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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This may seem out of nowhere...but I was thinking of TracyJo's brag and I was thinking about the confidence we have with our dobes...and how maybe we can feel more comfortable with their growls and barks if we knew what was the right amount of "warning" for a certain suspision(sp)

Dobes are natural watch dogs that will naturally protect...but WHAT makes a great watch dog? I heard that a good watch dog will bark and growl but know when to stop. They are good judges of situations and people. I was thinking we could compile some articles about how socializing your dobe and allowing them to interact with alot of different kinds of people and expose them to everyday and new situations really allows to do their job better.
what is the normal amount of shown aggression when a dog is "watching"?
Duchess tends to stare at the person she is suspicious about...maybe standing farther away like 30 feet. then if her opinion doesnt change of the person she will let out a low growl...if it still doesnt change she will let out a bark...and doesnt happen often but if she still doesnt feel right about them she will bark and then do a howl...
one time at the dog park there was a guy across the field holding a practice hunting gun...duchess stared and then barked and then howled and then did this slow trot to him while "huffing a bark" is what i call it because it just sounds like the phrase huffing and puffing when people are somewhat upset...she then figured out what he had and was okay with him. she has never shown signs of biting even for the hunting guy with the gun. I am completely confident that it must take alot for her to not accept someone THAT much.
are there any good articles on this topic? or articles on what level of growls and are barks are appropriate for a certain situation? I just thought if people had opinions, experiences, or readings, articles, quotes, anything that can be applied to this.
 

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If there are. I'm interested in reading them.

A situation like this happened today. And now you have me wondering. Because Bruno is a nervous dog so he doesn't trust much of anything. But I noticed when there is a stranger around, and they don't say hi to him, or they startled him. Or even if they just give a stare at him and don't take their eyes off him. He lets out a little bit of a growl towards them. There was a man at the vet outside. Guess he was waiting for his wife. He was older, I'd say about 60-70's. He was near my car smoking. He scared Bruno because Bruno didn't see him there. But then the man just gave a dirty look and basically stared him down, so to speak. Once the men just stared at Bruno, that's when Bruno growled. But after I told him no, he continued on to wait till I was done buckling my son into the car.

So I'm curious too if there is a write up about the growls and warnings. Good post LapDog :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
yeah...and I may be repeating some that I said in the first post...but Duchess loves everyone and people but she will let out low growls or barks if she feels concerned about someone. but at an event when there are people all around her she will just walk through the crowd and not have any concerns...

its like they are human...and they arent going to feel right about someone in the distance at night or even day...and they dont feel comfortable if this stranger looks at you the wrong way!

Being a girl...Im concerned with everyones intentions when Im alone...except a dobe will speak out as a warning...So I was thinking especially since Dobermans are so loyal and watch out and protect us more than the average dog...I can see for how a new owner would take it as "aggression or fearful or shy...timid"
 

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I totally agree. Although Bruno is going through a dominance stage. Which from what I've been told and going to obedience has told me it's "puberty" that's causing that.

But, like Duchess. Bruno can walk through a crowd without a care in the world. Until someone approches him in a way he's not comfortable with. Or like I said, if they stare him down. He will let out low growls if he's being stared at. Which it seems ppl who are uncomfortable with him (being big, being a doberman) seem to stare him down. You know, that glare? I dunno if I'm making any sense haha.

Anyway I totally agree with you (but I've said that like 20x already lol)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
exactly sometimes if people are afraid of duchess and they hesitate to pet her or end up just staring and you can tell they are scared she gets concerned like "i dont know if I want you to pet me anymore...". I am eager to hear peoples input and hopefully it helps everyone understand their dogs behavior and stuff and either allow us to trust our dogs more and have more confidence in or learn to work at it.

like coco our adopted lab mix is an AWFUL watch dog! even though he is probably the one to REALLY REALLY scare someone away...it is ALL out of fear...and he will raise his fur and lay low to the ground and bark and bark and growl with is neck stretched up and he would definately bite if he felt threatend enough...we always put him in a sit stay when people come in the door...then tell them just let him sniff you. he warms up to people a little faster now...but still is an AWFUL judge of character! Duchess will bark at the cable guy but then trot away like "hes alright"...then later she will watch him with a wiggling tail and want to stick her head in his face to see what he is doing on the ground lol...coco we keep on a leash and work encourage good behavior.
 

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well, I have heard it is really hard to judge a dog's ability to be a watch dog. The reason is, if you are truely the dominant one in your house, when you are with your dog, the dog should not bark. Meaning, if you are both in sight of each other, the dog shouldn't be on wath because the person should be the alpha over the dog.

