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Hi,

I really hope you guys can help me out on this one, I really don’t know what to do. As I am living in Africa there are no professional dog trainers around.

I’ve been so “lucky” to adopt a 3 year old Doberman bitch around 6 weeks ago. I already had a male Doberman, he is now 1½ years old, had him since he was a puppy. None of them are neutered.
These two dogs are managing very well together, that is not an issue.

However this new female Doberman is showing signs of being very nervous, maybe even stressed. Indoors she is the perfect well behaved dog. She is calm, doesn’t bark, likes to get petted (not by strangers), she reacts to instructions like “sit”, “come” etc. Guests can walk in and out the house, she does not pay them attention. If i’m working at my desk in the house, she prefers to be sleeping the day away next to my chair.
Only exception is when she can hear/see other dogs from the house, then she barks and is completely uncontrollable.
But outside the house she is a true nightmare to me. As soon as I leave the compound with her she goes completely crazy: Pulls the leash, jumps up and down, make 360 degree turns. After a 20min walk my arms are literally in pain. She doesn’t listen to instructions at all, even when offered a treat she doesn’t show any interest. She doesn’t seem to be affected by other humans, cars etc. but shows a lot of aggression towards other dogs and cats.
When finishing the walk and entering the compound, she changes again – doesn’t pull the leash, sits when told and so on.
Initially I thought she just needed more exercise, so I took her for a quite fast run. After a 6-7km run she still pulled the leash, showed no sign of stopping.
I’ve tried all the tricks of the Dog Whisperer. Pulling the leash on her, yelling at her and so on, nothing works. Tried keeping her on a short leash (30cm), it didn’t help either.
She hyperventilates and is often shivering, ears turned backwards, whining. She already broke one leash and two collars. In two cases she ran off and I had to chase her. In one case she even caught another (small) dog and bit it.
Here is what I know about her:
She has been living with her brother, a male Doberman, the past three years. She has been living with a family that I suspect to have been travelling on/off often leaving the dogs one or two weeks alone outside in the garden now and then, only with a guard/houseboy to look after them. They told me they had a dog trainer to train the dogs, but in Africa what a “dog trainer” does is often just to beat the dogs with a stick. (This is just a theory, don’t actually know if they got beaten)
Initially I took the male Doberman as well, but had to leave him with a friend as the two siblings were impossible to handle together. He was neutered though, and much easier to handle than her.
I really hope you can help me on this one. She is turning all my walks with the dogs into a true nightmare.


Thank you
Simon
 

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First off - spay and neuter!! There are so many threads on why, but here is the number one reason - if you are living with and intact male AND female, they will eventually have puppies. Unless you want to raise an entire litter yourself, that means that you are going to have to find homes for them. Living in africa, you don't exactly have the same access to the shelter system that people do in North America, and they will probably end up on the streets, or given away to people that may not be able to care for them, or that think that the "beat with a stick" training method is ok. Do this ASAP.

Secondly, most people on this forum with foam at the mouth when talking about the "techniques" taught on the dog whisperer. What you have described (yelling and tugging, most notably) will not do any good, and may actually do you some harm.

Finally - onto the issue. First - she may well need more exercise and time outside - one long run isn't going to burn off weeks or months of pent up energy. And she may be reacting with over-the-top excitement to being in an unfamiliar environment if she isn't used to walking. Can you get her to sit quietly with you if you are outside but not walking? If so, start taking her out and just hanging out with her - let her be outside, get a little more accustomed to the noises, sights and smells of the big wide world.

Because she is calmer in the house, I would start working on your walking etiquette inside! Do some umbilical training, where you attach the leash to your waist and walk around with her - not pulling or yanking on it, just calmly walking around with her to start getting her used to the idea of how to walk on a leash, and pay attention to you. Graduate to walking this way in the yard, and then on the street. Google umbilical training to get a better idea. If she starts to pull, try "being a tree" (described in one of the stickied threads) - basically, you stop and stand still! And use lots of praise for walking well with you.
 

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I recommend you read books such as "Control Unleashed" and "The other end of the leash" and teach your dog to be able to refocus on you whenever there is a distraction in his path.
Teaching the dog to walk on a leash when she gets into such a stew is not going to come easy. It will take a long time to get her to calm down but have patience and persevere.
In the interim I would invest in a Gentle Walker harness which will give you far better control on her pulling. I would not recommend any form of head halter as, with this dog, you are likely to inflict neck damage.
 

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I agree with Nev Allen

First off - spay and neuter!! There are so many threads on why, but here is the number one reason - if you are living with and intact male AND female, they will eventually have puppies
This is completely and utterly false. I have 6 animals in this house right now. 5 dogs and one cat. The only one that has been surgically sterilized is the cat.

The ages of the dogs in the house are 21 weeks, 8 months, 2.5 years, 4 years, and 8 years.

No puppies from anybody.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hello again.

Thank you so much for all the replies. Story goes that I read them and tried your methods, but it didnt really help much, it actually seem to get worse.

Then after a couple of days I realized why - she was going into heat. I am now given her some time to get through this phase and then I will start the training where we left it. I realized having both a female dog in heat and a male dog at the same time is a pretty tough job.

Once again, thank you for all the inputs.
Wishing you all a pleasant day.

Simon
 
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