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This forum is great, hopefully I can get some get some good advice with our problems with Rani. She is a 3yr old spayed female. She belonged to my mum in law who is now moving and we love her and want to keep her. THe problem is she hasn't been trained, ever! She came to our home and did what she did at her old house, lounged on furniture, ignored us, and pulls dreadfully on the lead. I have been reading training books and trying to bond with her. SHe is a very high strung dog and is upset that we are changing her routine,(my assumption). We have been to the vet and called the only trainer in the area, who is heavy handed. I can't hit her because a) my own opinions won't allow it, and b) I have a two year old little boy who mimics mum and dad, not a safe move. She has snapped at him 3 times now and we are left to our own devices as no training is available professionally. She seems nervous around my child, the musical toys, squealing, and basic toddler play. I can't take my childs toys away and can't trust the dog. SHe has a kennel in the office where she can get away from him and he knows NOT to touch her house, but for all the training books and videos, she won't respond. I am sure that this is hugely my inadequacy, and any advice is greatly appreciated, Thanks, Rani'sMum
 

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Bonding takes time especially with a dog that is being rehomed. Definately find a training facility that uses positive methods and not a "heavy handed" method. Try to include the whole family in the training process. This is a great way to bond and develope a good relationship with poochy.
 

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Sorry to hear that your family is having a difficult transition. Heavy handed methods aren't the best to use with any dog. Hitting will only hinder the bonding process. The breed is more sensitive than people would think. You can't give a Dobe too much affection. I remember raising my voice to Java when she was getting into what could have been serious mischief and she visibly cringed. She got the message but it wasn't the message I wanted. You want your dog to respond to you because she wants to please you, not out of fear.

Taking the time to find an Obedience School with a good reputation is worth the effort. Since your vet couldn't recommend an Obed School, you may try contacting your local Doberman Pinscher Club of America chapter (google DPCA). Maybe your local shelter offers classes?

Best of luck!
 

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Google the 'Nothing in Life is Free' training method and start it right away. Also get the pup and the family to a reputable trainer asap.

Do not leave your toddler and the dog alone together ever. When they are together make sure you are in full control of the situation and watching like a hawk. Take the time to teach your son how to be nice around the dog too, show him how he needs to approach her and pet her, etc... This is just as important as teaching her how to deal with a small child.

Is she crate trained? If she isn't this would be another thing I would highly recommend. That way she has a safe place to go when you cannot be with her as her new life is going to have to be very regimented for a while.
 

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All great points so far. She most likely did not have any young children around while she was growing up, or if she did she has had bad experiences with them. When training with treats using a clicker and the "nothing in life is free" approach, please have the child around everytime you do this. Actually the child should also be the one giving commands and giving treats (I know he is just 2 but every little bit helps). If she is on furniture ask her to get down and tempt her with a treat, once she comes down give her the treat and praise her, repeat many times and in different situations. This is possitive reinforcement to let her know she will be rewarded for listening.

How is Rani at feeding time? Is she protective of her food?

When feeding her she must wait for you to give her the "go ahead" (include the child while doing this), until then she must sit and wait. Once she starts eating, pet her slowly and gradually get her used to you being around her at feeding time (you do this alone first, if she improves allow your child to do the same with supervision). Eventually you should be able to put your hand in her feeding bowl and take the food away without her getting upset or being protective. Hopefully if everything goes well she will actually sit back down for you to put the bowl back down again.

The goal is to let her know that:

1) You and your family are the boss
2) She is a member of your pack (thus she does not have to protect herself and belongings from you and your family)
3) And most importantly bond with everyone

I wish you all the best. I hope you find a trainer soon. Please keep us posted.

Naveen
 

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At this time you are going to have to do 2 things: make all of this fun for her yet be firm at the same time and show you and your family are the alphas. At this point too negativity would backfire on you. Fun and positive reinforcement is the way to go

Maybe try getting her some toys that make sounds to show her "noisey toys" aren't all that bad. .

I definitley agree with the obedience training and family participation suggestions.
 

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If no good professional training is available nearby, I'd really question whether the best idea is for this dog to remain in this home. This is a mature animal who's never been taught any boundaries in a home with someone who clearly has little to no experience with large, pushy dogs..not a good combination at any time. This dog has snapped at the toddler three times already-I'd be concerned about the safety of the child.
 

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Wow, Thanks for the posts. We don't have a trainer in our area or obedience classes, due to living in a small German town as Americans. The one we were referred to is the heavy handed one. That won't work. She is not food aggressive at all. My son scoops the food to the bowl and we are both right there while she eats. We are feeding morning and night at set times. Then during training my son doles out the treats. She is still very nervous but she is kennel trained and knows she is safe there. She also takes an afternoon nap in the sunny bedroom where she is not bothered by Aidan. He knows not to disturb the sleeping puppy. Our vet is working close with us due to lack of professional training, and recommends ways to ensure Aidan's safety first and foremost. So NEVER are they alone together or even close to each other without my being right there. This is definatly a labor of love for Rani and an undertaking that is involving all three humans in the family. As much advice as I can possibly be given is greatly appreciated.
 

