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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
She is now 11 months. I was walking her down the street. She was acting her normal alert self. A group of kids were saying cool dog and wanted to pet her. I said of course shes just a puppy. Right away I could see Sadie wasnt comfortable with the group of 5 kids. After about 2 minutes she growled and kinda lunged at one of the kids. I dont know if she was trying to bight or what but it scared me. Now Im scared of kids around her.
She doesnt act that way around adults but does seem like shes never completly comfortable around newer people.

Is this just something normal about Dobys? Always trying to protect? Or is it she just hasent been around enough people/kids?

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No it's not normal in a sense of protection but sounds like fear. I would for now keep her away from kids. I'd find a good trainer who can walk you through how to socialize her with children. They obviously don't look the same as adults and it's not uncommon for dogs/puppies to be nervous and react to them, especially with more than 1 at a time. The fact that she lunged and growled and moved toward them vs retreated is what would worry me for safety.
 

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If she had attempted to back up and was prevented by a tight leash, I think you're fine to do this by yourself. You're probably O.K. to do this yourself as long as you are good at reading your dog.

Kids are one at a time, dog savvy, old enough to take instruction (you can often select from among a kid population at a pet store). The kid needs to be instructed to only approach as far as your dog is comfortable, and then just stand with their side toward your dog, not looking at your dog, arm extended sideways toward your dog with a treat in the flat of the hand. Your dog approaches if she wishes, and takes treat. More treats until your dog is comfortable enough to interact. Petting on the underside of the jaw... the kid should not reach over the top of her. No quick motions and no staring into eyes. You must be relaxed and friendly with the kid, ignore your dog and make certain to keep a loose leash... if your dog feels a need to retreat, she must be able to do so. If this goes well, lather, rinse and repeat a thousand times... different places, different kids, different ages, different genders, different ethnicities.

Kids love to be asked if they will help, and will usually try their best to do as you ask. Obviously, no kids who are nervous around dogs.

You MUST be relaxed and calm and confidant... if you are fearful or nervous, you will infect the process with your own bad juju.

Do not allow her to be pushed beyond where she is comfortable. If she has met a bunch of kids and is done, let her be done. If kids want to pet, you need to tell them one at a time and only as long as they can do as you want. If you are unsure about a kid who wants to pet, do now allow it. I LOVE the phrase "No, I'm sorry. She is in training"... since it is pretty much meaningless and confusing, people just tend to wander away without bothering you.
 

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Great advise from Adara & mmctaq.

NewDobyLuva - the lunge is not normal and you have some work ahead of you.
While not justified, your dog was fearful and possibly viewed the 5 on 1 very negatively & threatening.

The retraining as discussed above, should start on a 1-1 ratio and work up to bigger distractions.
- kids need to be instructed to approach this dog in single file / and gain success, moving forward

You have to remain calm & focused on your dog's trigger.
- the owner can help to clam the dog with their own confidence, projected voice instructions, touch, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Great advice! Thanks alot! I understand any dog/pup can act this way...im sure because of the bread its a little more common.
 

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That is similar to the training we did with my other dobe, Mysti for her therapy dog work with kids, she had to become accustomed to children, so we began very slow like that, one on one, it was very successful and if you follow that pattern you should have a very kid friendly dog and not have to worry about that ...but you still have to make sure when greeting kids that they do not rush her all at once, even after you train her and socialize her, that can sometimes upset a dog and she will react negatively. A slow, calm approach is always best, and in general they do not like to be petted from the top of the head, its best to have a hand held out palm up and lower than the dogs nose. They are more comfortable this way.
 
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Before you do ANYTHING on your own you need to work with a trainer. The trainer must help you to learn to read your dog's body language. You can't just go and ask a kid to come and work with you when you yourself are not skilled at reading body language AND you don't have a specific plan on how to handle the dog if you see signs that the dog is becoming fearful. What a huge risk you would be taking to invite a kid over and something unexpected happens. Suppose he gets excited while petting your dog and yells out to his friend across the street (happens to us all the time when we work with kids) and your dog reacts/lunges/bites. You have said that the dog is not comfortable around ANY new people so you need to start with a trainer and adults who are also trained specifically how to approach your dog. You dog is a serious liability right now because she is not fully socialized - you don't start with kids!
 

