New Foster Dobe, Help needed :) (also posted in puppy forum)

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sarawinsor's picture
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Joined: 2012-07-24

Hi!
We offered to foster a beauty big boy (we named him Ken"Tuck"y, so Tuck :) ) from a kill shelter in Kentucky. He was driven up to us by a rescue and dropped off at our door. He is a GIANT love bug. Giant in size and giant in love :) We are not sure if we can keep him, we need to see how he adjusts to life in Manhattan and we have a normal sized but not large 1 bedroom apartment. I would really appreciate any and all suggestions on the below, only constructive, please. We recognize he would ideally have a big backyard and a mansion, but he was going to be put in a gas chamber since no one would take him and we offered him a new lease on life, so I ask you to think of that before anyone suggests that a 1bedroom apartment is no place for 2 dogs. Off soap box :) Thank you in advance to everyone for your expertise and suggestions!!!

Some background and questions:

Advice needed on dogs playing in the apt
Tuck is currently in a very large crate with a blanket. Jersey (our 4.5 year old rescue Weimaraner) has "full reign" of the house. That generally means she curls up on a ball on the couch. Tuck is currently receiving (along with my weim) 1 ~30 min walk AM, two mid day walks 1 hour each and an evening relief walk, so approximately 2.5 hours of exercise per day. When i let him out of the crate, he understandably wants to play with our weim, they are really too big to do this in our living room without breaking everything and being a danger to themselves. I KNOW everyone will say let them play, but it's not feasible in our space. Any suggestions from people with small spaces? Besides take them to to the dog run which is deal but not always possible? (this will be incorporated into their days when we get to know him better) :( Maybe some crazy awesome bones/game toys for them to chew (re: below)?

Advice needed on chewing
Tuck is an aggressive chewer. He decimated a rope bone in a mater of seconds, and rips stuffless stuffed animals in half. He ate a lot of the blanket last night, chewing holes in it. When he did this we sharply say "NO!" and ignore him. Would love suggestions of the best bones/chew toys, i'm pretty confident he can chew through anything, i've never seen anything like that in my life!!

Advice needed on mounting
He was recently neutered, but sees dog beds as just something to hump. Any work arounds? would love to have a dog bed for him, right now he's on a crate tray with a blanket (with holes in it per above :) )

General Opinion:
Anyone here have two large dogs in a 1br apt? I personally feel they get ample exercise (working on the mental element, training, toys/bones, games etc) Would love to hear from you and get your suggestions. I am a runner and he's a PERFECT gentleman on the gentle leader, but since he's not a year old i'm not sure if i should begin running with him yet due to his joints, but that said it would be a great way to burn off energy and give him a "task", maybe 3 miles to start? He could be a year old, they're just estimating.

Any other resources, links/websites would be appreciated. We love him to death, he literally is a giant ball of sunshine and rainbows, trying SO hard with his house training (random renegade pooping in crate last night for no apparent reason after being taken out, wondering if eating the blanket upset his stomach??) and we would love to keep him since we have the financial means, but we're not moving to a bigger apt...

Thank you all!

jerial13's picture
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Glad to hear that you are rescueing, but really have nothing to offer to assist you.  We have acreage in the midwest and have plenty of room.  I will tell you that Dobies have relentless energy, and yes they can chew.  Even at 1 yr old he is still a puppy, and I would recommend starting with the basics - potty training, crate training, just general obedience, an obedience class would probably not be a bad idea, this will assist you and he with understand everyones place. 

I am not a professional this is JMHO.

Jeri

KevinK's picture
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Thank you for fostering!

Well, what I can say, is that he needs alot more exercise, or things will slowly (or quickly) escalate the more he gets bored.  As far as the running, I would strongly recommend against the gentle leader, as this can tend to cause neck injuries in dobermans, as they are prone to wobblers.  And if you go running, make sure it's absolutely not on pavement.  Forced running and this kind of exercise is not recommended at all until the growth plates close, and if you don't get medical tests to confirm then a safe estimate is around 18 months.  Too much forced running prior to this, especially on pavement can cause joint problems.

How long to you plan on keeping him?  Just until he finds a home?  Who is finding him a home?

