Behavioral Training Challenges of Adoption
When you first bring your new Dobe home, it will take some time for her to become comfortable and to understand the "rules" of the household. There are rare cases where the new Dobe is so laid back and well-mannered that she immediately fits right in and follows the household "rules" so perfectly that the new owner is certain this is the greatest dog on the planet! More often, however, the adoption may present some challenges, that can be difficult to work through. Recognizing this and having an attitude of patience and understanding with your new Dobe will certainly pay off in the end.
Here are some issues new owners may encounter:
* Housebreaking issues
* Destructive behavior
* Climbing on the furniture
* Selective hearing (she won't listen to you!)
* Aggression toward other pets
* Aggression toward humans (rare)
* Running away
Don't be disheartened by these issues! There is hope for you yet! Remember, it is common for some of these issues to occur in an adoption. You have the power to make your Dobe happy and to help her become the best friend you've always wanted.
Read our Joys of Training document to learn (1) how important it is to take a rescue Dobe to obedience classes and (2) about HMDD's training policies.
Working with Behavior Problems
You and your new Dobe will have an adjustment period that could last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. During this timeframe, it is critical that you demonstrate a positive attitude that leads your actions.
In the meantime, your new Dobe may display behavior you find unacceptable. However, even if she has a house-breaking issue, tears up your favorite pair of shoes, or refuses to listen, you must avoid the temptation to lose control. "Punishing" your Dobe by yelling at her, forcibly hitting her, or rubbing her nose in her potty accidents will only make things worse.
According to Dr. Mark Plonsky, expert in animal learning and behavior, there are three major issues with the use of punishment:
1. Punishment may only lead to temporary improvements in the dog's behavior.
2. The reason you are punishing the dog may be clear to you, but is likely not clear to her.
3. Punishment may lead to other negative behaviors, such as aggression, avoidance, and a tendency to run away.
Instead of punishment, be patient with your dog. Perhaps The Humane Society of the United States says it best:
"Sure the expectations you have of your dog are reasonable and remember that the vast majority of behavior problems can be solved. Remember, not all 'behavior' problems are just that; many can be indicators of health problems. For example, a dog who is suddenly growling or snapping when you touch his ears may have an ear infection. If you are struggling with your pet's behavior, contact your veterinarian or local animal shelter for advice."
You can also visit The Humane Society's website to find a wealth of information in the form of behavior tip sheets on specific behavioral issues.
Plonsky, Mark. (1996 - 1999). Punishment: Problems & principles for effective use. Dr. P's Dog Training. Retrieved December 3, 2011 from http://www4.uwsp.edu/psych/dog/LA/DrP3.htm.
The Humane Society of the United States. (2009, October 26). Top 10 things to keep your dog in tip-top shape. Dog Care Essentials. Retrieved December 4, 2011 from http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/dog_care_essentials.html.
In human deep sea divers, the bends are a consequence of ascending from one depth and amount of pressure to another without sufficient acclimatization. The effect of the Behavioral Bends on a dog can be just as bad. He may be unclear about the rules. But with your help, he'll start to figure things out. Behavioral Bends helps explain these problems. For more information about Behavioral Bends, click HERE to read a printable pdf.
Bad Manners when Walking
Are you walking your Dobe or is she walking you? Here are some tips to help ensure walking is an enjoyable activity for you both:
1. Distracted by activity: If your Dobe darts after wildlife or is distracted by every human or car that goes by, it may be helpful to walk her very early in the morning or late at night when there is less activity.
2. Pulling on the leash: If your Dobe simply wants to take you for a walk, check out the ASPCA's article, "Teaching Your Dog Not to Pull on Leash". You can also try using "The Gentle Leader", which is a head halter that can give you supreme control when walking your dog.