Obedience training??

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DobbieLovie's picture
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Hello to all! I'm very new to this forum, but I joined because after much research we finally got out Dobbie pup, her name is Luna, she's 15 weeks old and she's such a joy to have in our household. So I was wondering if you guys could give me your input in Obedience training vs Training at home, I know most of you have brought your doggies to obedience training but I would like to also hear from the ones that didn't, how did that work out for you? what's your advice and observations?, I'm not sure we are gonna enroll Luna to OB just because I'm the main caregiver and I don't drive and all the OB schools in our area are within driving distance, so I wanna know what do you think about me taking up on the challenge of doing it myself?, She is a very docile dog, she already sits and comes just with hand signal(the come command of course only in the house or with a long leash), and we are working on the walk, im currently training with a halti, and althouh I know many of you dont really agree with the halti(which i only using til she's old enough to wear a prong), let me tell you that for me so far its working pretty great, she barely pulls and when she does, just a little gentle tug is enough to correct, also the biting is almost gone(only bites when she wrestles with my 5 month old dachshund)..So experienced Dobbie owners out there, I would really appreciate your word of advice. Thank you!

DobbieLovie's picture
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Let me add, that she's very sociable, and we live right infront of the boardwalk where she meets about 10 different dogs of all sorts and sizes every day, I also bring her to pick up my boys to school so she meets TONS of kids every day

DJ's Dad's picture
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Absolutely nothing wrong with teaching obedience/manners at home vs a group or private trainer sessions.  There are lots of good books, videos, and other information and tips on training via google that are available.  Sounds like you might be located in a perfect spot to start training her around distractions (people, dogs, kids, bicycles, etc) when she gets a little bit older and has her commands that you are teaching her down pretty well, too. 

Basic ob skills should include sit, lie down, come (recall), wait, and heel--or at least walk on a loose leash.  I dont really enforce a strict 'heel' (dog at my left side, nose no farther ahead than my knee) unless we're walking through a crowded area, or sometimes, while we're on a liesurely walk, I'll call her into a heel in position for a few minutes just to keep in practice.  Learning the skill of loose leash walking is pretty much necessary before they get fully grown and extraordinarily STRONG.  LOL

Congratulations on your efforts.  All training is good--nothing is wasted in your efforts to try to make your dog a well mannered sociable doberman. 

DobbieLovie's picture
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Thank you! I'm really trying hard, I'm a stay at home mom, so I'm investing a lot of time and energy on her, and I really dont wanna fail, It's my first Doberman, although I've had dogs all my life, I have never had a big dog, or one rated in the top 5 most intlligent breeds, so its a challenge but its also very exciting! Thanks a lot for the encouragent DJ's Dad :)

DJ's Dad's picture
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* I edited my post and added a couple more things while you were posting. sorry  :)

DobbieLovie's picture
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hehe thanks! ...so in your opinion she should walk on a lose leash before learning to heel?

DJ's Dad's picture
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They sort of go hand-in-hand.  It's so much easier to teach a strict "heel" command if the dog already walks with a loose leash...pulling against a leash makes it hard to keep them where they're supposed to be in a formal heel position.

DobbieLovie's picture
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ok, what's your input on the haltie?

DJ's Dad's picture
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Never used the Halti brand, but I have used a Gentle Leader. I think it's pretty much the same principle.  Actually, I liked it but my dog hated it.  She spent SO much time trying to rub it off her face, rubbing her face on the ground, against my knees, against a tree---you name it.  Walking was not fun for her...it was more like torture.  But I have to admit, it did keep her from pulling against the leash.  You just have to be careful when using that kind of head halter and NOT give your dog enough leash length to allow it to bolt ahead if it sees a cat or squirrel or whatever, because bolting ahead and all of a sudden snapping to a stop can twist their head around and cause cervical damage--especially with a dog with a long slender neck like dobermans have.  If you're careful and always aware of your surroundings, a head halter makes a great learning tool---but your goal is to eventually stop using it and go to a flat collar or a prong collar.   When I used the Gentle Leader, I had a flat collar on my dog at the same time, and actually had two leashes attached--one to each of the collars.  I held the leash attached to the neck collar tighter than the one to the GL, and only used it when she would start to pull.  Like I said, though, she hated the thing on her face so I stopped using it because walking was not fun for either of us when I used it.

DobbieLovie's picture
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ok Luna' pretty good about it although of course she doesnt like it all that uch, but she tries to please me so hard the poor thing, what can you do to avoid the pulling in the future? i dont want her wearing a haltie forever, its just a training tool...what was your technique?

