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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Beau is a Doberman through and through. At 10 months, he is so amazingly well-behaved in some ways and very lacking in others. We have been training since the day he came home but despite all of that, he is still very vocal and overly interested when he sees a dog. My injuries (a ripped meniscus, broken pinky, and 2 broken toes) were caused by his spinning when we move past said dog. he continues to vocalize and face the dog not paying attention to his back half, which hits me in the back of the knees. At 86 pounds, he is 2/3rds my weight so when he bumps into me, it packs a wallop.

With Beau, I have worked with 4 trainers and have learned very little that I didn’t already know. Even worse all, but one, used a one-size-fits-all approach for us. After months and thousands, Beau still pulls on the leash and screams at dogs (if we accidentally meet a dog face-to-face, he immediately goes into play posture, think elevators, blind street corners), both of which require serious situational and proactive management.

All of this doesn’t discount the improvements that have been made. His learns new skills quickly, we do mini-sessions inside, multiple times a day and take time every walk to practice automatic sit in the elevator and when we stop walking, heel (as much as possible) and rapid down and other things as we navigate the neighborhood. When we walk with the dogs and people I know well, Beau is still very interested in the dog but quickly settles and walks beautifully - no pulling, no screaming. We have had major victories - one being that we were able to walk at neighborhood canine rush hour with no vocalization, even when there were 4 dogs and no distinct escape route.

Originally, my goal was to have him pass his CGC by August, but that will not happen. I feel like I am failing him, despite doing everything I know to do and seeking professional help. Part of my frustration is that I cannot attend any of the classes that have opened up because I know we will be asked to leave due to his extreme vocalizing (one organization confirmed it when I called). The other part of my frustration is totally ego-driven (not right, I know) because I know how to train a dog. I’ve done it successfully, I‘ve rehabbed rescues in order the make them adoptable and yet, I can’t slove this puzzle. Sigh.

I persevere because Beau has so much potential and I believe (maybe naively) that it will all come together when he gets older. Lately, I’ve been reminding myself that it isn’t fair to compare Beau to any other dog I have had. Different dog, different circumstances, and different me. I have the dog I have and my responsibility is to do all I can to learn what he needs and work to deliver. But, it would be nice to find a working dog trainer (better yet, a trainer who is a Doberman expert). Since I can’t find any, I thought I‘d check out Fenzi since so many on the forum refer and rave about it. Holy cow! I bought a small series of 3 videos this afternoon and was blown away by her explanations and summary of the mechanics of a technique. I learned more from 2 hours of listening and watching Denise than I have learned in 40+ hours of “professional“ training. I tried her technique of circling on our walk this evening and it helped Beau to stop pulling at the leash almost immediately. Better yet, her presentation helped me shift my mindset (not an easy thing to do). Amazing.

If you made it this far, thank you for reading my failures, letting me vent, and not judging. Here is your reward. 😁
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Hi MMc

I won't comment on your frustration, except to offer my "been there" condolences and suggest that it will get better.

In any case... That Beau is sure one handsome fellow! Great photos all, but that first pic with his look of intense anticipation is absolutely priceless.

John Lichtwardt
Portland OR
 

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Dear TOTAL Failure !

I'm sorry MM - I couldn't help myself - rotflol = Not right here .

Great break down of your training and the problems that come with it . It almost sounded like you were giving a report on our Mr. Business ! I have took him to 2 classes - one private and 1 group , The private was to help me get up to speed with him , what was I doing wrong here ??? The group was to work with him around other dogs , now that was a experience and I'm not kidding . When we walked into the class - he got super excited seeing the other dogs , Then he would settle down and he would sometimes just take a nap , lol Someway , the final night ( test time ) to pass , He put on a show in OB in front of all the other dogs and owners . The trainer asked after we sat down -- Well -- Who wants to follow that act ? Yet if I took him to say Rural King , I had to be on my game - looking for other dogs and and moving him in another direction . Not all of this was his fault --- as the other dogs would bark first or give him the want to play look and then it was game on .

The only way I can control him is with a prong collar -- period .

