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Training an 11 month old rescue (and it's owner)

Lizzard

Hot Topics Subscriber
Hi all. We have a 9 year old dream dobe, Marco, who we had since a puppy, and I did a lot of training with him when we got him. 9 years is a long time, and I have certainly forgotten the basics. I know we had to turn him into the great dog he is!

We recently acquired a mistreated red girl, who was left outside on a 6' rope all the time, when our friend had the owner surrender the dog. We've had Polo for a month, she is 11 months of pure puppy and very little focus, despite some work. She is smart and picks things up quickly, clearly she had some training, and she is very good in Home Depot, etc. But if she sees a bicycle or a car, it's an exorcism. I am trying to normalize this stuff with her. We walk her on a prong.

She really has no focus on me when outside, unless she is on a prong, and I can't remember how to train this? I call her and she won't even look my way, even if I have treats. Only a snap with the prong *might* warrant a glance. I think she was starved (she is still very thin, even after a month with us) so she is constantly looking at the ground for movement (mice? bugs?) and she goes after anything that moves in the air - flies, bees, dust mites. She is hyper focused on anything but me. If anyone has a good resource for training the dog to focus on you and listen to you, I would appreciate so much if you could please share.

She's also a brute to her older brother. We did watch the video someone here posted re: pack order in the house, and after implementing some of the tips (feed older dog first, praise older dog for defending himself, discourage indoor fighting, greet older dog first, etc.) it's getting better. But, we're still going nuts, and for those with multiple dogs, can you share what worked to stop the constant fighting? Again, new female (Polo) is 11 months and old male (Marco) is 9.5 years. I'm just wondering if there's an end to the constant "Polo, NO! QUIT IT!" that goes on right now. They do fine in the car together, but in the house or the yard, different story unless one is sleeping or crated. (We do crate her, a lot.)

Other than that she's a sweet dog and like I said, smart. She will get it, but I need to help her and I can't remember how. Also, if anyone knows good training groups or people in the Denver, Colorado area, please send me your recommendations. We used to go to a Schutzhund group for the training, not competition, with Marco. I am not sure if they are still around, and I don't have their name or contact info. Any resources are completely appreciated, thanks so much!
 

Ravenbird

$ Forum Donor $
My puppy came to me at 10 weeks old and within a month play had turned to bullying the 5 year old resident dog. I separated them or kept the puppy on leash at all times when they were together for a long time, and still don't allow any interaction in the house or yard. They are only loose together on long hikes where Asha has more to do than torment her "big sister" and always wears an ecollar. My pup also thought everything in the world was more important than me and that took time too. My biggest take away with a very independent dog in a home with another dog is LOTS of time ALONE with her in as many different places as possible. One of the games for attention - if Polo's got food drive - is tossing treats or kibble 10 feet away, she returns to you, toss again, she returns toss again. Use a long line if she won't return. Make her want to look at you for what you're going to do next. I did this on every concrete/paved surface where ever we went in town & my concrete slab porch at home. That and the eye-contact game made big changes for me. I'm assuming you know to have the prong way high on her neck, just behind the ears for proper control? If she reacts to cars/bikes is it aggressive barking lunging or fearful wanting to leave? LOL, not sure what you meant by exorcism. Depending on the reaction would change the advice, but basically more exposure with her learning to listen to you at all times. She won't respect you until she accepts you as her leader. Tie her to your waist in the house, making her go everywhere you go, even if it's just 20 minutes at a time while you do dishes or little chores. Even though she's much older, I'd want to treat her like a young puppy. I think there are several working dog clubs in Denver area, go Find a club

and also UDC: UDC Member Clubs – United Doberman Club

@Doberman Gang always has great ideas & advice for dealing with high drive dogs.
 

Foxrider714

Member
I like to hold a good treat in my hand and let them smell and try to out of my fist and with my other hand have a really good treat and hold it up to my eyes and say look at me or whatever word you want to use and one they make even the slightest eye contact with you mark and reward with the treat you had up to your face.. hope this could help I’m sure other people will have there tips as well
 

Antman408

$ Forum Donor $
I took in a similiar rescue in January. She was mistreated, beat, underweight and pretty much everything you’ve described. As I work full time I had her go to a board and train. It was helpful in building her foundation.

these are some things that worked for us.

crate and rotate both dogs. No interaction for the first 2 months. Slowly building into it after the first month or two.

she worked for all her meals, nothing is free. Except water.

small short training sessions then back into the crate. Everything had to be earned.

as far as teaching focus what worked for us is putting the dog into a sit in front of me and anytime eye contact was made she was rewarded with a treat.

I recommend finding a trainer to assist you in helping this dog. In time it’s worth it.

It went from her biting me the first day meeting her, to her being a daddy’s girl now.


