I've been lurking around this site for quite some time now and finally decided to join and perhaps get some questions answered and any advice anyone cares to share. My wife and I are new to Dobermans but not to dogs.
Before settling on a Doberman we did a fair bit of research and thought we had a good idea of what we were getting ourselves into but our girl has been a real challenge. We aren't giving up by any means but we are trying to figure out if some of these behaviors are normal for the breed/age and what/when can we expect some maturity level changes if at all.
We have had our girl, Xena, since she was 8 weeks old. She is just now 7 months old. She is currently about 25" tall and right at about 60lbs. She's fast, agile, smart, sensitive, strong as an ox and gets a 5/9 from her vet on the BCS. I'm about 210lbs and have to be weary of my footing at all times or she'll pull me over. She has been relentless socialized with people and animals and loves everyone and everything.
What I'd like to do I guess is list some observations and behaviors and perhaps get feedback as to if this is normal for her age or if its something unusual that requires attention.
Some background on how we have been working with her, she has attended puppy kindergarten and went to a 2 week board and train using e-collar mini-educator. She knows the following:
Sit, down, heel, touch, dead dog, come, roll over, out, fetch, place and shake. But more on this to follow.
Again, we are new to the breed and she is just a different dog than what we are accustom to. Any feedback you are willing to provide would be greatly appreciated.
1- When on leash she pulls relentlessly. Using a regular collar you are in for a wrestling match. We have tried martingale harnesses that compress the chest and you are still in for a wrestling match, Prong collars do work but I believe are causing her petechial hemorrhaging. We are now on a gentle leader which seems to work the best but she still wants to pull despite its anti-pulling nature. When she can't pull she become frustrated and will sometimes go after the leash.
2- She is STILL all mouth. Her tendency is to play with her mouth and while she understands ATTTTT (Correction word) she will stop but goes right back to it again in short order. Then eventually ignores the command and the only solution is to turn your back to her, give her the sit command and wait for her to lose interest.
3- She's a vacuum cleaner. Picks up EVERYTHING. Mulch and grass are her two favorite things. But sometimes she eats mud too.... I've read this is them longing for things missing in their diet. But not sure how much credence I put into that.
4- She is very submissive around other dogs. Not upon meeting them but when they show even the slightest aggression she'll yelp or roll on her back. I've never seen a dog get aggressive with her once on her back and I can't figure out if she is doing that to say I don't like to play this way or positioning herself to strike at their underbelly if they persist when she goes down. This has happened twice when I take her to the dog park. I am very vigilant and will intervene if things get out of hand but not too much of a helicopter parent. I realize she is probably a little too young for the dog park at this point and have pretty much decided she needs to mature some more before we go again. That being said she is the most cordial dog I have ever seen around other dogs. She plays very nice, shares her toys without fussing and yields to other dogs at water faucets in the dog park when they want water. She really is the perfect lady but her rolling over like that concerns me.
5- She loves people and wants to say hi to everyone. The problem is she is a jumper. Her go to move is to jump right up in peoples faces. I control her with the gentle leader and corrective commands but I'm curious if this will get better with maturity? But she is also very alert. When we walk in the park she tries to get in front of me and peeks around blind corners before I get there. That's actually adorable. And whenever she sees someone she gets between me and them and sits. Perfect behavior in my book but if the person wants to engage her then its a jumpfest. She's also quick to alert when anyone approaches and put herself between me and whatever/whomever it is at home. Her prey drive is non-existent when it comes to animals like cats, squirrels, rabbits and even the occasional ferret that gets loose in the neighborhood but she'll fetch like crazy and tug of war you until your arm falls of if you let her. She's a contradiction in a lot of ways to me and just trying to make sense of it.
Now I know, you would think a board and train would have corrected a lot of these issues, but no. That's something I need to address with the trainer. When we work in a low distraction environment she will obey like a good little soldier but add any distraction and its like she's deaf. Although I know she is just ignoring me.
Anyway, hello to everyone and any feedback you care to provide would be greatly appreciated.