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mrsrockwell's picture
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Hi I just got a 8 month old spayed female dobe. She is black and tan with tail docked but ears are natural. She is still getting use to being with us but seems to be bonding with me well. She seems to be nervous of almost every sound in the house (moving a chair, something falling off the counter), is this because she is new here and getting use to us? She is not use to kids or cats which I have. I am working on her with that but she growls at the cats but doesnt  try to eat them lol. My grandson who is four is a bit afraid of her because she has growled at him a couple times. Dealing with that by telling her no and trying to get my grandson to stand his ground with her. He has a learning disability and cant pronounce his words clearly yet so he can't tell her no very well. Any advice on this would be a big help. We have only had her for two days but I dont want things to get out of control.

rgreen4's picture
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This reminds me of an episode I had with another dog, a Miniature Schnauzer named Jiggs. Now I still have Jiggs who is now 11, but he was 3 at the time. A friend of mine came down from Virginia to go with me to my late sisters house in East Texas to rebuild her rear deck. Jiggs to a dislike to Wayne and kept growling at him. On the trip over, Jiggs was in his crate in the back seat, but kept growling everytime Wayne came near him. Finally at my sister's house the next morning, she brought Wayne some Honey Nut Cheerios and told him to start giving him a few. Jiggs really went for them and before long Wayne had him eating them out of his hand.

In a few days, Wayne was able to discontinue the Cheerios after a few days, but Jiggs would still go to him and get petted and scratched between the ears. If you can have your grandson give her some small treat that she likes, by simply putting it on the floor in front of her, it will lessen the barrier. It is also important that he should be counseled to never make a sudden move around her. She will be skittish at first and uncertain of her surroundings. Once she realizes that you are her friend she will settle down. If your grandson spends a lot of time in your home, do not be surprised if she actually bonds to him.

mrsrockwell's picture
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Hi thank you for the advice. I have been getting him to give her treats and she is getting better(he lives with us). She is so skiddish about everything, she still will growls at time but it is very unconsistant. One minute she will be asking him to pet her and the next she will be growling. She is nervous around all the kids and either runs from them or growls at them. We have had her for a week now but she is still nervous in the house and the yard. The only time she seems really happy is when she is on a walk, running and playing with my retriever mix. I hope she calms down and settles in to our busy home.

rgreen4's picture
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It sounds as if you have made progress, and just keep doing what you are. I appears that she was not really socialized with people very well, and that will take a little time. You might want to try to arrange some quiet time when you are in effect alone with her, and just pet and stroke her. If you have a busy household, she may not be used to a lot of turmoil.

mrsrockwell's picture
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Hi I appreciate all the advice. I have been having just time for us but now she is getting worse with my grandson. She has actually snapped at him a handful of times(usually in my bedroom). She is not doing it in a payful manor, she is telling him to get lost. I am getting her a crate tomorrow, which she has never been in before. I am hoping she will adjust to that and use it as her safe place to go. I am just wondering if I should stop her from going in my room at all. That seems to be where is she the most aggresive. Also I would like to know what everyone thinks of clicker training. I was thinking of using it to treat her when she is calm in the house but not sure how to stop when you start it. She is still very nervous and runs away and hides in my room when the kids are making noise. Again she is not consistant with that either. I have been getting the kids to give her treats to show that she doesnt have to be afraid of them. Whatelse can I do to help her adjust. She has been with us for 2 weeks now. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

rgreen4's picture
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When you have your quiet time with her, can you have your grandson with you? Also when you take walks could you include him? I know this is a rescue dog, and she may have been neglected so she does not know where she and your grandson stand.

You may also want to contact the group you got her from and ask their advice. They have dealt with far more dogs in this situation than you and I could ever do.

mrsrockwell's picture
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I have been trying to include him in our quiet time but he is a very active child and doesn't sit still for long. I am afraid she is trying to protect me and her area from him. He does come on some walks with us and she is fine with him then it is just in the house. The person I got her off was getting rid of her because she couldnt walk her or atleast that is what she said. Now I am wondering if she noticed these issues with her and didnt want to have to deal with them. I dont want to give up on her but I dont want any of my kids to get bit either. How do I correct her/train her not to show aggresion? I understand she is very confused but I dont want this to get out of control.

rgreen4's picture
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Mama canines correct their young by batting them on the top of their muzzle. The next time she growls at your grandson, simply take the first two fingers of your hand and pop her on the top of her muzzle. That should get her attention. It also wouldn't hurt to go over to her and stare intently into her eyes. You must be prepared to hold that stare for as long as it takes. When she breaks the stare, you will have established dominance. But, under no circumstances can you break the stare or blink, for then you will have yielded to her.

