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Old 12-09-2012, 01:39 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Knowing the bark.

I was wondering if anyone could help me figure out my 9 month old. We are starting schutzhund to get some good control and training but I am worried about he acts sometimes. I am not sure if he is being fearuful, protective or territorial. I take him to work with me every day and on the drive he is usually pretty good but, we have encountered a lot of things for him to be exposed to. Whenever I have to stop to let someone cross the street, he barks, anyting on two wheels he barks, other cars he's okay but he's really inconsitant with his barking. The other day at training he had his time so he needed to be put away for a minuet people would walk past my car, no bark. A couple days ago I went through a drive through on my way home and they were backed up so this girl walks towards my car to get my card and give me my food and he was just not having it, he let loose on that poor girl. She took my card and my dog stepped on the middle console but didn't actually try to get any closer to the girl. When someone comes in my house unannounced (I don't open the door) he will charge them sometimes he gets right up to them before he stops other times he keeps his distance. Now like I said we are in training I am just wondering some insite so I know what direction to train these things in. I don't really think he's fearful but, the trainers said they can see some insecurites like his jumping on me right after the barking. They said he's checking in seeing if this is okay. Now I have not been correcting his barking really up until this point so the trainers could help me do it right. I didn't want to make him afraid to bark when he was a baby and they also told me 8 weeks through 1 year they shouldn't really be punished for these things.

I'm just not sure where is barks are coming from and if I should be concerned even when I take him in stores he won't bark inside at anyone or anything but he will in the parking lot.
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Old 12-09-2012, 02:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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He sounds a lot like my boy and he is fear reactive. His barking knew no TRUE pattern save it got more pronounced/regular as he aged.
Personally I would concentrate on the obedience side of things, get him to look at you rather than the thing he is barking at (when barking is inappropriate).
As for the charging, that needs to be redressed now, its one thing a pup doing it, not so scary but an adult could scare the bejeebers out of someone. I would train him to either stay at heel as you go to the door (what I have to do with my boy) or to a place, a mat or day bed when someone comes to the door. He won't want to be far from you so bear that in mind where you place it. If he does what you want, praise, praise, praise. If someone enters unannounced, train them to respect your space, no invite, no entry, that is my rule and you'd better obey it or suffer the consequences. I our case, chewed but not swallowed by my boy unless I am there to recall.
I am currently involved in a hot dispute with a woman who owns 3 reactive Dobes in the next province who takes them to shutzhund training, bite work included she insists it is good for them. Yes the obedience side is, but the bitework? In my opinion, her dogs are getting worse not better with their reactivity and I cannot help but feel she needs more control over her dogs, wherein they listen to her more instead of their own fears before she teaches them bitework. This is of course just my opinion. But I refuse because of it to train my boy in bitework but instead am concentrating on trusting me.
Regards barking outdoors but not indoors, my boy did this for a time, but it soon changed up a gear and it became indoors as well. I had to teach him 'look at me' and redirect his attention from the item he was barking at so that it was focused on me. I also taught him 'calm' where if I place my hand on his shoulder and speak calmly asking him to 'calm down' he now does it pretty quickly. 'Leave it' is another of our favourites too.
I'm sure more experienced folk will be able to advise you more in the meantime we love pics, so how about posting some

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Old 12-09-2012, 03:15 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree with your trainers. He sounds very defensive towards perceived threats (where there are none). To him everyone is a potential boogie man, which is a stressful state to constantly live in. Since you know how he reacts to things, there should never be any reason that he ever gets the opportunity to rush anyone or be out of control in the car. Crate.
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Old 12-09-2012, 09:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Sounds like fear reaction. How far are you in the shutzhund training? Some people rush this, thinking the dog is ready, but is clearly not. Are the training methods used match his personality and ability? When your out in the field, is he sniffing everywhere, body low, hard to focus?

When you are exposing him to new situations or people, what do you do? What is his reward, and what do you do when he has gone passed his threshold?
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The following is an excellent thread on dealing with reactive dogs. You may get some ideas from reading through it, and you may even want to join the discussion.

RDOA - Reactive Dog Owners Anonymous

As for schutzhund, its worth remembering that some schutzhund trainers are great at helping people train their dogs for schutzhund competitions, but they are not as great at training dogs to live in the wider world. At the same time, much of SchH obedience training, such as focus and attention, as well as the training you do for the BH temperament test, can be highly effective because it can definitely be applied to everyday life off the training field. But if your dog presents a specific challenge in everyday life, your SchH trainer may not necessarily be the best resource for helping you to deal with that specific issue. You may need to do your own research and look elsewhere for help.

