On the socialization of Mesquite - Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-14-2020, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
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On the socialization of Mesquite

Again I very much appreciate everyone's input on my obedience question from a couple days ago, so one good turn deserves another no?

Again she is 6 months old at this point. She has been around my wife, our three children aged 16, 4 and 15months, our extended family including my parents, my wife's parents her sisters their kids, our aunts uncles etc. She has been exposed to people pretty frequently and although she is not perfect she will usually quickly accept someone either my wife or I say is ok...

However, when it comes to other dogs... Well. We have a greyhound and King Charles Cavalier which she has been exposed to since we brought her home. She is great with them, though she wants to play with the Cavalier like he is her personal chew toy and sometimes growls occur. Outside of that we have been remiss in the exposure to other dogs. This became apparent when our families got together and she was very aggressive with a mini aussie who was not on a leash. I did not have the ability to have them meet on terms where both dogs were controlled and such it was not an opportunity for socialization.

From what I have read and seen we have missed the major portion of her socialization window, but that we can still work on it. As I have mentioned in another post I have a breeder friend who has agreed to help with some socialization in a one on one situation. We also have a dog park that is close, and I have read where just getting to the parking lot and not going in but speaking softly while she watches the other dogs might be helpful as well. I do not feel comfortable at this point socializing her at Petco or Lowes or anything like that yet.

Any recommendations on how I can help her be more comfortable around other dogs is appreciated!!

Thanks in advance,

SC
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-14-2020, 01:19 PM
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Hoss can tend to be reactive to other dogs if he goes to long without being around other dogs.
In my area we have a training school which helps with that alot.
Within our training center all dogs remain on leash at all time.
No butt sniffing is allowed.
Owners are required to be in control of there dogs at all times.
So just being around dogs alot makes quite a difference. Even though the dogs are not playing together they still get exposed to all the smells and activity while being required to behave by the owners side.
Sometimes even when I do not have a class we will go to the school and just walk around or just sit and watch other classes.
Dobermans play real hard.......as your pup gets older.....will play even harder.
We have just a couple dogs in my neighborhood of which I know the owners real good.
Initially when I introduced them ...it was through the fence. This allowed them to sniff each other and get acquainted with each others smells.
We do this a few times before they were actually allowed inside the compound to play.
The first time playdates were allowed within our compound I still kept a leash on Hoss, just in case I had to pull him away.
Then both owners watch there dogs carefully as they play.
I know when Hoss is playing and so does the other owners ...so we look for any sign of aggression.
If all goes well then we end the playdate after about 10-15 minutes.
If I do not know someone and their dog real good.....it's a no go! To many things can happen when uncertain.
When setting up play time I always try to make sure the dog is roughly the same weight as Hoss.

Hoss
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-14-2020, 02:18 PM
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I think I would skip the dog park bit, even if you're not going in, unless you're really keeping her at quite a distance just to work on leash/dog reactivity with her (if she is barking or lunging at other dogs as a routine matter when you're walking her, you need to fix that). In a park, the other dogs are loose inside, without their owners necessarily watching them, and they may start fence-running or otherwise throwing insults at her that she might not be able to handle without getting overly aroused herself.

One bad incident may stick with her; you don't want to put her into an uncontrolled situation where any tendency she has to overreact is reinforced.

Rather than speaking softly, I would just be matter of fact with her around other dogs. She is perfectly capable of picking up your emotions; she may decide that the extra attention you are giving her in a particular situation means that she has to be extra wary herself. Just go about your business and watch her body language. Keep her far enough away from other dogs that she is comfortable just going about her own business and willing to give you her attention when you ask for it.

I'd go more for introductions to other dogs whose owners you know so you can explain the situation and make sure everyone is properly controlled. Introduce them in neutral territory, definitely NOT in your own home or yard.



One of the important things in socializing a dog who has already proven to have a bit of a problem is to keep your dog at a big enough distance that she is not getting over-aroused and beginning to ramp up into aggressive behavior. All of the dogs need to be on a leash so their behavior can be controlled. That is why a class of sorts can help...dogs are allowed to be around each other without any of them being allowed to roam at large.