If you are in the house & the dog is outside, then the dog will bark & it is ok, because the dog is giving a warning, but if the 2 of you are together, both in the house, both in the yard, on a walk in the car, if you are the top of your little the food chain, then the dog shouldn't bark. If he does, then you aren't the aplha in the relationship. A good police dog, trained well, can turn it off & on with a single command.

Like I said, that is what I have been told. That isn't how Max is. If someone walks a dog past our yard, (our back yard is fenced in, we have a corner lot, so a sidewalk go past our yard, our fence stops Max about 20 feet or so from the sidewalk) Max goes nuts. I'm trying to break him of this. If it is just a person, he just stays laying down. No sound. If anyone comes over, he barks until they come in & then he wants to be petted by them.

I have no idea what he'd do to a person if they entered our house or yard while we weren't home. I also don't know what he'd do if one of us got attacked on a walk. We do play fighting around him & he gets mad & barks alot, but he rarely does anything else. He could also know it isn't a real situation. I dunno.
 

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Here is a site that has a lot of interesting articles on behavior and training.

http://www.clickersolutions.com/articles/index.htm#dominance

The one I was reading last night is called "Debunking the Dominance Myth". I agree with this article. I don't think all this talk about dominance and being alpha to your dog is true.

That applies to worrying about whether your dog should bark in your presence or not. I've never worried about that stuff. My dogs bark if they feel a need to. If they start to go on and on with the barking I tell them to be quiet. If they're out in the yard and won't stop I bring them in.

To me the definition of a watch dog is a dog who raises the alarm. For instance if someone is prowling around outside your fence, or someone tries to break into your house while you're sleeping, the dog barks. This both tells you there's a problem so you an call 911 or whatever, and it warns the intruder that the dog is there and he might think twice about trying to come any farther.

A guard dog is one that is expected to actually do something about the intruder. A dog can be both a watch dog and a guard dog, but some dogs are only one or the other.

My Dobermans in general have barked if they're outside and someone (or something, like another dog or a cat) is outside the fence. When they're out with me and they don't feel good about a person they usually don't bark, they start with getting between me and the person and if that doesn't work they escalate to growling. I've never had a situation where my dog would have had to actually bite somebody to protect me, thank goodness.

Most of my Dobermans have been amazing at knowing when there's a threat and when there isn't, it's one of the things I love about the breed.
 

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Theres also a working and aptitude test that will evaluate you and your dog together . every dog is different and they also take that into consideration. I think as long as your dog stands down when you tell them to,and just watches its okay.
 

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I read that article & disagree with some of it. In the canine world, dogs in a pack do use physical domination on other dogs. A mother dogs uses physical methods on puppies to get them to do what she wants. Pack leaders use physical methods on the lower ranking dogs to make them submit. I'm not talking about all this helicoptering stuff & things like that, but the fact is, if a dog is doing something you don't want it to do, making him sit & calming him down, by using methods like the Cesar Milan "claw" to simulate another dogs mouth does work.

My dog goes INSANE when it is time for a walk. As soon as we pull out his leash, he runs around & barks non stop. By making a claw with my hand & just putting it on him, he stops, lays down & we can then get him ready.
 

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No one said physical force can't make a dog do what you want. The point is that is not how wolves or dogs lead. They lead by leadership, by the strength of their character and will. I've had enough dogs over the years and seen enough dogs belonging to other people to see this in action. Sometimes it's been easy for me to see who the leader of the pack is, sometimes it hasn't been.

The Doberman who was the leader of my first pack never laid a tooth on any of my other dogs, nor did they challenge him. Like the article said, he would let the others eat out of his bowl if they finished first and came over. He would just eat faster to compensate. He could also eat out of his brother's bowl, but his brother wouldn't let my female GSD eat from his bowl, because he was number two and he felt less secure than his brother who was the leader.

I have watched Cesar Milan and haven't seen any "claw" so I have no idea what it is, but whatever it is I don't feel a need for it. My Doberman now is a puppy and I am working on teaching him to sit to have his collar put on before we go for a walk. I did that with my previous Dobermans, no need for a "claw", or scaring them or whatever.

I've never made my dogs let me go thru doors first, or felt I had to eat first, or not allow them on the furniture. But when I tell them to get off the furniture, they get off with no backtalk. Cesar Milan works with dogs whose owners have lost control. His methods seem to work for him.
But the best thing is not to get into those situations with your dog in the first place.

