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Old 01-22-2013, 06:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Working / Schutzhund Puppy, Do's and Don'ts

Hey everyone, I just got my first dobe and hopefully first working dog. My goal is to work her in Schutzhund. I'd like some advice on working with her so that I can bring out her best.

A little about my pup:
She's currently 10 weeks old, still has her wizard hat, and I'm taking her last stitches out tonight. Her mom has an IPO I Her dad has SchH-III, IPO-III, ZTP-SG-1A , Körung ZVA 1A.

She's ultra playful and is a ball of energy, unlike anything I've ever seen. She'll bite my leg (with or without a pant leg) for 10 minutes straight, and she'll pull with all her might. I've done a little rag work with her outdoors using a flirt pole, always letting her win.

Her food motivation is mediocre at best: usually she doesn't care about food or training treats, I assume this is because I'm already feeding her quite a bit and this will fix itself once she's mostly grown and I can reduce her food intake to bring up food motivation.

She seems (to me) a little nervy. I'll take her out and random things will catch her attention/startle her, then her hackles raise and she locks up. I wait until she recovers then feed feed feed. She also doesn't like to leave my house. She prefers to stay indoors. It's been about 56F - 75F in Southern California and in all instances she prefers indoors. Not sure if this is her nerves or her being a home body. A side note about her nerves: her breeder told me that the sharpness is necessary in a Schutzhund dobe because otherwise they don't take the work seriously and do not do well, therefore the nerves were intentionally bred into her.

I've gotten some mixed advice from my breeder, various trainers(helpers) and videos.

So my questions are:
1. Can you share some of your knowledge regarding raising a dobe pupp to do work in SCH? When do you install house manners?

2. How do you socialize your dobe? Pay for attention? Let them experience life for itself? Do you let them greet other people? What special consideration would you take if you had a dog

3. What (if any) methods would you use to desensitize a puppy like this? I like to take my dogs everywhere I go, so I prefer to have a calm dog at my side. I have zero interest in her actually protecting me outside of the the training field. Although I understand that that line isn't always clear to the dog.

Thanks guys

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Old 01-22-2013, 07:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Expose, expose, expose, and get involved with a proper schutzhund club.

Honestly, your breeder, if she accomplished the titles herself should be able to give you advice on the nerve thing. No one should know her dogs or lines better than she does.

Have met quite a few working lines pups who are like you describe, but I wouldn't over analyze it yet. The pup is still very young. Just expose her to as much as possible and make her feel as confident as possible in every type of situation.

I would not take her around other dogs outside of your club, but I would be taking her to as many non-dog places as possible. They need to see and experience as much as you can think of.

There is nothing wrong with her greeting other people. Make meeting other people be a positive experience for the dog. If properly tempered and bred, she will still have necessary suspicion towards those who require it and be able to be calm and social around those who don't.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well, your puppy must be an import since there are no dogs in the US with the credentials you claim the sire has. Who are the parents and breeder of your puppy?

I think it is fine to take her everywhere, but I would be very careful with quashing her enthusiasm. A high drive puppy will be full of herself. You should learn to channel her ego and energy. House manners are fine, but again don't smash her ego. Let her be a puppy, but not out of control. When she is a little older and you start working her, you will find she has already read the script and will quickly find how the game is played.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Well, your puppy must be an import since there are no dogs in the US with the credentials you claim the sire has. Who are the parents and breeder of your puppy?

I think it is fine to take her everywhere, but I would be very careful with quashing her enthusiasm. A high drive puppy will be full of herself. You should learn to channel her ego and energy. House manners are fine, but again don't smash her ego. Let her be a puppy, but not out of control. When she is a little older and you start working her, you will find she has already read the script and will quickly find how the game is played.
Ah, this must be it

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Old 01-22-2013, 08:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Expose, expose, expose, and get involved with a proper schutzhund club.

Honestly, your breeder, if she accomplished the titles herself should be able to give you advice on the nerve thing. No one should know her dogs or lines better than she does.

Have met quite a few working lines pups who are like you describe, but I wouldn't over analyze it yet. The pup is still very young. Just expose her to as much as possible and make her feel as confident as possible in every type of situation.

