Reunited with Doberman after 1 year apart

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murphigy's picture
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Joined: 2014-12-05

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Hello everyone,

 

I'm a new member here, but I've come to this site for advice before with my 3 year old boy, Pax. My family and I adopted Pax when he was about 5 months old. Since then, my mother primarily trained him, taught him basic obedience...but her training methods are to be frowned upon and seem to have scarred Pax. Her idea of training is using negative punishment when the dog does something she doesn't want him to do (ex: beating him with a shoe he chewed up, screaming at him, using the crate as punishment, banishment to the backyard, etc.) As far as I know, postitive reinforcement was never implemented with Pax. I can't bring myself to treat Pax the way my mother did - so how do I start getting him to listen by using positive reinforcement? 

Pax is a sweet, loving, amazing boy - but due to the way he was trained he has some behavioural problems I need to correct. 

Recently, my mother decided it was time for me to take Pax to live with me at my house along with my other dog, Murphy, who is an Italian Greyhound pup. 

Since Pax has come to live with me, I have found it very difficult to get him to obey me consistently. He will sit, lay, stay, potty, go to bed, move, etc when he is told to, but rather frequently he will ignore me when I tell him "no" or tell him to "come" when he is being to rowdy with Murphy. I notice this is primarily when he is distracted and playing with other dogs - like at the park.

At the park, it's like Pax is not my dog and he's never even met me. He runs off into his own little world and goes to play with other dogs and won't recall when I call for him. 

Pax also has a massive whining problem... If I'm not constantly touching him or looking at him, he does this high-pitched whine yowl type thing that is *super* irritating. Why does he do this? Is he just bored? How do I keep him stimulated?

I have a large backyard for him to run, and we go to the dog park several times a week. 

 

Any advice?

Joined: 2012-10-28

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Hi, and welcome and thanks for sharing your story, although it is sad.

It is too bad that Pax had to live his formative months with someone who was so insensitve. He is lucky that he is with you now. I hope there is no male/ male aggression ever between Murphy and Pax. A firm but loving hand and vigilance are neccessary.

How long has he been with you? Do you treat him when he comes well/ try a special treat for when he does a nice recall/ reward, he will come around. Start with short distances where he cannot fail and gradually add distractions and distance, a long leash and tasty treats are helpful. 

There are alot of dogs on GD who used to go to dog parks.... Bella is one of them, she was attacked by another dog and got in other scary situations too many times. With a grown male dobie who doesnt come, you may be asking for trouble and it is always the dobies fault.

Bella whines and I whine back, we talk to each other for a little while.

Good luck! 

 I hope other members more knowledgeable than I will chime in. your boy is so cute in your pet profile photo! How old was he then?

MommaL's picture
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Joined: 2014-06-15

Our boy is VERY vocal, but it always serves a purpose to communicate a need (or desire).  It takes some time and investigation to decipher the reason for the vocalization, but it usually one of 4 things: 1) the food bowl is empty; 2) the water bowl is empty; 3) I really want to play with you; or 4) the weenie stole my toy!  It may take some time for you to learn what Pax is trying to tell you.  As you spend time together and your relationship grows, it will become easier. 

Also, a "big back yard" means nothing to him unless you are present.  Our boy has large acreage to run and play, but is only interested to be outside if we are also outside.  He will run, play and amuse himself for long periods of time as long as at least one of his "people" are outside.  When the people are inside, he thinks he must also be inside. 

Right now, Pax does not know he is your dog.  In my opinion, you should go back to the very basic commands so that he can learn to trust you and understand what you are asking of him.  Until he understands what you want in a controlled setting, he won't respond in an uncontrolled one.  

Good luck and remember that he is experiencing a lot of changes.  Love, patience and discipline will help you develop a bond. 

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

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 HI there and welcome to the Forum.. Momma is absolutely 100% corect... I would think that just starting with Pax from square one will be the only way you'll be able to train him properly.

Lots of rescues come to us with baggage.. whether it's from abuse, or just plain bad training methods, we do have to start at the beginning with them.

He's a smart boy..all Dobermans are why not just enroll him in beginner's training class and go from there.. treat him as if you know nothing about his past..

Good luck and keep us informed.

Konkie's picture
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Joined: 2014-05-06

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Sounds like your dog is deff better off with you and positive training :) 

I'm guessing you're going to have to go back to basics with recall so I'll tell you what they taught us at puppy obedience:

first you need really high value rewards, not dog treats but cooked meat or cheese, cut up hotdog sausages work well! 

When we started with recall the first thing we did was with the dog on the lead, let them smell the treat and then walk backwards calling your dog and praising him when he comes to you, then we built up to a sit, wait (while we walk away) recall and praise/treat gradually building up the distance and eventually adding in distractions like other dogs, toys on the floor etc.  I also practice random recalls when off lead walking which are always rewarded by a treat so that they associate recall with yummy treats .

 

hope that helps a little :) 

 

 

 

K-9's What Fun's picture
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Joined: 2014-11-17

Hello and welcome!!

I would start way back at square one! Just like you would a puppy, keep lessons fun, rewarding, and upbeat!! Make him think your the best person in world! Especially when teaching him to come. And the Dobermans do nead quite a bit of physical exedcise as well as mental. So try walking him with a backpack:) but be sure to give lots of treats and praise when teaching him to wear it, and be sure to make him heal at all times through out the walk, or he'll think he's the leader not you. Which puts a lot of stress on a dog when he is forced to be the alpha. You can put between 10-20% of body weight in the backpack, make sure you add weight gradually though.

Of course training and playing with him is going to use his brain, but what if your gone, and not able to give much metal stimulation that day? Try those doggy treat games:) I haven't personally used one before, but I have read that people really like them, and so do the dogs:)    Just my opinion:):)

murphigy's picture
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Joined: 2014-12-05

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Thank you all for your responses :)

 

I think I am going to do what a few of you suggested - starting from the beginning. I think that would be best for him. I may enroll him in a few training courses to get a good foundation built. 

K-9's What Fun's picture
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Joined: 2014-11-17

Sounds like a wonderful plan!:) 

K-9's What Fun's picture
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Joined: 2014-11-17

Sounds like a wonderful plan!:) 

Sgourle's picture
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Joined: 2014-07-18

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Hi! I'm a little late to this discussion, and you've already got a lot of sound advice. The starting-with-basics approach sounds like a good idea for both of you (I like Lady Kate's comment about "as though you know nothing of his past"). It will be important for you to be calm and in control before he will be able to trust you, and that includes not being afraid of him or thinking that he might do something wrong, since they pick up on those kinds of feelings. I find with Juneau that cut up hotdogs work best for high-value treats, so I use those at the park. He knows it. He comes when called. Go figure *roll eyes* but it works and I can keep him away from dogs or situations that I think might be trouble. He has started to pick up on it and when tensions pick up or certain dogs arrive he will just come sit by me out of habit (read as: Pavlovian conditioning LOL). But it means that he is never in the fray. I think that the hotdogs work for him because they smell so strong and are pretty greasy when heated in a pan (we get the Applegate Organic preservative free hotdogs so I'm not sure if other hotdogs are as greasy/smelly). I'd definitely start with work in the backyard though, at least until he looks to you more and seems to accept you as the leader. 

Teaching a "freeze" or down from a distance might be a good idea also. Juneau's isn't bomb proof yet, but a lot of people at our park teach it to help get everyone apart and on the ground since the park is very large. 

Good luck! I can't wait to hear how the training goes :)