Dog Care Resources
How to Raise the Perfect Dog
A puppy’s brain is like a sponge—soaking up all the smells and sights and experiences in the world as fast as it can. A well-stimulated pup will grow up to have a larger brain with more cells, bigger cells, and more interconnections between them. Hearing loud noises, getting regular exercise, meeting new dogs and people, traveling to new places, and even going through agility course training for a few minutes each day make for a stronger brain. We can influence the development of a puppy’s brain by providing him with the best environment possible when he is a newborn pup.
Likewise, a dog that is deprived of stimulation or that doesn’t have interactions with other dogs or humans is more likely to have a smaller brain and be less balanced. I have seen many situations in which an under stimulated dog is not only an unhappy dog but also a dull, almost lifeless animal.
Keeping your dogs mentally challenged and constantly exposing them to new things are just as important as taking them for walks and exercising them. Bored dogs develop destructive behaviors and take their negative energy out on things like your furniture. Quick link to order book:
The Genius of Dogs
This dog genius revolution is transforming how we live and work with our canine friends, including how we train them. Does your dog feel guilt? Is she pretending she can't hear you? Does she want affection—or just your sandwich? In The Genius of Dogs, Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods lay out what discoveries at the Duke Canine Cognition Lab and other research facilities around the world are revealing about how your dog thinks and how we humans can have even deeper relationships with our best four-legged friends.
The Doberman Pinscher
The Doberman Pincher has an enthusiastic following worldwide. This book examines what makes the breed so special, with information on care, health, showing, the top dogs and more for seasoned fanciers and novices alike. The authors emphasize humane, sensitive dog care, and encourage owners to make the most of the Doberman's intelligence and trainability.
How does your Dog Food Brand compare?
The Dog Food Advisor is a public service website designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.
Free guide to choosing the best large breed puppy foods:
(you may also sign up to receive email alerts on dog food recalls)
Chapter 12 of The Intelligence of Dogs:
Canine Consciousness and Capabilities by Stanley Coren
Increasing a Dog’s Intelligence
(Chapter 12 of The Intelligence of Dogs – Canine Consciousness and Capabilities by Stanley Coren)
As in the case of humans, the intelligence of dogs is not fixed but can be influenced by rearing and life history. Each of the four principal dimensions that affect manifest intelligence – i.e., instinctive intelligence, adaptive intelligence, obedience and working intelligence, and the personality factor – can be improved. Most of the techniques that will be mentioned in this chapter work best with your dogs (although even adolescent and young adult dogs will respond to a number of them), and many should be started as soon as the dog moves in.
Two aspects of personality play an important role in a dog’s obedience and working intelligence. The first is the dog’s orientation to humans, which includes its paying attention to what a human is doing and its seeking social affiliation with people. The second is the willingness of the dog to accept human leadership, rather than fighting for dominance and control.
To shape your dog’s personality, it is best to begin with a young puppy. By exposing your new puppy to appropriate experiences at various critical periods in its life, you can actually mold its character into one that will support later working and obedience ability. For the average dog owner, the most critical period is between seven and twelve weeks of age.
A puppy should remain with its littermates for around seven weeks. During this period, it develops its identity as a dog, learns to recognize dogs as social objects, and masters the basic behaviors needed to interact with other dogs. Social contact during this period is important, and it may need to be increased artificially if the litter is small (say one or two). This means that other (nonaggressive) dogs should be introduced to the puppies to increase their social contact with other dogs and to counteract the relative social isolation of a small litter. If no access to other dogs is possible, there is some evidence that human contact, in the form of one or two daily ten-minute episodes of play, touching, talking, and rubbing will help.
The optimal time to remove a dog from its litter and place it in its home is at seven weeks. Over the next five weeks, if the dog is given a lot of exposure and interaction with humans, it will come to accept human beings as members of its pack. It is this acceptance that allows dogs to interact well with people. Puppies that do not receive enough human contact and interaction during this period grow up to be difficult dogs. They do not attend to their masters’ commands and often turn out to be quite unsuccessful as working and obedience dogs.
Exposing the dog to the people with whom it will ultimately live produces the best and strongest social bonds. If this is not possible, daily play contact with any humans will work at least to establish the importance of humans in the dog’s psyche. The positive feelings developed can then usually be transferred successfully to a new master.
