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My Problem:

1004 Views 15 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  2dobies
I haven't been in this forum for more that a couple of days now, but I can see that this is definitely the place to post Dober-stuff that I want to get off my chest, but dont know who else to talk to about it.
We have this sweet 2 yr old (will be in 2 weeks, anyway) female dobie, Sasha, and she was a "rescue" of sorts. She originally belonged to my brother-in-law who THOUGHT he wanted a doberman, until he got her as a 6 wk old pup, and then never had time for her. She wasn't abused, but was totally neglected, and by the time she was 6 mo. old, he was making plans on "getting rid of her", so we took her. She seeks out attention any way she can---negative attention, too, cos that's all she ever got from her orig. guy. I've taken her to basic obedience class, and she really is improving in her manners. She is such a sweet dog--can't get close enough to you, y'know? She would crawl inside your mouth if she thought she could. Gets along with the other dogs, loves little kids, FINALLY is housebroken, etc. The problem is, whenever my brother-in-law comes over (which is seldom, by the way) she spends two or three days moping around and looking at the door after he's gone, like she's waiting for him to come back for her. I wish I could make her understand that he doesn't want her, but we do! I always hate it when he comes, because I know how Sasha will react when he's gone, and guess what??? He's coming over for Thanksgiving and plans to spend a day or two.
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A-w-w...the poor girl. Not a very good beginning. Bless you for caring so much and taking such good care of her. I think what you're doing, loving her, training her, taking walks with her is all anyone can do. When she seeks out attention and is doing behaviors you don't like, the best way I've found, especially with Dobermans, is to distract, redirect to some behavior that you do like, an alternative. It can be a command (skill) which she can be praised for. The more you show her what you DO want, the less she'll be searching for approval, but going about it in the "wrong" way, as in doing the no no's. Just keep her busy and lots of exercise.

As far as the moping goes, I don't really know what to do about that. It seems strange that after all this time and after all you do with her, she is showing this. If you like, I'll p.m. your post to someone I know who really seems to understand this type of thing. She's sort of an expert on the way dogs think and rehabilitates abused dogs. She may have some ideas for you. Let me know.
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Yeah, I'd appreciate any help at all, thanks. I know that Sasha knows that we love her, it's not that, but when he comes by to visit, he still calls her "daddy's girl" etc, and keeps her little doggie-hopes up. The bad thing is, he never, and I mean NEVER, has done anything with her, except to pet her and call her "daddy's girl"! He has never, ever put a leash on her and even taken her out the door! Maybe Sasha feels sorry for him! haha
Well, I p.m'd the gal I know so we'll just wait and see if she has any words of wisdom. Hang in there. At least she knows you love her and are her leader.
This is what my friend wrote:

Tell me if this makes sense:

If this dog lived with the man for six months, and he was working and not spending time with her, could it be she is reliving kind of a "conditioned" sadness when he walks out the door? Only now, he doesn't come back, so the sadness lasts longer because the old ritual hasn't been completed.

Some people get their dogs all riled up and exicted before they walk out the door, rather than keep their comings and goings low-key. It's like they try to fill them up with "love", to last them through their hours alone.

It would be like you saying to Lyric "Are you ready?!", and then just turn and walk out the door with out him.

It sounds like this guy may have really indulged himself with the dog's love, but didn't put her needs at these formative years, very high on his list. He sure has no problem walking back into her life and gushing her up again, which just adds more to the old ritual.

She sounds like she is of a soft, sweet, and dependant personality type, too.

I may have some more thoughts, but this is what comes to mind right off the top.
Here was my reply...haven't gotten an answer back yet:

That makes sense to me. During those early, formative months while her personality is ACTUALLY developing, she is conditioned day in and day out to create this mood that she gets into from being left alone. It may even be almost a partial disassociative state of sorts. She may be sad, but she may not be. It might be a protective state she gets herself into...kind of like she's made a habit of "shutting down" a little bit when he leaves. And like you said, if he makes a big fuss over her right before he leaves, it sends her into that mood because there has been emotion, conditioned, from the beginning... created by this one extreme to the other...excitement when he's there and all of a sudden, he goes without enough emotional nurishment the rest of the time.


So, my thoughts...just to reiterate: The dog was conditioned.....or experienced a "learned helplessness." When the dog is moping around, are you making a fuss over her? Naturally you feel sorry for her, but a lot of attention and sympathy can further perpetuate this.

So, the idea is that when he comes over, he should not gush all over the dog and get her all excited. It should be a low key visit and when he leaves, he should just leave, not kiss and hug her good-bye. It's like getting her all excited and then...the let down. Keep comings and goings low key and don't make a lot of mushy stuff when she's displaying that mood. Try to convey that it's no big deal and you're not a bit worried. She'll feed off your mood too if you're feeling worried and sorry for her. That's how I interpret it anyhow. Good luck. I'll write if my friend thinks of something else.
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Wow Carrie that wasn't even my problem but it was so helpful to read.. I sure wish you were here to help me with my friend and her Doberman.. Hey 2Dobies.. Good luck.. it sounds like some great advice that Carrie just gave..
Here's another little tidbit: (It's true that we often inadvertantly instill little problems in our dogs, thinking we're doing the right thing, but we don't look deep enough into how they interpret things....the way they think.) Frznbuns....glad it will help you too.

