How Common is Reactivity?

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DobieWanKenobi's picture
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I return, and with a brand new dog!

 

Well, not really. It's still Kayenne, but she's alot better behaved now that I've found our "style". The gentle approach is brilliant for her, but having my last dog for such a long time needing an extremely firm hand is making it hard for me to adjust. But we're getting there - pretty quickly, as well! This isn't a "HEEELP, my dog's reactive!" thread, I'm just curious as to how common reactivity is.

 

All of my Dobermans have been reactive to other dogs...Two in an aggressive way, and three in a "who are you?! What d'you want!? Wanna play...?" sort of way. Kay has the "I don't know you, but want to play" reaction, which turned into a frustrated reaction because I wouldn't let her see the dog while she was barking. So it turned into growling. Then lunging. Now she's a mellow fellow. Hehheh.

 

I did everything by the books with my first two Dobes. One turned out really well, although, 4 years later, she's still excited meeting new dogs. I know she's not gonna bite, but it looks horrible...Just horrible...Thankfully, people are just people to her. She doesn't really react to 'em unless they talk to her. Sometimes she's "Oh, hi" and other times she's "OMG, HIIII!!!"

 

I'm proud of myself for having my very first quiet-when-meeting-dogs Doberman, LOL. (I knew it was possible, hehheh.) I suppose we've both done pretty well. She's not even a year old yet.

 

Was it just me creating these banshee's from another world, or is a loud reaction to other dogs fairly common in the "Dobermanning" world? Everyone I've met who's owned a Doberman has said about the woofs, apart from those with young puppies. But most people here get a Doberman because of the loud bark...

DJ's Dad's picture
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Congratulations in finding your 'groove' with Kayenne's training approach.  For the most part, I think the majority of dogs respond better to a gentler and positive approach to training than a harsh training program that puts more emphasis on negative reactions to unwanted behavior.  However, I did have one female dobe once that only seemed to 'get it' when training got very regimented and serious, almost to the point of being harsh.  She seemed to thrive on that style of training.  I would much rather have a gentle approach and teach my dog to be gentle, though.

Reactivity?  Dont all dogs have some sort of reaction to another dog?  Mine certainly do.  Ziva can totally ignore a dog in a yard that barks at her when we walk by.  When meeting another dog face to face on leash, she stays quiet as long as the other dog stays a respectful distance from her---at least a couple feet of space between them.  If a strange dog just gets all up in her face, she sometimes reacts by sidestepping the dog and showing her teeth just a little, to let the dog know he is overstepping the boundaries.  But this past weekend, we were with a dog walking group and this guy had a border collie mix that was intent on lurching forward and snapping at all the other dogs in the group, and when he allowed his dog to get close to Ziva and it lunged towards her, she cut loose with a terrorizing growl/bark/snarl combination right back at him.  She honestly looked just like those dobermans in the movies that attack and kill people. LOL  Lips peeled back, teeth looking more like deadly weapons...the whole deal. But, as soon as I grabbed her collar and gave it a jerk and told her "ZIVA__NO!" she calmed back down and ignored the dog.  It was definitely a side of her I had never seen before.

DobieWanKenobi's picture
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Ah, of course all dogs react in soime way. I meant in a loud way. A bark, a growl, etc.

 

I'm hoping to get Kay reacting in a similar way to how Ziva reacts. She's partly there...With the dogs she knows, but isn't fond of, she'll tolerate them, but won't try to play, and when play is encouraged, she'll sort of squint at them and then try and get away. She's not too fond of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier one of my mates owns anymore. It was pretty interesting, because of Friday, we were together with the dogs, and Pepsi, the Staffy, tried playing with Kay. Kayenne promtly flung herself away and lurked under a nearby table.

 

We've only been training for around a week, so she's still not entirely comfortable walking passed other dogs. We've been working on some Shar Pei's which bark at us when we walk passed their house. She's progressed from barking, lunging and growling back, to glancing and continuing to walk past, without commands, in around 5 days, so I'm pretty happy with how we're getting on.

 

Yesterday we passed a Labrador, as well...No woofs or groofs, but she was interested in the dog. Not yet there with the "ignore it until further notice" approach, but we're getting there.

 

I've been assured by loads of people that Doberman puppies and maturing dogs will go through "the stage" of barking and wanting, wanting, wanting the dog, but somebody I used to see fairly regularly with his Doberman was recently walking around the park, with his dog on a lead and muzzle.