With respect to bitework, Im assuming that your guy is, at nine months, doing only some very preliminary work with a rag or a tug or a ball. In my view (FWIW), this kind of work can help build his confidence if the work is guided by an experienced trainer who is sensitive to your dogs temperament, personality and needs. If your dog is developing reactivity issues, building his confidence and yours can help a lot.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree... reactive dogs are usually fearful, insecure, anxious, and/or uncertain whether they need to be dealing with things they can't effectively process. A lot of times, it's simply a matter of the human being a bit more "alpha" (I really hate that term, it's so mis-used) - but dogs need to feel their humans are in control of a situation, or they feel like tey need to step up to the plate and be the guardian. Sometimes that gets out of control because they really don't know why they feel that need. Signals from you that you've got everything under control will often help calm their uncertainties. (Not always - and I agree that it needs evaluation and work) - I also agree that your boy is very young to be in real Schutzhund training - he's a baby, and needs to be being socialized, obedience trained, other basics for healthy lifestyle. (imo)
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Whoa, some of the stuff here about schutzhund is so not true.

I really wish people would actually learn about what schutzhund is really about before thinking its all about eating boogie men or whatever.

The puppy if going to a decent schutzhund club is likely just doing obedience, maybe some tracking, and most likely playing tug with the helper. At that age it is not serious. It is not about defense, it is not about 'attacking people'. Its building the dogs confidence, building the dogs bite/grip, bringing out drive etc. Good schutzhund dogs don't just all of a sudden start training in schutzhund when they are adults. That's insane. You lay a foundation while they're young. Generally this is purely positive fun fun fun prey fun games etc. It doesn't typically get serious until they are older. This dog's problems have nothing to do with what the schutzhund club is doing.

Not that I think lighting up on any and everything is right, but I don't know what the big deal is about her barking at strangers coming into your home. Once again, do people really expect a doberman to let strangers inside their house by greeting them with a big butt/nub wag? I don't.

She's likely going through a fear stage and has nerve issues to begin with. A good schutzhund trainer will help her build confidence and also the obedience will help with your control over her.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:53 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hooligan View Post
The following is an excellent thread on dealing with reactive dogs. You may get some ideas from reading through it, and you may even want to join the discussion.

RDOA - Reactive Dog Owners Anonymous

As for schutzhund, it’s worth remembering that some schutzhund trainers are great at helping people train their dogs for schutzhund competitions, but they are not as great at training dogs to live in the wider world. At the same time, much of SchH obedience training, such as focus and attention, as well as the training you do for the BH temperament test, can be highly effective because it can definitely be applied to everyday life off the training field. But if your dog presents a specific challenge in everyday life, your SchH trainer may not necessarily be the best resource for helping you to deal with that specific issue. You may need to do your own research and look elsewhere for help.


With respect to bitework, I’m assuming that your guy is, at nine months, doing only some very preliminary work with a rag or a tug or a ball. In my view (FWIW), this kind of work can help build his confidence — if the work is guided by an experienced trainer who is sensitive to your dog’s temperament, personality and needs. If your dog is developing reactivity issues, building his confidence — and yours — can help a lot.

The Shutzhund club my friend goes to doesnt seem to understand what makes Toby tick regards reactivity and certainly they do not understand how best to help him, don't get me wrong they are great at training dogs for Shutzhund etc, but the moment a dog presents something out of the ordinary it tends to throw them a bit.
I swear that most at the club seem to think that it is something I have done which has made Toby the dog he is. And whilst no one thus far has said directly what that something is, there have been mutterings along the lines of physical/mental abuse going to make my dog reactive. Whilst I do not deny such can be the cause. It simply is not the case with regards Toby.
Instead his reactivity stems from (I believe) lack of socialisation and the over stimulus he receives when he meets folk. (honestly a grown man either jumping into a ditch or standing waving his arms around like a demented windmill does nothing towards letting Toby view folk as not being a threat).

I wholeheartedly agree with the precept tug is a great way of building a dogs confidence, however, in my opinion, you have to get the basics right before you can go on to the big boys toys, ie an arm. In Toby's case, I do not think he will ever have the confidence to do bitework safely. His reactivity sometimes gets the better of him even though I have put in hours and hours of work with him under the guidance of my trainer friend.

ASMIT. When I read the part the OP wrote about how the dog charged at folk entering the house I thought she meant people who had been invited in. Then I re-read it and realised the dog was charging folk who just walked in unannounced. Not even my Terrier would allow someone to do this, much less my Dobe.
I certainly do not think my boys (I include my Terrier in this) should be happy to let anyone just walk into the house. They are my early warning system as well as a deterrant to anyone who thinks they can just walk into my home, for whatever reason.

As for Shutzhund, when I watch my trainer friends dogs doing their stuff I stand in awe. I am fully conversant with the amount of work it takes to get them to the level they are at. I have worked with my friend with Toby doing the obedience side as well as tracking. We have fun with it.
I am also fully conversant that Shutzhund is not for my reactive boy.
That is not to say that this is the case for others and I do not say it should be.
What I do say, is, not all trainers can train all dogs.

Last edited by Toby'shuman; 12-09-2012 at 12:21 PM..
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