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A thing to remember is that there is a second fear period that our puppies go thru and you have to be careful of how things/people are introduced.

If it was me I would have stopped the group of children when they asked to pet her. A group of children it can be very intimidating to a puppy especially if that puppy has not been around children.

I would have told them only one at a time, children and even adults have a tendacy to hover over the dog.

Don’t hover. Leaning over a dog can cause the dog to become afraid and possibly defensive.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well she use to kids. I have 3 and they have freinds over all the time. Must have just been new kids and we were outside instead of the comfort of her home.

Another thing, we had about ten people over last night. She looked a little scared of them. Everyone was ignoring her and she was fine...playing with our other dog...but as soon as someone reached down at pet her (and she wasent ready) she would lower her but a kinda squirm away.
She has been around different people but I dont think she has been socialized enough. I heard someone say they should tryo to "meet 100 people in a hundred days". She deff hasnt doesnt that....id say shes on our property alot more then out meeting people or even walks.

But still, isnt it in their nature (even a little) to not be the freindliest most inviting dog. I mean our Golden Retreiver is the complete opposite...he loves everyone and wants everyone to touch him.
 

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My boy became reserved when he got older. He had good friends (human and dog) whose attention he sought... he was a distantly polite with those who were not his friends... he was willing to make new friends, but he reserved judgement until he got to know someone... he never shied away from anyone and never was anything but socially correct.

My girl is a whore... she will suck up to anyone, but I am not sure is good friends with anyone. She has never shied away from anyone (except veterinarians, and I have no clue where this came from) and has never been anything but socially correct, although she can be pushy and mug people with treats.

In my experience, most Dobermans are either enthusiastically friendly or a bit reserved.

Your dog sounds uncertain and perhaps a bit afraid. I would have her out as much as possible and I would carry her very favorite treats for anyone who would like to meet her to offer to her. No pressure. No numbers. Help people to meet her properly (no staring, no looming over her, no direct approach... let her come to them if and when she's ready)... if she is not happy approaching people, they can gently flick treats in her direction. Last night would have been perfect if you had told all of your guests to not try to pet her, but continue to ignore her... lots of yummy treats for your other dog, the occasional treat flicked toward your Doberman so she knew what was available... treats from hand if she asked, but no petting. If she was my dog, I would be taking her somewhere every day for a short, stress-free outing... she should go to as many different places as possible... walking around the same block every day doesn't count! Pet stores (not during busy times), parks, take her to be weighed and treated at the vet's office, drive to different neighborhoods and go for a walk, get a custard to share at the custard stand, go watch some dog training classes at different places which will allow someone to observe... pick the place that had the least stressed looking dogs (but well-behaved dogs), and sign up for a class! After you're in class, go to all different kinds of places to do your homework.

Going back to your first post: You owe it to your dog to be more attuned to her needs. You said that you could see right away that she was not comfortable being approached by the five kids, and that it was two minutes later that she reacted... you were two minutes late in properly managing the situation. Just sayin'...

Is she 100% comfortable with your kids' friends who come to visit?
 

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Finn was a little cautious around teenagers at first. I would instruct not to touch and let him sniff them first...worked out fine, he would smell and then warm right up and allow to be touched. This turned into him being fine and sociable, but, I still always tell any stranger to let him sniff first before touching and wait for me to tell them it is ok.
 

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Well she use to kids. I have 3 and they have freinds over all the time. Must have just been new kids and we were outside instead of the comfort of her home.

