African Boerboels are well loved for their abilities to be excellent family dogs and guard dogs at the same time, but they don't come pre-programmed with these traits. All Boerboels need to have effective training in order to grow up to be the best dogs they can be. Good training needs to start when the Boerboel is just a puppy, and if it is put off until the dog is eighteen to two years of age, the dog has finished developing its personality and it will be very difficult to change most of the bad habits it has learned in its life. Even unintentionally bad training will be difficult to reverse if left off too long.
When housebreaking your Boerboel, there are three important rules to follow: never be too harsh, only discipline directly after the puppy has done something wrong, as he won't be able to connect the misdeed with the punishment, and don't rub the puppy's nose in a puddle (or other mess), as this doesn't have any positive effect and is unhygienic as well. The best thing to do is keep your puppy in an area with well protected floors, such as newspapers, and to keep a vigilant eye on the puppy to look out for signs that he needs to relieve himself. Once you've learned what to look for, be sure to praise your puppy when he's done his business outside as this will help the puppy learn what is expected of him.
Obedience training should start as early as possible. Not only do Boerboel puppies pick up training very fast, but the longer the obedience can be learned before adulthood sets in, the better. It is highly recommended that you get involved in a puppy obedience class, which can not only help the dog learn how to behave in an appropriate way, but will also help his owners learn the best way to discipline the dog. This is especially good for those that haven't owned a larger dog before and even those with children can bring their children along to training so the dog won't get mixed signals from the parents and the children.
Something else to be on the lookout for is unintentional training. It is important to remember that Boerboels are natural protectors and have been known to start barking as a means of alarming their family as early as two months of age. It can be difficult for these young defenders to learn when it is appropriate to warn their owners of a potential threat and when it isn't necessary. For example, if you're waiting in your vet's office and the dog tends to jump and bark whenever another dog is brought in, resist trying to calm the dog with soothing words and caresses - the dog will consider this to be praise and continue the behavior. Be consistent in your training and make sure that he knows that he is loved, and your Boerboel will be sure to become a trusted and important part of the family.