Biting, Chewing, Jumping...Grrr

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Rachel_13's picture
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Hello everyone. My Dobie Ovechkin ([url=http://www.gentledoberman.com/forum]http://www.gentledoberman.com/forum]) can be very frustrating.

I'm wondering if we're just overreacting to his behavior at 15 months.

We finally started leaving him downstairs unsupervised. He has a chair he likes to lie down on and nap on. It has been working beautifully for the past couple of weeks, and he'll bark if he needs to go outside to relieve himself. He has access to his water and toys and bones. But today I was upstairs working and my husband was sitting on the couch upstairs. He was winding down from his 12 hour night shift. After feeding Ovechkin his breakfast and making sure he went to the bathroom, we showed him to his chair where he went to lay down. Usually once it warms up outside we will let him outside. I went down to check on him after a few hours and found that he had chewed up a bunch of our CDs! He had never done this before and his large, meaty, appetizing bone was in plain sight but hadn't been touched. I didn't catch him in the act so I couldn't do anything but let him outside.

My husband is extremely frustrated. He feels like we've done so much with him but he keeps getting worse. He feels like he should be able to live in a house where we don't have to keep everything out of reach from our dog. He feels like the dog has "destroyed" the house and that we can't do anything with him. He loves the dog and has always wanted a Doberman. When we do have the dog upstairs with us, he usually jumps around and tries to play. He play bites which is the worst. We have to keep everything away from him and blocked off.

The other thing that is frustrating is the way he play bites with the kids. We have a prong collar that I use to correct him when he does this. (My step-kids, 13 and 9 aren't able to correct him themselves.) There are occasional issues with this method: when he sees me coming to correct him or get him away from the kids, he sometimes runs away (and as we all know, it's virtually impossible to chase down a Doberman) or he'll attempt to bite at me as I'm grabbing his collar. He constantly thinks we are playing. I am able to calm him down and get him to sit or lay, but once the kids start moving or doing something, he's at it again. How can I get him and the kids to co-exist? Are there any exercises that are specific to use with dogs and kids?

Is all of this normal behavior for a 15 month old male Doberman? My husband feels so frustrated that sometimes he thinks we need to find a new home for him. This of course breaks my heart (as it does his) but I am willing to do anything for my husband and family. Is it possible to own a dog and a fully intact house? He's worked so hard for so many years (and was a single father for a long time) and he finally has the house, the yard and the dog he's always wanted. But he feels like the dog is taking away from everything else. He wants everything to be "normal".

Does anyone have any words of wisdom?

Sorry if this sounds like a therapy session.  :o

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

Have you ever read the One Minute Manager? In there it points out that when kids (and dogs) act up, many times it a plea for attention. Have you ever had someone else's kids over and they were well behaved until their parents showed up and suddenly the Mr. Hyde shows up where Dr. Jekyll was before. The One Minute Manager points out that any attention (even discipline for bad behavior) is preferable to no attention.

Your mistake in my view is in keeping him separated from you. Take him in the office with you, give him a rawhide chew and pet the head that appears suddenly between your arm and ribs. You may find the attitude improves. A busy, occupied and petted Doberman is a happy Doberman. If their people are not where they can get a hold of them, they are very unhappy.

Rachel_13's picture
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I have never read the One Minute Manager, but I will have to check that out. Thanks!

Yes, I sometimes bring him upstairs with me and give him his bone to chew on. Sometimes he happily sits and chews but other times he'll wander around and get himself into trouble or start nipping at me. The reason I let him stay downstairs on the chair was because he started napping there and when he's upstairs he doesn't nap as easily. I think I need to start giving him more of a routine...napping in his crate for a couple of hours, hanging out upstairs with me for a few more and then outside if it's nice enough. Thank you so much for your insight.  :)

rgreen4's picture
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If you had a dog bed or pad upstairs with you that might help.

Leaving him outside - remember they do get bored and when bored they seek to entertain them selves. At one time they were called Doberman Pinschers, and Pinscher translated from German means "Terrier". Indeed, the Manchester Terrier is one of the foundation dogs.