After puppyhood, there are still practical ways to improve dogs’ personality characteristics. Even dogs that are naturally dominant can come to accept the leadership and control of humans happily and consistently. Age, however, is still an important factor, and the steps that need to be taken should be started when the dog is as young as possible. Furthermore, the exercises involved should be repeated, at least occasionally throughout the dog’s life. They form the basis of a behavior modification program that can give you a dog with the most desirable set of personality characteristics.
This touching is not the simple stroking or fondling that we do to please the dog or ourselves but rather a systematic touching of the dog’s whole body. It mimics the pattern of licking and touching that a mother dog applies to her puppies, which helps to establish an emotional bond but is also an expression of her dominance and control of the litter. The significance of being touched carries over into adulthood: among wild dogs and wolves, a dominant member of the pack, such as the leader, can nuzzle, sniff, or touch any of the lower-status pack members at its pleasure. By allowing this treatment, the other pack members signal their acceptance of the dominant dog’s leadership. Just as with the mother dog and her puppies, however, the touching also establishes a positive emotional bond between the one touching and the one being touched.
You should be sure to touch your dog systematically on an almost daily basis, and everyone in the family, especially the children, should be taught the ritual. The procedure to follow is quite straightforward. While talking in a soothing manner, saying the dog’s name frequently, have it sit or stand in front of you. ……… The entire touching routine takes only about thirty seconds to a minute, and your dog will probably enjoy all the attention.
One additional benefit of this touching procedure is that touching your dog thoroughly on a regular basis will teach you the feel of its body, and you will immediately notice any unusual lumps or tender areas.
An alternative to touching is grooming, which involves the same kind of systematic touching. Grooming is a more vigorous form of touching that makes the dominance of the groomer more obvious. It has the side benefits of making the dog look better and keeping the house freer of hair if you have a breed that sheds. Just remember to talk to the dog throughout the grooming process, using its name frequently.
Manipulation and restraint
To establish your dominance and leadership more firmly, you should deliberately manipulate and restrain your dog on a regular basis, placing it in the position that, for wild canids, signifies submission to the authority of a dominant member of the pack. If your dog is already an adult, you may need a firmer hand.
All that is necessary is periodically to restrain the dog in some way for a minute or two. Speaking gently to the dog, hold its muzzle closed for a few seconds. Then push the dog over on its side, and hold it there for the better part of a minute. If the dog doesn’t elevate its legs when you do this, lift its legs into a more submissive position, or roll the dog on its back so that its legs are pointed up. Look directly at the dog’s eyes as you do this. When the dog turns its head away, you can end the exercise and fuss lightly with it to get its tail wagging. (Dominant dogs stare down lower-status dogs with a fixed gaze, and the lower-ranked dogs indicate their acceptance of the authority so demonstrated by looking away.)
On occasion, you should pull the dog gently toward you by the scruff of its neck or the skin at the side of its neck. If the dog is small you can simply lift it up for fifteen or twenty seconds. These simple actions mimic the way a female dog manipulates and controls her young puppies.
Enforcing the pack hierarchy
There are certain behaviors that characterize the leader of the pack and his followers. The leader gets first choice at any food, can sleep anywhere it likes, goes first through any opening or into any new territory, and can demand attention any time it wants it. If your dog accepts you (and your family) as the pack leader, it will be a happy, albeit lower-ranked, pack member that is much more willing to accept commands and controls. You must reinforce your leadership by exerting the prerogatives of the pack leader.
As the pack leader, you should never let the dog rush out of a door or through a gate ahead of you. When the dog is resting in a favorite spot, you should make it move from time to time. (I simply say, “Excuse me,” and shoo the dog a few steps away. After a while, “Excuse me” comes to mean “move” to the dog.) The moment the dog has complied willingly, praise it, and let it return to its original position if it wants. You should also occasionally take an object or some food away from the dog. (It is best to start doing this when the dog is still a puppy, when aggression is less likely and more easily controlled.) The moment you have done so, praise the dog for being nonaggressive and return the object or give the dog an additional bit of food. Finally, the dog should not be allowed to demand attention capriciously by pawing, barking, or placing its forepaws on you. If the dog does this, you should silently restrain it by rolling it on its back or side and staring momentarily into it eyes.
