Help my dobe won't listen

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ROSCOSMOM's picture
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Hi

I have had my pup for about 1 and 1/2 now and have been training him non stop- we took him to class and have been training him on our own ever since. He gets plenty of excercise and knows what he is supposed to do but he will not listen unless you have a treat that he is interested in. Other than that he takes over, will not come when called (have tried leaving him on a rope and training that way but doesnt work) We use the prong collar when walking and he pulls like crazy. He ran out of the house and away with 2 does the other night. I can not risk him doing this again and want to figure out how to fix our crazy pup!

Many people have told us to get him fixed but we havent decided if we should or not? Is this a common problem with dogs that are not fixed? And/or dogs that havent "relieved" themselves?

Help!

Freyja's Dad's picture
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Hi Roscosmom,

Let me ask a few questions.  How old is Rosco?  You say your've had him 1 1/2, is that years or months.  You said you've taken him to classes, what kind and for how long?  How well schooled is he on the very basics; sit, down stay?  Will he do them every time you tell him to, treat or not?  Is his refusal to obey a new development or has this been an ongoing issue?  I'm sure there are questions I'm forgetting to ask and I'm sure other's will chime in.

Prong collars are a great training tool but should not be used on a puppy under 6 months old.  You also must know how to use one properly.  I've only used a prong collar with a couple of dogs but have never heard of one pulling if the collar is properly fitted and used correctly.  It's just not very comfortable to do so.

ROSCOSMOM's picture
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He is a year and a half old. He does simple commands w/o treats (sit, down, stay, paw, high 5) but the problem comes in when we tell him to come, stay (if something else he wants-- ie animals/deer). It seems to be a fairly new problem. We took him to beginner class and have kept up with the training they taught us. The other night he pushed open the screen door and ran after 2 does (playfully) but it took me over 2 hrs to find him and when I did he was in a briar bush. We are lucky he didnt run into the st, this is what makes me nervous.

He is an extremly friendly dog and just wants to play. We were attacked by 3 loose rottis a year ago this October, I dont know if that has anything to do with it but it was extremely tramatic for both of us. Which may be the problem with the walks/pulling??

I have been going back and forth regarding neutering him to prevent future health problems and calm him down? Any suggestions?

Again he does get plenty of excercise (2-4 miles a day plus backyard fetch for at least an hr a day) and he plays with other dogs frequently

rgreen4's picture
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The reason Roscoe pulls is that he wants to lead, so he stretches forward and pulls you. Over here (you don't say where you are and your location in your profile is blank) there is a TV program called "It's me or the Dog" which actually started in the UK, and Victoria Stilwell has a quick way to cure it, simply turn around and go the other way. When Roscoe gets beside you say "Good Dog". Then if he again starts out in front of you, simply turn around again and go the other way.

As to neutering, that is a decision unrelated to your problems. There may be many good reasons to have him neutered, I made the decision on my 6 year old red male (Red) when I brought a red female puppy (Princess) in the house. There are also good reasons to neuter a male at a certain time for their long term heath. If there is not desire or intent to breed him then the decision is easier. But, it will not significantly change their behavior, except in the area of wanting to breed active females. They will still be interested in them and sniff them, but the breeding urge will be gone.

Freyja's Dad's picture
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Roscosmom,

Let me preface my remarks by saying that I'm NOT a dog trainer.  I have spent many hours in the front yard with Freyja trying to work with her.  She is the first dog I've had who I would say is reliably trained, although we work on on both old and new things daily.  These are things I've tried.  Others with more experience probably have much better techniques than I do.  I hope you find our experience useful, and if not then I apologize for writing so much.

Freyja and I have worked hard on the recall command since I'm legally blind and have a hard time locating her if she doesn't come when I call her.  Not knowing how far along Rosco is you may need to start with basics.  Put him in a down/stay  position, walk away 20 feet and tell him to "come".  If you have to use a treat to entice him that's fine.  You may need to use a rope to tug on his collar to nudge him to come, but don't pull him to you.  If he doesn't come to you DON"T go back to him, simply turn your back to him and walk away.  Tell him to come again.  He will eventually come to you.  Then praise him, make a really big deal over him, and give him his treat.  Gradually shorten the time interval allowed between your call and his action for him to earn the treat.