I would not take her around other dogs outside of your club, but I would be taking her to as many non-dog places as possible. They need to see and experience as much as you can think of.

There is nothing wrong with her greeting other people. Make meeting other people be a positive experience for the dog. If properly tempered and bred, she will still have necessary suspicion towards those who require it and be able to be calm and social around those who don't.


I agree with all of this but wanted to add that I think it's also highly important to work with the pup around other dogs so she is also desensitized to seeing dogs other than the ones in the club and being a spaz/focusing more on them than owner. I have noticed with other dogs and my own that the ones with a lot of focus and engagement training around all kinds of dogs are definitely more confident and comfortable when training around other dogs, their attention on the owner seems to be better because they are not concerned with trying to get to the other dogs and check them out or challenge them.

OP. Do not take your puppy to a dog park or have her play a lot with other people while you're in the crucial stage of teaching her focus on you for a solid foundation. You need to be the most important and fun thing in her world, you don't want her to blow you off for other people or dogs. Train her around them so she learns that she can't play with and give attention to every dog and person she encounters.

If you haven't watched any Michael Ellis videos, I highly suggest them. I used his methods when training my Doberman, we did months of solid focus and engagement training before even starting obedience. I can take him anywhere in public...the middle of downtown..parking lots....dog events and do off leash obedience with him and he is solid.


I am helping to train a 5 month old GSD puppy(Schutzhund prospect) at the moment using operant conditioning with a clicker. We take her to different stores and vet clinics to socialize and work with her in different environments and get her conditioned to focusing on us around a lot of distractions.

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Old 01-22-2013, 08:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree with all of this but wanted to add that I think it's also highly important to work with the pup around other dogs so she is also desensitized to seeing dogs other than the ones in the club and being a spaz/focusing more on them than owner. I have noticed with other dogs and my own that the ones with a lot of focus and engagement training around all kinds of dogs are definitely more confident and comfortable when training around other dogs, their attention on the owner seems to be better because they are not concerned with trying to get to the other dogs and check them out or challenge them.

OP. Do not take your puppy to a dog park or have her play a lot with other people while you're in the crucial stage of teaching her focus on you for a solid foundation. You need to be the most important and fun thing in her world, you don't want her to blow you off for other people or dogs. Train her around them so she learns that she can't play with and give attention to every dog and person she encounters.

If you haven't watched any Michael Ellis videos, I highly suggest them. I used his methods when training my Doberman, we did months of solid focus and engagement training before even starting obedience. I can take him anywhere in public...the middle of downtown..parking lots....dog events and do off leash obedience with him and he is solid.


I am helping to train a 5 month old GSD puppy(Schutzhund prospect) at the moment using operant conditioning with a clicker. We take her to different stores and vet clinics to socialize and work with her in different environments and get her conditioned to focusing on us around a lot of distractions.
Yes, this is the general idea my breeder tried to convey. Mostly expose expose expose. I guess I was looking for slightly more specific in terms of interactions with other people, and trying to have her engage with me while in public....

Should she be engaging with me or just exploring while I'm doing exposure? Should I ask people to greet her calmly or just I be okay with women "swooning" over her. I actually Have a little problem with my other dog getting too excited to meet new people.

Also, now that you've done your engagement work does your dog have trouble with the long bite? This was a concern - if engagement work is done too soon the dog will be too dependent on the handler and therefore unable to work at a distance.

I play with and do the engagement with her (Pie the Dobe pup) in front of my other dog(Hixon a 15 lb Border Terrier). But only when he's working with my girlfriend because he gets mega jealous. I did all the engagement stuff with Hixon and he's a freaking rockstar. He'll focus heal for 5 minutes straight for just one piece of food. It's epic.

Also yes, I got a puppy from that Bell'Lavoro Litter. Vicky is an awesome breeder and person. She give me exactly what I was looking for. I couldn't possibly be happier.