This is a general practice for on-leash problems, but may apply if you're having trouble with her barking or lunging at other dogs--work on getting and keeping her attention when she is around other dogs. And keep an eye out for situations that could potentially be difficult for her to manage and distract/remove her from the situation BEFORE it has a chance to escalate.

Work on your own knowledge of dog body language so you can pick up on quarrels which may be developing between two dogs early enough to do something proactive to squelch it, before it really gets going. Some dogs can be just plain rude when they meet other dogs, which can set off dogs who are normally well-behaved. It's amazing how many people you meet laugh and say their dog is just "playing" when you can see that their dog is being pushy and obnoxious around yours.

Like LDi says above, matching dogs' play styles with each other is important too. Rough very active dogs (which dobes tend to be) may not play well with submissive dogs. Dogs who push the limits with aggressive behavior may trigger your dog into irritable reactive behavior. And it really seems that some dogs seem to have trouble playing with certain breeds (It seemed very odd, but I had one who could not play with Golden Retrievers. He was fine with other dogs. Strange--maybe he had had a bad experience with one.) One of my females hated puppies. Certainly there are certain "styles" of dogs or dog play that your individual dog may not do well at.

Some dogs just don't seem to get the concept of playing with other dogs at all. Many dobes are particular about what dogs they will get along with, especially as they mature. They may be just plain stand-offish. If you have one of those, it's OK. All you need to ask of them is that they are polite and manageable; they don't HAVE to play with other dogs. They'll do just fine with only your attention.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-14-2020, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you both for the responses. Let me explain a little further:

On the one hand she does great with our own dogs at the house. However, we have a cabin near a lake where all our family congregates. They literally bring everyone and their dog. Most of the dogs there are very socialized. I felt it would be a good opportunity to have her on leash thinking I could help with socialization that way. Well the mini aussie was there and was very non threatening, however, Mesquite bolted for her and was barking in a very aggressive manner. I immediately removed her from the situation. I had her out a couple of more times over that day and when the aussie was absent all was well, but when she could see her she would begin to get aggressive with back hair raised, aggressive stance and bearing of teeth if not outright barking, even at some distance.

My grandmother also lives next to us and has an older smaller dog that she does not keep on a leash. When we walk close to the house and she hears the barking she would initially get very aggressive. There was one instance when my wife tried to take her over to let them meet and it was all barking and teeth and aggression from both. Since that time we have not had her around any other dogs. I'm not sure how to break through unless it is with another trainer with her dog leashed and being very calm and working the distance down.

Also I would not even consider taking her inside a dog park at this point until she is much calmer around other dogs, and not sure even then. Just wanted her to see other dogs but not play with them...

Again thanks in advance.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-14-2020, 04:50 PM
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Hoss was reactive towards other dogs ...until we began going to classes on a regular basis.......frequently spending time around other dogs in our classes.
As time went by in a class environment his reactivity improved tremendously.
Sometimes dogs that are leashed.....when other dogs are off leash..... can be a problem.
Think in terms of your dogs mind.... .....he is restricted on a leash ......when another high energy dog is off leash running around and being vocal. Yup......would cause reactivity.
First things first......
Focus on pup being compliant with handler (thats you !!! LOL )
Sit-down-stay-leave it......master these commands and great things will happen during your visits.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-14-2020, 05:02 PM
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I read what you said about the way you wanted to be around a dog park and knew you weren't planning on going inside (which I would say NO to with ANY dog, especially a doberman), but I'm not sure that hanging around outside one would really get you anywhere, and might even hurt matters more. Maybe others will chime in here with their opinion about that.

If you're having problems with her behavior at a distance on a leash, not just during meet and greet playtime, you can work on that piece and get it under control. Basically the way that would work is to practice distraction/getting her attention so you can ask for it whenever you need to, and slowly work your way closer and closer to other dogs (who are themselves under control). Make sure that you are keeping her far enough away that she doesn't go into the arousal state.

It may take a long time and it may be something you'll always have to be a little aware of and take precautions when needed. Given her age though, in all probability it is something you'll be able to "fix", maybe even fairly quickly. She's young yet.