I like you wanted to put a CGC tidal on him and personally - that will never happen with him , I also have been working with him in Rally OB , In rally you can not use a prong , I am beginning to believe that may not happen now , here at the training center ( our house ) he is really good on a regular collar , yet I know what will happen in public .

I called the trainer I have worked with a few years ago , I asked if she would come here and lets work Mr. B and the WP together - I think that's the ticket , she even agreed with me , but said she was to busy as she is booked with other classes for a good while .

I have nobody -- nobody that I can have come over to help with a joint training class of these 2 , Now thats frustrating right there .

One last thing - if you can - send me a PM and let me know what tapes you got ,

Best of luck and hang in there - he will get better !

AND --- I agree with John - That first picture is great !
 

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The first thing I want to say is - YOU ARE NOT FAILING HIM. Let me repeat it - YOU ARE NOT FAILING HIM.

Please, please remember the age he is at. He's honestly the worst, worst age of dog to own!!! I think you read the snippet I posted recently from Facebook from a trainer about adolescent dogs...they're the worst! Do you know how many Dobermans are given up at this age? I think you 100% in reminding yourself that he is a different dog. It doesn't do any of us any good to compare our dogs to previous dogs, or, really to what anyone else is doing with their dog.

While it's admirable to have goals to work toward, and it's motivating, I think sometimes it's more important to focus on building that relationship with our dog and figuring out what we need to move forward together just where we're at. It's okay to be where you are, and just keep moving forward. I'm so glad you've found value in Denise Fenzi's stuff - she is very experienced with working breeds and is training her very high drive/high arousal Malinois right now, Dice. She's actually started a monthly subscription service to watch/engage about that called "The High Drive Dog" - it's $10/month, I think, and she has advice and videos and all sorts of stuff for dealing with dogs like that. The Fenzi Academy also has all kinds of great courses and webinars with fantastic trainers on great topics. You might get some good stuff out of Sarah Stremming's work on overarousal - my agility trainer has used a LOT of Sarah's stuff and I have found it really useful for my dogs.

And, finally, I just want to say that it WILL get better. Maturity helps SO SO much. Some of this is just management and not getting overly worried about things, and not overreacting, just continuing to train through it. You'll get there, he'll be a great dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@4x4bike ped, thank you! Beau sits really nicely for photos and is such a character I have a ton of photo fodder...and boy howdy, does he love his turkey dogs!

@ECIN, thank you! This made me feel better and I assumed I wasn’t alone.;) Maybe we should get the boys together and let them yodel themselves out.

@MeadowCat, thank you! I almost messaged you at my darkest hour knowing...but didn’t want to torture you. :) I assumed it was not a unique situation. I know from Boxer rescue, most of our surrenders came in between 9 and 18 months, so I am not surprised. It took me some time to jump on the Fenzi bandwagon because if something is popular it is in my nature to avoid it (stubborn, I know). Just learning that overarousal is different from reactivity was HUGE for me. Trainers have called Beau reactive but based on her descriptions and examples, he is not at all. The worst part is my raging ego and I am working on that. Maybe by the time Beau is mentally an adult, I will be enlighten enough to get over myself.:cool: Off to check out Sarah Stremming’s work now!
 

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You'll get there, he'll be a great dog.


MEADOWCAT !!!!!!!!!!!!!! You forgot the best part - He'll be a great dog ----------------- Someday --- LOL

And your 1,000% right , it will get lots better .
 

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They are all great dogs, even when they are at their worst! :D

Heck, they all have their "quirks", even when they are grown up, trained dogs.... I always say, we train the things that are important to us. I don't particularly care if my dogs beg, so they are about 10 inches from my plate when I eat dinner on the couch! That would probably drive some people nuts. Could I train them to go lie down in a bed when I eat? Sure. But it doesn't bug me, so I don't. We all have to live with our own dogs, so we figure out the things that matter to us, and train a dog WE can live with, for our lifestyle.
 

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The first thing I want to say is - YOU ARE NOT FAILING HIM. Let me repeat it - YOU ARE NOT FAILING HIM.

