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Hi all,
Walking my 17 week old Dobe is such a bad experience that its taking its toll on me mentally to be honest. I didn't expect an obedient dog when he came 2 weeks ago, but the disobedience has been a bit of a shock to the system. Walks and "Off" are two major battles I'm having right now.
So he's either dead still and won't follow, trying to go off in a completely different direction or he is running and pulling the lead ferociously (this is when we get back within sight of the house without fail).
Now I've tried many of the suggestions - we've worked on heel work inside the house, when he pulls I "make like a tree" and refuse to budge to which he just barks yelps and pulls harder. I've tried redirecting him in different directions which he basically doesn't adhere to at all. I've tried a slip collar which gave minor success but I felt it was only because he was physically restrained and I don't know if its right to do.
The walks are getting worse and worse every time I take him out to the point where I can't even make it to the end of the road most times. It's making getting good exercise impossible.
I've enrolled in puppy school to see if that helps.
I guess I just want to know if this is normal behavior or there is something wrong with my handling. Should I just take it easy? Should it be this hard?
 

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He's a baby. You have to reevaluate your expectations. This is absolutely normal behavior.

Consistency is key. It sounds like you've used a LOT of different things in a short time. Nothing's going to work instantly. Pick one thing, and keep trying that one thing. Walks at this age often suck!

I'm a fan of the surprise reverse. Start walking in one direction, puppy pulls, IMMEDIATELY turn around and walk the other direction. Rinse, repeat. You probably won't get more than 5 feet from the door but I've found it effective. Don't forget to reward the behavior you want, even if it's just for a second or two.
 

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First off RPL --- Welcome to DT , from Indiana .

Second - I have never heard that or seen that with any of our Dober puppies ,, --- WOW , That lightning bolt hit close to me and the sun is shining -- lol

So maybe I had better come clean - OOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHH Yes ! they can try you and they have there own thoughts on how things should go -- mainly in there favor .

You are on the right track Jay - enrolling in a class - remember here - the classes are to help teach you to train the pup and then when you get home , you need to practice , practice and practice what you learned !

It will get better - I don't think there is anybody on here that could say they have never gone threw a few problems with a pup , and at this time I have have a new girl that is a true little hellion ! But as she is getting older ( 1 and 3 months ) wow what change in her , Oh but we have a long ways to go to , Patients ( tons of it ) and training and in short order it will get better .

You asked should it be this hard - with any pup , they will try you , Dobers are in the top 5 for smarts ! And they know when and how to use them ,

When is your first class ? When you go , might talk to the instructor and tell her some of the sticking points .

Good luck and keep us informed to your progress

Doc
 

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I agree with both @falnfenix and @ECIN. This is normal, he is a baby, consistency is key, it will get better, be sure to give lots of calm praise and rewards for anything done correctly.

My boy is a year and he is the most challenging dog I have ever had. My other dogs were insanely easy to train compared to my Doberman. They are wicked intelligent AND discerning and thoughtful. That makes a challenging recipe for puppyhood and adolescence.

Read as much as you can on dog behavior (How to Speak Dog by Coren), get into puppy class immediately, keep your expectations low, exercise his brain as much as his body (actually, more), and get that foundation of shaped behaviors down now. When he hits adolescence it will likely get worse for a bit.

I am an experienced dog owner with obedience titles on past dogs AND I did a lot of research on the Doberman breed and that still did NOT prepare me for the challenge.

Now, after 10 months of training, working, crying, bleeding, sleeplessness, triumphs, setback, more training, broken bones, more crying, a few more triumphs, and 6 different trainers we are making progress and a lot of it. I have a thread that chronicles the highs and lows which you may find useful.

I would say to you that it is completely worth it in the end, but getting there is not for the faint of heart. If you find It to be too much and have no joy when interacting with your pup, it may be worth considering a return to the breeder. But, if you can find a trainer who has experience with working dogs and you click with that trainer, you put in the effort, and you remain calm and cool in the face of the challenges, you will have a companion who will give you a lifetime of joy.

