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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

For a while, I've been very much aware of the difference in behaviour when showing my dog affection and when imposing NILF training. It has lead me to wonder, 'does too much affection spoil a dog'?

I adore my boy. I'm so proud he's mine and I will happily show him so. He's a big attention wh*re and gladly revels in it, however, I can pretty much guarantee that a day or two of affection will result in him being incredibly obnoxious, which is when NILF training comes into play. A day of NILF training, and he's good as gold.

He only ever gets affection when he's pleasant, so why is this not understood in his mind? I understand the reason for NILF training and why it's useful, but does anybody else struggle in maintaining a healthy balance - affection wise?
 

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Bazinga!
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I'll admit my boy is spoiled, absolutely 100% spoiled. That being said I still have expectations he is required to meet.
I've spent the time and effort into training which means if I'm riding In the outdoor arena and he starts to enter and I say 'out' he gets out. When I'm 120' away and I say down he complies. Time effort and training...

That being said when it is just the two of us, he's an arse. When his toy du jour is caught under the couch and I'm cooking supper he expects me to retrieve it...

We have a give and take relationship. I put up with his moments of madness and he does what I ask him to do when I ask him to do it (except leaving the darn toy under the couch that ain't happening).
Dobes are smart, and affectionate and demanding, when we're working he's all work and intensity. When we're not working he's a love sponge... I think IMHO that is just part of who they are.
 

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Living la Vida Loca!
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Coco is a huge lovebug who loves to cuddle. I'm always hugging and kissing her and she comes to me frequently throughout the day for cuddles. But she knows when her mama tells her to do something she needs to comply immediately which she does. Cocos goal in life is to make her mama happy!

But we did all her manners training when she was a pup and we still work on things everyday to keep us both sharp. I think the problem is when you have a spoiled, untrained dog that has no manners and is a brat!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'll admit my boy is spoiled, absolutely 100% spoiled. That being said I still have expectations he is required to meet.
I've spent the time and effort into training which means if I'm riding In the outdoor arena and he starts to enter and I say 'out' he gets out. When I'm 120' away and I say down he complies. Time effort and training...

That being said when it is just the two of us, he's an arse. When his toy du jour is caught under the couch and I'm cooking supper he expects me to retrieve it...

We have a give and take relationship. I put up with his moments of madness and he does what I ask him to do when I ask him to do it (except leaving the darn toy under the couch that ain't happening).
Dobes are smart, and affectionate and demanding, when we're working he's all work and intensity. When we're not working he's a love sponge... I think IMHO that is just part of who they are.
Your post made me laugh.

How old is he? My boy is still very immature, at almost two.

Training happens everyday without fail, however, his immature brain and his want to do whatever it is at that time is so compelling for him, he can be a little frustrating at times.

It's funny you mention how your boy is when working. During a training session my boy's top. Away from there, he can be a bit of a brat. Not sure how to bring that dobe out in everyday life without taking all affection away (which would be very difficult) and being a hard-a$$ with him.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Coco is a huge lovebug who loves to cuddle. I'm always hugging and kissing her and she comes to me frequently throughout the day for cuddles. But she knows when her mama tells her to do something she needs to comply immediately which she does. Cocos goal in life is to make her mama happy!

But we did all her manners training when she was a pup and we still work on things everyday to keep us both sharp. I think the problem is when you have a spoiled, untrained dog that has no manners and is a brat!
He's very well trained. So much so, strangers do comment on his training, but he has his moments, usually after me being a softy with hm.

My boy's goal in life is to see how much he can get away with, THEN make me happy.
 

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I don't think there is a thing as too much attention and affection, as long as exercise and training and guidelines are all included. For example, one of my dogs loooves attention but I don't allow her to shove another one of my dogs out of the way just to get her attention. She has learned to take turns.
 

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Bazinga!
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Your post made me laugh.

How old is he? My boy is still very immature, at almost two.

Training happens everyday without fail, however, his immature brain and his want to do whatever it is at that time is so compelling for him, he can be a little frustrating at times.

It's funny you mention how your boy is when working. During a training session my boy's top. Away from there, he can be a bit of a brat. Not sure how to bring that dobe out in everyday life without taking all affection away (which would be very difficult) and being a hard-a$$ with him.
Tank is now 3, it has only been in last year I haven't threatened him daily to turn him into a door knocker by nailing his ears to the door. (I would never do this)
Can you give us an example? I mean if when you're training and he's doing the work... Not sure what the problem is?
Dobes are Dobes some are a little more polite (so I've been told) but Tank is Tank. He's mostly an angel when we go out, but he's always gone everywhere with me. I always set realistic expectations (<---biggest problem most people have IMO)
I always set him up for success (if possible).

Just trying to understand what you mean.
 

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Living la Vida Loca!
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He's very well trained. So much so, strangers do comment on his training, but he has his moments, usually after me being a softy with hm.

