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First off, I would like to clarify I'm not looking to train my dog over the internet or go around the proper channels to shortcut or not train properly. I'm mostly looking to learn and glean some advice as it relates to dobermans in the protection sports.

I'm a member of a working club and today we had a session with my 13 month old doberman. She's been working consistently on a few different bite jutes and has began working on a bite wedge. Today the trainer expressed that my girl has really good prey drive that but also a soft temperament and particularly needs more work being encouraged to pull and not shy from it because she would get to the end of the lead with the agitator and did't like the pressure so would bite short rather than a full mouth bite.

I was wondering if anyone else has worked with and successfully titled soft temperament dobies, and what your advice would be for being successful with them. Thank you.
 

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I have had this problem with a Euro show line dobie and also West German show line shepherds. You may be doing some of these things already, but just in case not, these are things I've found to help a bit.

Do you currently play tug games with a tug or wedge? I use them a lot as rewards for obedience. Make the rules consistent (release when told, no biting hands - you must present correctly). If you already do this, that is great. I make it a point to move into positions like a helper would. For example, put the dog "in the pocket". Eventually drive the dog as the helper would. Use a lot of body contact during the game. Touch the dog on the sides with your leg, etc. If you have a stick, let the dog become familiar with it and eventually use it like a helper would. Doing all of these things with a familiar person lets the dog get used to it happening without the added stress of an unfamiliar person. If you have a dog that is nervous when the helper vocalizes (ie on the long bite), vocalize while playing tug, playing fetch, etc. You can graduate to having people the dog is also familiar with (a spouse, boy/girlfriend, friend that dog knows, etc.) also play tug with them.

This isn't a sure fire way to "fix" them, but in my experience it does help a lot. It is just a temperament flaw that can sometimes be improved on, but sometimes it is just too much to overcome. Just depends on the dog and also your dedication. This is a big reason why we encourage people to get a working line dog if looking to get into bite sports. And even some working line dogs have these issues. I've seen a lot of malinois, who are the new "breed of choice" for bite sports, have this issue. Tons of prey drive, and most times enough that it overcomes any soft temperament issues, but sometimes not.

Anyway, maybe this gives you something to work on, and I hope you have success with your girl. I thought some of the more experience people might have chimed in, but since no one had I figured I'd throw out some of my experiences. Good luck!
 

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i would say I'm in a similar position with my dog and training. I would say hes on the softer side and needs a lot of confidence building and bite work.

I agree with the other post that you can certainly build drive, grip, and a full bite. At first my guy would just stare at the tug. Wouldnt touch it or bite it. After working with a trainer and knowing how to correctly play with the tug and using it as a reward during obedience training he goes crazy for it. Now everytime I pull out a tug or bite pad he starts jumping for it. I encourage this drive. Lots of praise and reward.

To build confidence I would let him bite the tug, as he got a full and firm bite, i would tug a little and them let him win and run away. If he had a soft or a bite that wasnt full i would yank the tug away. Building his drive got him coming back for it. Full/firm bite lets him win it. Keep the sessions short and positive and let him win a lot when he does the right behaviour. Take the tug away as soon as you're done training. This will keep his drive for the tug higher.

once he was developing a better bite i started adding pressures. chatter sticks, agitation sticks, touching the dog a lot and basically distracting with as many new and different things while he is on the bite. if he maintains the bite, he can have the tug and run off.

after he got used to distractions around him or close to his body on the bite, i would then touch him with the objects and then increase the pressure. the better he handles it, the more he wins, and the bigger the praise.

he can now maintain a bite while swinging a plastic chair around him, touching him with a broom stick, etc. all things he would run away from before.

so its certainly possible to build up a "softer" dog but it does take time and confidence building has a lot to do it with. a stable temperment also matters.

my guy is only 1.5yrs old and has some maturing to do but starting early and young can do a lot for building drive and nerves. Just dont add pressure if your dog is young or cant handle it. Work with a trainer to assess it or you will do more harm than good and he/she may just run from the tug.

its a rewarding sport. my first time working a dog and I'm really enjoying it.
 
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