Problems with Ginger

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gingersmommy's picture
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This is going to be long – sorry!  I have been very lax with training Ginger and now this is coming back to bite me.  I feel very responsible and like I have really done both of us a disservice, in spite of loving her as much as I do. I see the posts from the new puppy owners and feel ashamed at how lax I have been with Ginger.

Ginger will be six in November.  I have spoiled her terribly. I feel very bad because I don’t exercise her very much or provide her the stimulation she deserves. She is the best dog in so many respects and has brought so much joy to my life. She is very affectionate to me and everyone who comes in our house, but she has a lot of behavioral problems due to my lack of boundaries. When people come over, she barks incessantly if she doesn't get attention, or if people give Lexie, our other dog, attention.  If we are having a party, she will come up and lick or try to take food off of the coffee table or wherever.  She counter surfs all the time, jumps up on the chair to look out the window and bark, pulls terribly on her walks, and barks nonstop in the car to where I hate taking her anywhere (I don't take her out much, except to my sister's and to the vet).  If workmen are in the house, she barks nonstop until they leave. (Doesn’t help her that Lexie barks like that, too.) She goes outside, inside, up and down the stairs ahead of me.  If she is running loose in my sister’s yard, she get in Lexie’s face and chases right next to her.  She’ll do that to Lexie going down the stairs, too. When Lexie is traumatized when it thunders, Ginger will go after her (never biting) but dogging her and barking in her face. We let her sleep on the bed (which I love, but know if bad). She sleeps horizontal on a queen size bed; my husband and I are teetering on the edge of the bed.  The only thing I do is have her sit for treats and lay down and wait for her dinner.  I know I have created all of this and I feel awful.

The problem we are having is that now she has a problem with the vet and also my husband and I when we try to clip her nails.  It’s been building slowly, but this last April when we took her in for her annual, she was vicious with the vet. It was a horrendous and frightening experience.  She would not let him touch her.  She growled, snarled, drooled, twirled and snapped at him. Her pupils were huge; I didn’t’ recognize her. He eventually was able to distract her long enough to give her a shot of sedative but she turned and snapped. It made her slightly off kilter but did nothing to sedate her. He couldn’t take a blood sample for heartworm because she was so out of control. I don’t know how he got her shots into her. Because we give her heartworm all year, he agreed to renew her heartworm with the blood test.

This happened in degrees. Thinking back, she became this way after I took her to the emergency care vet one night.  I had chopped up an entire onion and had it in a bowl on the counter when the phone rang.  When I came back, she had eaten all of it. I quick did some research on onion and discovered that it could be fatal, so I immediately took her to emergency care. She was a love with them in the waiting room as she is with people, however, her treatment involved giving her medicine to throw up, sticking a tube down her throat and pouring activated charcoal in her stomach (I’m thinking she was anesthetized for this?), bloodworm, IVs, and keeping her in a small hospital cage overnight. She was put through the wringer and when I picked her up, her nose was raw from trying to get out of the cage.  After that is when I noticed little things with my husband and I (not wanting to be brushed or snapping/growling when trying to trim nails).  It was a year before her next annual was due and that is when we had this experience in April.

Now she has a hurt paw.  I can’t see anything and she is not limping, but she licks it incessantly and won’t let me touch it or examine it.  My husband and I want to take her to the vet, but I don’t think he’s going to be able to exam her even.  I am feeling frantic.  Plus, now what if another emergency happens or if she gets sick – I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do.  I cannot imagine taking her to the vet, and she barely tolerates us checking her out.  I am scared of her when she snaps at us, and at the vet, she was feral.  I know now that I have to train her and set rules, boundaries and limitations, but I feel like I am starting from scratch. I don’t know where to begin even. I read a book where she shouldn’t be sleeping on the bed – or even be in the bedroom.  And I don’t have any hope that this will change how she is at the vet’s, which is the most important to me. I don’t know what I’m going to do.  Can you help?

Lady Kate's picture
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Oh My GOSH Gingersmommy.. what a nightmare... I wish I could give you some suggestions, however I truly am not qualified to do so..

It sounds as if she was traumatized at the emergency call with the onion incident and has Post traumatic stress disorder.. ( if there's such a thing for dogs)

I will keep watching this thread in hopes of some sound advice from our experts.

Love and hugs

Kate and Sofia 

gingersmommy's picture
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Thanks, Lady Kate.  I feel so bad because this really isn't Ginger, she is normally such a sweet and endearing girl.  I really helped bring her to this point. I think my best hope is to work with her now and try to establish much more of an alpha role. And I think we should groom her often and regularly, even though she doesn't like it.  Ugh. 

KevinK's picture
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wow, what a situation.  I also am not going to chime in much, I think the more experienced members would have better advice than me.  I know that our dogs need lots of attention, lots of exercise, plenty of training practice, and don't do well without them.  It seems like A combination of not enough play time, not enough exercise, not enough training, and not enough rules has over time led your dog to think that she is boss, and can do whatever she wants to do.  Add in a traumatic experience at the vet, and that's a recipe for disaster.  The advice that I feel comfortable giving is to be patient, stay calm, re-assume the alpha role, and get your dog out for play and exercise as often as possible.  Reward good behavior, don't reward bad behavior, which is easy to do by accident and not even realizing it.  I have seen many dogs get worked up, try to go after something, eat off the table, whatever...  The handler than proceeds (in an effort to calm down the dog) to hold it, tell her it's ok, pet her, etc.  While we think that's a good way to calm a dog down, (and it does) what it's really doing is re-enforcing that what she's doing is good.  

