Beau is a Doberman through and through. At 10 months, he is so amazingly well-behaved in some ways and very lacking in others. We have been training since the day he came home but despite all of that, he is still very vocal and overly interested when he sees a dog. My injuries (a ripped meniscus, broken pinky, and 2 broken toes) were caused by his spinning when we move past said dog. he continues to vocalize and face the dog not paying attention to his back half, which hits me in the back of the knees. At 86 pounds, he is 2/3rds my weight so when he bumps into me, it packs a wallop.
With Beau, I have worked with 4 trainers in the past 3 months and have learned very little that I didn’t already know. Even worse all, but one, used a one-size-fits-all approach for us. After several “professional” interventions, Beau still pulls on the leash and screams at dogs (if we accidentally meet a dog face-to-face, he immediately goes into play posture, think elevators, blind street corners), both of which require serious situational and proactive management.
All of this doesn’t discount the improvements that have been made. His learns new skills quickly, we do mini-sessions inside, multiple times a day and take time every walk to practice automatic sit in the elevator and when we stop walking, heel (as much as possible) and rapid down and other things as we navigate the neighborhood. When we walk with the dogs and people I know well, Beau is still very interested in the dog but quickly settles and walks beautifully – no pulling, no screaming. We have had major victories – one being that we were able to walk at neighborhood canine rush hour with no vocalization, even when there were 4 dogs and no distinct escape route.
Originally, my goal was to have him pass his CGC by August, but that will not happen. I feel like I am failing him, despite doing everything I know to do and seeking professional help. Part of my frustration is that I cannot attend any of the classes that have opened up because I know we will be asked to leave due to his extreme vocalizing (one organization confirmed it when I called). The other part of my frustration is totally ego-driven (not right, I know) because I know how to train a dog. I’ve done it successfully, I‘ve rehabbed rescues in order the make them adoptable and yet, I can’t slove this puzzle. Sigh.
I persevere because Beau has so much potential and I believe (maybe naively) that it will all come together when he gets older. Lately, I’ve been reminding myself that it isn’t fair to compare Beau to any other dog I have had. Different dog, different circumstances, and different me. I have the dog I have and my responsibility is to do all I can to learn what he needs and work to deliver. But, it would be nice to find a working dog trainer (better yet, a trainer who is a Doberman expert). The search continues and I continue to work Beau as much as possible with basic commands, some fun tricks, brain games, and walks.
I know we will get there, but I wonder when?
Here are some photos of our recent everyday adventures!