Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums banner
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Harch is now a little over 5 months old and his getting more & more vocal. We've been working on the outside barking, redirecting when there are distractions and he's gotten a lot better. One issue has been getting worse though :( He's always been well mannered on his walks when he's on the prong collar. No pulling, no barking at other dogs, no jumping on people... UNTIL we stop to talk to someone. He'll greet them nicely, but then he gets antsy. He'll start to whine, talk, moan, sometimes even yell. It's even worse if the person is with a dog. He can't just sit or lie down and stay calm. He needs the attention. Same thing when we're at a store. He's fine walking up & down the aisle but as soon as I stop for a second (doesn't have to be anyone around) he starts whining. He's really bad at checkout lines, since there's usually a wait. I don't like to treat him during this time so he doesn't associate being vocal with getting a treat. instead I try to get him to settle & treat if he stays quiet.
We take him to outdoor restaurants and he's good as long as he has a bone to chew on. Sometimes he'll get bored of it though and gets a little vocal, but we can usually get him interested in the bone again, or someone takes him for a quick walk around the block.

The worst is at puppy class. :mad: He completed the first set of 6 week classes, and towards the end he started getting more & more vocal. The trainer knows I work with him at home, so she'll try to give us a bit more advanced work to do, but when we're stopped & listening to instruction he's so loud it's hard for everyone to hear her. She suggested brining a kong to keep him busy. Great, not he expects a PB kong at class and goes right back to being vocal once he's finished eating it. We just started the next level class (5 months -1 yr) and he's the loudest one. We try to redirect his attention to me by walking around even when everyone else is standing still, or doing some commands, but all he wants to do is talk to everyone else. There have been a few times that he gets so amped up he gets crazy eyes. When this happens I take him outside let him sniff around and then we go back in.
The instructor wants to try putting a gentle leader on him next week. I'm thinking if this is actual leash anxiety, won't a gentle leader get him more amped up? There's not a lot of time to talk to the instructor between classes, but I did ask for some advice on how to work on this at home and she said to just keep taking him places. That the more he's exposed to being restrained in public the better he'll be. There's got to be more to it though right? I get it, he's over threshold, but isn't the point of taking him to puppy class is to socialize him & get him used to being out in public.
I try to do mat work with him at home; to get him to settle by sitting or lying down while still paying attention to me. Of course he's a rockstar, there's no distractions.
Are there any games we can play at home or in the stores? Gentle leader is not the answer here right?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
979 Posts
I would start working with him on things like 'watch me' in lower level distraction settings like a park that doesn't have a lot of people but some. Do short training sessions and 'watch me' and give some treats while he is listening and not being vocal.

As he does well I would continue to step it up to places with little bit higher level of distractions. Short training sessions including the 'Watch me'.

And always end on a success and don't drag it out till he is overloaded and starts getting vocal.

Do you have a friend(s) that you can practice walking with so you can do the sit while you talk to a person for short sessions. Give him some 'watch me's in between you talking to keep his attention. Then don't drag out the chatting and move on. And walk by again and put him in 'sit' and talk for short time interval and just repeat these exercises?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,136 Posts
I personally stay away from the gentle leader and I'm not sure why they would think it would work any better than a prong?

I also do NOT think this is leash anxiety. You have a high energy, high drive, highly intelligent dog, unlike most that are probably in your classes, who is also a known vocal dog as well.

Gretchen is the EXACT same way, if we are sitting in OB or waiting our turn in Rally class she's very vocal about letting me know she's bored and wants attention. This has gotten better with age but is still an issue. In class I play "watch me" games (or "look" as some people refer to it). I will hold a treat in both hands and say "watch me" and once she stops looking at my hands and looks at me she gets a treat. The better she gets the more I stretch out my arms until I'm in a "T". Remember they have the attn. span of a gnat so you may only keep attn. for 10 sec. THAT'S GREAT for 5 mo. so start there and build up to 15sec... Sometimes I'll even throw the treat (not far maybe a foot or so) and play "watch", "wait","ok". Sometimes I pull out a toy for her as well but the further you get up in OB classes the more irritating people will get if you bring toys. If I'm trying to pay attn. to the instructor then I just pet her in her favorite spots and that usually works to calm her down. At home we play "go to your bed" where I send her to her pillow while we eat. I also change where her pillow is in the room. She gets a treat for going there and for staying. As she's gotten older it has gotten better so there is hope still :p
 

·
Got mutt?
Leo, Lily, and Simon
Joined
·
14,256 Posts

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
22,847 Posts
Doesn't sound like anxiety to me, nor do I think just switching "tools" is the answer. It sounds like it's a self control issue, a "high drive" dog issue.