I hope some others can chime in with more helpful advice, and I hope it works out for you and your ginger.  

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Thanks, KevinK.  I agree with your prescription. In spite of it all, I am hopeful. Ginger is a very smart and happy girl and I think she will take to having tasks, etc.

AlphaAdmin's picture
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Ok gingersmommy, there are two important things to understand in fixing this problem. First, there's no thing you can do - no 'training,' no list of do's and don'ts that will really help. Second, the attitude in your home toward Ginger needs to shift. If you do it right, you'll see a difference immediately and all these particular problems, including fear of the vet, will become manageable.

Right now you are afraid of her. You aren't sure what to do. You're not ready for a crisis. All this described a puppy, or a submissive dog. Now, I'm not going to confuse you by suggesting you should become the "Alpha". (I've decided to get away from that confusing term)

She's the dog and you're the human. You're also the leader, but she doesn't recognize that. She thinks she needs to take charge, especially when she feels fear in you. When you get frustrated or frightened, like when you're at the vet, it validates her role as the leader of your home and the idea that the vet is bad news.

Her treatment of Lexie is an example. Being afraid of foolish things like thunder is detrimental to the pack. So, Ginger is essentially trying to correct Lexie's behavior. On walks, she drags you along because she's leading the way. When workers are over, or something is outside, it's up to her to ward them off. She owns the house, so she can tear about as she pleases.

Attitude Change
The first thing you have to do is stop being afraid. Don't be afraid of that naughty puppy! Just acting confident doesn't work. Dogs respect people who are calm and know exactly what they want. The second thing you need to do is start proving yourself as the pack's leader.

It's easy enough to start. For now on, only give affection on your own term. Make her sit first or lay down. Don't let her rest in doorways or on furniture - give her a bed on the floor for now. When she's laying somewhere - right now even - walk straight to her and make her move. Generally, start showing her a dominant attitude. That's the most loving thing you can do for a dog.

Next time she starts making a raucous in the house - claim your home. If she's trying to bark out the window, stand in front of it and don't let her look out. Give her whatever verbal correction you prefer.

verbal correction
-- I used to use 'no' as a verbal correction, but I've found that dogs are not very sensitive vocabulary. Starting 7 years or so ago, after we got cats, I started hissing at all the animals. ('No' doesn't even phase cats but if you condition them with a water bottle hisssing sends them flying out of the room) Around that time Cesar Millan appeared, and he does a similar 'tssst' sound, so I think it's cool now. Also important is touching. When dogs get in a high state of mind a sharp touch can get them out of it. So if a dog needs correcting, I usually give a proportionate hiss, and if the dog's attitude is heightened I'll give a sharp touch along with the hisss. (not a push! that means play)  --

Similar to barking out the window, when she is otherwise being belligerent, claim her. Walk straight toward her and stand in her space. Don't let her dodge around you. Corner her if you have to. But stand calm and cool and wait - wait for her to give in. When she does her face will change to a sweet dog's, rather than a happy dog's, and she'll likely sit. As soon as she does - walk away.

This is something you can do throughout the day. Walk to her - silently, no commands - and expect her to sit. Stand in her space until she gives in and plops her butt down, looking up to you for approval. When she does, give a little pet as you walk away.

When it's time to examine her foot, or trim nails, approach her as if it's no big deal. If she starts growling and showing teeth, stand your ground. Just stay where you are - in her space, don't let her dodge away - until she gives in. She will. If you feel like she will try and bite, keep something handy like a pillow or a tennis racket or something you can put between you and her teeth. But do the same thing, just calmly hold your ground looking at her like the goofy puppy she is. Once she gives in, lay her on her side and keep her there, head relaxed on the floor and tail stretched out, while you look at her paw. If she protests or wiggles around - hisss.

After you start establishing yourself (this goes for all family members by the way) you can start some good exercises. Having her wait for her food is wonderful! If you can do that I know you can do this. Walking on lead is a good one (heeling). Let us know if you need help learning this. Any type of training is good - no treats.

Don't let her push Lexie around and keep her off the bed - not by handling her, but by getting in her space and correcting bad behavior.

Ginger's foot
Are you primarily worried about her foot because she is licking it? This can often be an anxiety problem. If it looks like something is wrong, and push comes to shove, you can always use an oral sedative before you leave for the vet.

Exercise
The more exercise she gets the easier this will all be, by a lot. Walks are great mental exercise. But she needs some physical exercise too. Few things are better than playing with another dog, but tennis balls and other games are good too.

gingersmommy's picture
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Hi Alpha Admin, first off I want you to know how much I appreciate your response and the time it took to prepare it.  Secondly, I want to thank you for not passing judgment on what I have done - or not done - up to this point. Believe me, I take total responsibility for the dysfunction I have created, and it was all out of misguided love and affection.  I really appreciate the message that I can make this better and, most importantly, the fact that you somehow "know" that Ginger is not a bad dog. After posting, I felt so bad that people would think that Ginger was just a horror to live with or think that she is any less lovely than other people's dogs. Well, she really is a lovely dog, with a very gentle and playful disposition. With this recent vet incident and knowing that we will have to continuing taking her to the vet regulary and in any emergency situations, now I know that things must change in order for me to really be able to take good "care" of her. I feel so bad that she can't sleep on the bed because snuggling with her is my greatest pleasure, but I am now ready to do what is required. I never thought of her behavior as puppy-like but I understand now how it is. The thing about Lexie and the thunder was a relevation to me and made total sense. I would wonder why she would want to "torture" Lexie when she was really distressed, (although on the other hand I know that dogs don't behave that way).

