training with the smallest human member of the family is critical. Your three year old must be seen as an Alpha. Once again, by being calm and strict.

You will not have to 'discipline' your boerboel if you are doing it correctly. Boerboels are not spiteful dogs and their sense of loyalty trumps their need for being naughty everytime. He will understand you if you make sense. If you make the effort to learn how to communicate with him, that is.

Do not let your child be alone with your dog. Even if he is well-behaved, calm tempered, accept his role in the pack... he is still HUGE!! He can injure your child by just walking into him and stepping on his toes.

Teach your children to pinch your boerboel that stands on their feet etc rather than push him. He will get off if you pinch him.

He may push back if you push. He's not aggressive. He sees it as a game. Or he may just not notice that your child wants him to do something.

Teach your children to keep quiet when your dog is accidentally hurting him. Even if it hurts like a bastard.

Teach him not to cry until the dog is off his foot. Your boerboel will want to figure out why your child is upset and help and actually worsten the situation.

And overall.. be careful of the paw. They talk with their front paws. A lot.

Teach your child to keep quiet and lie still when he falls aswell. Your boerboel will run to his aid and might pin your child down in the process.

He might also think it is a rough game and accidentally hurt your child.

Teach your child not to call for help or splash when he is swimming. Your boerboel will try and save him and drown him in the process.

You can teach your child and boerboel how to handle such a situation with great success, though. And it is so much fun!

Talk about play. Never ever play games where he will learn that he is stronger than you are. He needs to think that you are superior in all areas. And he will hurt you in an innocent game.

Do not fret if you are weak, though. He will not compete for the Alpha role if you stay softly assertive. He will respect your choice not to play rough because you said so.

Choose games that can enforce your role as the Alpha, allow your boerboel to use his intelligence and work off its energy.

Know that you will lose a lot of tennisballs...

Your boerboel will thrive as part of your family. He needs to be kept calm in the house, though. An exited giant dog is an accident waiting to happen.

Do not let him run in the house. Walk very slow next to him. Let your children walk slow next to him. You determine the pace. Not him.

Do not allow your boerboel to stand higher than you at any time. Ever. Standing higher, or even eyen level with, you is a sign of superiority in the pack.

Be very careful with your children. When your children are playing on the floor. Especially a baby crawling. Let him lie down next to them. Better yet, let your child instruct him to lie down.

Do not allow him to lie on couches or on your bed unless you explicitly instructed him to do so. This sounds stupid. But he has to have your permission.

Always instruct him to lie down. Do not allow him to sit next to you. Once again, he must never be higher than you. Cuddle him when he lies down. Make it the best choice for him.

Do not let him jump up against you. It is a signal of dominance over you. At the very least he sees you as his equal. And he might knock you down.

It is not cruel to expect him to stay on all fours. Rather kneel down and greet him properly. Let him calm down while greeting him.

If he is still young it is as easy as saying ‘no' and pushing him away. Start early. You will have a huge task on your hands if he is already a large dog.

Do not bother him when he eats. Teach your children to let him be. I bother my dogs on purpose, though. Just in case a child accidentally touches them. But my children learnt to stay away.

Be careful when you give him snacks. He will 'defend' it against other dogs and children. Make sure you have enough to share. Give snacks that is not too exiting so they will not fight over it. Beeno’s works for my dogs.

Do not surprise your boerboel. He will react and protect. That is what boerboels are about.

Introduce him to all visitors. But never leave your visitors alone with your boerboel. His main instinct will always be to protect you.

Be careful when introducing new pets to him. Start very slow. Remember, he is the Alpha.

Boerboels are notourious for being same gender aggressive. Do not think things are ok because both the dogs are female, for instance.

And, and, and...

I can write pages and pages.

The basics are: Respect him and be the Alpha. And enjoy your boerboel. He is GREAT!! I promise. ❤️

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