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Old 01-22-2013, 08:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The best advice I have heard and have followed is to let your puppy be a puppy. So to answer your first question, our house manners? No pottying in the house. Pretty much everything goes. The thing to keep in mind is that they shouldn't get away with chewing on your end table, but just redirect them to a proper thing to play with. My puppy is allowed to jump, bite, chew, nip, nibble, bark, etc. Redirect, redirect, redirect.

I don't suggest using a flirt pole/rag play without direction of a schutzhund club trainer. My club actually doesn't do any bite work until the dog is a year old. It can be easy for a novice (like myself) to create bad habits, so I personally just let my club direct me since they have more experience and I trust them. Are you in contact with a club?

I would simply expose her to as many safe situations as you possibly can. Bring her to your schutzhund club. My club members all loved on her as a puppy whenever I brought her out, which was 2-3xs a week. They understood she was allowed to jump and even nibble on their sleeve- I can assure you that the rest of public doesn't necessarily feel this way.

Otherwise, you can take her to the pet store during off-peak hours. I found that weekends were just too crazy to try to safely navigate a puppy in. I would go during a weekday, when not many people were around and maybe a dog here and there. You can also take her to Home Depot or Lowe's, as they allow dogs too. The big carts, forklifts, etc are good for her to see and experience! I also suggest doing that during off-peak hours.

Good luck and HAVE FUN!
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Well, your puppy must be an import since there are no dogs in the US with the credentials you claim the sire has. Who are the parents and breeder of your puppy?

I think it is fine to take her everywhere, but I would be very careful with quashing her enthusiasm. A high drive puppy will be full of herself. You should learn to channel her ego and energy. House manners are fine, but again don't smash her ego. Let her be a puppy, but not out of control. When she is a little older and you start working her, you will find she has already read the script and will quickly find how the game is played.
Any tips on channeling her ego and energy when in public places?
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by travisraghib View Post
Yes, this is the general idea my breeder tried to convey. Mostly expose expose expose. I guess I was looking for slightly more specific in terms of interactions with other people, and trying to have her engage with me while in public....

Should she be engaging with me or just exploring while I'm doing exposure? Should I ask people to greet her calmly or just I be okay with women "swooning" over her. I actually Have a little problem with my other dog getting too excited to meet new people.

Also, now that you've done your engagement work does your dog have trouble with the long bite? This was a concern - if engagement work is done too soon the dog will be too dependent on the handler and therefore unable to work at a distance.

I play with and do the engagement with her (Pie the Dobe pup) in front of my other dog(Hixon a 15 lb Border Terrier). But only when he's working with my girlfriend because he gets mega jealous. I did all the engagement stuff with Hixon and he's a freaking rockstar. He'll focus heal for 5 minutes straight for just one piece of food. It's epic.

Also yes, I got a puppy from that Bell'Lavoro Litter. Vicky is an awesome breeder and person. She give me exactly what I was looking for. I couldn't possibly be happier.
To the bolded... Why would that make your dog too needy? If a dog can not do a long bite due to engagement work with its owner, then that dog does not have a strong enough temperament for bitework.

Engagement is the fundamental for everything schutzhund related.

To the other part, let the dog explore and become comfortable with each new environment before demanding focus/attention/engagement. You can not expect a young puppy to get out of a car in a new place and give you 100% attention without even checking the surroundings first.

I prefer to walk into a store, walk around the entire store or some of the store for example and then do some training in the back hall, then progress to a bit heavier distraction, etc. You do not want to set your dog up for failure.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Just don't take her anywhere where people will be offended if she jumps up on them. Let her be free and energetic, but not obnoxious. I realize this is a judgement call, but many of my high drive puppies are really exhuberant and full of themselves, but can get crushed because they just do not understand that people do not understand their exhuberance.

Just build them up rather than knock them down. It is like raising kids, reinforce the kind of behaviors that you want and discourage, but not crush the kind of behaviors that you do not want.

Good Luck. You still have not told us where your puppy came from? Is it on of Vicky's?
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:17 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Just don't take her anywhere where people will be offended if she jumps up on them. Let her be free and energetic, but not obnoxious. I realize this is a judgement call, but many of my high drive puppies are really exhuberant and full of themselves, but can get crushed because they just do not understand that people do not understand their exhuberance.