I have to say I am nervous about starting some of the exercises, especially trimming her nails and examining her foot - and taking her to the vet (the rest of the things I feel I can do 'no problem.'). I can't visualize in my mind her submitting submissively to those things. I am filled with "what if's" like, what if she doesn't feel my authority and that her behavior escalates with me? (I guess that is what I need to work on most.)  I do fear her when trimming her nails and when she growls and snaps.  Although I am very aware that I must project "calm," on the inside I dont' feel that way. I am "afraid" of brushing her because I know she hates it so much and part of me feels like if I do it up to her tolerance level, she will be better about having it done the next time. Should I still brush her until I feel the job is good and done?  Then I worry "what if" she keeps getting worse each time I allow her to "win." 

P.S.  Concerning her paw, I think maybe she might have something in between her toe or maybe a cracked nail (?), because this is different than nervous licking.  She has done that in the past with licking in other places, but this now doesnt' seem like nervous behavior to me. I think something is irritating her foot, although it is not causing her to limp.  I will leave it at this - I must say that I am afraid of examining her foot or trimming her nails (they need it now) right now because if her foot is hurt, it will make her behavior even worse. She snapped at my husband the other night when he was looking at it, although we really do pussy foot around her when she is like that.

I will ask you later for help on "heel" because I am obsessing about that, too - "what if she..."  Lastly, I did take her to basic obedience when she was about five motnhs old and she came in first place.  She is very smart.

Thanks again so much for your help.

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Once she comes to realize that you're in charge again, the other stuff will fall in place.  When you tell her it's ok at the vet, she will trust and believe you.  Just like when you clip her nails, she will trust you to do that.  Of course it will take time, but I bet she picks it all up quickly!

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Gingersmommy~

Please dont' beat yourself up over this.. We've all ( well..not all...but SOME) of us have made mistakes with our pups in the name of love. Just start from scratch ( excuse the pun) I have a feeling she's going through some left over trauma and it has stuck in her little doggie-brain. And for her to feel confident she has taken on some aggressive behavior.

As far as the nail cutting.. I use a groomer who only uses a dremel..  one groomer used the clippers and snipped Sofia's nails too close to that hard to see vein, then packed it with some kind of yellow antibacterial goop. ( I've stated before Baja is not known for their pet care)It hurt then stung and she was not pleased with either him OR me. Since I found my dremel lady, it's no problem..

You've got a big challenge on your hands and know that everyone here is on your side and soon you'll  have your lovely Ginger back.

Best of luck and please keep us informed. This IS the GENTLE Doberman Forum

Smooches to the Pooches

Kate

gingersmommy's picture
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Thanks, all. I am beating myself up and am too much in my head.  I am making myself nuts over this.  Got to remember that Rome wasn't built in a day!  Kate, I've thought about getting a dremel, however, then I obsess "what if" Ginger doesn't like the sensation and won't tolerate it.  See what I mean!  I have to lighten up a little. 

Lady Kate's picture
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I have a feeling when you do, she will follow.. Sofia is extremely sensitive to my moods.. If I'm having a hard time with a project, or annoyed at something.. she will curl up like a cocktail shrimp and try to disappear. I know that all dogs are sensitive, but I think our doberkids are extraordinary.

Take on a persona that feels strong and confident.. ( you are you know) and watch what happens..

I've seen it over and over again on the Dog Whisperer and Me or the Dog.. and it's almost miraculous how they react. Trust the experts and soon you'll be one..

gingersmommy's picture
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Yes, I can be this!    :)

glengate's picture
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Considering that you are afraid of her in certain instances, and rightfully so, I think you really should get a muzzle for her to wear while you begin to re-acclimate her to things like nail trimming, paw examination, brushing, etc.  It's almost a certainty that your vet is going to insist on one for her due to her past behaviour so you may as well start getting her used to one at home now.  It should also help you to feel a little more confident in your dealings with her since you will eliminate the feeling that you're going to get hurt. 

gingersmommy's picture
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I know this is a stupid question, but if I put a muzzle on her and she starts to freak out, should I just not react and proceed with nail clipping or examination?  I think I can brush her without a muzzle - am going to do it this weekend.

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Good idea glangate.

gingersmommy, don't think about such silly things as a Ginger-freakouts. If you are having trouble with fear a muzzle might be just the thing, then you know she can't hurt you. Have you been doing the exercise where you approach her and wait for her to give in? That's something you should be doing regularly for her and for you.

I'm amazed Ginger doesn't like being brushed. You must pet her all the time This would be a great place to start! You should first do the approach, where you make her give-in to you. Then tell her to lay down, put her on her side, and gently push her head to lay on the floor.

As long as she is being a good girl and showing you a submissive attitude - ie laying calmly with her head down - stroke her with your hand. If she tried looking up, give a verbal/touch correction and gently push her head back down. If she tries getting up just hold her down. It's easy when they're on their side.

If she does go 'crazy' or manages to get up, hang onto the leash or collar and don't let her go - just wait out the energy, calmly, wait until she submits again and then put her back on her side, as described above.

Once you become more confident and and she becomes less contrary, pull out the brush with the exact same attitude. You can move on from there to touching, then examining her feet, then trimming her nails.