Please, please remember the age he is at. He's honestly the worst, worst age of dog to own!!! I think you read the snippet I posted recently from Facebook from a trainer about adolescent dogs...they're the worst! Do you know how many Dobermans are given up at this age? I think you 100% in reminding yourself that he is a different dog. It doesn't do any of us any good to compare our dogs to previous dogs, or, really to what anyone else is doing with their dog.

While it's admirable to have goals to work toward, and it's motivating, I think sometimes it's more important to focus on building that relationship with our dog and figuring out what we need to move forward together just where we're at. It's okay to be where you are, and just keep moving forward. I'm so glad you've found value in Denise Fenzi's stuff - she is very experienced with working breeds and is training her very high drive/high arousal Malinois right now, Dice. She's actually started a monthly subscription service to watch/engage about that called "The High Drive Dog" - it's $10/month, I think, and she has advice and videos and all sorts of stuff for dealing with dogs like that. The Fenzi Academy also has all kinds of great courses and webinars with fantastic trainers on great topics. You might get some good stuff out of Sarah Stremming's work on overarousal - my agility trainer has used a LOT of Sarah's stuff and I have found it really useful for my dogs.

And, finally, I just want to say that it WILL get better. Maturity helps SO SO much. Some of this is just management and not getting overly worried about things, and not overreacting, just continuing to train through it. You'll get there, he'll be a great dog.
MeadowCat has been my wise counsel and shoulder to cry on during the last 8 months of puppy raising. She should print out all her advice and make a book for puppy owners :) I LOVE my puppy to pieces, but holy cats can he be a lot of dog. It will get better, it does get better, (sometimes it gets worse again), but then it gets better!

With my adolescent boy I have been working diligently on exposure and decreasing arousal. Denise Fenzi's high drive dog series has been a HUGE help. In part, just because I needed to see that even the best have to work through problems. Watching her work on it was very inspiring. Her daily videos and thoughtful posts are so motivating! Also, we did a seminar with Sarah Breuske last weekend that was AMAZING. I know she has courses on Fenzi Academy, and if the Bombproof Behaviors one is available, 1000000% recommend.

I believe you can get the CGC! Break down the arousal around dogs into the smallest possible exposures and build from there. Dobermans are so smart, Beau will catch on quickly.

Also, I hated to do it, but I switched to a prong collar at 8 months for this EXCITING situations. Getting hurt wouldn't help my goals. I don't want to use it forever, and we practice in less exciting situations (in the yard, at the local ball fields) on a buckle collar. Hopefully we can fade the prong even in high-arousal situations in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
MeadowCat has been my wise counsel and shoulder to cry on during the last 8 months of puppy raising. She should print out all her advice and make a book for puppy owners :) I LOVE my puppy to pieces, but holy cats can he be a lot of dog. It will get better, it does get better, (sometimes it gets worse again), but then it gets better!

With my adolescent boy I have been working diligently on exposure and decreasing arousal. Denise Fenzi's high drive dog series has been a HUGE help. In part, just because I needed to see that even the best have to work through problems. Watching her work on it was very inspiring. Her daily videos and thoughtful posts are so motivating! Also, we did a seminar with Sarah Breuske last weekend that was AMAZING. I know she has courses on Fenzi Academy, and if the Bombproof Behaviors one is available, 1000000% recommend.

I believe you can get the CGC! Break down the arousal around dogs into the smallest possible exposures and build from there. Dobermans are so smart, Beau will catch on quickly.

Also, I hated to do it, but I switched to a prong collar at 8 months for this EXCITING situations. Getting hurt wouldn't help my goals. I don't want to use it forever, and we practice in less exciting situations (in the yard, at the local ball fields) on a buckle collar. Hopefully we can fade the prong even in high-arousal situations in the future.
Thank you!!!! I‘ve gotten CGC (and more) with dogs in the past and I am determined to solve the mystery of Beau. In my head, I sing How do you solve a problem like a Dobie? to the tune of
from The Sound of Music.

I alternate between the prong collar and a front-clip harness because the buckle prong does no good and the martingale prong (2.25mm Herm Sprenger) is SOOOOO tight because he is between sizes. I don’t mean tight as in proper fit tight, I mean so tight that when I remove the collar it stays on his neck because it is indented into his skin. I just can’t, in good conscience, do that to him. I check every few days to see if he is ready for another link, but so far he isn’t. Does anyone sell a spacer for a prong? Like the middle piece but in half that width? That would keep in where it needs to be without sliding but wouldn’t dig in so much.