Just build them up rather than knock them down. It is like raising kids, reinforce the kind of behaviors that you want and discourage, but not crush the kind of behaviors that you do not want.

Good Luck. You still have not told us where your puppy came from? Is it on of Vicky's?
Yes it's on of Vicky's.

Any tips on puppy biting / nipping? She playfully bites - HARD. I have many a puncture wounds on my legs / hands.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:20 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Redirect.... You do not want to be pulling her off of bites or discouraging the body contact. Just have toys near you Always....LOL
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:22 PM   #13 (permalink)
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...You still have not told us where your puppy came from? Is it on of Vicky's?
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...Also yes, I got a puppy from that Bell'Lavoro Litter. Vicky is an awesome breeder and person. She give me exactly what I was looking for. I couldn't possibly be happier.


...
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:02 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Yes it's on of Vicky's.

Any tips on puppy biting / nipping? She playfully bites - HARD. I have many a puncture wounds on my legs / hands.
I would get plenty of bite toys. If you want her more of a pet than a working dog, I would discourage her from biting so hard or agressively. If she is primarily to be a working dog, then you will need to put up with more biting and redirect it to tug type toys.

Bitches are typically easier to get to understand to tone it down, but a lot depends on what are the primary goals.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:47 PM   #15 (permalink)
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My advice... find a club. It takes a village to raise a sport puppy.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:53 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I'm raising a working dog, I do not discourage any of her drives, or reprimand her. People get pissy with me for her being rude, chasing cats, hating skateboards, etc. I don't care. She can still act like a civil house pet. I just do things a little differently when she goes into drive. Like remove her from that situation if in a social enviorment.

Please please please expose your puppy! socialization is critical.
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:29 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I would echo what others have said that you want socialization with people. What you are describing sounds more like sharpness/environmental reaction, than "nervy". However like Asmit said I would not read too much into it at this point. Working Dobermann temperaments can be a little more difficult to read than a GSD. However a dog as you describe (possibly lights up easily and hyper-aware of her environment and reactive to sudden sounds) can be a little easier to work in protection because the conflict is inherent and it does not take much to provoke such a dog. You have to be careful not to squash drive, while at the same time instilling some manners if it is going to be a pet. With such dogs what you often lose is expression in obedience if you squash drive.

Are you plugged into a good Schutzhund club yet? If it is good that is the best place to get guidance. I am also working a Jano Granddaughter though without all of the show lines that Manfred Lerner started using in the past decade in the other part of the pedigree. Have fun.

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Old 01-23-2013, 12:53 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I would echo what others have said that you want socialization with people. What you are describing sounds more like sharpness/environmental reaction, than "nervy". However like Asmit said I would not read too much into it at this point. Working Dobermann temperaments can be a little more difficult to read than a GSD. However a dog as you describe (possibly lights up easily and hyper-aware of her environment and reactive to sudden sounds) can be a little easier to work in protection because the conflict is inherent and it does not take much to provoke such a dog. You have to be careful not to squash drive, while at the same time instilling some manners if it is going to be a pet. With such dogs what you often lose is expression in obedience if you squash drive.

Are you plugged into a good Schutzhund club yet? If it is good that is the best place to get guidance. I am also working a Jano Granddaughter though without all of the show lines that Manfred Lerner started using in the past decade in the other part of the pedigree. Have fun.
Thanks for your advice. I'm looking for a club that's a good fit:

I visited a Schutzhund Club in Long Beach Last night: The head director was Steve Garvin (Welcome to SCSC)

The club had a couple of dobes - but the owners weren't very friendly, they completely ignored us. But, Most of the Mal and GSD people were really nice. I brough my puppy out of the car around 10:20 PM to get her a bit of socialization Steve seemed a little concerned that she had no interest in leaving her crate. So I took the top of the crate and brought her out and let her explore a little bit then just walked away. She eventually began to follow but at a distance. So his advice was that I should do whatever it takes to get her to like me a lot more. He mentioned that me "imprinting the crate" might cause some problems and that I might have to force her out in the future, also that her attitude indicated that she was the type of dog that could possibly run away in the future.