Good luck and please post photos of your little monster. We love puppy photos!
 

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My current boy was like that. The big unknown world was his, and his to explore, no matter what I did. My solution was to take him up to a local street nearby with all kinds of varying activity and let him just sit and observe. We did this for months. He quickly became used to all kinds of distraction.

My on-leash technique was two-fold, depending on where the pup's head was at. The reverse method that falnfenix employs was first. But when he lunged, instead of a constant full strength puppy pull, I did the dead stop and "act like a tree" thing. Then keeping the leash taut, I'd slowly get back to his side. Then start again.

The main thing, IMO, is patience. You absolutely can not have a dedicated distance or destination goal in mind. On training walks, your only agenda should be the lesson that you are trying to impart to the pup. Also, you should start using small time increments, Just a matter of a few minutes initially.

My dog is an intact male, and as he matured, marking, along with the prerequisite sniffing and/or licking, again started to interfere with his leash compliance. At this point, it was a kind of give and take, but at no point did I give in to lunging or constantly pulling.

As a note... My wife ALWAYS has an agenda when she walks, including with the dog. Unwilling/unable to help with leash training, she resorted to walking compliance with the "treat" method. She always carried a easily available bag of small tasty treats. She (and the pup), liked Charlee Bear treats. They are really tiny, but filled with flavor. She doled them out periodically to get him to walk gently. He success was not nearly as good as mine, and may not have even worked at all without the work I did. But it was satisfactory for her purposes.

This being said, all puppies are different. My son's current pup came home from the breeder at 11+ weeks and was pretty comfortable on a leash. Within a matter days, my 4 yo grandson was walking him. The one thing that he had to broken of, was taking his leash in his mouth and playing with it. He still does it sometimes, if he thinks he can get away with it. But, he settles down once the actual walk begins.

Finally, remember, these walks, including the training aspect are for the dog (puppy). This is his time. You need to make it a calm and pleasant experience. If you go into this with impractical expectations, you are setting your self up for the frustration that you are feeling. More importantly, you are setting your puppy up for failure, which defeats the entire purpose of any training.

Best to you and the pup

John Lichtwardt
Portland OR
 

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When I see this post a part of me laughs because you def. have a typical baby puppy. Welcome to the world of owning a working breed.

I think your expectations are wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too high for a baby. I would suggest finding a trainer AND going to training classes on top of that.

In comparison to humans, I'd say you have a 1 year old child. Everything is new, everything is fun and if they can put it in their mouth, no matter if it can kill them, they will. If they can reach it it's theirs, and if they can reach it before you see them and go after them, even better. Giving a correction is nearly pointless but redirecting will work... some of the time.

If he's dead still and won't follow or pulls in the opposite direction, that either means he knows it's not going to be fun or he's scared. At this age you should be luring or shaping. It sounds like you don't have much training experience so ignore shaping and lets talk about luring. Take a high value treat like chicken or steak and when he sits put it in front of him and have him follow for a few steps, say, "good" and give him the treat. Rinse and repeat. If he pulls in the opposite direction, call him to you, if he even BEGINS to come to you or turn his head to listen, high voice saying, "good", when he arrives to you, "good" and then treat, and then lure him to go the way you want him too with the treat. If he's yanking and pulling to get at things... maybe try letting him? Is the walk for him to see the world and become better socialized or for you? You can try catching him going in that direction and calling him to you and giving a treat. You can also try working on "leave it' at home but it will rarely work for a baby puppy seeing things for the first time.

I can try to help you with words on the internet and you can see if you can find videos but your best bet for a successful relationship with your dog is a trainer.
 

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Everything is new, everything is fun and if they can put it in their mouth, no matter if it can kill them, they will. If they can reach it it's theirs, and if they can reach it before you see them and go after them, even better

G- Red -- You said a Mouth full right there -- pun intended : )))) But so true !!!!!!!
 

