Protection training. - Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-11-2018, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Protection training.

To whomever is listening!
I have a 22 month old Doberman who has gone through some basic training and socialization. He's very friendly and greets everyone with exuberance. Most say he doesn't have a mean bone in his body.
That being said I got him because I walk long distances at night for exercise (I work very long hours during the day), so I thought it would be nice to have a companion and protector with me. I thought he would naturally activate if a threat was perceived on our walks but I recently decided to enroll him in protection training to make sure. When we play with his rope in the back yard, where he knows its ok to be aggressive, he goes after the rope with vigor and aggression, and I generally can't pull it from him. once I release he treats it like pray and swings it around violently as if to kill it. When we're on our walks he doesn't usually bark at people but will lunge when he sees a rabbit or cat.
I.e. he seems to have a fair amount of pray drive. He was neutered at about 6 months and is of all European descent. He's a big boy, about 100 pounds and lots of muscle.
HOWEVER when I took him in to a local protection trainer for evaluation he initially did what he was supposed to and barked and lunged when she came out from her blind for a fake attack. to clarify what I was supposed to do the trainer started talking to me. After that he just seemed confused and afraid. We tried a second week, and sort of made that mistake again, and this time when confronted with a threat he just cowered in fear. two other more trained dogs were brought in to show him to bark and lunge at her but he remained fearful and wouldn't protect me or himself. he honestly cowered in the corner looking at me to do something but I was instructed to keep my distance.
The trainer said that much of this relates to genetics and he either has the instinct to fight or he doesn't. she also said that because he was neutered early it would be less likely he could learn to protect.
So now Im wondering whether I just have a friendly marshmallow or I need a different trainer and different approach. After our lesson yesterday I just convinced myself it isn't in the cards for him to be a protection type of dog, but Im not sure I should give up just yet.
Any advice would be awesome.

Norm
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-12-2018, 12:13 AM
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nseaholm Hi , thanks ! for your advice and share your story
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-12-2018, 01:17 PM
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Are you wanting your dog to bark and lunge at everyone he sees? That's not what most dogs trained for personal protection do. And frankly having a dog that lunges and barks at everyone would drive me crazy.

I've had Dobes for many years--and while all mine start out as potential conformation show dogs they do go on to do other things but while my dogs are generally not particularly noise sensitive--I am--very! So I basically discourage all barking--the end result is that if one of the dogs barks at something I pay a lot of attention to what that is.

I also don't want a dog lunging at every person he sees. I socialize my puppies and young dogs extensively so that doesn't happen.

But my dogs don't hide behind me and if something odd is going on they are very likely to alert on it and stand between me and what they think may be a threat.

In reading your post I'm not sure what the trainer told you to do nor why it would make your dog cower in a corner--care to elaborate on that process a little more.

Your trainer is right, some of the protection behavior is genetic but even dogs without much protection drive can be trained to imitate protection on command. And I've been told by more than one trainer that high prey drive doesn't always translate into protective behavior.

Also at 22 months your dog is still pretty young and perhaps still unsure of himself--which is what the behavior he's presently exhibiting seems to indicate. I'm not any sort of expert on protection training but it sounds like he may have been corrected for something you want him to do (lunge?, bark?) so he now doesn't want to do anything that might get him corrected again.

What has your trainer said has caused him to go from initially barking and lunging when the decoy (your trainer) suddenly popped out from the blind to not reacting and ultimately to reacting as if he was very fearful?

I think if I was determined to train my dog, at this point I'd find another trainer and describe the process and the dogs reaction to the "training" and then see what they think about it.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-12-2018, 08:19 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dobebug View Post
Are you wanting your dog to bark and lunge at everyone he sees? That's not what most dogs trained for personal protection do. And frankly having a dog that lunges and barks at everyone would drive me crazy.

I've had Dobes for many years--and while all mine start out as potential conformation show dogs they do go on to do other things but while my dogs are generally not particularly noise sensitive--I am--very! So I basically discourage all barking--the end result is that if one of the dogs barks at something I pay a lot of attention to what that is.

I also don't want a dog lunging at every person he sees. I socialize my puppies and young dogs extensively so that doesn't happen.

But my dogs don't hide behind me and if something odd is going on they are very likely to alert on it and stand between me and what they think may be a threat.

In reading your post I'm not sure what the trainer told you to do nor why it would make your dog cower in a corner--care to elaborate on that process a little more.

Your trainer is right, some of the protection behavior is genetic but even dogs without much protection drive can be trained to imitate protection on command. And I've been told by more than one trainer that high prey drive doesn't always translate into protective behavior.