Attention and compliance exercises
The preceding exercises are designed to modify a dog’s dominance behaviors. Another set seeks to shape the dog’s attention to humans and its acceptance of human control. The first aspect of gaining control over a dog is to have it learn its name. This is why you should repeat the dog’s name over and over when you perform the exercises described above. Indeed, whenever you stroke the dog, feed it, greet it, or have any interaction with it at all, you should start with the dog’s name. By doing this regularly, the name comes to mean, in the dog’s mind, Something is about to happen that concerns me. Thus, the dog will soon come to look at you whenever its name is spoken.
Perhaps the most important single command to teach the dog is sit. It causes the dog voluntarily to cease any other activities and places it in a position that can conveniently serve as a starting point for other activities. Teaching a puppy this command is also very rewarding because the dog learns it almost automatically. Simply wave a bit of food once or twice in front of the dog, and then say the dog’s name followed by the word sit. As you do this, hold the hand with the bit of food in it above but just behind the puppy’s head. Most dogs will naturally sit under these conditions because that posture allows them to keep watching the hand. If the puppy does not sit, gently fold its hind legs under its hindquarters to place it into position. Either way, when the dog sits, give it the bit of food and some praise. Next, with no food in your hand, repeat the sequence of saying the dog’s name and the word sit and placing your hand above and slightly behind the puppy’s head. When the dog sits, again give it a bit of food and some praise. After ten or so repetitions, when the dog is reliably sitting with the verbal command and the gesture, you can probably drop the hand signal, and the dog should begin sitting to the verbal command alone.
Once the sit command is established, it can be used to start instilling in the dog the habit of obeying other commands. To do this, you should never give the dog anything for free. Before you feed the dog, make it sit; before you pet it, make it sit; before the dog gets to go out the door, make it sit; and so on. Later on, when the dog knows commands other than sit, you can alternate among the commands that you require the dog to obey before it gets what it wants. What the dog is really learning in these situations is that it must first respond to you, its leader, and that when it does so, it gets things it wants.
The dog must feel that you are always in control of it. This means that you should never ask the dog to do something unless you are sure that it will actually perform the required action. Obviously, a trained dog will generally comply with your commands, but until you reach that stage, you or someone else should be in a position to enforce the command. For instance, you should not tell the dog down unless you are close enough physically to place the dog in a lying position. Similarly, until the dog responds reliably, you should not cal it unless it is on leash. This allows you to reel it in like a fish if it fails to respond promptly. The idea is to impress on the dog that your commands to it are not requests, or pleas, or the beginning of a negotiation, but rather instructions that must be complied with because they will be enforced. At the same time, whenever the dog does comply (even if you have to compel it to do so), it should be praised or otherwise rewarded. This way, the dog comes to associate working for you with pleasant outcomes. Remember that you should never let the dog get into situations where it is highly likely to misbehave or disobey you.
Once you have taught the dog some basic commands, or even some parlor tricks, these should be practiced on a regular, but unpredictable, basis. While walking the dog, make it come to you and sit down. While watching television, make the dog sit or lie down. This random repetition is important, not simply as practice for the commands but also as reinforcement for the idea that the dog must pay attention to you and follow instructions without question.
Other Web Sites with Helpful Information to help you be an informed and capable dog owner
Dog Owner's Guide
More than 300 pages of features, breed profiles, training tips, health information, and articles about shelters, rescue, dogs and the law, and just about everything else you need to know about living with your dog. You will find articles to help you choose a breed, a breeder, and a puppy; how to teach that puppy good manners, how to choose a veterinarian, a boarding kennel, a groomer, or a trainer, what to expect at a dog show, and much, much more!
Life with a Doberman Pinscher
"The Doberman Pinscher is a faithful companion with high intelligence and alertness. They are commonly associated with military, police, and personal defense uses, although Doberman Pinschers also enjoy a loyal following with dog enthusiasts around the world. Modern breeders have worked to curb the aggressiveness and ferociousness of the breed to enhance their abilities as companion animals, but Doberman Pinschers in general retain some of these characteristics. They respect and protect their owners and territory, but Doberman Pinschers still make good family pets with the proper training and early socialization."
Just about everything you want to know about Dobermans is made available in a very user friendly format:
Contains helpful information for a variety of pet types. Nice features include Vet Locator and Medical Center.
The Pet Med Library by Mar Vista Animal Medical Center
Lots of useful information archived within the different library sections of this site. Great tool for educating yourself.
All Content Copyright © 2000-present GarrettsDobermans.com.
All rights reserved.