 

It was a pretty saddening sight, because his dog had been able to go off lead and play with Kayenne not four months before. That was what really made me start taking her training seriously, but I don't think I'll have to worry too much now. I'll, of course, keep the training up, but I won't have the little "er, aggression?" devil niggling at the back of my mind when she "oofs" at a dog.

 

Weirdly, the majority of the imported Dobermans I've seen have been perfectly calm around other dogs and people.

DJ's Dad's picture
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DobieWanKenobi--sounds like you are taking the right approach, for sure.  Congrats on your progress.

jeshykai's picture
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From the day I get a puppy or dog is the day I begin training them to ignore other dogs when we are out walking.  We're there to walk, not for them to bark/focus on another dog in the area.  When I see another dog walking towards us on a trail I pull off the trail and make all my dogs sit and "leave it" until the dog passes.  I do this out of politeness, not because MY dogs are a problem, but often times the other dog's leash mannerisms are enough to make ANY dog reactive.  It's funny I've only had one person thank me for doing that in the past... he had a lab puppy and he said to me, "Thank you so much for doing that, he's just a puppy but he's so in-your-face to other dogs right now he's almost gotten bit twice!" because the other dogs read his body language as too pushy.

Nobody vocalizes at other dogs when I do this.  Keeping in mind I'm walking 3 dogs at a time, that's another reason why I pull over.  To attempt to walk that close to another person's out of control dog with my 3 is putting myself in a bad position to control the situation.

It sounds like to me you're getting your girl where you want her to be.  On the subject of the other gentlemen in the park with his dog, who knows what issues he may have created with his dog because of his inability to train properly or socialize. 

DobieWanKenobi's picture
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Jesh, that's what my main concern was. Kayenne isn't an aggressive dog. She started out wanting to play, and it moved onto frustration at not being able to. Her behaviour was becoming VERY provoking for other dogs. I'd hate if she hurt another dog, or got hurt, or caused an injury to a person, because I thought her behaviour was just "puppy behaviour". Obviously it's not a great behaviour, but people assured me that she'd grow out of it, and it was down to her breed. Part of that is right, but I think training is also a big part in the "growing out of it". Are you able to walk passed dogs, with your three on a leash, without problems? Or do you have to have 'em sit and wait for the dog to pass?

 

I socialise all of my puppies as soon as they come home. Until they get their vaccinations, they're carried around everywhere with me. When they get their vaccinations, they're taken everywhere with me. Kay is BRILLIANT in hustle-bustle situations, because we always go into town. However, I used to walk her early in the morning, early afternoon and late evening, so the dogs she met were few and far between. When she started meeting dogs regularly, this problem behaviour made itself apparent. As I said, we've found our "groove" and are moving on quickly, so the behaviour isn't a cause for concern anymore.

 

I attempted doing the "Sit-Wait" thing as dogs passed, but it became such an inconvenience...So I tried just walking passed, but by that time she was massive, and walking was pretty hard when you have legs underneath yours. Until recently, I didn't even think of distracting her, because the only thing that was more interesting than a dog, was a ball, and a ball is hard not to drop. Webbox Dog Food cut and frozen into bite-sized pieces is magic.

 

I'm not sure what the man did (or, rather, didn't) do to the dog to cause behaviour worthy of a muzzle. I've had two dogs like that, and it's not fun. While I miss them both dearly, I don't think I regret making the decision to admit "that's too much for me" and move on. I was able to find my first "muzzle worthy" dog a great home, and often see her running free around other dogs with no problems.

 

I actually saw a Doberman (mix? Looked kinda squished faced/chubby) today, and the woman was doing some training. She asked me me if I could help her out, and within 5 minutes, the Dobe wasn't reacting at all. I didn't have Kay with me, I had one of my Terriers. I wish I could meet someone like me when on a walk with Kay. It'd sure move her training along!

HarleyBear's picture
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Harley is around 6 months and we have a common area for potty.  There are lots of other dogs down there so he learns that if he pulls me to get to another dog, I just turn around and go the other direction.  He also has learned by being around all the other dogs that he can't play with all of them.  There is a little Chichi who is so small, that if he went to greet him I sure Harley would step on him and hurt him.  So he is learning (in progress) that he can't always meet every dog he sees. 

Sounds like you are doing really well with Kayenne (cool name).