It's important, though, especially at the beginning of this process, that you're working around dogs that aren't going to respond back to her with the same kind of barky aggressive behavior she's showing...that's where a trainer can help you set up situations where she is likely to be able to succeed and continue to improve as you go on with training.

Working with a trainer/animal behaviorist is probably a good choice. They will have their eyes directly on the situation--when and why your pup reacts--and will be able to give you specific techniques you use to help her feel more comfortable around other dogs.

As much as we know about dog behavior there's no substitute for hands-on in-person observation and help.

And you can always run anything the trainer says by us to see if their recommendations are...um....."ethical" or appropriate animal training technique. Certainly do that if you have ANY doubt about what you're being told--there are a bunch of different kinds of trainers out there, and some are not so good, or use outdated now disproven techniques to try to get results. And a lot of them are wonderful. But it can be hard to tell which you're talking to when you first start out with one.

I can't remember where you are?? but if you share that, there may be someone in this far-flung community who can give you info on a trainer who is in your area.


Edited to add....oops, just noticed your info panel....you're from WACO, TX!!! I can't read very well sometimes.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-14-2020, 10:40 PM
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I don't really have anything to add except to say again that socializing dogs to dogs is not, in my opinion nearly as important as making sure the dog is well socialized with people.

Lots of dogs don't have best dog friends and what's more don't appear to really need them.

If any dog of mine doesn't want to interact with any other dog--they don't have to.

And even with people all I demand of my dogs is that they be polite to people.

Since all my dogs start out with at least the hope they will be show dogs and prove it--they are expected to put up with judges handling them all the time. And vets and my friends and occasionally my not so much friends.

Socialization, even though it has some age periods when a lot of socialization takes place socialization goes on for life.

Socialization with other dogs and because of what I do with them first and what i do with them later--the expectations are often the same. My dogs are expected to be polite around other dogs (and this is why you will see crowds of intact males standing at a ring entrance at a conformation show and they are not trying to start fights---it does occasionally happen but it's not the rule)

And after conformation --because there is definitely life after conformation--my dogs go on to do other things--Obedience, Rally, Agility, Tracking and all the other things that are now around that can be fun for your dog and you--Nosework, Coursing, Barn Hunt...lots of possiblities.

And just as Lady Di found with her boy-when her dog was going to classes regularly he was inclined to get along better with all dogs.

But I really have no problem if my dog only gets along with the dogs in his own household.

And I never do dog parks with Dobermans.

Good luck--you've got lots of really good advice from the people who have made suggestion on what to do and what not to do--you and your girl will figure it out together.

dobebug
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 09:43 AM Thread Starter
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See this is why having a community like this is helpful. Lots of great advice again, thank you.

OK so take home points I am hearing:

1. Dog park (even parking lot) not likely helpful and possibly harmful, best to avoid.
2. Super focusing on dog/dog socialization maybe not as necessary or ultimately beneficial as dog/human socialization as long as the dog has some basic manners with other dogs.
3. Best to work with other handlers and dogs that are on leash and well behaved for early socialization.
4. Other socialization options include group classes.
5. It is important early on to have distraction methods to keep your dogs attention and be able to avoid aggressive arousal when another dog is nearby.

Awesome awesome!

Thanks again,

SC
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 11:13 AM
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This is another reason I highly recommend a trainer, and group classes!

There are two pieces here - one, whether she "needs" to play with other dogs, and the answer to that is that many dogs, especially as adults, don't want to play with other dogs. Dobermans as a breed in particular tend to be "dog selective." However, she's a puppy, and already displaying some characteristics that are a bit troubling. Most puppies tend to be pretty social, so she may be nervous or overstimulated by the presence of strange dogs. This is something that CAN escalate without intervention. She doesn't ever need to have playmates outside her own household, but she does need to be able to be calm and ignore other dogs and not be aggressive toward them (much of the time what we see as aggression, especially if you're describing it in a young pup like this, is really uncertainty and fear).

First, I want to make sure you understand the spectrum of dog sociability. This is a really good read: https://badrap.org/training-resources/dogdog-tolerance

So know that you don't need to turn her into a "dog social" dog! She doesn't need to go to the dog park, she doesn't need to "make friends" with other dogs. BUT! She needs to learn not to "explode" and be reactive to other dogs, either. This is very likely to escalate if you don't intervene and start pro-actively working on this.

