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Hi there I was recently asked to show a friend's 2 1/2 year old male Dobe. He was shown as a young puppy (7 months) and actually was RWD twice from the puppy classes at major shows. Anyway he hasn't been shown since and I brought him to handling class twice now and he's a great dog - happy and friendly and sweet but he stiffens up and growls (mutters under his breath LOL) when someone goes over him and gets to his middle and especially rear. The first class I had a hard time getting him to stay standing - he kept wanting to sit but last week he stayed standing better but was so worried and grumpy! Any tips? Can I even get him over this? The owner is a novice - the breeder is actually blaming him but the dog has just been living as a pet and is very well behaved at home and a great dog with his kids, strangers, etc.

HELP!
 

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Do you only work with the dog once a week at class?

The easiest way I've found to desensitize is to stack the dog and do a brief exam yourself first, 2x day before meals. Make it positive and use a clicker if you have one to mark a perfect, calm exam behavior form him. (Or say "yes" when he stands and has a relaxed exam.) Then have his owner examine him while you hold, then have a stranger. This may take at least few weeks to work through....so don't be in a big hurry.

From your brief description, it sounds to me he's overwhelmed in class and does not have total reliance on yo to keep him "safe". Hope that makes sense. You need to change his thinking so that exams= lots of YUMMY food and it becomes no big deal.
 

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try putting him in a stand stay, step to the end of the lead, then have someone go over him.

Sometimes it makes a difference when you are not standing right next to them.

Or......he just does not want to be a 'show' dog anymore. :)
 

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I have a dog that a judge can yank his mouth open, hold it there forever go over his front in a very aggressive manner but get to his mid section he will either step out and shrink away.

I finally figured it out, his anal glands, I went to a George Alston Seminar and he was talking about issues with dogs that refused to stand and he stated most of these dogs have anal gland issues. I am not saying that this is the problem but something definetly to look at.
 
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Sometimes novice owners are pretty dumb about what they do to and with their dogs that they expect to go into the show ring eventually.

I know of a couple of males whose owners played a game with them that involved the owner grabbing at the dogs testicles--which quickly taught the dog to not let anyone near his rear. The handler of one of the dogs managed to train the dog to stand and stay but the other dog ended up holding down the couch at home (kind of a shame as he was a very handsome dog) because they couldn't desensitize him on the testicle issue and if you are a male dog the judge is going to check them.

I also know of an owner who bought a dog specifically as a show prospect--the breeder told the owner to socialize the dog and take him places so he'd be comfortable going to dog shows when he was older. The owner did take him places but wouldn't let anyone touch him (he'd been told by someone that dogs who will let people other than their owners touch them will not be protective). The breeder who was going to handle the dog could hardly get his hands on the dog when he was preparing to enter him in a show and had the owner bring him over to work with him. That dog went back to live with the breeder for six months and became his "road dog", went to all of the shows and everyone walked him and handled him--he got most of his meals fed to him by hand from total strangers and did develop enough confidence to go in the ring and finish his championship but he was never very comfortable around strangers. His owner, while pleased about the championship was very concerned that the dog would no longer be protective because he'd "touched" by so many people.

EllenM's suggestions would pretty much be what I'd try...looks like that would cause the least amount of further stress for the dog and be most likely to be successful. At 2-1/2 he should be young enough to adapt to something new.

I don't think I'd want to rely on a "stand, stay" for a dog who was growling under his breath when an examination was going on. I'd want my hands on a dog who was offering this sort of behavior.
 

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Is there a reason he must be shown? If not, I might consider not showing him if he's growling.

If the breeder is that "concerned" and thinks the owner has done such a poor job, have they offered to help in any wayu with constructive advice?
 

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Have to say here, I agree. This often happens to "novice" folks who take a dog and intend to show it but mess it up along the way. I've had this happen many times.

It comes from people not knowing any better. Thus, the dog and the breeder suffer. This is not the first time this has happened; and, I'm glad to see it is common.

I'll never forget when I was young and bred a very nice bitch of whom I had many hopes. However, I had kids and this guy had the dollars. He promised to show the bitch and special it. I would go to his house and check on her progress.

One day I noticed she was not developing in her breasts for her age. So I found out that the bitch had been spayed. He did not know that a bitch could not be shown spayed. No one told him including the zealous vet.

So now I am so much more cautious with homes for puppies. I say that once they leave the nest, you can pretty much kiss them goodbye. Its hard learning this stuff that's for sure. Had I known his intentions, he would have not gotten this bitch. He made the best bitch a pet; it made me sick to look at her anymore.

This is why breeders have gotten so strict.
 
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