And one last important thing, Rome wasn't built in a day, but Ginger isn't a city. Learning to speak dog takes some time, especially if you're fearful, but once you figure it out Ginger will be transformed overnight.

And don't get the idea that you need to brush Ginger for 3 minutes, until she gets fed up, then let her go, and expect to work your way up to 4 minutes the next day. Our goal here isn't to increase Ginger's tolerance. It's to put her in her proper place in the pack. Once she is, she'll tolerate what you say is good for her - with only submissive high-pitch verbal protest. Again, this isn't a slow process for the dog, only the human.

Oh yeah, take it from Lady Kate, Cesar Millan is a good source of learning. Recently I found hulu.com, and finally got to see this guy work. If you're got a desent internet connection you can catch a few episodes of his show: Dog Whisperer http://www.hulu.com/search?query=Dog+Whisperer&st=1 He has books also. I read one a couple years ago (given to us by a couple who took a puppy, thw wife worked for a publishing house) but it was mostly about his life. I'm considering adding some of his others to my list...

glengate's picture
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 if I put a muzzle on her and she starts to freak out, should I just not react and proceed with nail clipping or examination?

 

Let her freak out.  Wait it out.  You're not *hurting* her.  You're not being unfair considering the circumstances.  It's just another case of you needing to be in charge here and don't give in.  Don't expect these lessons to last 30 seconds.  It's going to take time to undo all of this.  If she wants to freak out for half an hour until she wears herself out and submits, so be it.  You must outlast her.

I always do what I need to do with my dogs in a matter-of-fact kind of way.  They need their nails cut, I'm going to cut them and that's that.  If they are limping, I'm going to look for a reason, end of story.  That said, they were raised that way and are well handled and I can do anything with them.  I have run into owners such as yourself that seem to be afraid of their dog's reactions.  One, in particular, comes to mind.  She brought her Doberman over for me to Holter him.  It was the first time I ever met him, and he had a big booger in his eye.  I immediately said oh, that's got to go.  The owner was immediately worried and told me he doesn't like it if you do that as I went to wipe the corner of his eye.  I just said so?  And proceeded to remove the booger with no trouble whatsoever.  It just seemed that she built possible reactions up in her mind and/or she backed off if he did react.  I don't back off. 

Dabbles's picture
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Hey!  I can post again!!!  Been having some problems with that...


Gingersmommy - There was an episode on "It's Me or the Dog" as well as on Cesar's show about muzzles.  Victoria uses treats to "lure" a dog into the thing, whereas Cesar uses no treats but waits until the dog is calm enough to put the muzzle on...   I've had to use a muzzle on Brinks and I have to tell you that sometimes you just don't have the time to wait!  Work on this one now please...

A muzzle will bring about a kind of submission due to the dog not being able to use it's major form of defense - teeth.  Ginger will probably have fits the 1st time - try to scratch it off with her paws, back into things, whine, you name it, she'll probably try it!  (I know Brinks certainly did!) Just wait through it CALMLY.  It's not going to hurt her!  I promise!!  I have the mesh type of muzzle - I just can't bring myself to use a leather or leather/metal type. (Besides - that's what they used at the vets - if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me.)

Muzzling Ginger will have 2 effects:  1- It's an outside stimulus for submission, 2- You won't fear her teeth, which will calm you.  It's a circle - can be vicious but this one is good.  The calmer you are the calmer she will become, which will make you even calmer which will influence her to be even calmer, and so on...

As for the rest of the training - Glengate & Alpha have covered just about everything. 

I have a master's degree (if not a doctorate!) in worrying & "what-if's"!!  I'm probably 20 to 30 years older that you, so have had much more time to work on control!  :P  Watch out for the "what-if's" because they're sneaky!  Just when you think you've got everything under control, they'll worm back into your subconscious.  When you catch yourself saying it or thinking it try taking 3 deep breaths & relax your neck & shoulder muscles.  Believe in yourself girl - everyone else does!!!

I'm so proud of you for coming here for help!  It's daunting sometimes - feelings of failure, & fear of criticisim probably keep some of us from being as honest as you are!  Just like everything else, admitting there's a problem is the 1st step, researching what you can do is the 2nd, implementing is the 3rd.  You've done the 1st.  We'll try to help with the 2nd & will give you as much encouragement as we can for the 3rd.

[Don't forget to hug her sometimes & whisper, "See, you ARE a doberman!"  :) ]

Lady Kate's picture
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Oh Dabbles.. SOOO good to see you back and what a lovely message to Gingersmommy.You're a good lady.

and BTW GM..I'm a bit of a  "what-if-er" too...  

Try "what if.... it works!!"

So proud of you and we're all here to  back you up no matter what.

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Gingersmommy - we have all made mistakes in the early days. I have posted previously that I made the mistake of allowing Windy at first and then Hans when I got him to sleep on the bed. Yes, I will have to admit that there was a certain comfort when she would lay up against me, but as the night wore on and she worked her legs, I got closer and closer to the edge of the bed.

We enjoy the intelligence of our dogs, but that intelligence can easily be used against us if we don't stay on top of them. They will all try us to see how far they can go, most of us with our first dogs failed the test and as a result while we loved the dogs, sometimes they were in control.

You made the right decision in that in order to do what's best for Ginger you recognized that the relationship had to change. This is a major decision point and I applaud you for sharing it with us, and allowing us to help. The "psst" hissing works wonders for me. Princess at 21 months old now is like the rebelious teenager, and like any family, I allowed the first one (Windy) to get away with things and made those mistakes. Princess now tries the same tricks, but I can look at her and point out that I have seen that 11 time previously, so she won't get away with it.