My boy's goal in life is to see how much he can get away with, THEN make me happy.
I've only had one dobe so I'm no expert on training them! Coco just has always loved making me happy even when she was a mischievous pup. A big training reward for her is positive praise and seeing mama happy with her.

I've never had a male dobe but I have heard they sometimes take longer than the females to mature and find their brains! I don't know this for a scientific fact but just something I've heard.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
Tank is now 3, it has only been in last year I haven't threatened him daily to turn him into a door knocker by nailing his ears to the door. (I would never do this)
Can you give us an example? I mean if when you're training and he's doing the work... Not sure what the problem is?
Dobes are Dobes some are a little more polite (so I've been told) but Tank is Tank. He's mostly an angel when we go out, but he's always gone everywhere with me. I always set realistic expectations (<---biggest problem most people have IMO)
I always set him up for success (if possible).

Just trying to understand what you mean.
Daily training examples:
- Walking to heel (much improvement to be made)
- Sit
- Down
- Stay
- Compulsion stay
- Bite work (releasing on command is non-existent, but we'll get there)
- Stop
- Left / right
...the list goes on.

Apart from lead work, he does what I want when I ask in a training environment. At home, or when walking it's a different story, especially if a lot of affection has been previously shown.
 

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Snuggle Monster
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I wouldn't have gotten a Doberman unless I wanted a demanding, ridiculous, lap-hogging snuggle monster :) I don't think there's any such thing as "spoiling" a dog with too much affection. Like SieYa said, it's about setting realistic expectations. And it's about making sure your dog understands the if/then nature of NILF. IF he does what you want, THEN he gets what he wants. I used NILF training multiple times every single day (before I let him outside, before I gave him his food, before I threw a toy for him ...) so it was never something I would have to reintroduce any time he misbehaved -- it was just the way life operated, in my dog's mind. Maybe your boy is having a hard time understanding the connection because you're not using the training consistently?

But, if he's working when you want him to work ... can you give examples of where your problem is? Are you having a hard time keeping him calm while you give him affection? If this is the case, you could try a three-strikes-you're-out approach. If you keep trying to pet him/cuddle and he keeps getting worked up, put him in his crate for a few minutes for a little time out. My boy would get over excited sometimes and so I would put him in his crate as a way to help him calm down, focus, and collect himself. As soon as he had a hold of himself, he could come back out and lie calmly next to me.

And, like Dobe_Mom said, 2 is still very young. My boy is nearly 3 and I still think of him as a puppy, and he certainly still acts like a goofy puppy (most of the time). They are very slow to mature.
 

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Bazinga!
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Daily training examples:
- Walking to heel (much improvement to be made)
- Sit
- Down
- Stay
- Compulsion stay
- Bite work (releasing on command is non-existent, but we'll get there)
- Stop
- Left / right
...the list goes on.

Apart from lead work, he does what I want when I ask in a training environment. At home, or when walking it's a different story, especially if a lot of affection has been previously shown.

It is unlikely affection is the issue. Dogs learn quickly which means different environments elicit different responses. This means to me your expectations differ in each environment. No biggie it happens, you just have to take breath centre yourself and ask yourself what is different in comparison to who/what/where/when/why it was working before but isn't working now.

If they learn X environment means I must comply and do Y they do it. Vs changing the environment and keeping the same/similar expectations. Sometimes you have to take a step back. In order to be able to go forward.

Time and patience go hand in hand when training.

As an example

My best friend has a boxer best dog in the world love her to death (both of them) in class and at home dog is phenomenal. Take her somewhere new and her brain is non existent.

Back up a few steps and go back to basics in unfamiliar environs, within two weeks she's solid. But you have to create the correlation for the dog in the beginning. Plus he's still young :)

Once you get frustrated you need to go to something simple and quit on a positive note. Frustration shuts both parties down from good communication :)
 

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Mocha
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Tank is now 3, it has only been in last year I haven't threatened him daily to turn him into a door knocker by nailing his ears to the door. (I would never do this)
:roflmao:

That made my day LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I wouldn't have gotten a Doberman unless I wanted a demanding, ridiculous, lap-hogging snuggle monster :) I don't think there's any such thing as "spoiling" a dog with too much affection. Like SieYa said, it's about setting realistic expectations. And it's about making sure your dog understands the if/then nature of NILF. IF he does what you want, THEN he gets what he wants. I used NILF training multiple times every single day (before I let him outside, before I gave him his food, before I threw a toy for him ...) so it was never something I would have to reintroduce any time he misbehaved -- it was just the way life operated, in my dog's mind. Maybe your boy is having a hard time understanding the connection because you're not using the training consistently?

But, if he's working when you want him to work ... can you give examples of where your problem is? Are you having a hard time keeping him calm while you give him affection? If this is the case, you could try a three-strikes-you're-out approach. If you keep trying to pet him/cuddle and he keeps getting worked up, put him in his crate for a few minutes for a little time out. My boy would get over excited sometimes and so I would put him in his crate as a way to help him calm down, focus, and collect himself. As soon as he had a hold of himself, he could come back out and lie calmly next to me.