From my friend, a p.m. to me:

Inadvertant Disfunctional Conditioning: Creating an insecure state of mind through the unintentional repetition of a ritual or behavior, which reinforces or rewards it.

Hee-hee! I just made that up. A Debism?

Cesar would call it "Nurturing an unstable mind".

You mentioned the casual way you leave. I don't know if you realise some of the things that you comunicate to your dogs without knowing it. Part of this is what I call the "tude". You have a natural demeanor around dogs, even though you may think you're a little "hyper" sometimes. They learn the difference between a personality trait, and who you really are, when they live with you.

You can send what I wrote to you friend, and also send her what you wrote after I responded. Good stuff in there!


Here's what she meant by what I I leave: I know, when I leave, I say to the dogs, "bye, I'll be back" in a boring voice while I walk out the door. (like they know what all those words mean.) LOL.

When I come home, I don't completely ignore them, but I walk past them, set my groceries down, walk through the room, say, "hi dogs." I might put a couple things away. And after they're calmer, used to me being home, then I bend down and give them a real greeting. And when I leave, I just basically leave without any fanfare. That seems to help the dogs cope with my being gone better. It's matter of fact. It's going to happen and there is no big emotional storm going on while I'm coming or going. Hope that helps.
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When I come home, I don't completely ignore them, but I walk past them, set my groceries down, walk through the room, say, "hi dogs." I might put a couple things away. And after they're calmer, used to me being home, then I bend down and give them a real greeting. And when I leave, I just basically leave without any fanfare.

That's basically what I do, too, and I don't have any problems with leaving my dogs home when I'm gone. They are not crated, and the two dobes are home with a Pom, and 2 rat terriers, and everyone gets along great. They are all happy to see me when I come home, but like you, I do a couple of little non-dog things first, after calmly greeting them, and then proceed to giving pets, hugs, body rubs, whatever each individual dog enjoys as their own personal greeting!
The addvice from you and your friend certainly makes sense. Of course, that's exactly what he 'conditioned' Sasha to do! She probably relates seeing him again to the way it used to be when she was a puppy...that's the routine she lived for the first 6 months of her life. I'm thinking that when he comes over this time, I'll ask him to help me to help HER by not making a big fuss over her. Not that I dont want him to have anything at all to do with her, its not a 'jealous dad' thing, y'know? But when he lets me know that he will be leaving, that's when I'll take Sasha out for a fun walk, maybe she will learn to associate his leaving with something a little more pleasurable than just lying on the couch, staring at the door to see if he comes back.
Thanks you guys. I knew someone out there had some good advice. My family's advice was more in the line of "tell him to get the hell out of your house!"
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But when he lets me know that he will be leaving, that's when I'll take Sasha out for a fun walk, maybe she will learn to associate his leaving with something a little more pleasurable than just lying on the couch, staring at the door to see if he comes back.
Oh wow! That's a fantastic idea! You could include in the walk some super fantastic treat, like a little turkey or pumpkin pie. LOL. Then she'll be so eager next year for your b.i.l. to leave. LOL...:dancing_3

Be sure and let us know how it all goes. Happy Thanksgiving!
You got some great advice. I also think you should give her some turkey! :)

Have a happy Thanksgiving. :)
Well, that that's over, how did it go? I hope better this time. How's Sasha doing? I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving.
Actually,everything was GREAT....he never showed up!!! I took Sasha out to an empty ball diamond, though, and let her run and run. She actually was panting when we walked home. She had a good day, as did we all. Dogs all got turkey scraps, and a little dressing, and I even sneaked a forkfull of pumpkin pie to 'em! I'm going to keep my strategy though for when the b/L does come by. I think it will help. Sasha seems to be a little slower to mature emotionally than Dar was, but Dar is a whole year older, so it's not fair to compare them to each other, either. Poor Sasha has been through an emotionally rough puppyhood, though, and I just hope someday she will turn into the wonderful obedient dobe that I know is hiding inside her. Thanks for asking!
Oh good! It sounds like it was an all around good day. I think every dog deserves a little pumpkin pie. No harm in that stuff. After all, it's squash...probably loaded with vitamins and a little sugar won't hurt. I actually put about 1/4 cup of whiskey in my mixture, which makes two pies. It gives it a little zing. And my dogs all got a bite of pumpking pie too.

I think Sasha will turn out great since she has such a conscientous parent.
Wow! Great help Carrie! (and your friend!) It's amazing to look into how the animals actually view things, and how we (meaning humans in general not me or you specifically) actually, not realizing it, condition the majority of the problems they have into them.
Oh's incredible how so many little things can easily slip by us in the way of inadvertantly instilling this or that in their personalities and behaviors. Very interesting. But of course, sometimes it might be nothing we did, but some external, enviornmental thing. But then that, sometimes can be modified too, depending on how we handle it. It's a lot to think about and even know about. Things sure can sneak by us.
Actually, I believe that bringing up a dog is much like bringing up your own children. They both learn more from our subtle actions than we think they do!
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