biting when over-excited

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Heidi2's picture
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Joined: 2019-08-31

I know I was not going to post here again because of some judgemental comments, but I am looking for some help from those with more experience.  

We have trained our doberman from day #1.  We try to be consistent with everything.  She is the sweetest dog with friends, strangers, cats and other dogs.  However, the one problem we are having is her pushiness.  In the house when she gets that whine she does before going into zoomies and craziness, I just grab her scruff and tell her no.  Then, I rub her ears and calm her down and she's fine.  My husband takes her in the field behind our house so she can run off leash to get her energy out.  She's good 98% of the time.  However, she has this same issue she's had since she was about 6 months old, she will randomly (can't predict it ahead of time) just do this crazy barking, jumping up and biting.  (I "think" it is when she doesn't want to quit)  A couple of days ago she did it to my husband on his arm as he was walking away.  She left TEETH marks (this was through his coat and two layers of clothing).  So, now I am upset.  He says she is still puppy (just turned a year old) and she'll calm down.   Now, he is giving me mixed messages about giving her away.   It breaks my heart to even think this.  She is very attached to both of us.  How do we cure a misbehavior when we don't know why she is doing it in the first place?  

Has anyone else had this problem?  I know dobermans can be pushy.  

Thanks

 

DobermanGuy's picture
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 A couple of days ago she did it to my husband on his arm as he was walking away.  She left TEETH marks (this was through his coat and two layers of clothing).  So, now I am upset.  He says she is still puppy (just turned a year old) and she'll calm down.   Now, he is giving me mixed messages about giving her away.   It breaks my heart to even think this.  She is very attached to both of us.  How do we cure a misbehavior when we don't know why she is doing it in the first place?  

Has anyone else had this problem?  I know dobermans can be pushy.  

Thanks

 

You let your dog train YOU for an entire year.

 

Now she thinks that sort of behavior is acceptable and she pretty much knows she can get away with it. Pat yourself on the back cause YOU taught the dog that with your actions (lack thereof in this case).

 

When puppies are playing with their siblings / parents and one starts to get too rough and out of line it gets corrected with a bite or squeeze from one of the bigger dogs and it learns bite inhibition fast. Why is that?

How does the older adult dog or the bigger dog know how hard to squeeze with their bite to get the message across to the pup that is out of line and then STOP once the point is across?

What you 'should have done' for the last year was treat her the same exact way her mom / dad or sibling would have if the same thing happened to them.   

Heidi2's picture
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Joined: 2019-08-31

Well, for one thing - for months I was busy helping take care of my mother who fractured her hip and the dog was under my husband's care.   For another, I DO and have grabbed her scruff to correct her when she is 'acting up'.   HOWEVER, unless you are there to see it, you have no idea how fast she is when she does this.  Unfortunately, he admits he never even yelled when she did it.  (I am SURE it hurt).   She is spot on with ALL obedience and is amazing in every other way.  So, you can say I'm a total failure but you have no clue either.   We've been told she is the best doberman the daycare has ever had.  So, she's not doing too bad for having owners "train her".

Also, I've contacted our trainer.  He is coming by to hear what is happening and hopefully will go with us to witness it.  She only does it when we have her off leash.  My opinion here is that she is in high gear because she has her freedom and tons of smells out there getting her even more stimulated.  It is too random to predict it is going to happen.  We are certainly not perfect.  Again, I reached out hoping SOMEONE out there with a passion for these dogs might be able to clue us in without casting stones.  

 

 

 

 

I'm not a professional trainer or behaviorist. I'd see what your trainer says, and I'd also maybe look into a professional behaviorist. Ask your Vet for a reference to one.

It does sound like she is over stimulated and is not getting enough exercise. She has gotten away with behavior she should not have - does she only do this with your husband? 

Heidi2's picture
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I will definitely talk to our vet.   The trainer we got was recommended by his office staff.  He is probably the only local behavior trainer.   When we were working with Heidi with him, I was concerned about how rowdy she would get.  He said she has a great temperament but reassured me she is NOT mean.  He said she is aggressive in everything she does but not vicious by any means.

Yes, she is mainly doing this with my husband now.   When she was about 6 or 7 months, she did it to me a couple of times when I was playing fetch in the fenced yard.  Funny, it always seemed to be at the same spot of the yard at the top of a hill.  I would usually head back down to the house from that spot, so I assumed she still wanted to engage in play.  It was hard for me to grab her collar to correct her because she is bouncing all over the place and is like trying to catch lightning, but I did correct each time she did this and then walked away from her and she quit.  After that, I made sure when I played fetch with her that as soon as she started getting into "that mode" (only way I can describe it), I would correct her and quit the games.

We took her to run today.  She was doing great - catching snowballs, etc.  He didn't see her, but THIS time, I did...she started to bark and jumped up at the back of his leg (didn't really bite), but I gave her a correction and that made him turn around and he corrected her and basically told her to sit.  She sat and waited for him to throw another snowball.  From what I observed, it is definitely her wanting more attention.  So, at least I'm pretty sure this is something we can address now that we know where it is coming from.  

Thanks for your input.  I hadn't thought about calling the vet about it.  He told us when we got her that he has always loved the breed and just doesn't see them any more.  He, too, has told us she has good temperament.   I kept needing reassured of this because she is so head strong.  My hubby has had dobermans before and just says she is a doberman - period.   I'm not used to it after having raised a sheltie and golden retriever....(much easier - LOL).

I'll be calling the vet tomorrow.  

 

 

DobermanGuy's picture
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HOWEVER, unless you are there to see it, you have no idea how fast she is when she does this. 

 

Makes no difference how fast she is. She should not be biting the hands that feed her and getting away with it. The lack of corrections is helping her learn exactly what she can get away with. 