Most of the problems you relate, appear to me to be problems of the fact that she was pretty well ignored. I think she is very apprehensive of her position and may be trying to relegate your grandson to #3 behind her. You might also try to keep the door to your room closed during most of the day. This will keep her out of the den and in more neutral territory.

This is a sad situation. The dog you describe was obviously not raised in a proper way. She is 8 months old, it sounds as if she has had no training, absolutely no socialization, in fact she probably came from the worst of breeders. The things you are describing can be quite normal for this type of a dog(a dog that came from poor breeding practices and has had little training,socializing). This does not make them right at all in fact if not dealt with properly your grandson may be harmed. This dog needs to get in some type of training right away. Do you have a training club nearby that you could take her to classes? You basically are going to have to start from ground one with her. I'm going to try and include a link to an article that is listed on the DPCA website that speaks of agression and children and gives very practical suggestions that you should start TODAY. You also mentioned your grandson is a very active boy which is to be expected with kids. However this mix can be dangerous. This is not a dog that is going to do well with children running jumping playing at least not yet. She may never. You mentioned getting a crate, that may be a good idea. It should be placed in a quiet part of the house for the time being,not in your room however. If this dog is showing true dominance the last place you want her sleeping is in your bedroom. It really sounds as if the dog is acting out of fear. Please take some time and read through the articles written on the DPCA (Doberman Pinscher Club of America) These articles are written by professional people and those that have are well respected in there fields. I think this will give you a good start. Training is something you should look into right away and not put off. Here is a link to the article menu http://www.dpca.org/BreedEd/article_menu.htm  The article regarding children and dogs is titled  A Social Faux Pas: Kids, puppies and Dominance. It is the first article listed under behavior. Keep us posted.

rgreen4's picture
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Excellent article. While I was familiar with a lot in the article, I learned a lot. Thanks also for providing the link to the menu, not just the one article.

Your welcome they have the absolute best articles from people that I fully trust. Everything a person would want to know can pretty much be seen on this site.

mrsrockwell's picture
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I got her a crate yesterday, the biggest I could find but she so far wont go in it. I have given her treats in it and even got in it myself and tried to cox her in but so far she has only put her front paws in. Any ideas ??? I live over an hour away from the nearest city and I dont really know of any dog trainers. The other night when we were doing quiet time with her she and my grandson did very well. And yesterday when we went for a walk he came with us and she did not show any aggresion at all with him. She knows sit and down and will even crawl but I dont think she would do the last two without a treat in my hand. She isnt much for toys or atleast I havent found any she likes. I did find some chew sticks she likes but they are so small it only takes her a couple minutes and it is gone. She doesnt like the bigger ones. She will chew on a kong with peanut butter in it but again that only last a couple minutes.

mrsrockwell's picture
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Also I forgot to mention that my grandson has a bit of a learning disability and because of it he cant talk clearly yet. Also my grandson and I are very close, he refers to me as mom. Could his speech be some of the problem that she doesnt understand him so doesnt respect him?

That is great she put her paws in that is a step in the right direction. You want to start off making the initial introduction to it pleasant. Example, You wouldn’t want to just put the puppy in it and leave it. Try using food like cut up pieces of hot dogs or cheese something soft that is easily eaten make a game out of it, show her the food give her a piece so she knows what it is and then toss one in see if she will go get it telling her what a good girl she is. Let her see you put her Kong if that is her favorite toy in there. Leave the door open so the dog can explore it at its free will. If the puppy is a great eater try placing her meal in it. Some that are really hesitant about the crate might have to have the bowl right in front of the crate to begin with then gradually put  farther and farther back into the crate.. The very first time you put her in with the door shut should be only after she is very tired example after exercise when she is ready to take a nap and you know that she doesn't have to potty. Make sure the crate is comfortable for her to sleep in. I wouldn’t use it as a time out at this point in time not until she is used to it.