I highly recommend a good trainer. What I'd be looking for is someone who'd be working with her using positive reinforcement at this age. Personally, I wouldn't have her in a prong collar or e-collar around other dogs. Again, I'm NOT against these tools, but she's at a very impressionable age. If she's corrected too harshly, you can easily see fallout from that - she can associate the correction with the presence of the other dogs, and it can escalate her uncertainty and anxiety about those dogs. What you want is the opposite - you want her to start forming positive associations when she's around other dogs. What you need is to find the distance she feels comfortable (when she is NOT reacting), and she can work, and you reward her heavily. Then you start moving closer. She will learn that the presence of the other dogs = good rewards! And, she starts learning to work around them AND that she will NOT be interacting with them. It's win-win. She learns that other dogs means good things happen, and she learns to be calm and working when they are around. A good trainer and a good class can help with that. It might start with private lessons and a trainer's dog that is non-reactive.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 11:32 AM
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Very good post, MC.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MeadowCat View Post
She doesn't ever need to have playmates outside her own household, but she does need to be able to be calm and ignore other dogs and not be aggressive toward them (much of the time what we see as aggression, especially if you're describing it in a young pup like this, is really uncertainty and fear).
I think you have absolutely hit the nail on the head with this, she is a sweet dog but she cloaks her fear in aggression. I have been doing quite a bit of reading on dog body language and how to spot this stuff in her and feel I am getting better.

I also agree this whole post was great. I don't really care if she is a social dog, actually I do want her to be wary of people and dogs initially but to calm if I say it is alright. But I do want to potentially do some agility and nosework with her if time permits (isn't that always the case) and she will have to be tolerant of other animals.

I had not considered the negative message a prong collar may send in this scenario but I will use her harness and short leash when working on socializing from here on out, good tip.

SC

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texdoc77 View Post
I think you have absolutely hit the nail on the head with this, she is a sweet dog but she cloaks her fear in aggression. I have been doing quite a bit of reading on dog body language and how to spot this stuff in her and feel I am getting better.

I also agree this whole post was great. I don't really care if she is a social dog, actually I do want her to be wary of people and dogs initially but to calm if I say it is alright. But I do want to potentially do some agility and nosework with her if time permits (isn't that always the case) and she will have to be tolerant of other animals.

I had not considered the negative message a prong collar may send in this scenario but I will use her harness and short leash when working on socializing from here on out, good tip.

SC
I would say...what you might want to think about is that what you want is more likely neutral towards other dogs and towards people, not wary? At least, that's the temperament I'd strive towards. I want my dogs to assume there is nothing wrong unless there's good reason to be suspicious, and that's really the breed standard. A good, stable Doberman should be neutral, in my opinion, unless someone or something has given them a reason to be suspicious or otherwise. A dog that walks around wary all the time is not in a good state of mind. Watch a good working dog - they are relaxed. They aren't "on" or excited all the time. They can be very aware of their surroundings without seeming sharp or suspicious. They "turn on" when needed. It's a beautiful thing to see that perfect balance of temperament, and hard to find, sometimes, but fantastic. The best Dobermans that I've met are either neutral or tending towards friendly to people, easily able to detect who is a friend and who isn't. Neutral or friendly towards other dogs (or, easily able to work around other dogs within a reasonable space).

Just food for thought.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Beaumont67 View Post
I have had 3 dobes since 1977...all different.

Tanya was medium prey drive.............super smart

Amy was soft prey drive...............human smart / understood real threat, always a thinker // she had superb filters and used Logic.