Also at 22 months your dog is still pretty young and perhaps still unsure of himself--which is what the behavior he's presently exhibiting seems to indicate. I'm not any sort of expert on protection training but it sounds like he may have been corrected for something you want him to do (lunge?, bark?) so he now doesn't want to do anything that might get him corrected again.

What has your trainer said has caused him to go from initially barking and lunging when the decoy (your trainer) suddenly popped out from the blind to not reacting and ultimately to reacting as if he was very fearful?

I think if I was determined to train my dog, at this point I'd find another trainer and describe the process and the dogs reaction to the "training" and then see what they think about it.
I absolutely DON'T want him to lunge and bark at everyone he sees. in fact we live in a kid friendly neighborhood, many people know him and he wants to say hello to everyone. Like I said he is friendly and social. He loves doggy daycare and playing with other dogs. his daycare provider loves him and she has small children that hug him and grab him at will. When people approach I have him sit and wait for them to come and say hello. AND no one in his lifetime has ever come at him batting a stick and lunging at him.
My understanding of protection training was that he could learn to activate, bark, lunge, etc when a specific threat was perceived. That is what I am trying to accomplish. I just don't want to confuse him and I really feel that he was confused by the whole process, especially after the trainer and I started talking to each other, followed by another round of her lunging at him.
Im not going to torture him, he's my buddy. I will seek out other trainers and we may just stick to obedience training! he still needs that.
Thanks for the reply.
Norm
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-13-2018, 08:49 AM
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It is kind if hard to access the situation without seeing it. What kind of experience or credentials does this trainer have? Typically this type of training is started by activating the dog's prey drive. The helper is like a rabbit and entices the dog to play the chase game. It sounds to me as though she is working him in defense or that is when he quit having fun, when she switched from prey to defense. This is not usually done this early in the process. If you had said that he was disinterested, I would have said it is because she is a woman. We had had males that simply did not perceive a woman as a sufficient threat to react. Some are sufficiently intense, but many are not. However, it does not sound like this is the issue in this case.

If you want to continue this training, I think I would seek a different trainer. What she is doing is obviously not working. I would especially seek out an organized club familiar with IPO training of Dobermans. You can search on the DVG America, LV DVG America | The only all-breed dog sport organization, or USCA, https://www.germanshepherddog.com/ to find a club in your area. I know of some Doberman people in your area that train with the Cascade Schutzhund Club.

Good Luck.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-20-2018, 01:23 AM
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I would have to see what was done. For us we definitely do want to start the young dog in defense at first sight of a helper, however it would not have been started the way you described. In addition we would have all of the basics of a prey drive cycle started using tugs long before introducing a helper. That would form the foundation for actual protection work. Your dog does not have the foundation in useful prey behavior.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-20-2018, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosamburg View Post
I would have to see what was done. For us we definitely do want to start the young dog in defense at first sight of a helper, however it would not have been started the way you described. In addition we would have all of the basics of a prey drive cycle started using tugs long before introducing a helper. That would form the foundation for actual protection work. Your dog does not have the foundation in useful prey behavior.
Great to see you Back!!!! I've been wanting to message you did you turn your PM back on?
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 01:31 AM
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PM is probably on.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-30-2018, 01:44 AM
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I don't know about everyone elses dobes but mine have always barked, snarled or nipped at any conflict. The first two dobes that we had when i was a child hated when my little brother and i would fight. As soon as he started screaming they would naturally get in between us and start barking.

My most recent dobe had no interest in the sleeve when i first introduced it. I brought it to the dog park and played with an old retired police dog and mine still didn't want to touch it. A couple months went by and tried it every now and then and she would chew on it in the corner but never would even play tug with me. A few weeks ago the fiance and i were wrestling around and this started to agitate her, fiance got louder and dog got more nippy and pissed. I went put the sleeve on, the dog did nothing, until the fiance squealed. As soon as she started crying for help the dog was on my arm pulling me away. The louder my fiance gets the more intense the dog gets. The dobe is only 7 months old when she started defending my fiance.

The thing that you have to remember is doberman are extremely intelligent and when raised properly are very good at sizing up a situation. If you are in real distress it will almost certainly turn the dog on. Protection dogs do their job naturally, most protection training is socializing and obedience.

Maybe you just need to be a better actor.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-17-2018, 07:08 AM
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I have a similar situation with my dobe.
I have thankfully found a better trainer that's assured me that we could work through my dobes fear.

We did a test on my guy and his prey drive instincts are good but when the whip was introduced he was in fear. He looked at me and went behind me.
Thankfully when the sleeve was re-introduced he popped back out.

Due to his high pray drive we will be able to get the fear out of him slowly.
But this will take some time.

Not sure if its his genes or what caused it.

But hopefully he will be able to go through with it.

Try finding a new trainer.
See if there is a route around the fear and get your dog trained for what you want him/her to do.
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