Bugs is now 11.5 months old and is turning into an absolutely wonderful dog! She is so bonded to me and is definitely a velcro dog.
Her manners have greatly improved because I've taught her some things to help with self-control. She now does an auto-sit for everything - be it water, petting, toys, etc. And she also knows the "wait" command. She isn't allowed to rush her food bowl or the door; that has the potential to be hazardous. I taught her "wait" with a hand signal and word, which is really nice because sometimes she acts like a butthead when I'm on the phone and I can't exactly holler "WAIT!!!" into someone's ear. :D She is so good at waiting that I can put a treat on the floor and walk away for up to four minutes. When I come back she's still sitting there looking at the spot where I last was, waiting for me to give the release word which is "OOOkay!" I say the release word really funny and high pitched. My thinking on that is: what if we are in a situation where she NEEDS to wait, such as if I am talking to someone. I don't want her to hear me say "okay" in conversation and think she can get up and run around.
Bugs has had some issues with being leash/dog reactive. We saw a veterinary behaviorist who diagnosed it as frustration - NOT aggression or fear. Frustration is awesome because we can train that! We are using a head collar and high value treats (Lickety Sticks) with FANTASTIC results!
Bugs went to the vet in May for her heartworm test - which was negative - and she weighs 70 pounds. We got a new prescription for fleas called Advantage Multi which is a monthly spot-on preventative that covers fleas, heartworm, and intestinal worms. It's only about $15 which is cheaper than doing separate flea and heartworm preventative.
Bugs went camping with me at the beginning of June and she had so much fun! She got to play on the beach and chew on sticks, and even got to sleep in the tent with Momma. She was impeccably behaved the entire time except for one small incident. She saw a man on the beach that she didn't like and was barking at him. She has never reacted to a person before. Two days later, I put her out to potty and went back in the tent at around 6:30am. Suddenly I heard her barking - not the "I'm done, let me back in" bark, but a big scary warning bark. I went out and there was that same man, sitting on a bench across the road.
I did not correct this behavior because she's a doberman and that's her job, to alert me when things aren't quite right. Something wasn't right with that man, even though he seemed completely fine to me. She is very discerning and that's how she's supposed to be.
Our new goal is to start doing some nosework for fun and maybe for competition, if we both like it. I love the IPO tracking (fka schutzhund) but Bugs is very soft and not cut out for bitework and I don't know that we would be able to compete in just one section of IPO. The AKC has a nosework competition but it's completely different than IPO, for instance, allows air sniffing rather than having the nose deep into the track.
And now what you've all been waiting for - PICS!
Bugs cuddling with Momma
Bugs in the tent!
Bugs and my nephew, Jack. They're best friends!!
Bugs and her favorite toy - strips of fleece braided into a rope
Bugs and Bruno watching the door (Dad came in)