A good example is in the evening when I put her to bed in her crate. She would rather lay on the pad in the living room than go to her crate. I will stand in front of her crate and call her. She comes willing to a point and then starts to turn around. A couple of pssts and she turns back and goes in. At first I had to go get her, but decided that I would just stand in front of the crate and wait. Eventually when they realize you are not going to play the game, they give up.

Just stick with it. Don't forget when you are walking her on the leash and she pulls, just turn around and ignore her. She will come back to you to find out what is so interesting. They start forward and if she starts forward of you, just turn around again. Eventually she will get the idea that she is not going to get away with it. Since she is a Doberman, eventually will be a short time.

As to the paw, when you have her down, massage and look at any one of the other three. If she does not react, praise her. She will come to know that you are not going to hurt her. If she is not limping there can't be anything hurting her, just bothering her.

Let us know how it is going.

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Hi Everyone!  There's a new sheriff in town and she's..... gingersmommy!     I've been doing many of the suggestions and I have to say I notice a difference.  If Ginger is in my way, I walk "through" her (I am never mean, just calm assertive). She was very surprised because I usually go around or over her!  Then a couple of times she was countersurfing right in front of me and I did the tsst with the two-finger poke to the shoulder and she went in the other room.  This morning, I brushed her using my own brush (I'll use a different brush).  It has the bristles with the little plastic nubs on the ends. She was so good through the whole thing!  If If stopped to clean the brush and she walked away, I calmly went and got her without a word and led her back to the brushing spot and continued.  She endured calmly until I was done (and I think she liked it.)  The other brush I had was one of those square ones with the metal tines.  She hated being brushed with that because I think it hurts her skin. My brush works okay but the other one worked better in getting more hair out.  I will have to keep looking for an effective one that doesn't hurt her.  In the meantime, I will do it often and regularly.  Tonight my husband and I are going to clip her nails.  We put her on the kitchen table and I cut while he stands there to make sure she doesn't get down.  I am nervous right now but I am resolved to be calm when we do it. She may snag on me as she has in the past, but she has never bitten me.  She basically just snaps with no contact, or I might feel her muzzle.  I will continue until the job is done, for as long as it takes.  If I have to muzzle her in the future I will.  Glengate, I've seen the mesh kind you speak of and they are very humane.  That was part of the problem when we went to the vet in the Spring. I asked him if he had a muzzle and he said "no."  !!!!  He concocted a basic muzzle out of gauze bandaging that he tied around her snout and then around the back of her head.  It panicked her because she was afraid to begin with and then she couldn't open her mouth with it. She finally dislodged it but it just contributed to her panic.

Thankfully, her paw doesn't seem to be bothering her anymore, so I don't think I have to deal with the vet right away.  I will examine her foot tonight when we trim her nails.  I will continue with our new way however, because I know I have to tackle this to prepare the path for when we do need to go to the vet, or just because I need to take charge for all of our welfare.

Dabbles, I bet we are around the same age.  I just write like a 12 year old!     (I remember where I was when Kennedy was shot, if that gives you any idea.)   :)

Thanks, everyone!  I will let you know how the nail trimming goes.  Actually, you all and I know it will go just fine.    :)

Have a good evening!

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Gotme!!!!   I too can remember where I was when JFK was shot!  But no, you don't write like a 12-yr-old - you write like a wonderful, optimistic, considerate, charming, caring person...  The kind that cynical, sarcastic people like me are glad are around to balance us out

 

Is Ginger's hair short?  I found a rubber thingy at the grocery store that is supposed to be used to get the fur off the furniture.  I find it works great getting the loose wiry guard hair off Brinks & Milady.  (Before it can fall off & get into every corner of the house...)  My daughter Amy (works as a bather at PetSmart) suggested a "Furminator" to my other daughter Kelly who has a shiba inu.  Talk about fur!!!!!!  The fur thingys are horribly expensive, but I found something close at WalMart for about $15.  It looks like a metal comb with tines that are curved.  If Ginger's coat is really thick something like that might work.  Or, then again...  Just brushing her regularly will eventually get the loose fur out without having to buy anything else.  (Geezle-Beezle - was that confusing or what?)

Keep up the good work Gingersmommy!  Sounds like you're doing great!

Lady Kate's picture
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So proud of you Gingersmommy!! This behavior could have gone on forever.... Very proud of you.. Now everyone in Doberworld is happy!!

Dabbles.. LOVE the avatar of Thing 1. and Thing 2.  Serioulsy. they look wonderful!!

And so happy to see you back on the forum..

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gingersmommy - I just looked at the PetSmart website and their mesh muzzles are only $10. One may be a good investment so you can put it on Ginger before you take her into the vet. I am sure the vet will feel more comfortable with it on her, and she may also.

My late sister had a male Schnauzer, named Tim, who was very touchy when the vet was examining him. He snapped at the vet several times. Since he was the only vet in the county and sis had three other Schnauzers, she got a mesh muzzle for Tim. When she passed and I inherited Tim, I brought it back from Texas with Tim. I did use it a few times on him when I had to take him to the vet. But as he approached 15 he started mellowing and finally settled down.

