as someone who has trained multiple dobermans and most of them being rescues, the first thing i would really push you is that no matter what has happened to him in the past, stop looking at him as an abused dog.
very few dogs, even rescues, are truly abused. many rescues are absolutely neglected, but if you constantly have the mindset that they are abused and are carrying baggage around, then its going to be an obstacle for the rest of your time together.
most dogs live in the moment and forget the past pretty quickly - its why they can learn new names, love new people, and move on with their life.
and in terms of the dogs actual behavior, some dogs naturally have those behaviors and have never been beaten or abused in their entire lives - its just having a soft, sensitive dog. mercury was adopted at 3 and was a dog that hit the ground and peed when he was stressed or someone raised their voice. building his confidence through training and making clear rules for him have helped him - he still needs careful correction and he's sensitive to overbearing personalities like mine - but he's come so far. i can show this dog in obedience and give him collar corrections, when he first came he hit the ground if ANYONE touched his collar and peed himself. he just wasn't confident.
bunny the aussie is soft and sensitive too (lydia likes her dogs like that) - any raised voice she hides, she avoids confrontation and if she's corrected she stops working. she has absolutely NEVER been abused in her life -and in fact i dont see her changing like mercury, its really just her temperament. confidence isn't her problem.
both these dogs are very different from my other two! but its personality and temperament, not abuse and neglect. http://www.fortunatek9.com/Articles/..._McDonough.pdf
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more beatings, less love!