I personally have seen a few mother dogs with their puppies. I saw one snap at a puppy once for bothering her, this was after weaning age. I have never seen a mother dog shake a puppy by the scruff of its neck. In fact I would think that could be as dangerous to a puppy as it is to human babies when they are shaken.
 

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micdobe said:
No one said physical force can't make a dog do what you want. The point is that is not how wolves or dogs lead. They lead by leadership, by the strength of their character and will.
100% agree. They are secure and stable, not in a mindset of continuous intimidation and physical force.

Our high energy Dobe male used to do the same thing before walk time, mainly b/c he was just so excited. I taught him to sit when we put the leash/collar on and that calm behavior earned a walk. No force needed and no need to "prove" I am dominant over him either. Now that he is older he is much better. Yes, this may take more time in the beginning, but it is effective. Our relationship is based around respect.

This male is a confident dog, a CGC, CD, and WAC and is submissive and obedient to us but won't obey anyone that tries to bully him or that doesn't respect him, he ignores them.

Btw, a really dominant dog would not let an owner that he doesn't respect "claw" him and he be okay with that.

About the barks and growls Luv_my_Bruno, sounds like he is still working with his confidence levels, it is not appropriate to growl at the majority of people that make eye contact with the him, even if they are not sure about him, that is still not a valid reason. No, they should not be having a stare down contest and if you see this happening take control and remove your dog. A lot still makes him uncomfortable it seems but hopefully he can work through that and get better. Glad you are taking your puppy to obedience classes and getting him neutered, these things will help. =) Keep us updated on the classes with your boy.

Also, dogs barking to alert you that someone is in the yard or at the door is a good thing in my opinion and is something that most dogs do anyway. Even if I am in the house that doesn't mean I always know when someone is on the property and I appreciate it being brought to my attention.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
About the barks and growls Luv_my_Bruno, sounds like he is still working with his confidence levels
That made me realize when I was referring to the time duchess would would start to feel unease with eye contact was more when she was younger...she is two now...and seems to be growing out of it...
we socialized her throughout puppyhood and she still gets out alot and socializes and she is 2 now...so just continue to socialize with treats and let him witness, observe, and meet new things and people and they probably gain confidence like Dobesanddragons said :)

as for the barks and warnings...I also think that a dog cant be forced to stop...whenever Duchess barks it is in fact to tell us something...and warn whoever is out there...so we will get up and check what she is barking at...and then we actually praise her a little bit and then well say okay...thats enough ...and she will calm down.
Coco there is no getting through to him...since his barking and stuff is completely out of fear...he doesnt know when to stop...nor does he want to. which is what I was saying about how encouraging socialization and allowing yourself to trust your puppy and let it grow into a confident dog...it is still going to bark...but it will know when and how much is appropriate.

some not intelligent people think you have to make a dog mean in order to be a good watch or guard dog...when really I and I'm sure MANY others know that they will actually be a better watch and guard dog if you provide a good home, love and respect...
Even though someone may not be making a dog mean...why force a dog to do something when they will naturally protect you ALOT better just because they love you. :)



A good police dog, trained well, can turn it off & on with a single command
I agree that service dogs and stuff should be under complete control of their handler...but that is only because they are proffessionals...I think to have a HAPPY perfectly trained and amazingly obedient dog like a police dog listening to commands perfectly is because they are working with such bad people, criminals, theifs, suspicious activity...and strangers everyday that any other pet dog would react crazy to...because the dog can probably sense that this person can not be trusted and so a police dog to be able to not act out during each and every single encounter is probably important to keep the line of work safe. the majority alpha work is probably kept to proffesionals for a reason.

I completely trust duchess to do the right thing. for example, even when that guy had that hunting gun (either pretend of empty) at the dog park...she was off leash and I just trusted that...even though she doesnt know what that is...I knew she would do the right thing. and she did. she just kinda huffed air and let out some barks and howls then some more huffs as she trotted/walked towards him. giving him a chance to introduce himself.
although she did leave my side and she seemed to interested to listen when I tried calling her back to me...she still just had an instint to go check him out. I think since I already knew I could trust her...it was far better for her to go check him out...instead of for example, if I was to leash her and force her to not investigate her concern...
one time at training duchess's sister when they were like 5 months or so...was barking and howling at this guy that came into the training facility...the owner scrambled while saying "NO" and trying to pull the dog away from the situation...which could help...but I dont think it helps anything for the future...then finally our breeder said "why dont you take her over to meet him so she doesnt want to continue to make a fuss about him." especially since they she was a puppy.
 
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