A book you may find helpful is this one: Fired Up, Frantic, and Freaked Out This trainer describes working with "over the top" dogs who have self-control issues, including her own Doberman. She's a great trainer and the exercises are easy to implement. I really, really liked this book.

I'd also start practicing simple self-control exercises - you can google "It's Yer Choice" (yes, spelled that way)...I think the more you can do with those types of exercises to help your pup learn that when he chooses self-control, he earns rewards, the more progress you will make. He may also need other ways to channel his drives. You might explore something like an agility foundations class - look for a really good one. The trainers should not be doing anything with jumps or even any obstacles at this age. Instead, it's a lot of things like body awareness, targeting, etc. It's great for a dog with drive, brains, etc. You'd be surprised how tiring it is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone for the input! I feel a little bit better knowing I'm not the only one with such a loud dobe.
I'm going to check out that on-line class & already downloaded the book!
Where we're going to class does offer agility (Top Dog in Flanders, NJ), but you need to pass the basic classes first. I'd love to get him into agility for fun. Hopefully we'll make some progress in these beginners classes. I swear the only reason the trainer hasn't kicked me out yet is because she knows I try to work him. Plus he's so pretty, how could you kick this beauty out?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
22,847 Posts
Do you clicker train at all? You might try clicking him for quiet behavior. I've found that they are very smart and quickly catch on to what they are being "clicked" for if you have good timing, so that might be something to consider if you have good timing. It's a really good way to teach a dog what you DO want (as opposed to trying to teach what you don't want, which I find harder to do). If they know precisely what you want (as marked by the click at the right moment) it's easy for them to learn the correct behavior.

I think you mentioned you are doing mat work with him? Are you doing Dr. Karen Overall's Relaxation Protocol? If not, start! If you are, start working Day 1 in a slightly more distracting environment. Repeat Day 1 over and over until you can get a relaxed dog on that exercise on his mat, then proceed to day 2...repeat. Then you up the environmental distractors and start at day 1 again...make sense?
 
  • Like
Reactions: DTalksAll

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I do clicker training, but more for learning new commands. I fear my timing might not be the best (it's my first time using a clicker).
I was just doing simple zen mat work. Not really following a program, just rewarding him when he goes to his mat and lays quietly. He's mastered it while I prep his food and while training. I can get him to sit on his mat when he's hyper, but I can't get him to really settle down.
Is this another Dobe thing, or is it a Harch thing... He has a lot of difficulty staying in a sit. His legs slide down, and he's constantly repositioning himself. This happens from a tuck sit, and a sit. :confused: So usually when I ask him for a sit, after a few seconds he'll slide down into a down. 1/2 by choice because he thinks I'm going to ask for it next, and 1/2 because he's sliding down already.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
22,847 Posts
I do clicker training, but more for learning new commands. I fear my timing might not be the best (it's my first time using a clicker).
I was just doing simple zen mat work. Not really following a program, just rewarding him when he goes to his mat and lays quietly. He's mastered it while I prep his food and while training. I can get him to sit on his mat when he's hyper, but I can't get him to really settle down.
Is this another Dobe thing, or is it a Harch thing... He has a lot of difficulty staying in a sit. His legs slide down, and he's constantly repositioning himself. This happens from a tuck sit, and a sit. :confused: So usually when I ask him for a sit, after a few seconds he'll slide down into a down. 1/2 by choice because he thinks I'm going to ask for it next, and 1/2 because he's sliding down already.
Google the Relaxation Protocol. It's boring as heck, but it makes a tremendous difference - I promise! I don't use a clicker or marker word, and I do it with the dog in a down on their mat. You'll be amazed at how it teaches your dog to relax.