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Hi Everyone; thanks for your comments!  Things are moving along with Ginger. And Dabbles - please, I took your earlier post about my age as a compliment.  I might be heading toward geezerville, but I still feel like I'm all that in my mind!  I brushed Ginger again yesterday and she was fine; I can tell she actually likes it.  When she's bored and has had enough, she walks away, but I go and quietly bring her back. She stands there kind of flat and deflated. Got to get a different brush, though, because I can see where her coat is ready to come out and I can easily pluck it but with the brush I'm using, I have to work it and work it. Dabbles, she has a short, beautiful coat and it is very soft.  maybe that's the mix in her (?).  I've never petted a full Doberman and have only seen one from afar - are they soft?  My neighbors have a furminator and I will have to check it out. They have shepards, though, and they have thick, thick coats.  Will also invest in a muzzle. Also, I'm not letting let her through doors or up and down steps before me.  It's amazing how fast she learns!  One little two-finger jab and then the next time, she waits for me! (sometimes I'm on auto pilot and forget to watch for it).  She is so smart. Jabbed and tsst'd her when she got on the chair yesterday to look out the window.  She got right down, but then went and laid down in the corner.  I have to say I feel bad when she does that.  I don't want to break her spirit.  In spite of all her misguided behavior (which I've fostered), she has always been very clownish (very puppy-like), and I love that about her.  She is my dolly.   Haven't clipped her nails yet because I am dreading it and have to work up to it.  I will, though, and then report back.  Thanks, again, everyone!

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Sounds like things are going well. Is there a way you can let her look out the window without getting on the chair? If the window is low enough, maybe move the chair out a bit or over a bit so she can get to the window. They do like that.

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Hi Everyone, I couldn’t wait to report my experience with Ginger last night.  My husband and I decided that it was the night to cut her nails. I instructed my husband what to do and what not to do (i.e. just stand next to her at the kitchen table so she wouldn’t jump down but don’t “hold” her, don’t “talk” to her or try to smooth her, don’t pet her, and to stay relaxed and calm).  He put her on the table and I started to cut her back nails.  Got all of the back ones done, and she was fine.  I then moved on to her left paw, the one that she has been licking.  As soon as I reached for it, she pulled it away and started growling and snapping.  It was pretty ugly.  She had that wild way about her (although she wasn’t getting up or spinning around.), and she was going at me with her teeth.  I thought “no way I can stop now” because that would just make her behavior worse on subsequent tries. If she really wanted to bite me bad, she could have done so easily. I was very calm and purposeful and each time gently took hold of her paw.  She nipped me twice with her teeth (all the while, growling and snarling), and she did actually bite me once on the hand (it stung a little although it wasn’t a full bite).  I could tell she was just posturing to try and get me to stop.  I was very calm and held her paw and got ready to clip and then as suddenly as it began, she stopped completely and I clipped all of her nails on that foot.  After I was done, I went to examine between her toes to see why she might be licking.  She started again slightly, but then she allowed me to fully examine her paw and look between her toes.  She let me proceed until I was satisfied I was done. She does have a very small raw spot between one of her toes.  I couldn’t see anything in it that might be causing her discomfort, though.  I don’t know if it was from a bug bite or from her going at it, but it is very small. (Should I put Neosporin on it?)  Then, after that, I went back and trimmed a couple of her back nails again that were still needed a little more (thank god I didn’t get the quick on any of them, but I was very conscious not to cut too short!).  My husband put her down and we calmly told her she was a good girl (before, we’d be so over the top with our praise, we’d whip her into a frenzy!).  I made her do “down” and then gave her a frosted mini wheat.    Then we put Lexy up on the table and did all of her nails, which I thought was good for Ginger to see because Lexy doesn’t mind having anything done to her at all. Ginger must have known Lexy was having the same procedure. We put Lexy down and then they both got a frosted mini wheat.  I was so relieved it was over and that I had “won” (right, I think?).  I have to say though, in spite of my demeanor and purposefulness, it did rattle me. I am not looking forward to the next time, although I will do it. I told my husband we will have to cut her nails every two weeks, just to make it a regular occurance.  I don’t want to try the muzzle yet, because I’m afraid it will contribute to her anxiety.  (I know, she picks up her anxiety from me, however, I am just afraid of muzzling her right now until I try one more time without it.)  Thanks, everyone, for staying with me through this! 

P.S., rgreen, she can’t see out the front windows without getting on the chair. In the same room, however, she has an entire wall of floor to ceiling windows that look out onto the back yard where she can see the goings on, so I don’t feel too bad when I tsst her off of the chair.

Lady Kate's picture
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Speaking of nails.. I took Sofia in for her manicure yesterday.She is very good whilst Pam dremels her nails and it only takes 15 or so mins.. . Pam ( Groomer) advised that I learn how to do it, as it's almost a two  hour round trip... but stated it's "so important NOT TO GIVE UP if Sofia pulls away as she will sense my anxiety and react accordingly.. IF YOU GIVE UP, YOU"LL NEVER GET HER TO LET YOU DO IT."

So I'm just sharing this so you'll aproach Ginger  with confidence and stand your ground. It's the confidence and assurance that YOU are the pack leader that will relay to her what the rules are.

Good Luck!!

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Gingersmommy - Fantastic. It was an important test for both of you. Yes, you are correct, they do try to use there teeth as a bluff, and they will put teeth on you at times. If she ever acts like that again, just give her a "psst" and it should end it.

On your first big test - I give you an "A".

gingersmommy's picture
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Whoo, hoo!  Thanks Lady Kate and rgreen4!