For things to do in the house, i would look into things like playing tug, nosework can be fun if your dog likes it and is something you can do inside, things like that.  The chewing would make me nervous, many a dobe has been known to eat something, and god forbid it gets lodged in his intestines, it can be a painful, expensive, and sometimes life ending experience.  I would say if you can't keep an eye on him, don't give him anything he can chew at this point.

sarawinsor's picture
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Joined: 2012-07-24

Jeri thank you! We are looking into more dog run time and or doggy day care which I have heard tires out even the most active dogs.

Sara

sarawinsor's picture
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Joined: 2012-07-24

Kevin-

Thanks! Total agree about the chewing, haven't left him unsupervised with anything but the blanket, I can't imagine just leaving him on the plastic crate floor...We plan to keep him up to a month and see if we feel we are giving him the right home in terms of energy expenditure, etc. To see how his general disposition ends up, how the dogs get along. etc. The rescue that facilitated saving him from the shelter should be helping us with adoption. Otherwise we have a family friend with a German Shepard and a large yard who we feel would be a great candidate. :) Thank you for the ideas of things to do in the house!

Ronan's picture
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For chewing I would get some elk antlers online and have them shipped.

For humping: No idea..... my boy only mounts other dogs to show who is the "man" lol

 I dont have the same space problem as you do as I also live in the midwest; but even with a larger 3 bedroom and a big fenced in backyard it seems like they is not enough room! (i have children and an army of kids over everyday not the dogs fault)

A good game of find it, a kong wobbler and a ultra tough tug toy helps. I have 2! 8 month old dobies and they LOVE to play rough inside and outside and I can understand it not always feasible to let them go thrashing and crashing about in the living room. I always get them to lay down so I can relax them with a good rub down and have them in the "stay" command for a bit before releasing them. If they get rugh again I do the same thing except I will lay down with them and "cuddle" with them and once again try to relax them. Mine LOVE to plop down beside me and just veg out. So sometimes when it is way to hot to work them outside I will watch a movie with them on the floor with a pillow. (the couch is WAY to small for me and the 2 of them) and get them nice and calm.

Welcome to the forum and thank you for saving the poor boy from kentucky!

P.S. we love pictures so please post some of the fur babies!

Lady Kate's picture
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Love love LOVE that you are fostering. thank you so much.. I agree with the above suggestions and certainly hope some of them will work for you. Would love to see this guy stay somewhere forever.

I would encourage you to try a treadmill. That would help deplete some of that boundless energy..

Good luck, thank you for joining and bless you for all that you are doing.

Kar-jinx's picture
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Gough nuts are really tough dog toys.  You can order them online or there may be a retailer near you.  They are so tough that the company will replace them if they chew through the outer layer.  Send it back for a free replacement, and they recycle the old.  Stick, ball, and doughnut shapes.  Black toys for tough chewers.  

KevinK's picture
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You're welcome!!

 

yep, the elk antlers are great for strong chewers, it's about the only toy ever that dakota can't ruin...  that being said, she doesn't chew it much, probably because she can't ruin it!! catch 22 lol.

Our pooch is a strong chewer, we had to stop giving her nyla bones because they may as well have been a hot dog the way she ripped through them.  She is also very drivey, so I started doing bitework with her, which is something that can be done inside, and many dogs LOVe this.  There's certain things you want to do and not do, especially teaching your dog to only bite on command.  Many people initially think this is something scary, or will make their dog vicious, but it's actually the complete opposite.  It's about complete control, all the time, while your dog still gets to release that energy.  If you are not familiar, I would recommend working with someone who can show you if you decide to go that route.

Dobes are smart, so training for scent work is simple, so long as your dog is interested.

Daily training will be important, doesn't have to be long, short sessions here and there are fine.  I like to incorporate training into games, I have some long, detailed posts about that if you want to look them up with ideas, tips, etc.

We had the same problem initially with the chewing in the crate.  We couldn't keep much in there, but for some reason, we noticed that Dakota would go on the couch, lay on a pillow, and never chew it.  So we got a regular pillow from the store, was only a few dollars, and she never chewed on it.  They need to be replaced every now and then, they get a bit gross especially if you keep water in the crate, but we get like a 6 dollar pillow so it's not a big deal.  The "indestructible" beds for dogs?  lol...  yea right.  they're pretty destructible.