If you are that far away from a trainer then it is very important that you start reading those articles on the DPCA and implementing  them to your situation. I really hope that you read the article I suggested and have already started this process. When you are on this list asking for advice you don't know what kind of person is on the other end, how long they have had Dobermans what kind of training they do, are they just pet people do they compete with there dogs, have they had multiple different experiences with different dogs or are they basing there knowledge on owning 1or 2 dogs.

Training your dog should be done in a positive manner. You mentioned that she probably wouldn't do anything without a treat. Well she should get treats it should be fun and she should think of it as fun. This poor puppy has come from a bad situation and needs to be taught how to play.

Here is the link again for the menu article. I suggest you print some of these off and read them over and over again. http://www.dpca.org/BreedEd/article_menu.htm good luck and keep us posted on her progress.

rgreen4's picture
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mrsrockwell - No the peanut butter in the Kong won't last very long. If she's like my Red, the Kong won't either. When he was at that stage he was going through one every 6 weeks or so. I went to the black ones and they did better with him. I would say that my dogs get accustomed to their crates, but are never in love with them, for the simple reason that they are afraid they are going to miss something. I started all of them on the crates the first or second night in the house. In the case of Princess, I had to travel a day and and a half back home after picking her up, so she go real used to the crate real fast. (She's in a larger one now) But, I did stop every couple of hours to water her and let her use the bathroom. Every other stop she got as much pre-softened kibble as she would eat, and after a potty break it was back on the road. I finally found out what it was like to travel with a kid. I have never had to condition an almost full grown dog to a crate, but they become accustomed to their bed in a particular place, and since it's in the crate, that will come with time. It is crucial that you never use the crate as a punishment. It should always be a place that is hers, a place where she can be comfortable and feel protected, her den so to speak. Your grandson should not go in there, and only time I go in Red's is to clean it and rotate the pad. I can't go in Princess's as it is only 30" long. I have another 48" one but am toying with the idea of buying a 42" as it will take up less space and I don't think she will need a 48" one as Red does. He is very hard on crates, and has broken the welds on the upper door latch, so I think he will get the other 48" one.

rnddobermans - I like the idea of the hot dogs pieces. The only time I used them is when Princess was not wanting to eat because of upset bowels, but we are long past that now. Now she is being picky about her kibble. She eats a bit and then goes to investigate something then goes back and eats a bit more. I have taken and installed a large crock on the door of her crate (it holds 2 cups) and feed her in there. I do this because Red is on restricted intake because of his thyroid and I don't want his weight to balloon back up. I have to keep the kibble locked up because he will go in the bag on his own and he prefers the puppy chow to his own, but he is one that will gorge if allowed to. So they get fed separately.

One other thing that really needs to be addressed in this situation is the need to teach your grandson how to act around the dog. Some people believe in letting children do whatever they want to a dog and the dog must take whatever is dished out. This probably is not your case at all but it still needs to be mentioned for other people that are reading the post. While I'm not addressing this to you alone but for others reading the post that have children. Children and pets need to be closely supervised at all times, it is not fair to a the dog to let young children hit and pull on a dog as simple as this sounds you would be surprised at what people actually allow to happen.

rgreen4's picture
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Also, do not let children carry food around. While a particular dog may not be food aggressive, they are all opportunists and will take food wherever they find it. Sometimes when grabbing food, the dogs aim may be a bit off and get some skin accidentally. It is uncommon for them to break skin in this situation, but it does hurt.

I confess to spoiling Red which I'm now committed to cure with Princess being here. It's terrible when you can't enjoy a snack because of the piercing eyes of a full grown Dobie.

rgreen what's even worse then those piercing full grown Dobermans eyes watching you as you eat, is 3 of them at once that have been trained for the show ring to bait for cookies LOL. ;D

rgreen4's picture
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Oh Wow! I better be careful, for in about 6 months the "puppy" will be almost full size. Right now she is busy finding things I haven't seen for a while, and re-decorating the living room. She seems to have the idea that shredded newspaper looks better than the carpet. But, it's a joy to watch her have fun, and I am comforted by the knowledge that she will grow out of it (somewhat) as all of her predecessors did.

It's been six years since I had a puppy around the house and I had almost forgotten what absolute joy they can be.

