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"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his
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Dear Dobe Dan,

How can I help my Dobie get over his fears when we go out walking?

Many Dobies are anxious or fearful of unknown situations, objects or people.  Begin by making a list of the things that scare him.  Then choose one item to focus on for each outing.  Let's say he's alarmed by water hydrants.  The minute he balks or backs away, have him "sit" and praise immediately.  Then, move a bit closer to the hydrant, command "sit", praise immediately.  You will repeat this same pattern, regardless of how many "sit"stops it takes to reach the object.  The purpose of this exercise is to build confidence with the "sit", instead of focusing on the hydrant.  This kind of lesson can be repeated with any object, person, or unfamiliar situation.  It allows the dog to be reassured when building his confidence by rewarding performance.  To pat him when he's showing anxiety simply reinforces his fear.

Dear Dobe Dan,

My Dobie is a bit too reactive when people come to our front door.  How can I change his behavior?

You can begin by teaching him how you do want him to behave.  Hang a short leash on the doorknob to remind yourself to put him on leash before opening the door.  Have him sit as you open the door, invite guest in while he remains seated.  If he's a bit too energetic about greeting your guests, you can keep him on leash, direct behavior, and always praise immediately for following directions, no matter how often or how long you've had him!

Dear Dobe Dan,

Our Dobie absolutely inhales his dinner...sometimes so fast that he'll throw up.  I'm worried about him getting bloat..what can we do?

Most important is to be certain that he isn't in competition with any other pets when he eats.  Some Dobies litterally vacuum their meals...for many reasons, but most related to behaviors learned early in life.  To slow him down, try putting a large Kong in the middle of the food bowl. Now, if he's really a bright kid, he'll remove the Kong and go back to vaccuming!  I've resorted to serving the food in several bowls spread around the room, and even to tossing the entire bowl of dry food over the patio, so that it becomes a treasure way to vacuum food when one has to hunt for a kibble at a time.
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