My girl also humped for a bit, and she was funny about it, It's pretty normal for dogs around that age, and usually passes.  She would only do it in private, and would get embarrassed if we walked in on her...  Think 12 year old son and mom walks in while he's "doing the business" lol.  Was quite comical.

talisin's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-25

I would like to welcome you and say like everyone here "thanks for fostering"!!! I work in rescue and really love to hear when someone takes a leap to foster....

I agree with the scent work mentioned by Kevin it sounds like a  great tool for running out some of that energy without actually physically running your dog before his bones are ready for it. He sounds like a great dog......hope he finds that perfect home and thanks to you he can :))

sarawinsor's picture
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Joined: 2012-07-24

Kevin,

Would LOVE links to any game/training posts you could offer I would be SO appreciative!!!! Thank you all for your kind words, he is the best dog ever. Quick story about how smart he is:

 

Took Tuck and Jers (weim) out this morning for a walk, Tuck didn't pee or poop

for awhile, figured i'd bring him back in, feed him, give him water

and try again. Got to the elevator and he sat down and clearly didn't

want to get in, I tried to pull him a little but he really looked very

intent on not getting in (which he had never done before), I loosened the leash 

and he started to walk outside again. Took him back out and a block later he peed.

I truly believe he knew if he went upstairs he would pee in the apartment

and he didn't want to!! Amazed by him already. Really wish we could keep

him, but worry he doesn't have enough room in our apartment :(

KevinK's picture
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Here's a few vids, and feel free to browse through my posts.  I have some rather lengthy training posts on this site.  I can't get them to post right, but if you right click and open in new window you can see without leaving the gentle doberman site.

 

This one is a quick clip of some of our initial nosework training.  We have built it up to much more, and can use some pretty tough spots, inside, outside, in a closed drawer, etc.  The idea is I taught her to find, and actually show me where whatever I was hiding is.  This one is a bit obvious, but when you get into more advanced nosework and need locations pinpointed, it comes in handy.  Forgive the messy house, we had just installed the wood floors you see, and that's why Dakota is a bit "off" on her footing lol.  Took her a bit to get used to not having the carpet.   But what I want to point out here is the level of focus.  You get this level of focus by learning how to be more fun, better, cooler, and in every way more interesting than the other outside stimuli that would otherwise distract your dog.  She was about 6 months in this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBalJB36Bqg&list=UUDdEM_24lo84fSxfx5KfUxw&index=4&feature=plcp" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); text-decoration: none; " target="_blank">http:// http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBalJB36Bqg&list=UUDdEM_24lo84fSxfx5KfUxw&index=4&feature=plcp

 This was a few months later, getting into more advanced locations, outside, and doing some other training and play.  When I get the tire, you can see how I incorporate training into her favorite games, so it's not "seeming" like training, in her mind we are having alot of fun, and the fun continues when she listens.  By using her favorite games to my advantage, she WANTS to listen, and does.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcPm_L5Hbeo&list=UUDdEM_24lo84fSxfx5KfUxw&index=5&feature=plcp" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 204); text-decoration: underline; " target="_blank">http:// http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcPm_L5Hbeo&list=UUDdEM_24lo84fSxfx5KfUxw&index=5&feature=plcp

 

Here is some of our initial bitework.  For me, this was a great video to watch, because it helped me realize I was holding the wedge way too high, and while I didn't think anything of it when we were doing it, after watching this video, I noticed it looked uncomfortable.  I was able to make that change early on, I think this was about 2 or 3 days after we got the wedge.  Again, one of her favorite activities in the world.  She listens, she gets to play.  So, why wouldn't she listen?  Most of training a dog, is actually training the human.  When we start to get more and more familiar with dogs, especially mentality, behavior, and mannerisms, and begin to work that into our training routines, we start to realize that training a dog is really not that difficult.  It's teaching OURSELVES what to do, consistently, without hesitation, and in a way that your dog understands that is the most difficult.  If you have access to a video camera, I highly recommend taping yourself occasionally.  Just like in this video, you may be making mistakes that you don't realize you are making, and you can adjust accordingly.  This is great for those that do their own training, or for those that take their dog to trainers, and then work on proofing what you learned at home.  Now, I'm not saying to watch this video, study it, and try to replicate it.  You have to do what works for your dog, and every dog will be a bit different.  If you have a drivey dog, like mine, you can do these same exercises, and your dog will love them.  Some dogs respond best to treats, some a pat on the head, some a game, some being released to run around the yard.  Whatever your dogs FAVORITE things are should be used in training.  For this video, it's a bite wedge. After training, the wedge goes away, which helps keep it's value high.  You wanna see her go crazy?  Take out her wedge.  She'll do your kids homework for a chance at a bite, and that's what makes it such a valuable training tool.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0YReu8WDFU&list=UUDdEM_24lo84fSxfx5KfUxw...