Another thing, we had about ten people over last night. She looked a little scared of them. Everyone was ignoring her and she was fine...playing with our other dog...but as soon as someone reached down at pet her (and she wasent ready) she would lower her but a kinda squirm away.
She has been around different people but I dont think she has been socialized enough. I heard someone say they should tryo to "meet 100 people in a hundred days". She deff hasnt doesnt that....id say shes on our property alot more then out meeting people or even walks.

But still, isnt it in their nature (even a little) to not be the freindliest most inviting dog. I mean our Golden Retreiver is the complete opposite...he loves everyone and wants everyone to touch him.
I wouldn't call it their nature to not be friendly... It's one thing if there is a clear threat, but a dog reacting out of fear like this is a training/socialization issue, not a breed issue. If your dog reacts, and you tell him/her it's ok, your dog should calm down. If not, I would continue socializing and start working confidence building and things like that into your training. Your dog may not run up to every person she meets like your lab, but you shouldn't be getting negative reactions either.
 

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I think this pretty much describes a dobermans temperament spot on, it breaks down each component and explains each one, it was interesting to read and I could see many of these in my own girl, Nexus.
Composition of the Doberman Temperament
 
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Kids tend to approach a dog inappropriately. They come in a group, they are more on the dog's level of eyesight and will stare at the dog's face. They want to pet the dog on the top of his head even though you explain to scratch under his chin at first. They can be noisy and quick in their movements. Some will reach out to touch and before making contact they jerk their hand away and then they stiffen. Their body language screams. They tend to do all the behavior that is what you don't do. Some dogs just find their behavior inappropriate and respond with avoidance or even growling. Calm deliberate movements are what is needed to put the dog at ease. Agreed some dogs have a higher tolerance while others find their behavior suspect.
 

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Right away I could see Sadie wasnt comfortable with the group of 5 kids.
I want to single out this part. If you see that your dog is uncomfortable with something, it's your job to protect both her, and the kids. Reading your own dog's signals is critically important. I know you want her to be social, and that's great, but you can't push her past the point of comfort without risking a reaction. That's not good for her ("practicing" that kind of behavior makes it more and more likely that it will keep happening) and it's not good for the kids (there could have been a bite).

I highly recommend the book "Control Unleashed" by Leslie McDevitt. Lots of great techniques for getting your dog slowly used to things that might make them anxious.
 
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But still, isnt it in their nature (even a little) to not be the freindliest most inviting dog. I mean our Golden Retreiver is the complete opposite...he loves everyone and wants everyone to touch him.
As adults, yes, but not as puppies. Most puppies love anyone and everyone. Her behavior indicates to me she just needs more time with people at lower levels of threshold where she is comfortable interacting and not squirming away.
 
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I wont say that it is in a doberman's nature b/c many that I have met for the first time come right up to me to be petted. Kyrah tho doesnt want to be petted. I personally think when she is with me she could careless if anyone else even existed. She has never lunged at anyone. She did/does the backing up and barking. I had socialized her to death then she just decided at a very young age, 15 weeks, that she was just to be looked at by others. I have worked long and hard with her. I dont have as many problems with it and have learned how to manage it. I can take her anywhere and she is great. I have learned to read people as we are walking around and can tell who is about to dive bomb us. I politely walk in front of Kyrah and say "she doesnt like to be petted." I no longer care or feel that I have to let people pet her. I dont have to make excuses or reasons. If we decide to stop and talk with some people and they are interested in her. I tell them just ignore her and she will sniff you. If she wants to be petted she turns sideways and lets you pet her or she will walk away. (We just got to this stage) It is mostly people who come at her head on with lots of energy that she has problems with.

ETA: I was reading what mmctaq wrote about seeing she wasnt comfortable and waiting too long before removing her from the situation. That is what I used to do. I would feel like I needed to let them try to pet her or let them approach. Or I was hesitant. I am not any longer. I block them as fast as they are coming for us. The people at the pet stores were awesome helpers and they dont get in trouble at work. LOL Played lots of "look at that game." Then stepped it up to Kyrah touching them until she let them pet her. I had at this time also started my new schedule of just cutting people off before they made it into our personal space.
 
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