8A57C1C0-D101-45D1-95B2-C7C9A77F3DE4.jpeg 39604E7C-9A58-47B1-8E89-722533CB0796.jpeg 21B4BF29-7162-4812-A494-DEC37618C7F3.jpeg
 

Doberman Gang

Hot Topics Subscriber
Dogs are prey animals, she is interested in anything that is moving (or exciting) make yourself more exciting, move food in your hand away from her, run away and have her chase the hand with food in it. Stop and ask for a sit, down, eye contact ect... anything to put her in some kind of calm obedience. Then mark that behavior and reward. Immediately start another session of chase/play. This can also be done with a toy or ball but I like teaching rules with food first because toys will put more drive in the work and it is easier to loose control and not get calm behaviors to reward.
 

Lizzard

Hot Topics Subscriber
I like to hold a good treat in my hand and let them smell and try to out of my fist and with my other hand have a really good treat and hold it up to my eyes and say look at me or whatever word you want to use and one they make even the slightest eye contact with you mark and reward with the treat you had up to your face.. hope this could help I’m sure other people will have there tips as well
Thanks I can start doing this all the time, good quick session that can stick. Thank you!!
 

Lizzard

Hot Topics Subscriber
I like teaching rules with food first because toys will put more drive in the work and it is easier to loose control and not get calm behaviors to reward.
Thank you! I am using food only but I was wondering if I should switch to toy instead. She is actually SUPER food motivated, and obviously with her being underweight, I'm happy to feed her extra :p
 

Lizzard

Hot Topics Subscriber
My puppy came to me at 10 weeks old and within a month play had turned to bullying the 5 year old resident dog. I separated them or kept the puppy on leash at all times when they were together for a long time, and still don't allow any interaction in the house or yard. They are only loose together on long hikes where Asha has more to do than torment her "big sister" and always wears an ecollar. My pup also thought everything in the world was more important than me and that took time too. My biggest take away with a very independent dog in a home with another dog is LOTS of time ALONE with her in as many different places as possible. One of the games for attention - if Polo's got food drive - is tossing treats or kibble 10 feet away, she returns to you, toss again, she returns toss again. Use a long line if she won't return. Make her want to look at you for what you're going to do next. I did this on every concrete/paved surface where ever we went in town & my concrete slab porch at home. That and the eye-contact game made big changes for me. I'm assuming you know to have the prong way high on her neck, just behind the ears for proper control? If she reacts to cars/bikes is it aggressive barking lunging or fearful wanting to leave? LOL, not sure what you meant by exorcism. Depending on the reaction would change the advice, but basically more exposure with her learning to listen to you at all times. She won't respect you until she accepts you as her leader. Tie her to your waist in the house, making her go everywhere you go, even if it's just 20 minutes at a time while you do dishes or little chores. Even though she's much older, I'd want to treat her like a young puppy. I think there are several working dog clubs in Denver area, go Find a club

and also UDC: UDC Member Clubs – United Doberman Club

@Doberman Gang always has great ideas & advice for dealing with high drive dogs.
Very helpful, thank you! She has very high food drive, I will do the toss game, that's a great suggestion! And the long line, yes I need to use that inside, too... thank you, this is all coming back to me now... well, some of it :D

Yes the prong IS very high on her neck, until the bicycle/car inspired exorcism, which is the lunging and aggressive barking type. :pullhair: Incidentally this behavior seems to be getting better. On today's walk she was much less barky, but still whiney and very lungey. I think I just need to keep the consistency and give her more time, I mean, even though she is older, I need to remember she's not gonna get it in a day, or week, or month, BUT she will get it.

And thanks for the club suggestions, I will check those out.
 

Lizzard

Hot Topics Subscriber
Well thanks, all! I'll still take suggestions if you've got 'em, but these are a great start. And @Antman408 THANK you for sharing, we do have similar dogs, and yours are awesome sitting there all dressed up!

Polo does have to work for everything (yes, NILIF!) but I can be more consistent and deliberate about it. And I think I need to just keep going with what I'm doing and incorporate these suggestions, this isn't going to happen fast, we've had her barely a month.

Incidentally, here's what happened today, they just came over and DID THIS ON THEIR OWN and I about fell out of my chair... perhaps there is hope after all!! :biggrin:

 

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Rits

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Name game! Always start any training with no distractions and build from there. Stand in front of her and say her name. She looks anywhere at your face, mark it with a Yes! and give her a treat. Play this every. day. She will instinctively respond to her name if you do this. Work your way up to playing this in a slightly distracting environment compared to your house, so maybe the backyard with no Marco, then the driveway, then the backyard with Marco out, then a quiet park...etc. I second the chase game for getting the reward to keep things exciting. Tuck a treat between your palm and your thumb and ask her to touch. Reward. Then move the hand so she has to chase it and reward when she shoves her nose in your palm.

Building focus is a slow n steady process. Definitely doesn't come over night but she'll learn you're worth focusing on if you build the foundations and work your way up!
 

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