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I've had Dobes for a lot of years and really can't think of one that wasn't a PITA puppy. One thing to bear in mind is that dogs don't generalize very well. So whatever you have succeeded in teaching him at home--in the house or in the yard just falls out his ear once you take him outside--where "ohm'gawd" there is all this different stuff!. I've used the about reverse a lot when training loose leash walking in the world instead of in the back yard--with some puppies I spent days to week making six foot oval in front of the house because in five steps the puppy was pulling again--about turn and five steps back--oops pulling--about turn...

And trying to "drill" a Doberman--whether puppy or adult--just doesn't work. Make training sessions short and the pay offs for getting and doing what you want are large. This works--luring for puppies is just much more effective than trying to force them to do something--they really don't get it and they are smart--so just think of them as "show me dogs" and it'll work better all the way around.

A good beginning class (I prefer beginning performance type obedience classes--I find them more effective than things like beginning puppy or household obedience classes).

But as has been pointed out--this is a baby--a very smart one, but you don't speak his language and he barely speaks yours so it takes time to teach these things. And your frustration runs right down the lease to tell the puppy he's wrong and doesn't help to tell him how to be right. A good trainer will help that along.

Good luck and stick with it--don't give up at this point--don't have big expectation for a very young dog who is just starting to figure out what you want and how to do it--if you keep working at it he'll get it. And you will eventually have the dog you want.

dobebug
 

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I'm a fan of the surprise reverse. Start walking in one direction, puppy pulls, IMMEDIATELY turn around and walk the other direction. Rinse, repeat. You probably won't get more than 5 feet from the door but I've found it effective. Don't forget to reward the behavior you want, even if it's just for a second or two.
This works. ^^^^ My second Dobe was a 2-year old rescue with absolutely NO leash training. Someone said try a harness, HA! That just allowed him to pull harder. I took him to obedience class and the first night, he dragged me across the parking lot to hump a female Rottie (he was neutered), and we got kicked out of class before it even started.

Then someone told me about that quick-reverse thing, and THAT worked. Like a charm! I had a long 15-foot lead and just worked him in the yard. He'd run out almost to the end and I'd turn around and go the opposite direction. I think it took maybe 10 minutes, MAYBE, before he was following along right beside me, watching me carefully to see what I was going to do. I couldn't believe how easy it was.

I'm sure there are a lot of people who think it's cruel to bring them up short like that, but I'm betting those people never got dragged across a gravel parking lot on their face before. First and foremost, you have to get the dog to pay attention to YOU when you're walking on a lead.
 

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Dobermans will do just about anything if its worth it, so make it worth it.
Their daily kibble is a great way to keep them close to your side.
With my boy Hoss we trained initially with leash in the house, then in the back yard, then side yard, then front of house, much later on the sidewalks to the end of the road. Baby steps on the distance at first.
Its just so exciting for a pup to be outside. So many new things to smell and scent.
Yes what you are experiencing is normal.
So start out slow in areas around your home with low distraction just you and the pup.
And as time goes by and you note improvement then progress into other areas a little bit at a time.
At the beginning of our outside walks I would let Hoss have a nice long sniffery.
15 foot lead ….and just him roam around the back yard sniffing, peeing, whatever.
Once his level of excitement settled down then I would change him to his 6 foot leather lead for a 5 minute session.
He began to pick up on the 6 foot lead over time. He knew it was time for obedience when I changed his lead to the 6 foot.
My initial goal with him as a young pup first coming home was a loose lead walk at the beginning.
Sometimes they are still getting used to wearing a collar and now a lead hanging from that collar.
Once we were in training mode If Hoss pulled I would tap my leg first as a signal to Hoss, then I would turn the other direction.
As time went by that tap to my leg worked out, as he began to self correct And would stop pulling.
The reward we would continue forward motion.
If pulling continued I would do a slow turn in the other direction.
Bones are still forming in your little one so be easy on that neck.
Slow human turnabout Will work because pup is losing his chance to continue moving forward.
Excellent breed but it does take a year and to build a strong foundation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Wow, I’m overwhelmed with the responses. Thank you all for taking time out to give me such detail. I guess the main thing for me is I just need to relax and let him be a baby. I did so much research and hear how intelligent they are all the time, and I think I made the mistake of mistaking intelligence for automatic obedience!
I walked him today and relaxed a bit, letting him go and explore the distractions and then calling him back when I wanted him to come, it worked about 70% of the time and I think we both had a much better walk.
This was the first time we ever walked on the stretch of road back to the house without him pulling!
Here is a picture of the handsome devil, :
Dog Carnivore Dog breed Plant Working animal

His ears are just resting while I change the posts, long way to go in that department clearly!
 