AlphaAdmin's picture
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Good work gingersmommy. I'm proud. Ginger will be a much happier Doberman now. You're a good mommy.The next trim I'm sure will be much easier.

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sorry for the double post, I don't see a delete button?

KevinK's picture
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wow, what a great job in a few days!!

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Thanks, Alpha and Kevin! Things are way different in our house now. I can't believe it hasn't even been a week. Ginger seems to be very flat - ears down, not bouncing off of things, not being so clownish.  I feel kind of bad, though; she's not quite the same girl (I guess that was the point).  I'm sure it's better because she's "calmer" but in a way she seems kind of bummed out. My husband and I will have to incorporate more play time so she can be a "good girl" and still have fun.

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Don't misjudge her "bummed out" attitude ( dobertude?).. It just might be a new feeling of submissive dog. I think you're doing a great job and so releived for you and your new and improved household. Keep doing exactly what you're doing. It's got to be just a little confusing for your former wild child, but in the end, she will be exactly what you need. Keep these good reports coming in.. awesome!!

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Thanks, Lady Kate!  I am very "co-dependent" with Ginger   and I am sad when I think she is sad. (I should not equate calm with sad, though; she probably is much less stressed internally.)  She has been in a snit since the changes and has been giving me the cold shoulder and paying more attention to my husband.  It is really kind of funny. She is such a character!  Did you do anything special for Sophia's birthday/anniversary?   :)   With all the love and attention we all give our dobies, though, every day is Christmas!

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Gingersmommy said: She has been in a snit since the changes and has been giving me the cold shoulder and paying more attention to my husband.

Boy, that is just so typical. If I chastise Red or Princess for something I get the glare, as if they are saying "How Dare You!". Of course then ten minutes later when I have a cookie, it "I will forgive you if you give me a tidbit!". If I don't, then it's back to the pad, turning their back to me.

Of course in my household they can only turn to each other, as I am the only two-legged here. Poor babies, they can't play one human against the other as mommy taught them when there's only one human.

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Tee, hee.  When Ginger's in a snit, she will go in the other room and lay flat out on the carpet with her head between her legs and look at me without lifting her head.  She will look up and follow me with her eyes but she'll lay there as if I just humiliated her. They are such a trip!

P.S.  Ginger is doing so well with her new exercises.  She waits for me now to go in and out of doorways (most of the time, although sometimes I am so preoccupied I forget myself).  Yesterday was one of those times, and she went in the great room ahead of me. I stood there and called her to return to the kitchen and start over.  She stood there all flat and just looked at me without moving.  Without a word, I calmly walked over to herd her into the kitchen and she walked behind the furniture. I followed her and she made two more passes around the loop without going in the kitchen. On the third time, she slunk into the kitchen and I resumed my place in the doorway.  We started over with me going into the great room first and then out to the porch to go outside.  When she got on the porch, all was forgotten and she was frisky and no longer in a snit. She really cracks me up.  

I also bought a new "brush." It is a glove with plastic teeth on the palm and fingers.  She loves to be brushed now and I am getting a ton of hair out of her.  She does get bored, though, and wants to end the session, but we continue until I am done.  She doesn't push it any more with me.  The big test will be when I go to cut her nails again, probably next week. The good thing is, I am losing my fear of her because I can see she really is very responsive, she has just been misguided up to now.

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Fantastic progress. Last night it was time for Princess to go to bed, so I went and opened her crate door and told he to "kennel". Of course right now since there is no pad in there she is not real fond of it. That what happens when you eat the pad silly. Of course I keep telling her that the pad is not nutritious and now I have a back yard full of white fluff balls. Guess where they came from.

So, she looked at me and laid down on the pad in the LR but was watching me. I stood there for a few minutes and then snapped my fingers, and relucantly she came and went in.

You might try now, just snapping your fingers instead of herding her. She now knows you mean business and will herd her if needed, so if you snap your fingers and she comes back, you won't have to herd her anymore. They are so receptive, even Red at 7 1/2 picks up on things easily.

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great job!!  what a turnaround!  Keep posting the progress, love it!

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Thanks, Guys!  Still not nail trimming time, but I am ready!  Will keep you posted.

Lady Kate's picture
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Good job... I can tell by your posts that you're excited and look forward to the training process..and guess what?? Ginger is too... They truly love to learn.. and they DO want to please us.. I have to ignore the 'stink eye' at times. and I just spit tea out my nose reading about how Ginger lays flat with her head between her feet, not moving her head, but cutting her eyes to watch you.. Sofia does the same thing.. She has her own way of communicating.. She does the Superman slide when she wants to go out... will nose me like a dolphin when she wants to be cuddled.. plays with an invisable yo-yo with her front leg when she wants more.. Will give great ragged sighs when she's waiting for Mike to come home, coz that means hunting for wild cats, chasing rabbits, watching him hit the golf ball...over and over and over. She is very dignified most of the time.. but when she lays down, it's with a flop and a grunt... But wait. this was all about Ginger wasn't it.. hmmmm how easy it is for me to turn it around to the DoberDiva...

When you trim Ginger's nails.. do you use a clipper or a dremel?? THAT'S what I wanted to say in the first place...

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Thanks, Lady Kate, I love to hear about Sophia - and all of Ginger's other dobie friends!  What's the Superman slide - I must know!    Ginger does the dolphin nose thing, or she will put her nose under my hand and forcefully lift up if I am not paying attention. When she is really in a snit, she will refuse to come up on the bed (I know she really shouldn't be up there, but....)  Does Mike really take her wildcat hunting!?  If so, does she chase them or get close?  I am too afraid to let Ginger lose to run because I'm afraid she would get too distracted by something fascinating and not return to me.  I love that Sophia enjoys watching Mike hit golf balls; how sweet is that! 

