Future Protection Problems

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xFIREDOGx's picture
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Joined: 2010-08-16

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Hello All,

I just got my 10 week old dobie last weekend and named her Alix. So far she has been a really good dog. She has had no accidents in the house. I try to take her out every hour or so and she has not used the bathroom in the floor. I let her sleep with me and she does great. I only see one problem that I am not sure how to handle. I have a roommate who does not have much interaction with her. He does not have a problem with dogs, but he has his own priorities. Last night while laying it bed watching tv Alix was asleep and my roommate came in to speak with me. She woke up and started growling at him. I popped her and said no, but she continued to growl. When he left the room she quit and went back to sleep. Later on I took her outside to play and use the bathroom. She did her buisness and we played for about 30 minutes. When I went to take her inside a nieghbor walked out to her car and Alix started growling at her as well. I want her to be protective, but yet I do not want her to act this way. Can anyone please give me advice?

KevinK's picture
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Joined: 2010-07-15

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Welcome to the site!

Based on what you have told us, here's a few suggestions, and some of this is giong to be assumption, so please let me know if i'm wrong or give additional details.

Your pup should not be sleeping in the bed with you, and shouldn't be on the bed at all at this point.  It's confusing to the dog to sleep on the bed, because the leader of the pack sleeps in the best spot in the house.  (which is the bed).  That may be the leading reason why your pup is acting aggressively towards your roommate, it's just protecting it's area, which is what the leader does, and is supposed to do.  When your pup starts acting aggressively with your roommate or other people, simply give a no, or leave it command.  If you have not taught your dog no, or leave it, I would do that immediatly.  Do NOT pet your dog, tell her it's ok, or otherwise try to calm her down in that type of manner when she is "acting up".  Dogs don't think like people, and by giving her positive attention while she's acting this way, in her mind, you're re-inforcing "good" behavior.  After giving the leave it command, re-direct her attention somewhere else, like to a favorite toy.  

I would also make sure you properly socialize your dog, let her meet as many new people and animals as possible, in a good comfortable way.  This is not only extremely important to having a dog that is good around people, it's an absolute must.  Being protective is in your dogs nature, and is not something you need to train for.  But at the same time, YOU make the choices on who/what is good or bad, not the dog.  Alix should only have to make that decision in an extreme situation, like someone climbing through your window, or kicking down the door, or if you're clearly in trouble.  All other times, YOU decide when something is good or bad, and she reacts accordingly to how YOU react, not the other way around.

Things I would avoid while trying to teach your dog that she's not boss are sleeping on the bed or other furniture, don't give positive attention while she's acting in a way that you don't find to be acceptable.  YOU allow your dog to go outside, the dog doesn't take you outside.  When walking on a leash, she should be next to you, not pulling all over the place or going where she wants to go.  She should not be running around sniffing everything, biting everything, etc.  She goes where you go, and that's it.  I have my dog sit before I will even open the door, and she won't go through the door until I take the first step.  I can sit there forever with the door open, she will sit and look at me until I go, THEN she goes.  These little things that don't seem like a big deal to us, ARE a big deal to the dog.  With some practice, and dedication, your lil pup will start to look to you to see what's acceptable.  She will test you all the time, and you have to be patient and consistent.  Dobermans are so incredibly smart, and are so eager to please, but at this stage their intelligence almost works against us, because they want to test the limits, see what they can get away with, and she must know immediately that there's certain things that are not allowed, and she won't get away with them.

If you have more specific questions, or any questions on what I have said, let us know, and we'll do our best to help out.  This is a great community with lots of helpful people, so give as much info as possible and we'll do what we can.  Welcome again, and don't get frustrated with Alix, it will take some time, but she'll get it and be the best dog ever!

Lady Kate's picture
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Joined: 2009-10-28

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Kevin.. .that was a wonderful message and a good reminder for me.. I tend to be a little inconsistant with Sofia, as she's 99% PERFECT... But once in a while, (like just twently mins ago..) one of the gardeners came by on his bike to turn the water on the green belt.. Sofia charged the fenced and howled her lungs out.. We had worked on "leave it" with the visiting vacationers and their bikes.. but I left it to chance this morning.. Even though Sofia is hardly a puppy.. she still needs attention, direction and correction.

