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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, my Nova will be turning 2 years old this November and is doing wonderful. We like to go for a walk everyday, sometimes twice a day. She is excited and enjoys it but for some reason she will want to sit on peoples lawns during the walk. No matter what the temperature is outside , she will start doing it roughly 1/4 mile into the walk. She will lay on the grass and just hang out, will get up and continue to walk when I tell her to but will do it again within 20 ft. I cant figure it out, it isn't temperature, it isn't boredom. Even when I go different routes she will do it. My old doberman never did this so I am not sure what it is about.

thanks
Ralph
 

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What are walks like for her? Does she get to sniff and sort of "explore" on her walk (keeping the leash loose), or is it walking right by your side the whole time? Is it the same route every day, or varied? Has she had a check-up to make sure nothing is physically wrong?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
hi, I let her explore. We take different routes, sometimes hiking trails as well. She has had a check up and all seems well but one thing I forgot to mention is she is always slightly dragging her paws so you hear the nails hitting my tile floors or the road. Last week we went for a 5 mile walk in 80 degree weather and towards the end of the trip 2 of her nails were bleeding bad, she grind-ed them down:(

I get her nails cut all the time, they are not long at all.
 

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If the vet has ruled out anything medical, perhaps she just enjoys being outside on grass, watching the world go by.

I had a Boxer who started doing this and the 3rd time he did it, I made a vet appointment. Imaging showed his entire mediastinal cavity full of cancer. The stopping and laying down was the only sign he gave me.

If I were you,I’d rule out any medical issues. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sorry to hear that, must have been brutal to find out that news. I did pay $450 for a full body MRI last year and nothing came up.
 

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The foot dragging is concerning to me - did you have the MRI after that? I'd consider shorter walks if that starts happening at a certain point in the walk. It might simply be too far for her, if you've ruled out medical issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
MRI was done afterwards. She literally starts the sitting after 1/4 mile. THe good thing is she will run and play for hours with other dogs.
 

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Various back troubles which dobes are prone to can cause a dog to drag its paws while walking, and would make their tolerance to walking long distances low.

But a MRI should have picked that up. Has she gotten worse since then? It may be that whatever it is had just not progressed to the point where they could detect it last year.

For many dogs, their interest in moving around depends on the stimulus--it is possible that playing with other dogs is so much fun that she ignores the signals her body may be giving her to slow down. And almost every dog I've brought into the vets for a problem has looked better when he gets there (and worse again when we get back home) The uptick in anxiety levels they experience at the vets tends to "energize" them--but not really in a good or sustainable way.
 

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If she's getting a lot of off-leash play and running every day, does she need a walk? I think sometimes the need for exercise in our breed can be a bit overstated and people think they are crazy beasts. Sure, appropriate exercise, yes, but...most truly don't need hours a day :) My dogs far prefer off-leash activity if they can get it and I don't give them a leash walk on days we get to do off-leash park time, for example. They don't need both. They are perfectly content with a nice off-leash run at the park and they are good for the day! While energy and activity levels vary, you might just be seeing that she doesn't need as much as you are attempting to give her. Maybe try dialing it back some and see what happens. You could try restricting her off-leash play on a day to see if that increases her desire for leash walking, for example.

Personally, I would always choose off-leash time for my dogs if I had the choice, because we all enjoy it more. Sure, they need to know how to walk nicely on a leash, but I love to take them places they can really run and enjoy the freedom.
 

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Experience with our former Dobergal, Eva, with freezing on walks and rear leg dragging:

Here's a thread I started about her symptoms.

First indication was late in 2018 when Eva started to freeze on me during her therapy weekly school visits at age of of 8-1/2.
These visits involved lots of walking back and forth through a large elementary school, escorting her reading students to/ from their classrooms to library.

She also started toeing-in on front paws when sitting down around the same time, which vet said indicated weakness in back legs.
Eva continued her normal walks, even though video analysis viewed by vet and DT members showed her very tight in her rear legs.

In early 2020, Eva was put on daily Rimadyl which seemed to help her walking but not a cure. Near this time she started her rear leg dragging, taking one of her middle toes down to the quick and bleeding when on walks. I started her wearing boots, but then just left her middle two toes on each rear leg alone, not Dremeled during her weekly manicures. I did this from that point on, as she naturally wore down the nails during walks, but not to the quicks.

When she turned 10 y/o in mid 2020 Eva developed coughing symptom of DCM/ Congestive Heart Failure and was started on canine cardiac medicine. Amazingly the Vetmedin medication gave her a pretty normal lifestyle although she started to self limit herself on the walks in distance. She was also on Salix diuretic after CHF diagnosis and vet gave her a range of months to a year longevity. While on the cardiac medication Eva walked spunky for 6-months despite her malady, up until her last night where she got overexcited after chasing a possum on potty break. Eva passed away suddenly after coming back inside house, just 3-months shy of 11 y/o.

Using hindsight in Eva's case, I believe that her early issues with her rear legs were cardiac related, not arthritis, as diagnosed by our former vet. This is based on how well she walked after put on the Vetmedin cardiac medication and taken off Rimadyl. I'm not implying that your young Nova girl has any cardiac issues, but it's something that needs to be ruled out. As others have posted, rear leg dragging is a concern in Dobermans which can indicate other serious conditions.

Hope you find out what's going on with your Nova.
BTW, Nova was our name of choice for next girl Dobe, although we ended up getting a male puppy, naming him Neo!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the replies, I have to admit you guys are scaring me. We went for a walk today, usual route and she didnt sit once. I am not happy with my current vet and need to look for a Doberman specialist. If you guys know anyone on Long Island, NY please let me know.