And, like Dobe_Mom said, 2 is still very young. My boy is nearly 3 and I still think of him as a puppy, and he certainly still acts like a goofy puppy (most of the time). They are very slow to mature.
Now that you mention it, NILF training is a part of our everyday routine. He always has to sit before going out/coming inside. The same with food etc. My reference is in regard to the affection shown. If he's been obnoxious (bring ignorant when asked to do something, bad manners in public, over excitable), I take the affection away and he steps off the gas.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It is unlikely affection is the issue. Dogs learn quickly which means different environments elicit different responses. This means to me your expectations differ in each environment. No biggie it happens, you just have to take breath centre yourself and ask yourself what is different in comparison to who/what/where/when/why it was working before but isn't working now.

If they learn X environment means I must comply and do Y they do it. Vs changing the environment and keeping the same/similar expectations. Sometimes you have to take a step back. In order to be able to go forward.

Time and patience go hand in hand when training.

As an example

My best friend has a boxer best dog in the world love her to death (both of them) in class and at home dog is phenomenal. Take her somewhere new and her brain is non existent.

Back up a few steps and go back to basics in unfamiliar environs, within two weeks she's solid. But you have to create the correlation for the dog in the beginning. Plus he's still young :)

Once you get frustrated you need to go to something simple and quit on a positive note. Frustration shuts both parties down from good communication :)
What you're saying is totally right, but the expectation for me (I believe) is the same. The only difference, aside from the environment is the freedom given (inside he's off lead). On occasion, I have placed him on lead when he is having one of his moments, but full-time it can be impractical.
 

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Bazinga!
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What you're saying is totally right, but the expectation for me (I believe) is the same. The only difference, aside from the environment is the freedom given (inside he's off lead). On occasion, I have placed him on lead when he is having one of his moments, but full-time it can be impractical.
Those moments get better and worse ;)

To be honest it's hard to say if your head is in the same place without having a third set of eyes. Set up your camera/iPad/tablet and try and record a problem moment for yourself to review at a later date. Sometimes you'll see yourself reacting in a slightly different light than you think you are.
I found (for myself) when things were at their worst everything about me was tense and frustrated. So going to umbilical without speaking to him was a must.
His moments of madness are fewer and farther between now.
I believe scent detection was truly a turning point for both of us.

He's a dobe, love him enjoy the madness, enjoy the brains the brawn and the sheer devotion lurking in that wonderful beast :)
 

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Jessie (age 2 1/2) gets these moments that she just wants to crawl into our skin for affection. She will demand that you stop whatever you are doing, starts jumping on you and will do the dober smiles in a rather pushy manner.

She gets plenty of exercise (2 daily walks, agility training daily, playing with our other dogs, etc). But it still happens as described above daily.

And Cruisir, age 6 is a cuddler and lap dog also. If you are sitting on the couch you will most likely have both dogs on your lap at the same time, and usually both want to be on the same person.

My other girl Jossie is way less demanding and has been an "easy" doberman.

The differences in the temperament of the puppies are noticeable at an early age. Our breeder knew that Jessie was going to need experienced doberman owners based on a temperament test done on the puppies by a trainer at age 7-8 weeks. This is why it is important to have a breeder match you with the correct dog from the litter and to know what your needs are.

Jossie would probably have been a good doberman for a first time dobe owner. With Jessie we knew full well what her temperament entailed. And Smokey our prior girl was way more difficult than what Jessie is, perhaps because we had less free time and experience.

But at the end of the day, the drivey dog is what suits us better for now. Jessie is perfect and we couldn't be more in love with her. We put up with her quirks and 95% of the time she is very well behaved.
 

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Got mutt?
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Define "too much affection". If it's nonstop petting and/or doing whatever they darn well please and damn the torpedoes, with no discipline, then yes, too much affection will spoil them.

On your list to things you are working on, when you say " walking to heel", do you mean a formal, obedience trial style heeling? Or a less formal loose leash walking, roughly in heel position? Formal heel work requires a LOT of effort and concentration on the dog's part, and expecting a young dog to do it for a long time is really unfair to them.
 

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Define "too much affection". If it's nonstop petting and/or doing whatever they darn well please and damn the torpedoes, with no discipline, then yes, too much affection will spoil them.

On your list to things you are working on, when you say " walking to heel", do you mean a formal, obedience trial style heeling? Or a less formal loose leash walking, roughly in heel position? Formal heel work requires a LOT of effort and concentration on the dog's part, and expecting a young dog to do it for a long time is really unfair to them.
I don't think amount of affection matters, it's the timing.

OP, would you pet a growling dog? Would say 'good boy' to one counter surfing? Would you coo over an obnoxious Dober butt that is pawing/whining/barking for attention?

NILF adds structure to life, I find most dogs thrive off of that. If a dog has a balanced and structured life, they can be cuddled, hugged, petted, given treats, chews, privileges, at the right times :)
 
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