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sundobe said:
Do not leave your toddler and the dog alone together ever. When they are together make sure you are in full control of the situation and watching like a hawk. Take the time to teach your son how to be nice around the dog too, show him how he needs to approach her and pet her, etc... This is just as important as teaching her how to deal with a small child.
That way she has a safe place to go when you cannot be with her as her new life is going to have to be very regimented for a while.
AGREE 110%. It is NOT normal the dog should be snapping at your toddler. Please for the safety of your little one do not leave them alone for a second, never ever. A snap or growl is a warning, next comes the bite.

Just like as was said, watch your little one's movements around this dog, and be aware of certain things that can cause a dominant reaction in this dog, for instance, staring straight in the eyes and leaning forward, taking food, toys, certain noises, etc. and make sure your toddler stays out of danger.

Toddlers can be taught to an extent but they are still babies and you said you can't trust the dog, so put her up in her kennel away from your son when he wants to run around and be wild and noisy and always watch her body language and how she is feeling. And of course always watch him too and teach him how to act around the dog. As you know you can't just throw the two together and hope for the best, it will most likely be a slow process getting her used to small children if she can become used to the activity little boys bring .

Dobes are raised with kids all the time, I was, my dad was, and no issues occurred, but Dobes loving their human kids varies with each dog of course. Some dogs just aren't suitable for little kids, she may be one of them. Do you plan on having more children? If she doesn't like your toddler, this dog might not be the dog for your family.

I agree with murreydobe, if you can't find a great behaviorist/trainer and you aren't very experienced dealing with a large pushy dominant dog, please re-home this dog to a home without any small children. It will take a lot of work to get her to stay off couches and beds. The Nothing in Life is For Free method is important, crate training and controlling her environment until she learns how to fit in with your pack is important as well. Wishing you the best of luck that you can find an experienced trainer to help you hands on with your situation.
 

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Rani'sMum11 said:
. Our vet is working close with us due to lack of professional training, and recommends ways to ensure Aidan's safety first and foremost. So NEVER are they alone together or even close to each other without my being right there. This is definatly a labor of love for Rani and an undertaking that is involving all three humans in the family.
Glad you have had the vet check her out and that the vet is working with you, that was my next concern. Maybe she is touch or noise sensitive? How is her thyroid? Glad to hear you are not leaving the two alone and watching everything. Best of luck.
 

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You're in Germany? Where there are supposed to be a lot of very good trainers, or so I've been told over the years. Unless they're all heavy handed?
Have you tried a schutzhund club?
 

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I have read about a guy named Bernhard who lives in North Germany (1 hr. from Homberg). I don't know about his training style though, but he does do SchH. I have also heard supposedly there are many competent trainers in Germany, and hope you can find one.
 

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maybe this could help too? Hopefully someone can give you the name of a trainer in Germany that deals with Dobes from this site?
http://www.dobermann.de/
 

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it's scary when you have this kind of stuff happening, I feel your pain
Tucker seemed to be a wonderful dog when he arrived at our home. We very quickly found out he was:
toy aggressive
food aggressive
VERY protective of me - even when my kids were involved
couch aggressive - if anyone tried to get him to move off the couch he'd snap and growl nasty

Mostly it was toward the kids. Granted my kids were 8 and 11 and had a good bit of dog experience before Tuck arrived, but never anything like this.
We worked through it slowly, but he almost went back to the shelter :(
I had the kids do EVERYTHING for him for a few weeks.
Let him out, feed him, give him treats, place his water, walk him, let him in, petted him - everything - any thing the dog did he had to sit before he was allowed to do it.

*wow LOL edit for repeating myself.. DUH!* hehehehe
I'm sure this wouldn't be a help for you, but it made a big difference in this house. He's a changed dog once he figured out he's not #1 on the pecking order. I hope things work out for you guys too.
 

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Where in Germany

So, Rani, where in Germany are you located? I am quite sure there will be a club near you to go.

Professional Trainers or classes aren't the norm over here. Most people train in clubs, the trainers being club-members themselvers who will will share their knowledge and experiences with the others without any payment.

And honestly: most private trainers and commercial dog-schools over here are crap!
 

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I empthasize with your situation.

with a toddler in the house, that has to be your first priority. I would NEVER leave the two alone.

the other thing you may consider and want to speak to your vet about is separation anxiety. there are meds tha the dog can be given to relieve her anxiety. Please remember that she is under tremendous stress as well. This is a whole new world for the dog and a whole new set of rules. everything is new and there is nothing familiar, not the people, not the environment, not the rules, maybe not even the food.

That being said, you do need to set the rules and be consistent. also what kind of exercise is she getting. the more the better. especially now. Like a little kids, dogs do well with structure in their days. It gives them security, they know what is going to happen and when.

good luck and keep us posted.
cc
 
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