DJ's Dad's picture
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REALLY yummy treats.  Make them very small so that you can treat often without giving her too much.  I use cooked steak or chicken mostly because it holds her attention so well.  LOL

Keep a couple of treats in your left hand, fist closed lightly, holding your left hand straight down at your side--sort of down the side seam of your jeans, and while you're walking, tell Luna to 'heel', letting her smell what's in your fist. Start out just taking three or four steps---one or two if that's all she'll do and stay focused--and as long as she is staying beside you where she's supposed to be, pop a treat in her mouth every so often.  If she starts to pull ahead, just come to a complete stop and dont take another step forward until she comes back to you.  You dont go catch up to her, she has to come back to you.  Otherwise, she is training you.  LOL    LOTS of practice, patience, more practice and more patience.  She's still a baby, so dont expect perfection (although she might just give you perfection, you never know, these dogs are SO smart).  If you can just get the idea across to her that walking beside you is good, pulling ahead is not so good, she'll make the mental connection and stop pulling.....eventually.

PS---I've also used a wooden spoon with peanut butter in it and just gave her a lick of the spoon as a treat before, too.  That works well if your dog is young or small and it's difficult to bend over to treat them with treats....long handled wooden spoons work great for this.

DobbieLovie's picture
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Ok thanks a lot for the advice i"ll start putting it in practice, when should i stop using the haltie and just use the treats? should i start right away?

DJ's Dad's picture
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If the Halti is working for you, I'd just make it a gradual switch.  You can train for a loose leash w/ treats while she's using the Halti, and when you get to a point that you feel confident that she isnt depending on the head halter for negative corrections, but rather is complying with positive reinforcements (treats, praise) see how she does with just a regular collar. 

Well, that's how I'd do it any way. 

DobbieLovie's picture
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ok thanks a lot...another thing...you have small dogs right? I' nervous Luna will hurt Wallace :S .... they play and Luna is such a good sport, she will try to ignore hi, but he's a little instigator so he wont quit, eventually she has enough and starts rough playing as well, and most of the tie she pins him down and immobilizes him lol, but soetimes she'll nip, so im kida scared that she will puncture something when they're playing...

DJ's Dad's picture
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AACCKKK!  Now's the time to stop that behavior.  She will get so big and so strong so quickly, your little guy could possibly find himself being defensive just as a self-preservation measure.  And if he gets too defensive, she may reciprocate by getting rougher with him. 

Teach Wallace and Luna BOTH to stop when their playtime gets rough.  Give them a toy to play with individually, or redirect them to some other thing besides each other.

It's much better to have them living peacably than to have them 'playing' together if they aren't on the same page...know what I mean?

DobbieLovie's picture
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Ok, that's what we've been trying to do, or we just separate them when things get too intense, I guess it will also take time an patience for them to get the message, that, that kinda play is not appreciated, thanks a lot for all your help DJ's Dad :)

DJ's Dad's picture
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Take it from me, you want to put an end to rough playing NOW, not gradually, if she is already pinning him down and immobilizing him, as your post says. That wont go away all by itself.  Little dogs, especially feisty ones, dont have a clue that they can't fully beat up a big dog if they need to...and you dont want it to get to that point, cos Wallace is going to definitely have the major disadvantage if they ever start to seriously fight.  Teaching them to live in peace is MUCH better than having to constantly worry about someone getting hurt.  They really dont need to play fight with each other to be happy.  Give them a lot of individual physical play time and let them both get good and tired separately. 

DobbieLovie's picture
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ok...thanks a lot...also my Doxie is not fixed yet, he will get fixed next onth, you think this will change things a bit or it has nothing to do?

DJ's Dad's picture
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If your Doxie is already an adult, neutering him will basically just prevent him from being a father....wont change his personality much if at all. 

BUT...good for you for having him neutered.  It will make him at far less risk for cancers and other problems later on.  I'm a big advocate for spay/neuter. 

DobbieLovie's picture
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He is 5 and a half months old :)

DJ's Dad's picture
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OH :)  good time to have it done, then.  It MIGHT keep him from getting really aggressive as he ages, but that's not a guarantee.

DobbieLovie's picture
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ok...he is SOOOO possesive of my husband, which I totally blame my husband for lol, he made him super clingy since we got him (he was 8 weeks old) and now we are paying the consequences of it (sigh)

kalinkacs's picture
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I took my dogs to agility class and regret, because we knew all the commands they teach and it was quite boring for us. I love to teach my dogs ans I do it everyday. No need to say, that with dobermans it is an interesting and not difficult process. They learn very fast and love being trained. You have to kust being consntant in your lessons and not get upset if your puppy does not understand something from the first time. Get some treats ( I train before feeding, so they will want to get this treat a lot) and start from basics. Teach dog her name, recall sit and down, after you can do heel and any commands and tricks you want her to know. There are lots of books about training, internet arcticles and video's out there to help you do it right and fast. Do not forget to repeat what you learned, so dog will not forget anything. Your dog will love to spend time with you!