You might also get some use out of Leslie McDevitt's Control Unleashed Puppy book. There are some "on/off" exercises that help teach self-control in there, too. It's a little less "user friendly" than the Fired Up book, but it's super useful, too.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DTalksAll

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Google the Relaxation Protocol.
:thanx: Thank you so much for this recommendation! I was just doing simple settles on his blanket. It's amazing how quickly we see a difference when following a structured plan. So far I've been hand feeding all meals on his mat using the Relaxation Protocol. He's more vocal in the mornings when he's uber hungry, but he gets it. We also do some "watch me" & "It's yer choice". Tomorrow we'll try a meal outside on our balcony where he sometimes gets distracted, but not as bad as in the front grassy area.
The only issue I have with this is it gets him amped up once we're done. Probably due to the frustration of not being able to do what he wants. Usually when I train with him, even for 5 minutes, it's easier for him to relax and he's more calm. With the Relaxation Protocol, he seems to have more energy when we're done & will bark at every little thing (bees, outside sitting on my flowers). So long walks and play time is always in order now.
He can be stubborn at times, but he's also smart & knows exactly what I expect of him. He'll try to work something to his advantage, realize it's not happening and does what he's supposed to. He just started talking back to me :rolleyesww: ... The other day I wouldn't let him chew on the rug that he knows he's not supposed to chew on, but he really wanted to chew on it. So he sat there watching me, waiting for me to turn away so I wouldn't see him, when I didn't he started talking back. What a stinker! I was wondering at what age that starts. I guess for Harch it's 5.5 months :screama:
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
22,847 Posts
If you pick up the CU Puppy book, the on/off switch game might be super helpful. Teaches them to basically "rev up" and then calm down. It's really helpful.

For the talking back/naughtiness...Richter went through that. I finally ended up doing a time out in the crate. The critical part of it was that I gave him a verbal marker that meant he was about to be "punished" - I picked "quit it" said pretty sternly. I didn't use that phrase in casual conversation so it wasn't confusing to him. Basically if he started barking at me, I'd warn him with "quit it," and if he continued I would very unemotionally escort him to his crate for a very brief time out, which he HATED. He didn't like losing his privileges to be out and having fun. The key was the warning, that the time out was brief, and that he, of course, wasn't allowed to get back out of his crate if he threw a tantrum or something. It's not something that will work for every dog and I don't recommend it if you think it might make your dog hate his crate, but it worked like a charm for him. It only took a couple of times, and he completely stopped.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
He loves his crate except when I leave the house. He knows when I'm getting ready to leave and will start fussing before he's even in his crate.
We do time out sometimes, I try not to do it too much though. He does know the crate is his safe place and will go there when the evil dyson comes out, or when he's grumpy and can't find a comfortable snuggle spot on the floor.
I did not get "Controlled Unleashed" yet, but I am trying to work through "Fired Up, Frantic and Freaked Out".
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
22,847 Posts
I think you'll continue to see great progress...remember, sometimes they have bursts of naughtiness as they improve... :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Update:
We had class last night & he did slightly better. I usually like to tire him out a bit before class so he's not too antsy, but we had some bad rain and everyone knows that dobes melt in the rain :D I will get him a rain coat when he stops growing, but for now we're limited to hide it, and some ball playing in the basement.
I had PB left in his kong when we got home from class; I usually run out by the first 5 minutes. Instead of just holding it for him to keep him occupied, I'd take it away and give it to him when he was acting calm. Or when we're all huddled close & I really needed to keep him distracted.
The Relaxation Protocol definitely helped improve his focus skills and keep him less antsy. He did have one moment when he had crazy eyes, I might have amped him up too much for doing a good leave it. But I didn't feel defeated when I left class. All the pups were pretty vocal due to the rain & lack of exercise. I don't think he was the loudest in the bunch this week. I can tell he's bored there, but I need him to practice being calm when he's bored. Instead of working on the commands (which he's known for months now) I just try to keep him calm. If I just got him to shut up and lie down, there is no way I'm going to put him in a sit to lie back down. ;)
We took him to a fair this past weekend with some friends. Of course he was the center of attention, but he did really well. Only got vocal a few times and we were able to redirect him easily. :nicejob:
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top