Slow and steady wins the race and being able to share my vulnerabilities here (especially from someone raised in the Stoic philosophy with a side of British stiff upper lip) is invaluable!
 

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I alternate between the prong collar and a front-clip harness because the buckle prong does no good and the martingale prong (2.25mm Herm Sprenger) is SOOOOO tight because he is between sizes. I don’t mean tight as in proper fit tight, I mean so tight that when I remove the collar it stays on his neck because it is indented into his skin. I just can’t, in good conscience, do that to him. I check every few days to see if he is ready for another link, but so far he isn’t. Does anyone sell a spacer for a prong? Like the middle piece but in half that width? That would keep in where it needs to be without sliding but wouldn’t dig in so much.
Depending on how you use the prong, you might try a Keeper Collar. They are custom sized covered prong collars. I use them just for walking my dogs (not for "corrections") and they work well for that. Keeper Collars®
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Depending on how you use the prong, you might try a Keeper Collar. They are custom sized covered prong collars. I use them just for walking my dogs (not for "corrections") and they work well for that. Keeper Collars®
Perfect! I already found one that is close to Beau’s coat color. Thank you!
 
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Just to make you feel a little better, my two adult dogs (almost 9 and 5 1/2) just pulled some cardboard packaging off the table in our dining room (from inside a Chewy box) and shredded it all over the first floor of our house while I was out running errands for a couple of hours. You just have to laugh!
 

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Hairy Dog, RIP Caesar, Katana, Kip, Capri
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You'll get there, he'll be a great dog.


MEADOWCAT !!!!!!!!!!!!!! You forgot the best part - He'll be a great dog ----------------- Someday --- LOL

And your 1,000% right , it will get lots better .
Hey, he's a great dog right now! Just not as manageable as you would like. When "someday" comes, just think of all the fun stories you'll have to tell.

Like the time Caesar charged out of the front door full blast when he saw the UPS guy come up the driveway. The poor man froze in place, and Caesar swerved past him and kept on going, far, far and away...

Like the time Caesar dashed way across a field to greet a...I don't know what, something small and fuzzy...and his owner. By the time I got there, she was holding her dog up high in the air so that the "mean dog" wouldn't hurt her baby. "Mean dog" in the meantime had lost interest--or at least he was more interested in a nearby bush the small fuzzy had anointed. She gave me a heated lecture about my uncontrolled dog. "I have MY dog trained to come the minute I call him" It sure felt good when I saw the same dog running toward the parking lot a little later with his owner in hot pursuit yelling "Come! Come! COME!"

They all do it--usually at a time when they can elicit maximum embarrassment from their owners.
 

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Just to make you feel a little better, my two adult dogs (almost 9 and 5 1/2) just pulled some cardboard packaging off the table in our dining room (from inside a Chewy box) and shredded it all over the first floor of our house while I was out running errands for a couple of hours. You just have to laugh!
AND ------------ We didn't even get a picture on here to see it : (((((
 

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Do you mean you put the fabric collar actually underneath the prongs, or lower down on the neck?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I just had to share a funny victory.
Most of the people in my building like Beau and, as I am the condo board president, I am walking around a lot, most often with Beau so our building staff sees him all the time and are especially fond of him, especially the ladies who run our concierge desk. Well, yesterday Beau and I came in from a walk, picked up a package delivery, took the elevator upstairs, and came to our front door.

Now, I always ask Beau to sit when we get to a door (indoors or out) and this time was no different. I put the package down to find my keys and, as I was fumbling in a pocket, he decided to sit....on the package.

Our wonderful building custodian (who is SUPER fond of Beau) was vacuuming the hallway and saw this and love it so much he grabbed a photo. Apparently, he has sent this photo to everyone on staff because all afternoon I was hearing about how sweet or funny people found this.

I must admit, I found it pretty darned sweet..and thank heavens, Juan cropped me out!!
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