I use regular dog nail clippers on Ginger.  I put the wide rubber bands on the handles so that they do not slip - very important.  Last time she didn't flinch until I got to the paw that she was licking. Then she went Cujo for a bit but stopped when I persisted.  She is a spoiled girl, but not a mean girl. I don't think she likes the sensation of having her nails clipped, but it certainly doesn't hurt her.  I have gotten her quick a few times, which she definitely objects to (!), but now I don't go too short with them.  Have you considered clipping Sophia's?  She seems so well behaved and like she would let you do anything to her. I don't think she would have a problem with it unless you happened to go a little too short.  My husband puts her on the kitchen table so I can get at her easily.  She sits there fine.

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The first time I got the Doberman Nose Flip as I call it was Windy's mother when I went to talk to her owner/breeder about getting her. She had been tentatively returned to him (but it was to the couple that had purchased her to pick her up). I had seen Windy the previous day, but he was not there, and on the second day he was, but she was not. Her mother was though, and without hesitating, she came out from behind the counter under the flip over counter section to check me out. After a few good sniffs she leaned against me and I scratched her between the ears for a few minutes and figured that was enough.

Not by her standards, as after a few minutes I felt her nose move between my arm and my chest and suddenly a very decided push by her nose in a rapid motion moving my arm outward. I think it is something Dobermoms pass to their puppies in their milk. I cannot think of any of mine that I have had that did not do it.

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Note to Rgreen: You've now learned NOT to drink hot coffee while HRH is looking for attention right?

Superman slide:

We have saltillo tiled floors that get waxed every week.. hence they can be slippery when there are wet doberfeet around... Sofia has learned how to take a running start...hit the throw rug with her front feet and slide across the floor to the door when it's time to go out.

Gingersmommy~~ you also asked about her b'day party.. Nothing really special, just a few friends, dog biscuits, sprinklers and pin the tail on the schnauzer! ( The schnauzer was not amused)

I can't begin to clip her nails.. they are big and really really tough to snip.. I am thinking about getting a dremel and doing them myself as they grow very quickly.

Wild cats: There is a bob cat on one side of the golf course who has lived there for five years.. he's a cheeky little guy.. will strut himself down the path each morning.. On the other side is a wild cat who lives in some bushes, and isn't as brazen as the bob-cat. Sofia totally ignores him.. and he does the same to her.. it's very odd. it's kinda like "If I can't see you, you can't see me"

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Lady Kate, hee hee!  I love the Superman slide; she is so smart!  Sounds like you celebrated Sophia's birthday in fine fashion.  Did she and her guests go under the sprinkler?  What a riot!

Regarding the nail thing, I can do Ginger's with a clippers as she a smaller dog.  Her nails are big enough; I probably couldn't do them this way if she were a full sized dobie.  As Sophia is used to the dremel, she probably wouldn't mind you doing it.

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Sofia doesn't mind ANYthing.. she is the most mellow momma .. sometimes I wonder if she is really a doberman.. ( seriously)

The sprinklers were on and as the water would come toward the gal pals they would perk up and watch each other get wet... shake as if it was a downpour then continue to torment the schnauzer and dig HUGE holes.. Oh it was a grand event!!

I have a question for anyone who might be watching..

How often do you brush your kids' doberteeth?

Should I start a new post?  Naw....

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Lady Kate, I never brush Ginger's teeth.  I started to a long time ago, and she didn't mind it, but it was a hassle because she would lick the paste (chicken toothpaste, looked even worse than it sounds), chew the brush, etc., and generally it wound up to be not much of a brushing.  I give her and Lexy a rawhide every day and their teeth are perfect.  No stinky breath or plaque deposits.  Sometimes Ginger won't feel like chewing on one, but then I smear a little peanut butter or mayonaisse all over it and she chews it till it's done.

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Oh the miracles of peanut butter.. one lady I know smears the walls of her bathtub with it when she gives her dobie a bath..

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My two generally get an Oinkie every day. It is made by Hartz and had a chewy center wrapped in pig hide with the smoky smell. They love them. I pick them up out of the package and instantly two butts hit the floor. (They know they won't get one if they're not sitting). It's amazing, it faster than if it said "Sit". Red takes his into the computer room and inhales it, Princess takes hers onto the pad in the living room and is more dainty with it (as befits her gender and her name). She also takes her time eating her kibble whereas the Red Man wolfs his down in big gulps.

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I'll have to look for Oinkies!  Ginger takes her bone into the computer room, too, and Lexy goes upstairs.  Very serious business!

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Hi Everyone, got a story about Ginger that I thought was cute. We rarely take her for a walk  because she pulls terribly - I did try all the right stuff when she was little but then she wore me down and we just stopped taking her. Before that, though, my husband bought her a harness so she at least wouldn't choke herself.  Anyway, last night, John took her for a walk and forgot to put her harness on. They got a quarter of the way down the street and she was pulling terribly, which reminded John that he didn't have the harness on.  He turned around to go back to the house to get the harness and just as if he had flicked a switch, she stopped pulling, got all flat and heeled perfectly! I think she knew she was being "bad" and thought he was taking her back to the house, so just like that she became the perfect girl.  I'm sorry, but I thought this was so funny - she is a pistol and so darn cute!