Any thoughts on this?

I'm going to be going to visit North County Schutzhund Club in Escondido as well, but currently my number one choice is West Coast K9 with Ted Hartman.

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Old 01-23-2013, 03:33 PM   #19 (permalink)
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At 10:30 at night, maybe it was just past her bedtime. What do you mean by "imprinting the crate?"

Seriously though, I envy you that you have the choice of 3(!!!) full service clubs.
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:54 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Redirect.... You do not want to be pulling her off of bites or discouraging the body contact. Just have toys near you Always....LOL
I disagree. My puppies and dogs are not ever allowed to disrespect me by biting my skin or body. As a young puppy they get scruffed and redirected with praise but there is always a consequence to biting me. However it is encumbent upon the handler to turn the negative into a positive immediately, but also to manage the puppy to minimize the occurrence of personal bites.

I am a firm believer in socializing the crap outa my puppies, with other dogs,people, kids and other animals. In ring everyone in my club ormat seminars, plays with the puppy, as the puppy walks around it is cuddled and hugged and most people have a tug or toy or food on them.

I can not stand dog aggressive dogs so I also do quite a bit of socialization with other dogs/puppies as well. I organize play dates for puppies. But even a play date is a chance to work focus. The puppy will play like crazy and randomly i call it back, praise/play/reward then release the puppy to play again.

I also make sure they see horses and cows and learn to not react as many ring fields here have livestock around them. One trial I was at there was a group of 6 horses racing around the field while my dog was trialing.

However in all the socialization I always make sure to get the dogs attention back on me and get the puppy's focus in between and at the beginning and end. There are fun things in life but I am the most fun thing in the puppy's life.
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:57 PM   #21 (permalink)
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At 10:30 at night, maybe it was just past her bedtime. What do you mean by "imprinting the crate?"

Seriously though, I envy you that you have the choice of 3(!!!) full service clubs.
Imprinting to the crate means that it becomes a "safe" zone more so than anywhere else.
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:19 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Thanks for your advice. I'm looking for a club that's a good fit:

I visited a Schutzhund Club in Long Beach Last night: The head director was Steve Garvin (Welcome to SCSC)

The club had a couple of dobes - but the owners weren't very friendly, they completely ignored us. But, Most of the Mal and GSD people were really nice. I brough my puppy out of the car around 10:20 PM to get her a bit of socialization Steve seemed a little concerned that she had no interest in leaving her crate. So I took the top of the crate and brought her out and let her explore a little bit then just walked away. She eventually began to follow but at a distance. So his advice was that I should do whatever it takes to get her to like me a lot more. He mentioned that me "imprinting the crate" might cause some problems and that I might have to force her out in the future, also that her attitude indicated that she was the type of dog that could possibly run away in the future.

Any thoughts on this?

I'm going to be going to visit North County Schutzhund Club in Escondido as well, but currently my number one choice is West Coast K9 with Ted Hartman.
Generally clubs are tight knit groups. Maybe they were just busy training, etc, or not outgoing personalities? I wouldn't interpret that as rude just yet since it didn't seem like anyone said anything offensive to you. No need to burn your bridges! You will be seeing these people at trials, etc, even if you do not join their club. It must be nice to be able to choose from three clubs! Some of us are lucky enough to have just one.
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:31 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Thanks for your advice. I'm looking for a club that's a good fit:

I visited a Schutzhund Club in Long Beach Last night: The head director was Steve Garvin (Welcome to SCSC)

The club had a couple of dobes - but the owners weren't very friendly, they completely ignored us. But, Most of the Mal and GSD people were really nice. I brough my puppy out of the car around 10:20 PM to get her a bit of socialization Steve seemed a little concerned that she had no interest in leaving her crate. So I took the top of the crate and brought her out and let her explore a little bit then just walked away. She eventually began to follow but at a distance. So his advice was that I should do whatever it takes to get her to like me a lot more. He mentioned that me "imprinting the crate" might cause some problems and that I might have to force her out in the future, also that her attitude indicated that she was the type of dog that could possibly run away in the future.