If he's already doing that consistantly, or once he gets there, then increase the distance and add distractions; people walking by, noises, etc.  Make sure this is an enviroment you control.  You don't want Lady Kate's "hated hare" or your doe coming through in the middle of this training if you can help it.  When Freyja was about 7 months old a stray cat wandered into the neighborhood and I could not get Freyja's attention when it was around.  Once it was gone, I had control of the enviroment again, her attention returned to me.

Once she became very reliable at come from the length of our front yard I began going around the corner of the house, out of sight, waited a few moments, then called her to me.  Once she got to me she was greeted with lots of excited "good girl" praises, big pets and a treat.  This recall from out of sight has paid great dividends for us.  Of course to be able to do this Rosco must be able to stay and you leave his sight, which is actually an "open" obedience class exercise.  I didn't start the out of sight recall until Freyja was reliable on the down/stay while I walked completely around the house.  You may also start with a partner watching him while you go out of sight to make sure that he doesn't take off as soon as you're gone.

I think playing fetch also helps with recalls.  I have thrown my arm out throwing the tennis ball, small football, and other toys with her.  I couldn't believe how easy she took to catching the frisbee.  Each time, the exercise is not complete until she brings me the object and gives it to me, at which time she gets her treat or big pet.  By doing this she learns to return to me.  We actually started playing fetch in the hallway in the winter, again a very controlled envrioment.

One thing I've learned from this forum is the "leave it" command.  We are still working on this but making progress.  One thing I started Freyja off with was making her "play dead" then laying her treat in front of her, telling her to stay until I told her "ok".  Now I'm working on taking her to the garage, getting her a rawhide from her bin, laying it down and telling her to "leave it" and getting her to walk back inside with me.  Of course after she leaves it and we come back inside I open the door and let her go get her rawhide.  On our walks we are also working on "leave it" with the mailboxes, she wants to sniff every one we pass on our 3 mile walk.  I think Lady Kate has been working with Sofia on the "leave it" with the "hated hare" in her neighborhoold

As far as pulling, the prong collar has worked wonders with Freyja.  The nice thing about them is they are limited in how far they can slide, making it nearly impossible to hurt the dog.  I put it on Freyja, make sure both rings are sliding properly when pulled, hook the lead to one of the rings, and off we go.  When Freyja gets too far in front of me I say "back here" with a quick snap and release on the collar.  It is enough to get her attention.  Now the "back here" command alone slows her up.  I've had a difficult time with this as I want Freyja about one step in front of me so I can see her (I have little side vision), not in the traditional heel position.  Because of this Freyja actually heels better off leash than on.  We also "stop" at every corner and at every curb and stair.  I was surprised at how easy the "stop" command was to teach, especially using the prong collar.

For me this process has been going on since January 2009, when Freyja was less than 3 months old.  We've still got a long way to go.  One thing I've found though, as Freyja learns, she becomes better at learning.  Or maybe I become better at teaching her, or probably a little of both.  I've found it's hard to skip steps in training.  After all a kid must learns his numbers before he can learn to add, and must know how to add before he can do calculus.

As for neutering I agree completely with rgreen4.  If you have decided not to breed or show in conformation there is really no reason not to have him neutered.  That way you know there will be no "accidents".  I had Freyja spayed because I didn't want to deal with heats, but that's another post.  But neutering should make little to no difference in learned behavior 