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I'm sure there are a lot of people who think it's cruel to bring them up short like that, but I'm betting those people never got dragged across a gravel parking lot on their face before. First and foremost, you have to get the dog to pay attention to YOU when you're walking on a lead.
The key thing to consider is the age of the dog in question. An older dog often needs a harder correction when the behavior has had time to develop into habit. Baby puppies usually just need to be startled once or twice before they'll stick with the handler.
 

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Hi all,
Walking my 17 week old Dobe is such a bad experience that its taking its toll on me mentally to be honest. I didn't expect an obedient dog when he came 2 weeks ago, but the disobedience has been a bit of a shock to the system. Walks and "Off" are two major battles I'm having right now.
So he's either dead still and won't follow, trying to go off in a completely different direction or he is running and pulling the lead ferociously (this is when we get back within sight of the house without fail).
Now I've tried many of the suggestions - we've worked on heel work inside the house, when he pulls I "make like a tree" and refuse to budge to which he just barks yelps and pulls harder. I've tried redirecting him in different directions which he basically doesn't adhere to at all. I've tried a slip collar which gave minor success but I felt it was only because he was physically restrained and I don't know if its right to do.
The walks are getting worse and worse every time I take him out to the point where I can't even make it to the end of the road most times. It's making getting good exercise impossible.
I've enrolled in puppy school to see if that helps.
I guess I just want to know if this is normal behavior or there is something wrong with my handling. Should I just take it easy? Should it be this hard?
Hi JayRPL
Have you tried a head halti it’s better than the gentle leader and it worked for my dobe girl. Any time I put her on a slip or regular collar it was a WOOHOO moment for her, and yes they can pull. I was able the train her quite a bit with it before I took her to formal training to teach me (not her) how to get her to behave with a slip or regular collar on. Now she is a joy.
Amber’s mom
 

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I wouldn't use a head halti on a dobe--they are predisposed to neck trouble already--but there are other no-pull options that might work for you. But going to a puppy class and/or a basic obedience course, with your dedicated homework, is the way to go.

You might consider using a prong collar when he gets older if you continue to have trouble even with a lot training--but for right now, a training class with instruction from an experienced trainer, who can assess the way you two work together (or don't LOL) and what kinds of training methods work for him, is your best bet.
 

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@JayRPL thank you for the update! I think your misconception is common for first time Doberman people. They really are unique and special dogs and no amount of experience with other breeds can truly prepare you for the wild ride of Dobie puppyhood and adolescence. Might I quote Betty Davis’ character from All About Eve? “Fasten your seatbelts; we're in for a bumpy night.” :ROFLMAO:
I’ve been chronicling my boy’s highs and lows in another thread and I applaud you for reading the advice given and the work you are putting in. He is handsome boy and will be worth all the blood, sweat, tears (and in my case) broken bones!!
But…but….but…what’s he called? I missed that somewhere.
 

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He's a baby. You have to reevaluate your expectations. This is absolutely normal behavior.

Consistency is key. It sounds like you've used a LOT of different things in a short time. Nothing's going to work instantly. Pick one thing, and keep trying that one thing. Walks at this age often suck!

I'm a fan of the surprise reverse. Start walking in one direction, puppy pulls, IMMEDIATELY turn around and walk the other direction. Rinse, repeat. You probably won't get more than 5 feet from the door but I've found it effective. Don't forget to reward the behavior you want, even if it's just for a second or two.
I totally agree
 
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