Any thoughts on this?

I'm going to be going to visit North County Schutzhund Club in Escondido as well, but currently my number one choice is West Coast K9 with Ted Hartman.
One of the Dobermans there is named Zeke (Ezekiel) and is a littermate to Eiko vom Landgraf, bred and owned my Wendy Schmitt. Wendy and Vikky know each other. There. There is your ice breaker.
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:45 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I disagree. My puppies and dogs are not ever allowed to disrespect me by biting my skin or body. As a young puppy they get scruffed and redirected with praise but there is always a consequence to biting me. However it is encumbent upon the handler to turn the negative into a positive immediately, but also to manage the puppy to minimize the occurrence of personal bites.

I am a firm believer in socializing the crap outa my puppies, with other dogs,people, kids and other animals. In ring everyone in my club ormat seminars, plays with the puppy, as the puppy walks around it is cuddled and hugged and most people have a tug or toy or food on them.

I can not stand dog aggressive dogs so I also do quite a bit of socialization with other dogs/puppies as well. I organize play dates for puppies. But even a play date is a chance to work focus. The puppy will play like crazy and randomly i call it back, praise/play/reward then release the puppy to play again.

I also make sure they see horses and cows and learn to not react as many ring fields here have livestock around them. One trial I was at there was a group of 6 horses racing around the field while my dog was trialing.

However in all the socialization I always make sure to get the dogs attention back on me and get the puppy's focus in between and at the beginning and end. There are fun things in life but I am the most fun thing in the puppy's life.
At what age do you begin to scruff the dog off skin bites? Have you noticed a loss in bite drive or play drive?

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At 10:30 at night, maybe it was just past her bedtime. What do you mean by "imprinting the crate?"

Seriously though, I envy you that you have the choice of 3(!!!) full service clubs.
She's only 10 weeks old so I know she sleeps a lot, but it is a general theme with her. She doesn't like to leave my house, she's reluctant to leave her crate, and she's reluctant to come out of my car. But she is ultra eager to get back into her crate, my house, or my car. It's a little odd to me I've never had a dog who likes a crate they all just tolerate it.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:30 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonterra2002 View Post
I disagree. My puppies and dogs are not ever allowed to disrespect me by biting my skin or body. As a young puppy they get scruffed and redirected with praise but there is always a consequence to biting me. However it is encumbent upon the handler to turn the negative into a positive immediately, but also to manage the puppy to minimize the occurrence of personal bites.

I am a firm believer in socializing the crap outa my puppies, with other dogs,people, kids and other animals. In ring everyone in my club ormat seminars, plays with the puppy, as the puppy walks around it is cuddled and hugged and most people have a tug or toy or food on them.

I can not stand dog aggressive dogs so I also do quite a bit of socialization with other dogs/puppies as well. I organize play dates for puppies. But even a play date is a chance to work focus. The puppy will play like crazy and randomly i call it back, praise/play/reward then release the puppy to play again.

I also make sure they see horses and cows and learn to not react as many ring fields here have livestock around them. One trial I was at there was a group of 6 horses racing around the field while my dog was trialing.

However in all the socialization I always make sure to get the dogs attention back on me and get the puppy's focus in between and at the beginning and end. There are fun things in life but I am the most fun thing in the puppy's life.
I don't disagree with your way at all. It is the route that I am most familiar with. I recently suggested this to someone else (who is also a member on this forum) and then got 'chewed' out by multiple people saying that was a bad idea to ever do with a schutzhund dog. That is why I put a " "

Haha I personally would not be in one piece if I didn't do something about it. I also use the scruff and verbal 'ah-ah' for my personal dogs. I also reward and praise as soon as the pups 'settle'.

If you tell a beginner to go ahead and correct the dog for it, usually they'll choose a much harsher route and make it personal to an already possibly 'nervy' dog. I never suggest a person with their first puppy that I have never met, correct the dog for play biting/jumping simply because I have no idea how they might do this and they may do more harm than good.

I also completely agree with everything else you mentioned above. Very good ideas!
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