Sorry, mrsrockwell, we seem to have hijacked your discussion.

mrsrockwell's picture
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Hi I started working with her with the sit, wait ,go idea. She seems to be picking it up fairly well. I hope I am doing it right. Another thing is I have been noticeing soom puppy behaviour :) Chewing up paper and things like that so I think she is starting to feel more comfortable here( I hope). One thing I wanted to know is it going to be confusing for her if I have her sit and wait for her food and treats sometimes but not when I am working with her for her to go in her crate? My grandson has been taught from a very young age how to treat animals. The worsed he does it jump around and get excited. We have been spending time with her petting her and stroking her and she has been fine and on walks she is fine with him also. I think she is protecting her space from him. I really appreciate all the help everyone has been giving.

You can separate the crate exercise from the rest. The reason is you are trying to teach her the crate. Later when she sees the crate as a good thing then you can add it, but I don't feel it is necessary with the crate. By the way how is the crate going? I forgot to mention  when I teach it I use the phrase go to your crate when I throw the treat or whatever it might be to entice them in it. As they are going in you reaffirm the behavior by saying good go to your crate, much like when you are teaching sit you tell them to sit and when they do you say "good sit" By the way you will be surprised at just how much vocabulary a Doberman can learn if taught it.

You mentioned that you grandson has been taught from an early  age how to treat animals and that he gets excited and jumps around. Is this the time that the puppy is protecting its space? Or the time she has lashed out at him? I'm just trying to get a clearer picture to help more.

mrsrockwell's picture
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she has gone in the crate all the way just long enough to eat the treats and i was stcratching her and telling her good girl while she was in there, she even layed down ;) With my grandson the quieter he is around her the better. When we are outside there is no aggresion at all. He can be a reqular kid jumping around and running and she doesnt really seem to notice. When she has lunged at him it has been in my room and he was moving around but not really jumping just moving back and forth. She seems to very confused and inconsistant. A lot of the time she is trying to lick his face and get him to pet her by nudging his hand with her head. He usually will lift his hand and turn from her. She is not allowed in my bedroom at all during the day now but until I get her use to the crate I dont have another room I can put her in at night that my grandson might not have an encounter with her at night(he still wakes up occasionally through the night).

Make sure you are using a word to associate the crate as you are putting the treats in like "go to your crate" when she goes in to get the crate tell her "good go to your crate" not good girl. this way they learn the words even quicker.

For a dog with dominance problems you will want her out of your room as soon as possible. She associates the bedroom as the pack leaders place.

It sounds as if things are a little better.

rgreen4's picture
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With mine, I have always used "kennel" as a short one word instruction. The word or words themselves are unimportant, the consistency of the sound and phrase is.

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I have gotten her in the kennel with A LOT of treats lol. I have even closed the door on her and had her in there for about 5 minutes. I am just wondering if it would be ok to leave her in it for the night tonight. I dont want to rush things. She doesnt go in it on her own. She will stick her head in to see if there are and treats laying around but would perfer to lay on the floor so far. She has gone on an hour walk(we just got back) and will be going out for a short walk before bed. She doesnt panick when she is in there with the door closed, whines a very small amout and scratches at the bars but then I havent really left her sight either. I have her in it right now with her food but doesnt seem interested, she is just laying there. What does everyone think?

If it were me personally I would try it when she is ready for a nap such as after a long exercise period or something. Then try it for the night. I think if you go right for putting her away for the evening she will have you up several times with whining and such. My puppies are actually trained for the crate before they go to new homes and it is done gradually. It will be easier for you if you do it gradually.

mrsrockwell's picture
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I put her in there with her food which she hasnt touch but she did go to sleep. She has been in there an hour and I just opened the door and she is still in there. I am getting ready to take her out again. She is going back to sleep lol. K i just left the room for a few minutes, door open, and she is still in there  :)

GREAT!!! I'm so happy for you sounds like it is really going well.

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Hi just thought I would do a quick update, Deeka is completely crate trained now. She goes in her crate during the day by herself to sleep. She is a lot less nervous in the house now, not pacing back and forth all the time. She is relaxed enough now that she will chew on raw hides :D. She is still growling but not very often, of course I am keeping a very close eye on her. I have started clicker training with her and she seems to be picking it up pretty well.