Kelly was super high prey drive (off the map).....red zone switch, as a young puppy
- extremely had to flick off, for 10 weeks old
- slow to train & change behavior // brain logic shuts off, when she got ramp'ed up

^^ FM Kelly at 10 weeks old & sons little 8# Male YorkiePoo (Trevor @ 6 years old)...both Alpha dogs.
- both wanted to fight (Trevor was the size of a cat) // and little dog grew up with previous Amy...perfect together
- Kelly dried to injure little Trevor, when doberman pup was 5 months old
- took 1.5 years, before Kelly and little T-Man would sleep together
- we supervised 24/7 when little dog was over..for first few years
- now perfect together (Kelly is 7 and Trevor is 13 y/o), in our no-crate & free roam home // but we LAID THE LAW DOWN
- so we had one OPPOSITE SEX AGGRESSION (O-S-A)

Temperament Evaluation (Low - Medium - High) is Key to accessing RISK, in a multiple dog home.
I have a few rules here, with puppies...Mom is off limits to play biting, that is for Dad.
- Mrs. gets spared.
- current Kelly took 2 months, to leave my hand alone (her pin cushion target)
- former Amy, was an angel, Dad had to encourage her to play fight/bite me / plus play tug and build confidence

I allow ZERO growling, over food with other dogs here...they all share same water & kibble dish (until we went to home cooking).
- and Kelly was not allowed to growl at Dad, if I tried moving her in bed

Now getting those criteria out of the way, when bulling other dogs occur...your pup can be put on a 5 foot leash.
- if your on the computer, put end of leash around your ankle or table leg
- pup has to lay down for 20 minutes straight, before getting up
- if the BREAK is interrupted, the 20 minute stop watch restarts
- they have to learn, to be calm...at times

Socialization...my pups will :
a) see 1000 places & things...experiences
b) see 100 people
c) see 10 dogs

Our last pup was worst case scenario for hackles up aggression ...but we avoided crate & rotate with 24/7 supervision & demanding some law & order...voice pitch & body language, has to be powerful.
- our girl wanted to go after son little dog (8 #)...now she is fine with all good dogs
- but I would never take a puppy to a dog park, when it already nips at the dogs at home

Hope this helps some, just some random thoughts.
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------------Kelly & (Amy - RIP @ 11.7 y/o)

Last edited by Beaumont67; 01-15-2020 at 10:11 PM.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-16-2020, 10:00 AM
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Morning Tex , Thought I would put in my 2 cents wroth - lol Some has already been covered but

All of our girls has been pretty neutral with other dogs , But Mr. Business is out first male and acts lots like Mesquite to other dogs . I first took him to a trainer - private lessons - In hind site , that was a mistake , his personality got worse around other dogs - So called the trainer and enrolled him in a group class - Oh boy ! He was barking and raining forty ways of hell when he seen the other dogs in there - but after a few minutes - he laid down and was a non event - We worked more on me - as to be ahead of the Dog - to stop this action before it got started, which did help , like when we walked in , I would turn him to our chair , not to let him make eye contact with the others - keep him busy for a second - then he would be fine .

Now we have been pretty much a 2 Dober family here forever - they all got along fine , Well I need to backup a little - When Mr. B. was a puppy , he would ding dong Ali girl and she put him in his place - By no means a big dog fight - a little nip was all it took and then here came my poor little son running to dad for safety .

Mr. B still gets all up in the air when he see's other dogs and still working on , like MC said - more neutral dog , I want to take him for Rally OB training and the new trainer said I need to put him into more of a show atmosphere to get use to being around other dogs - like at a show . So will try that . If not wanting to pursue Rally - I would not bother with it . Mr. B does very well in public - that's what matters most to me , to be able to take him out - like to Rural King , the bank , equipment dealers - you name it , we also worked hard with distraction training in the group class - that was worth tons . I even practiced it when in town - to go into a Rural King , TSC , and just put him into a sit stay and just people walk by with there carts or what ever - I have had people come up to me when doing this , asking questions about Mr. B and want to pet him , which I replied , I'm sorry but no , he's in detraction training . They would then say , well is it OK for me to talk to you ? I said Sure , that will also work for his training , then As I called time for him - they would then get to pet him . If this makes since to yeah .

Every one in awhile - I post up on here the Adventures of Mr. Business - You can do a search on here and see were and what I do with my Doberson . It may give you a few more ideas .

Lots and lots of great advise from some very good Dober people on here , You will get it, just takes time and lots of patients - for both of you

I have found there is one thing that Dobers love as much as a treat for a reward , and that is praise when they do what you as them - you can never give to many good boys or good girl with a quick rub on the head .
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