Lady Kate's picture
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Yipes.. I was all ready to write and tell you how wonderful Sofia is doing with the 'leave it' "heel' 'sit', 'stay' and all the 'Whispering Stillwell' suggestions... until.....
this morning.
Mike usually takes her on her two-three mile run every day and they both love it..I take her for a nice lady-like-sedate- Diva stroll in the afternoon.With the proper leash. Today Mike had to be at class earlier than usual so the run was off.
Sofie looked at me.. I looked at her and the battle of the wills was on. ( I didn't think they wore watches, but she knew it was eight o'clock and time for the romp.) I put her new 'Stillwell recommended' leash on and off we went.
She pulled, she tugged, I stopped, I treated, she pulled, I treated more and said ( firmly) "HEEL".. she tugged and actually glared at me.. I'm sure we walked the usual mile and a half... all in a circle as I kept turning around.
Right now she's in her back yard telling the mockingbirds what a horrid mom she has and that no one really understands and that she hates Victoria and Cesar and has second thoughts about the pretty new purple leash.

Lady Kate's picture
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P.S. Y'all.. It occured to me that the consistancy in training is what helps to formulate the success. When I walk Sofia, we always go out the front door, down the sidewalk, into the club house to check the mail and new books that are delivered to the community library. It's our habit. it's consistant.. she trots along beside me looking forward to meeting and greeting as patient as can be.. This morning.. I went out the BACK door ( just like her Dad does for their run) of COURSE she expected the same results.. that would be consistant.. It was ME who was the bad dobermom..
So Just a few mins. ago I asked her if she'd "like to go to the library.."
She nudged her pretty new purple leash at me and just like she does in the afternoon.. out the front door, down the path doing her parade trot right beside me with out a yank a pull or a glare... Instead of listening to "heel" she got "goood girl".
The Whispering Stilwell insists on consistency as well as the Whispering Cesar. Why dont' I listen better??

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^,^'s picture
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Joined: 2010-04-13

Going through it with Izzy too I bought what ever anyone said LOL ugg she is still pulling.

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Oh and the book my daugter got me "the koehler method of dog training" for mothers day, came in yesterday.
I have not had time to look at it!

Izzys blog is updated!

ROSCOSMOM's picture
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Thank you for all the responses. 
I have tried the turn around to help with the pulling and all we end up doing is turning is circles the entire walk, I  am going to keep it up though, hopefully it will take. I am going to try to work more on call response, we play a lot of fetch but  he runs around in 5-7 circles before he brings it back (hilarious but not correct)

We are going to neuter him as well, not for the behavior but more for the health reasons.

It does make me feel a lil less defeated to hear that others are having similar pulling problems :)

Lady Kate's picture
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Oh dear... Spring has come to the Baja and all the " hated hares" have had their babies.. now we have "hare-ettes!" Hundreds of hare-ettes!!
Sofia is in her glory with all of nature's 'abundance!' She is actually a little more hesitant to chase them.. Seems to know they're just wee folk.. will stalk like a great Serengeti cat and try to sneak up on them.. Has managed to get within 5 feet of one with her ears pointed straight at them one paw lifted up ready to take a tiny step forward and her nose twitching like crazy. Rabbit stew anyone?

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^,^'s picture
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You know Roscoe's mom I heard something like this once..."just when you are about to give up...whoop there it is"...so lets keep going and maybe the whoop fairy will come see us some day!

Kate I love Rabbit stew with red gravy yuuuum yum! Bless your heart I bet Sofia is pulling like crazy for sure now! I mean who could resist Rabbit!!! LOL stew ;D

ROSCOSMOM's picture
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still waiting for that WHOOP there it is moment, have had glances

I took him into the vet this morning to be neutered. Its the right thing to do and don't you know he was on his best behavior-- better than I have ever seen!! especially at the vet.... maybe something is clicking

oh and last night I taught him how to volley a ball back to me-- in about 5 minutes, dobermans are sooo smart!! Just got to get their attention!

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That attention thingy is one of my peeves!!! there, then gone in a flash. Izzy get's it right then wham gone again...She was doing well, but lately she is bored with all inside things and wants to be OUTSIDE!!!! where the fun is at 80% of the time!!

Roscoe is NOT dumb!!! He knows when to be serious LOL When you are headed to surgery aren't you your best b/c you don't want to stressed the Doc he might miss..ahahahhaha

Izzy sends happy paws and Hugs to Roscoe!!!