 

My advice: Use a leash / long lead and proper collar at all times and slowly work your way up until it does not need the leash to listen to commands without hesitation. Guessing you figured that because the dog was in your fenced yard you didn't 'need' a leash during that training / exercise?

The leash gives you the ability to get their attention from a distance and pretty much prevents them from being able to blow off your commands. Add a pinch collar in the mix and they learn REAL fast to not blow off commands. Commands like 'Calm Down'...

We've been told she is the best doberman the daycare has ever had.  So, she's not doing too bad for having owners "train her".

If your Doberman is in daycare during the day how is that good in any way? Is the dog not housetrained where you can trust it to not mess up your stuff? Can a Doberman off in daycare look out the window and possibly deter a crime before it happens?

 

 

Heidi2's picture
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Not that I have to answer this, but I am going to.  She is NOT in Daycare all day.  We are retired and she gets LOTS of exercise.  We are doing what we feel is responsible ownership and taking her to daycare to stay socialized with other dogs.   We usually arrange it if we see it is going to be a rainy day or if we have to go away for longer than 5 hrs.   It is so easy to judge when you don't have the whole story.

We have our trainer coming tomorrow.   We did put her back on the leash again as you suggested.  We'll see what trainer has to say, but I am sure it will probably be along this line.   However, this happens when we are playing with her....kind of hard to have a leash and play fetch.

Thanks for your suggestion.  

 

 

DobermanGuy's picture
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However, this happens when we are playing with her....kind of hard to have a leash and play fetch.

 

 

In a situation like that you let them trail / drag a long lead. Personally, I use a 30' cotton training lead and it works great. Fairly inexpensive too.

Over time the dog is going to learn how to manage playing without ever getting tangled up. You may be surprised at how little time that takes if you are constant with the use of the lead. You do not have to hold the leash at all times either if in a fenced area. Let her trail it and if you need to grab it - Step on it first and then bend down to pick it up. (is safer to step on it first rather than just going to pick it up in some cases - will explain if needed)

Not sure if this helps in your exact situation but since we are talking about leashes...

I found this a few weeks ago and absolutely love it:

The way I have it adjusted in the picture - you can slip your wrist through the one end and have a short and solid attachment to a single dog or undo that one loop and you can attach a primary leash in the middle and have a dog on either side. Length adjustable on both sides... Like I have it set in the picture makes stuff like 'bed training' a puppy easy as pie. (a puppy will not want to pee where it sleeps right next to you so it will instead get up in the middle of the night and go pee somewhere ELSE in your house before climing back into bed - if that puppy is connected to you... Not so easy to sneak off.)

As far as staying socialized with other dogs is concerned - Please be aware that just because she gets along fine with dogs at the daycare facility there is no guarantee she will tolerate other strange dogs anywhere near 'her' territory / home. Mine do fine at the dogpark with dogs they have never met before but let a stray / unfamilliar dog enter their yard and chances are good that that strange dog is NOT going to get a warm welcome. LOL! :)

Wish you the best getting this all sorted out.

Heidi2's picture
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Thanks.  I will check into one of these leashes.  It is worth a try.  She doesn't do it very often and it isn't really predictable.  Our trainer came to the house this a.m.  He feels this is just her trying to re-engage in playing.   Hubby does play with her with his arms/hands, so this is just a consequence.   Trainer said he roughs like that with his dogs sometimes and sometimes gets chonked on, too.  I think I over react.  Still, the behavior needs addressed.  

Good point about dogs she meets outside of our property.  We really only had one dog come here to the house and she was good with it, but then again, we were here and welcomed our friends and their dog into the house....may make a difference if a random dog would come by.  

 

 

DobermanGuy's picture
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She doesn't do it very often and it isn't really predictable.  Our trainer came to the house this a.m.  He feels this is just her trying to re-engage in playing.   Hubby does play with her with his arms/hands, so this is just a consequence.   Trainer said he roughs like that with his dogs sometimes and sometimes gets chonked on, too.  I think I over react.  Still, the behavior needs addressed.

Very glad you have the patience and attitude that you do and are working the best you can to resolve things now instead of later.  

Trainer seems to have given you honest advice as well.

Having raised Dobermans one at a time and in pairs - Bite inhibition training is a lot harder on the owner with just a single puppy around to raise. Fairly certain from reading your posts that you are commited to your Dobergirl and WILL get things worked out.

Your girl is young and will learn whatever rules you set for for her in short order. If your rule happens to be 'no teeth on me' and you are firm about that rule - She will learn it pretty quickly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heidi2's picture
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Thank you.  I am already seeing a difference in her when playing with her in the house.  Now, the true test will be when she is outside.  We put a temporary short leash on her pinch collar and are leaving it on her during the day to make it easier to grab for correction.  We haven't gotten out to check out the long leads but that is next step for playing outside.   She's doing better.   The trainer noticed something I have never paid attention to and is an important part of this.  Heidi pawed at my knee (for attention)...He said "I would also advise you not to let her paw you either."   Hmm - never viewed it as part of the overall control thing, but makes sense.  So, that is also being addressed.  

THIS is why being able to chat with people who've "been there, done that" helps.  I can see raising a doberman is very different than the dogs I have raised in the past.  I am also seeing as time goes on that getting through the tough puppy raising will be worth it because there are so many things these dogs do that is unlike any I have had over the years.  They are amazing creatures.

 

DobieBruno's picture
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I had the exact same issues with my Doberman male at 6 months.

It's worth noting though that (as with everything) the above recommended methods aren't the ONLY methods to use to overcome this behaviour.

I taught my doberman through this behaviour force-free, without corrections or special collars. It just requires time, dedication and consistency.