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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been taking Ruger to puppy obedience class for a few weeks now. Part of the class is socialization with other pups all pups are less than 5 months old. Ruger is usually pretty aloof and does not readily join in wrestling with the other pups. Last night there were some new pups that were a larger breed (St Bernard type breed) as one of them approached Ruger he let out a shrill yelp and voided his bladder on the spot. At 4 months old Ruger is 22" at the shoulder and weighs nearly 50 lbs so he is not a little pup. He plays with a smaller dog (15 lbs) at home all day long so he is used to being around other dogs. He has never been beaten or mishandled so I am just curious if others have had this experience?
 

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When a puppy is startled or frightened, its not uncommon for them to yelp. They're just scared and telling the other dog "Back off! You're making me nervous!" The bladder voiding is a submissive behavior.

Sounds like your little guy was just a little overwhelmed is all. I would go back to square one with socialization with dogs- small steps so he's not getting too much in his face at once. Watch his body language, a great book about this is Calming Signals - Turid Rugaas. Amazon.com: On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals (9781929242368): Turid Rugaas: Books He will let you know where his thresholds are for stimulus. If you take it slow with him and make it a positive experience, he'll be okay. :)
 

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I believe Dobermans in general are not a trusting breed and it comes off as being skittish. Duke is the same way, he's shy around human strangers and other dogs, but after some time, he warms up to them.

At the dog park, he finds play mates that are of similiar size or smaller to play with. When larger dogs come to sniff his butt, or do anything that makes him feel uncomfortable, he'll yelp and they know to leave him alone. When he gets scared, he'll pee too. I'm always close by to mediate the situation, including telling people to keep their dogs away so they don't break my puppy's confidence.
 

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I believe Dobermans in general are not a trusting breed and it comes off as being skittish. Duke is the same way, he's shy around human strangers and other dogs, but after some time, he warms up to them.
I don't believe this is normal or true at all. Most Dobe puppies I've met are happy outoing little things (or big things) eager to say hi to people, dogs, etc. They typically do not become aloof until older.

Skittish puppies to me need one on one training with a good positive trainer and very slow socialization under their threshold to develop confidence.

Flirt's first day home, after a long plane trip, never met me or my dogs. Literally an hour after we got home waiting for someone to help me get the ears back up!

 

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Here is a video of us when we got back from the airport. Again waiting for someone to help me with ears. Lordy excuse the mess :( The Vizsla she is chasing was due to whelp (singelton) in a few weeks and all the stuff was out to get my box and towels and laundry ready.

flirt chase gabby - YouTube

flirt2 - YouTube
 

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I agree with Adara. Most Dobe puppies I've met have been feisty, outgoing little boogers. Fiona didn't miss a beat when I met her at the breeder's - she'd bounce over to me and chew on me, then bounce off to jump on another puppy's head, then bounce back to me to resume chewing, then off again. Didn't make a peep the 3-hour car ride home other than to groan when we had to stop at red lights, then she'd look around, decide it was boring, and resume napping. She was unfazed by her new home too. She immediately "introduced" herself to our 2 cats at the time (ex kept them in the divorce), albeit it was an incredibly obnoxious introduction but not much has changed in the last 3 years. LOL

I'd step up my efforts on socialization if my puppy were acting scared and peeing about meeting anyone - person, dog, any other animal or object. Sounds like an insecure puppy to me.
 

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I also agree, dober puppies should be interested in meeting other pups / and the great news is, your dog is still a pup, not a shy adult.
- but need to act ASAP, with Ruger (his age clock, is ticking)...as his shyness, can be fixed

^^^^ Daily puppy Tug-Of-War is a #1 game in developing confidence & soft bite control...I start immediately, after bringing a pup home.
- I did it & other training sitting on the living room floor, every night, for hours on end...in the early stages
(Recall & Fetch where the other training games, that got rotated in, while Dad watched TV)
And the dog, always WINS.

Yes - Yes - Yes....let the dog win at tug...every time (sometimes quick and next time slower).
- variety is fun & dog learn more / that master controls the timing of the dogs win
- and if dog play growls while engaged, so much the better / dog is talking to you, because your a fun person...in its life
Great way to build the bond, drive & eye focus...A+ activity, in my books...dog love and respect you, for their quality play time.
Thanks ZR...I too...really like the Youtube video's from Leerburg.com & Michael Ellis work.
I have linked them directly (from your post), in order to load successfully...and added one more with tug, in the middle of the taping.
Tooth count - I have one baby tooth (DNA saved...He-he) of Amy's...never found any from my first dobe Tanya.

Michael Ellis Talks on Playing Tug with Young Puppies
Michael Ellis Talks on Playing Tug with Young Puppies - YouTube

Michael Ellis on Selecting Tug Toys for Puppies
Michael Ellis on Selecting Tug Toys for Puppies - YouTube

quote - Engagement is a learned skill, and is the most important thing you can do with your puppy.
Keeping Your Puppy Engaged with Michael and Cappy
Keeping Your Puppy Engaged with Michael and Cappy - YouTube

P.S. - I also play with my pups muzzle & teeth sometimes, when it is play growling...holding a tug toy.
It helps when we train soft bite control.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Beaumont67, thank you for your reply, somewhere I had read that you should not play tug-of-war with a Doberman pup so have avoided it to this point. After watching the videos I understand the thought process behind it. Ruger plays with a smaller dog every day. He wrestles mauls, barks, and plays tug-of-war with the other dog with no issues. I will continue working on building his confidence and begin to play tug-of-war with him myself. Thank you to all that have responded to my questions
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Update of Ruger's socialization. I took the advice of Beaumont67 my wife and I began playing tug of war with Ruger that same day. As we played I encouraged our other dog to join in as well. Pretty soon Ruger was dragging our other dog all over the yard.

We had obedience class again on Saturday, Ruger was like a different pup. They had a play rope for the dogs to chew/tug on. When Ruger saw the rope he immediately grabbed it and began parading around in front of the other dogs daring them to grab it. Soon he joined in the group and was wrestling with the bigger dogs and having a great time. I know as the pups age they go through many changes in personality so I can't claim that tug-of-war completely changed him but it has given him a lot more confidence around others. Thank you to all
 

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ffltjeff - great change in the confidence department (like over-night, using tug-of-war activity) with Ruger.
- job will done, because your now training on his natural instinct
What I like most about you / your willing to read, digest info. and try what makes sense (with a good filter).

I have given you, maybe a smaller fraction, of my critical-implanted puppy lessons...that I implement 24/7 on my own girls.
Now that your a believer & on board some...I will keep adding to your thread...and see where it leads.
- what I can share, is not rocket science / new improvement are as easy as your 1st days game of tug, learning through fun play, bonding & respect
- without bribe treats & pocket clicker / that builds an honest bond (with no strings attached) and the ultimate desire to please...even off-leash

I will think more on the direction, your Ruger could benifit from next...as a more complete puppy training package...and add another post tonight.
- and remember, the fun and calculated fun game approach (time invested now)...sets up your dobes great behavior...for its entire life, and it can be a dog cake walk...just to enjoy, in the future
I applaud you, for challenging dobe & one self...day-to-day changes & positive behavior, get so easy, if WE humans...think like a dog more, and fullfill some of their basic needs.
 
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