PS I watched another one of your videos ( Dakota coming to you,.. Nice framing and c/u) You have a fantastic dog. but guess what folks.. she didn't just come that way..

I hope people reading this thread will take heed and start the right way with training.. It can happen.. watch

'Kota and Kevin!!

xFIREDOGx's picture
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Joined: 2010-08-16

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Kevin,

 

Thank you for the great information. I used to have a husky and I can already tell the great difference in having a doverman. She is already showing her intelligence. At lunch I went home to let her out. She ran to her leash, bit it, and took it to the door. Surely enough she used the bathroom. I had to take a leash class with my husky, because she was very bad about leading me around. I have been applying the same techniques to Alix and it seems to be working great. Would you recommend using a pinch collar when she gets older? I bought her kennel that is about 3 ft tall, 3ft wide and 4ft long. I have been putting her in that while I am at work.

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

Two things - first if you are working with her and get her well trained on the leash you should not need a "pinch" collar. Many use the "choke chain" collar, but if they are not put on correctly and a link hangs it can choke the dog until it is relieved. Many vets and handlers use a braided choke collar/lead combination which does not have this flaw.

Second - work on your roommate to "bribe" Alix. I had a very good friend come down in several years ago and travel with me over to Texas to redo the rear deck and roof over the deck at my late sisters house. When he arrived, my youngest Schnauzer took exception to him and started growling at him. I thought it would pass, but when we were loading up to leave the next day, including Jiggs whom we were taking with us, was still growling at him from time to time.

When we got to my sisters house, her three Schnauzers greeted him warmly and I though that would help as Jiggs (as well as my other two Schnuzers) spent a lot of time together as I was always there at Thanksgiving and Christmas and at least one week during the spring. My sister would make two trips to visit me and she always brought her dogs with her. This trip was the first time my older two did not make the trip. (Jiggs went because sis had his littermate sister and they loved to play together). However on the morning of our second day there, Jiggs was still growling.

My sister solved the problem. She came over to my friend with a box of Honey Nut Cheerios and told him to toss a few to Jiggs (the others were put up). Jiggs went over and sniffed and gobbled them up. Then she told him to toss a few a little closer to him, and Jiggs came forward and gobbled them up as well. Eventually Jiggs was eating the cheerios out of his hand with a wagging tail. From that point forward, when Jiggs came in from outside, he went to my friend first and treated my friend as his best friend.

xFIREDOGx's picture
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Joined: 2010-08-16

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Rgreen,

 

Well, believe it or not when I came home from work my roommate was already home. Alix had upgraded from growling to growling/barking at him. I tried to get her to sniff his hand, but she wont get close enough to him. I thought of the same idea you just said. I give her a treat everytime she does good deeds, so I thought maybe she will accept it from him. I got him a treat and he held it out to her and she just stood there and looked at him like he was tricking her into something. She would not eat it. Finally after about 15 minutes she still would not give in no matter what. I am not sure what else to do? Surely its not a good idea to force her near him right? I will keep trying all of the advice hopefully she will give into something. I wonder if maybe its because he usually works two jobs and is hardly at home?

AlphaAdmin's picture
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Joined: 2010-01-18

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It has less to do with your roommate and more to do with the role Alix is taking on. KevinK did a good job of describing the main things you need to do: Socialization and enforcing proper roles.

How to deal with this depends on your roommate, how involved he's planing to be. But what you should do any time Alix is displaying inappropriate behavior is to correct it. She's very young, so any correction should be very light. A soft 'hisss' and a sharp touch should snap her out of the attitude.

What your roommate can do if he's interested in making friends is this: Calmly and confidently corner the puppy, with some space, and just wait. And by 'corner' I just mean keep her in a spot by blocking her is if she tried to run away from him.

She'll growl at first but it won't last too long. He just needs to wait, and you'll see a shift in her thinking. She'll go from staring and growling to sniffing. Sniffing is good. From there he can start bonding, petting her and letting her sniff him.

You might have a dominant little girl on your hands.