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XandersMom's picture
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Joined: 2009-07-18

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Our puppy, Xander ([url=http://www.gentledoberman.com/forum]http://www.gentledoberman.com/forum]), who is now 11 weeks old, has a major biting problem.  It seems we are constantly having to say NO BITE!  It seems to be worse with our younger children (youngest is 9 and 11).  If it was just with them, I'd think it was a playful thing, but he often bites along with growling and snarling.  I read through the thread that Madde posted earlier this year ([url=http://www.gentledoberman.com/forum]http://www.gentledoberman.com/forum]) and I wonder if it's any different with a male dog than a female dog.  Will he eventually grow out of it and stop considering the kids his littermates and see them as puppies to protect and nurture?  Or, is that only a female trait?

Tonight he bit my husband, who is clearly the Alpha in our household.  It wasn't a nip, it was a full on bite that drew blood.  Whenever he is let into the backyard without a leash, he takes his freedom and becomes absolutely wild.  Almost as if "I've been given an inch, so I'll take a mile!"  He's impossible to contain when he's like that.  He bit the oldest daughter today as well when she was trying to put his leash on to take him out.  Again, not a playful bite.  We've tried the can with pennies, we've tried growling back at him, we've tried yipping like another puppy... nothing seems to help.  He also likes to bit ankles and pant legs whenever anyone walks past him.

He can just be so aggressive!

I worry that if he continues to be aggressive it will breed fear into the kids and we won't be able to keep him.

Is this a behavior that can be remedied? 

It's possible that it's a reaction to having his ears taped (the stitches came out yesterday) and he's irritated with the whole thing, but we still have several weeks to go before the taping/posting portion of his life is over.  Do we have to put up with this all the while?

What's the best way to stop biting?

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

This sounds like a rebellious teenager. Dobes can be hard headed (my mom used to refer to us as Hard Headed Dutchmen - she was half German).

But, it is not something that will get better by itself. This is a point at which you need to pop him on the nose (two fingers), let him know that it is not acceptable and put him in his crate for a while. Ear cropping and posting is not a time to let him become the Alpha (which he is trying to do - it's natural).

Running wild in the back yard is another problem. Part of it is that he is loose and can run, part of it is game. DO NOT PLAY THE GAME! Do not chase him. Turn your back and ignore him and shortly he will get bored and be right beside you. (After he does his business of course). If you have a controlled area in the back yard and it sounds as if you do, letting him run is good for him and will help him get his exercise. It is alright to play games with him also - as long as you initiate them. Do not let him start the game.

BlueDobie's picture
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Joined: 2009-07-02

Have you tried using a water bottle that shoots one straight stream of water at him when he bites? I use that when Lou gets too rough with my cats, it works wonders, usually in the face is where they hate it most. I got him in the butt yesterday while he was under the couch trying to get at the cat. He came out and looked around as if to see what had caused it and where it had come from. Just make sure he doesn't know that it is coming from you, he needs to think it is something from the environment. You can also say "no" just before you spray, so he associates "no" as a warning. Eventually you should get to the point where you can predict he is going to bite instead of getting him in the act so you can prevent any biting.

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

That is a good idea. I had a friend who was an AKC Judge and breeder (Rotties and Bedlington Terriers) and also ran a boarding kennel. I used to board my dogs there until Red go to big to go through the opening and was eating the rain flap on every trip. She kept a regular spray bottle filled with plain water and when she went in and all the dogs caused a ruckus, she would spray them in the face (mist not solid spray). They did not like and would quiet down.

Of course they knew where it was coming from and never stopped barking when she first went in. The thing is these were her dogs on that side of the kennel. (She had 12 runs, kept hers on the right hand 6 and boarders on the left hand 6).

A regular hiker's squirt bottle should work.

xandersdad's picture
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Joined: 2009-08-12

Just to be fair to the little devil dog, I was trying to have him release his leash from his mouth( he bites on it if he doesn't want do obey ) and I was bit after i got the leash out of his mouth.   We let him run in the yard but don't want him to get in the garden and landscape, because he just eats all the wood chips and rotting food in the garden  ...so If he is told no, or grabbed to get him out of said areas, he gets upset and becomes "aggressive"... a tantrum if you will?   At other times when he is a brat, is after a small amount of time "trying to pet his side or face ,, It's obvious when he gets "irritated " and is going to start to nip. I don't really know if he is irritated or just likes to have hands in his mouth at every chance he can get?  Anyway the war wound ticked me off ...and it was a deep one at that. And me,  as the "alpha" I don't like him chewing on my kids.  When he bit me i grabbed his mussel and said " no bite "and stood up and told him to come, he did I said," good boy" and went to the door said "sit ", I had to help him along with it , then said "good boy ".. then went in the house and put him in his crate until he shut up i took him out for a walk.. a long one.  He was somewhat better later that night ... I just don't under stand why "no bite " makes him want to bite me more... almost every time.

dobie1kenobi's picture
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Joined: 2009-08-12

We have an 8 month old red male and a 2 month old black female and the male was just awful with the nipping and biting and then one day like a light switch it just stopped (probably around 6 months of age). We found that right as he was biting we would curl his lip over his teeth and put some pressure while saying no teeth. We also would put him in time out when he really was bad and we used bitter apple spray (boy, does he hate that stuff). But I have to say whatever we did it only worked for that moment because the biting and nipping was constant. He would just come right up and bite you in the butt unprovoked. I had bruises on me for months. The female nipps too but not as bad as our male. Now he is awesome. He only nips when very excited now. Our vet said this breed is just known to bite a lot as puppies.

