What a beautiful dog! Doberman Roxy is two years old and really only gives her owners two problems. It would be far easier to list her good points. She is polite and friendly, she’s good with other dogs and she is clever. She has never shown aggression of any sort. She understands and obeys quite a number of words.
But Roxy barks too much outside and she pulls on lead.
Roxy has been unintentionally led to believe that she controls nearly everything in her life – when and where she eats, what she will eat, when she’s played with, where she sleeps and who with, when she goes outside, when she is petted, when she comes back from playing with other dogs…………and the garden.
Barking in the garden
They hadn’t seen how they have been encouraging the barking in the garden. A Doberman, after all, is a guarding breed and to ask for no barking at all would be like asking a human not to talk.
Roxy looks out in the garden through the conservatory windows, on high alert. Her tail is up. She is looking for cats or birds perhaps – or even a masked gunman? She agitates to go out until door is opened for her.
If they are sitting watching TV, she has learnt that if she simply keeps staring at the gentleman he will always give in and let her out. She is in a highly aroused state even before he opens the door. She rushes out, hackles up, and charges around the garden, barking.
If Roxy could speak she would be saying to the man, ‘Let me out right now so that I can check the boundaries, chase off the enemy and let the world know whose territory this is’ – and he does it! I’m sure he won’t mind my quoting him (and he’s a big, strong young man): “I’m so weak-minded Roxy can control me telepathically!”
At night time they worry about the neighbours so need to stop her barking in the garden and have resorted to muzzling her to muffle the noise.
Making the decisions
How much better to take on the parenting and decision-making role themselves!
The young man will need to ignore the staring and let her out when he chooses and when she is calm. He won’t open the door until she has worked it out that it stays shut until she hangs back calmly and he may then step out with her. If she barks outside they will thank her and call her straight back in – rewarding her.
At night time she will need to go out on a long lead so she has no choice but to do as she is asked straight away. No more night-time barking in the garden.
Other little things they do throughout daily life will help too, gaining a bit more control of some of the important things like food and play. Roxy, who is a slightly nervous dog, when she accepts the new way of things should become more confident.