About 2 minutes in, you can see I start to introduce distraction, by using another of her favorite toys, but telling her to stay.  I see many people use "leave it" in a situation like this, which is wrong, because if you say leave it, and then allow your dog to play with the toy or eat the treat at a later time, what you are really teaching is "leave it" means "leave it for now, but you can go get it later".  Leave it should mean leave it, forever, no questions asked.  Eventually you don't have to say anything else, because your dog will understand that he/she is not to go until you give the release command.  This can be seen around the 3:40 mark.  I toss her frisbees, she doesn't move until I say "Ok' which is her release, then immediately follow it up with "go get it".  These are 2 separate commands, one is the release, the other is what to do next.

 

And for good measure, here's a quick cell phone clip of my wife making fun of me and the training lol

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UqI0zvWVH4&list=UUDdEM_24lo84fSxfx5KfUxw...

sarawinsor's picture
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Kevin- Thank you SO MUCH! Wow...are you a professional dog trainer???

KevinK's picture
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You're welcome, and thank you for the kind words.  But no, I'm not a pro trainer.  I love the dogs, but not most of the humans that come along with them lol.

rgreen4's picture
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sarawinsor - I used to have a very large (got up to 147 pounds before we discoved his thyroid problem and got him back down to 100) red male who was by any definition a problem chewer. He loved the Kongs and I started him out with the red ones, but they would last at best a month before he was getting chunks off of them. I switched him to the black ones and he loved them. He would always walk around with the Kong in his mouth and it looked like he had a big fat cigar in his mouth. They were twice the price, but lasted at least three months. He has been gone now a little over a year, and I still have several around the house with teeth marks on them.

Bless you for fostering. If you have worked with a rescue, you most likely have some agreement you have signed with them to foster the dog. If you have an agreement with the rescue check the paperwork, for you might not be in a position to approve an adoption. It depends on the "rescue" and some are better and more organized than others. Typical agreements state that the dog belongs to the rescue until an official adoption is approved. Even then, there is an adoption agreement that must be signed and part of that states that if the arrangement does not work out for some reason the dog must be returned to the rescue agency.

I will be transporting a rescue Doberman on Wednesday from Central Georgia back to South Georgia to deliver an adoptive family driving up from Central Florida. There are Georgia Department of Agriculture (regulates rescues in Georgia) forms to complete and an adoption agreement that must be signed before I can turn the girl over to them.

I am also fortunate to have several acres, but my two Dobes (a 3 1/2 year old female and an 11 month old male) also enjoy wrestling in the living room. Fortunately they are both taking naps right now. I hope it works out for you, but if not, do not despair. Until a Doberman gets to two years of age they are very rambunctuous and active, after that they tend to settle down.

sarawinsor's picture
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Rgreen-

Thank you so much! Things are much better. We have gotten some new toys, Hurley Toys, deer antlers and nylabone tough chewer and he is obsessed with playing with them, helps keep him from acting like the apartment (all 650 sq feet of it...) is a dog run and seems to help keep him occupied. We are toying with the idea of keeping him, and if so plan on sending him and my weimaraner to 'doggy bootcamp' for 2 weeks to get appropriately trained. We KNOW we are not strong enough and consistent enough to begin his training from scratch and have to enlist professional help, that is a reality. We are struggling right now with sometimes when he plays with toys (even if he was just taken out!!!) he pees on the floor. Thank god for hardwood floors all over and nature's miracle and paper towel...i know we should keep him in the crate until he is "trustworthy" but he generally is and every once in awhile makes mistakes...i researched a lot about what to do so I am trying to be consistent, but again we both work fulltime and you know, the normal excuses ;) !

 

Thank YOU for all of your hard work and transport, so inspiring.