140617
Dog Carnivore Dog breed Dobermann Working animal
 

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Somewhat off topic, but maybe not--it's hard to say from a front view, but it looks like she maybe could lose some weight?? Have the vet look at her front wrists, too--she seems to be toeing in a bit.

That might all just be the angle of the pic, though. She's a nice looking girl.

I hear you about being scared--seems like dobes love to scare us :devilish: And they're good at it.
 

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Do you know how tall she is (at the shoulder)? 90 pounds is heavy for the average dobe female, but if she is on the tall side, it's possible she could carry that much weight naturally. Maybe.

I'm just brainstorming here and was wondering if that could be a contributing factor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I do not but will check tomorrow. She is on a raw food diet. She eats 1 lb in the morning and 1 lb in evening.
 

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Sorry to hear that, must have been brutal to find out that news. I did pay $450 for a full body MRI last year and nothing came up.
That is great! New vet work may be necessary. Good luck with your girl.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hi guys, sorry for the delay. I figured it out... On every paw , her both outer nails are much longer then the 2 middle ones. They tap on the floor when she walks, she does not drag her feet. I dont know why they are so much longer, I have had her nails cut numerous times and we walk alot on pavement. I am not sure how much can be trimmed due to the nerve in them. MELBROD, at the shoulder she is 26.5 in tall.
 

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Hi Gn. Folks should chime in to explain how to get Nova's nails down a reasonable length. I won't comment because the best way to trim and maintain nails is to use a Dremel tool, and I am old guard and still use bypass nail clippers.

However, I will say that if she weighs 90 lb, and you have correctly measured her correctly at 26.5", I pretty sure that she is substantially over weight. I would talk to your vet. They should be able to accurately measure height and weight for you and make a determination of an optimum weight range for Nova.

To measure a dogs height:
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Standing perfectly straight and tall (which is harder to get them to do than it seems), measure from the floor to the highest part of the shoulder blade, which is called the "withers".

Also, in my experience, vet scales are ofter poorly calibrated. Our canine cardiologist weighed my male, that I like to keep around 80 lb, at 75 lb, which seemed a bit odd. But WTH.... Two days later he had his annual vet check up and he weighed in at 81lb, which seemed right on.

Best to you and Nova

John Lichtwardt
Portland OR
 

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The easiest way to get their height is to line the dog up against a wall or in a doorway, put a level on top of her shoulders (or you can use a yardstick or straight edge of some sort and eye-ball it to make sure it looks level.) Then make a mark on the wall where the level hits it and let your dog go. Measure from the floor to the mark, and that is your dog's height.

And I agree with John--a height of 26.5" and weight of 90 pounds probably means your dog is overweight. If you want to post a side-view picture of her standing, we could probably tell you for sure.

Here are the general guidelines when you are assessing your dog's weight:
"In a dog at the proper weight, you should be able to see the last couple of ribs, easily feel the rest of the ribs. You definitely don't want a layer of fat over the ribs. She should have a bit of a tuck-up and a noticeable waist when looked at from above. A doberman should not have her backbone and hip bones visibly sticking out, but you should be able to feel some of the spine bones when you run your fingers down the spine. If she's trim and in good shape, her muscles should be hard and have some delineation (grooves) separating the different muscles on her shoulders and also those on her hips. Again, you don't want much of a layer of fat over her muscles either."

I don't know if that is what is slowing her down, but carrying excess weight around could be sapping her energy, especially in hot weather
 

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Here's a bit about dremeling nails from an old post:

"I use a dremel (more or less like this one).

It seems to be much easier on the dog; apparently a guillotine clipper still hurts and squeezes a little even when you're using it properly."

Here's another post about how to get them used to a dremel:

"Dogs are generally more comfortable having their nails dremeled than having them clipped. Dremels don't seem to pinch or squeeze the nails the way clippers do; you can get a nice smooth edge to the nail; it's much easier to avoid hitting the quick. But they do make noise and vibrate the nail as they grind it, so you have to go slow introducing one.

Nail Trimming Demo from a while ago.

Red and Burns' Nail Trimming and Dremeling...

Here's another thread. I had asked for a picture of the underside of the dog's nail, because that's how I tell how much to take off. See post #21
Nails--how much to dremel (Unfortunately, this is an old post, so some of the links to pictures don't work anymore, but the picture on post 21 is still there, fortunately.)"

To get your dog used to a dremel:
"Just take it slow...depending on what she will allow...you may even need to start with rubbing it all over her with the motor off. Then with the motor on, but just somewhere in the room at a distance, then touching a nail for a second or too, then grinding one nail, then a whole foot and so on.

And of course, lots and lots of treats---sometimes even after every toenail when you get to the full foot thing.

Go ahead and start getting her used to the thing. Keep clipping if you need to until she is OK with the grinder. But, of course, do the grinder introduction randomly throughout the day and not in the same session as clipping time.

Two hints...

1. Always support the nail with a finger or thumb as you grind . That lessens the vibration on that toe, and I imagine makes it less tickly for her.
2. Never grind on one nail for more than few second at a time. The area you are grinding can get quite hot. If you need to do more grinding than that, just go on to another nail and come back to the first."
I use a cordless Dremel multipro--the rechargeable battery doesn't have a super long running time--if you're doing multiple dogs in a row, that could be a problem for you--but a corded dremel is rather a pain to use (for me, anyway)

Dremel style tools marketed specifically as nail grinders for pets often don't have enough power to do tough dobe nails--it's really better just to use an ordinary hobby dremel with the coarse sandpaper roll."
 
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