Q Tip's picture
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Joined: 2009-03-22

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Xanders mum and dad, I'm sure that your pup just isn't aware yet of how powerful puppy teeth can be on human skin.
I didn't get Q until he was almost 4 months old because my house was still being built and so I asked my breeder if she would hold him for a month. Which she kindly did so I missed quite a bit of puppyhood....No kids here  :)but in a training DVD i have by a guy named Ian Fisher it shows that by turning away and stopping play/excitement is supposed to help.
The older female dogs in my community sorted Q out within his very first week. After trying to latch on to my friends collie bitch with his teeth. She gave him a couple of warning growls but he kept doing it. As quick as a flash she had him on his back with  a vice like hold to the neck. Scary to watch but over in seconds....she then let him up and carried on letting him play with her. He didn't do it again :)
Q did actually bite me about two months ago... He was up in the dunes and the ball was running down the beach with the wind so i ran after it. I had a 100 metre start on Q but the next thing I knew he was behind me and bit me on the thigh. I think he was after my jacket which was flapping?. I must have caused some prey pack thing maybe? The pain was excruciating I felt sure that he had drawn blood. I immediately put him on the leash and we walked home. By the time we got home...I couldn't remember which leg it was and there wasn't even a mark to go by. I thought it weird as we often jog together with no problem.

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

Dobie puppies do a lot of play biting. Princess does it all the time to Red, but not to me. But then she is number 3. Red likes to like my ear, but then has a tendency to nip during the lick. He is six years old and still does it on occasion, but not nearly like he did. But when he was a young pup, he would come up an bite me. I think he was trying to start play, but instead he go told no, and the second time a trip to his crate for a time out.

But, during the play time, Princess is not the only one who is biting, as both she and Red have spots which are scabbed over. I have a picture of them playing outside, and it looks like a dog fight until you notice the ear position - forward not flat against the head. But it is all teeth and fur.

howsefrau32's picture
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Joined: 2008-06-27

Oh my, did we ever have a problem with this very same thing when we got Greta at 11 weeks old.  I thought we had adopted the Tasmanian Devil.  She was terrible!  As someone on here said, doberman puppies are just terrible at this age.  The first few weeks, almost every shirt I had had holes in it from her biting, and our arms were bitten up, she drew blood once.  We learned very quickly that we just couldn't not rough house with her in the back yard, which is when she would get so excited she would do the playbiting.  You just have to be very firm with her and tell her "NO" every time, and NEVER let him growl at you, even playing.  When that starts, you immediately walk away.  That was the best way to get her to stop, COMPLETELY ignored her when she started this behaviour.  She does not exist while she is exhibiting that behaviour.  We still do it if she gets a little wild.  Once she was a little older than six months, if she did this, we were more firm with her, we would clamp her mouth and give her a really firm NO, and my husband on occasion had to hold her down when she was really wild.  My husband was always yelling at her, telling her to stop, and he would get so frustrated with her, because she would just keep going wild (only with him because he played with her this way), I, however, did the ignore thing, and it worked like a charm, and she never gets crazy with me.  Your pup will settle down.  Like "horseatingweeds" on here said, (I think it was him), they are just BAD when they are puppies, little devils.

xandersdad's picture
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Joined: 2009-08-12

update... we have done the two finger pop on the muzzle  and his biting has improved immensely . He looks up at me for approval or not, while he is thinking about mouthing me.  He still is acting out on the smaller children.  A little at a time ...moving forward...

TMBjunior's picture
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Joined: 2010-06-28

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I had a simillar problem with my dog (adopted at 8 months from a cop who kept him in a crate constantly).  When I first got Jake and he was out in the backyard, he became wild- would sneak up behind you and bite your butt, thighs or sides hard (sometimes breaking skin). He always attacked from behind and was so quick, you couldn't grab him to discipline him.  I tried ignoring but that only made it worse. I was covered in bruises and very upset.  I tried the water bottle and even a muzzle.  Nothing worked. Last resort, I tried an e-collar recommended by my trainer and the biting and wild behavior came to a quick halt.  He now knows when to play and to quickly calm down when I say "sit".  We also go to a huge open field at least 3 times a week for at least 45 mins, where he can run free and get rid of his puppy energy.   I don't recommend e-collars for just anyone.  I strongly recommend the use of a professional trainer along with ANY use of an e-collar.  

Good Luck!    :]

jen3493's picture
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Joined: 2010-06-21

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The squirt bottle method I think works great!  Lucian is almost 12 weeks old and is very very nippy mostly all of the time.  I have tried telling him in a loud and stern voice NO BITE and it use to work but now as he has gotten older he will just turn his head at me.  It is kinda like he is toying with me like as if he was saying "What me bite?". I started out with regular water but I have found out that adding a few ice cubes in the squirt bottle really does the trick.  Now don't get me wrong he will still playbite every so often, especially if he really gets into his play but for the most part he is doing fairly well.