A couple training issues to work out

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viper's picture
Joined: 2014-04-30

My pup is 5.5mo. I certainly have progress but I think I need some help with the Doby breed.

Recall - I am used to retrievers where this is a non-issue. I KNOW my Doby knows what I want but refuses to recall half the time. I give big praise when she comes but it is on her time only. Not sure if I need to shop for the right treat or what but I don't want treat dependance either.

Sit - half the time she will just lay down when I command sit. My thinking is the reward the second she sits and before laying down but not sure if that is enough time for reward.

Nibbling - She certainly responds with NO or "eehhh" but she is still mouthy. With neighbor kids, I cannot have that. She shows ZERO aggression and this is purely playful.

Sometimes when I command "stay", she will lay down as well.

All in all though, I have received a lot of compliments on the dog but I know we have a long ways to go. Because of her breed, I need absolute compliance to give visitors comfort.

Max's Dad's picture
Joined: 2013-01-16

At 5.5 months, she's just coming out of being a puppy. 

On recalls, EVERY time she comes to you, while you are sitting down, walking around, in the house, outside, praise. Always encourage her that you're the most important thing to her. It comes in time, and sometimes you need to bark it, and not be nice with it. It just depends on the situation.

Sitting.. If you go through commands like, "Sit. Down. Stay." They catch on to that. They think, "Why go through the steps if I just have to lay down?". Max does it too, so I mix it up with him. Sit, shake, speak, whisper, down, up, give 10, down, stay. They I lay the treat on his nose and tell him to wait. He has learned a lot in a short time, but persistence is key.

Nibbling, depending on the nibble is fine. Max will "give kisses" and lick the side of my head. Not just one spot, but from neck to top of the head lol, and usually ends in "nibbling" on my ear. It seems to me like a sign of love from him. But if she's just biting at hands, tell her to be easy, and encourage licking instead. If she licks, praise her, if she bites, ignore her. You have to find the right combo for you.

And if you have a visitor who is uncomfortable, Dobermans can REALLY sense that. It can make them be more stand offish with them. Max will go to his kennel or not let them move. If they come into the house, it's his house. Everyone knows he's not mean, he just doesn't understand all of us humans. 

Hope you get her down, and all goes well!

Oz Dobe's picture
Joined: 2014-03-25

Hi viper, dobes are very different to retrievers. Very different.

With recalls, dobes are very easily distracted. They are alot like sight hounds and they have a prey drive which is also very strong, whereas a retreiver is bred for a soft mouth in order to return already dead game. I can relate to Max's Dad in that I've found building the bond seems to improve the recall. Also heeling excersises seem to improve the recall as the dog gets used to being beside you. My dobe Storm is just starting to 'get it' and she's nearly 15mo. She is now coming at the dog park with other dogs around - not %100 percent yet, but she has much improved of late.

Another thing I'll mention about recalls and dobes is the dobes sensitivity in nature/temprament. If you are angry with your dobe because your recall is not working, your dobe will sense that and likely not want to come. If your upset during training, you need to quit training with something positive the dobe CAN accomplish easily, and return to it when you are in a better state of mind.

With all that said, a dobe is a dobe, and you will have immense difficulty recalling a dobe from chasing a squirrel or rabbit or any other prey species. Thats just the genes. Dobes are pretty much the best herding dogs(Rotti, Beauceron, German Shephard), crossed with the best terriers(Manchester Terrier), with some hunting dogs thrown in (Weimeraner, Greyhound, Short Haired Pointer), so the force is strong with these ones :) As you can see, the difference in purpose for the retriever and a dobe are totally different.

If she's dropping on the sit, maybe your practicing the down too much. Dont reward if she downs when you want her to sit. Raise a treat/lure slowly back up above her head and she will sit. Keep doing this until she can hold her sit. Also you can wait longer to reward the sit so that it is more solid. If you are sit -staying, and she is downing during the stay, I would return to her and lure her back up to the sit and not go so far away from her during the stay, until its more proofed.

Mouthiness at this age is normal. If she's responding to a 'no' now, keep working with that. I personally reward any behavior that I want, and ignore or divert behavior I don't want. So while she is not mouthing I praise and treat, when Storm was mouthy, I would practice simple obedience, or give a chew toy or whatever it took to get her mind off it, and if she continued to be mouthy she'd get a time out. Mouthiness stops treats and mouthiness stops play/attention. The two ways puppies learn in their litter. I rewarded licking when Storm was play biting and ignored the biting. Pretty soon Storm learnt that licking was preferable to biting, because she only got a treat when she licked. I cued the command 'gentle' with the licking and she can now do it on command. The play biting goes away but the 'gentle' licking behavior remains.

Your dobe is still young and as long as you continue training, you'll be fine. You just need to remember that a dobe is not a retriever. I would also get some good dog behavior/training books and hit you tube and web sites for further info. Theres always something new and valuable you can pick up when you reach out for it.