Terriers are bred to go after burrowing animals, and in order to do that they DIG. Red was the first Dobie I ever had that did not dig, probably because the under performing thyroid did not give him enough energy to do so. Now that he is on medication and is energetic and active, and Princess is there to help him, they are trying to find the shortcut to China. My spring project is to fill in all the holes, smooth it out and attempt to grow grass in the third of the back yard that no longer has grass. To be fair, the grass was a victim of two full grown Dobies tusseling and playing, a problem you do not have.

Your yard will probably suffer less if you took a 1 hour break at mid day (lunch) and spent it outside with him (if possible). It would be better for him and I think you. the rest of the day could be spent with you. Earlier this morning Princess and Red were outside for about an hour (it was cool but not too cold for them at 32 degrees), they have eaten and are now asleep behind me in the office/computer room.

When I post this and go get another cup of cocoa, I will lead the parade - me, Red and Princess. They don't want to miss anything, besides, I might drop a tasty morsel they can compete for. You can look forward and Ovechkin will settle down when he's about two, in the meantime, just paying attention to him and on occasion during the day talking to him will pay dividends.

Lady Kate's picture
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Richard...You are the best Dobiedad in the world!

Q Tip's picture
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:) Kate I agree.
Hi Rachel...I cant think of what to add to what Rgreen has said, I know our dobies are high energy dogs and they do need a lot of exercise either by playing with a few other dogs or with lots of good exercise. We walk most mornings for an hour and a half. In that time i might jog for a while, throw the ball and do a few training sessions. Q loves playing with other dogs more than anything I think...so we are getting a new pup next week.
Soon as we get home from a run and Q is hosed off and dried he spreads out on the carpet and i dont hear him for a couple of hours. He will like Princess and Red...follow me out if im putting out the washing or tidying the weeds. He will move outside if the vacume comes out but he dosnt really like laying in the sun and comes straight back in as soon as cleaning is done.
Would love to see a photo.

Lady Kate's picture
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We've never EVER  had a chewing problem with Sofia. ( The Royal one is probably afraid she'd drool)  ::)
She's not that interested in  bones, Kongs are ignored, Raw hide strips are eaten not gnawed. Never any destruction except when she went through her false pregnancy and we almost lost her. She climbed up to our futon in the guest room and shredded it to smithereens to make a nest. She does worship the sun ( I do put sun block on her nose) but that might still be part of her low thyroid.

rgreen4's picture
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The sun sensitivity is probably more due to her being a Fawn. Many have coat and skin problems, but from the photos HRH does not have that problem.

Q Tip's picture
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:) Just back from our morning gallop and Rachel I was thinking about you and ovechken and what would Cesar do? I think he would probably recommend a back pack and/or a treadmill, especially if you have a busy lifestyle.
There's was also a quote i liked from a book i was reading recently...you had to tick off things to see what your dog had a higher drive in. Goes to find quote :D

rgreen4's picture
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Treadmill! Great Idea. We have seen photos of Snoopy trotting while on a treadmill. Especially if there is room in her office for one, she can exercise him while she is working.

SnoopyDobe's picture
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Snoopy is still using the treadmill daily.  He is doing great and I tried to put him adult food and he turned his nose to it.  So back to puppy food for now...

Q Tip's picture
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:D Lol now i cant find the page i want grrr. But it was about managing 'The dog within' Dobies were bred as guardians..please correct me if i am wrong :) Its part of their job to survey their surroundings and to keep everything in sight.. us included. I will go and have a sit down to find the bit i need. Q loves looking out at the world from our windows by the way, ;D im not sure however that teaching him to ' GET THAT FLY' was a good thing as im constantly washing the glup off them now :D

Q Tip's picture
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;D Talk of the devil ;D can you find your post with the treadmill photo in snoops.
PS he is still a puppy so i cant see the puppy feed doing anyharm. When we were assessed by a dog trainer the other day the trainer said Quote 'what an adorable big puppy'  ;D Im not sure when he will become an adult and i dont mind if he never does...I love him to death ;D

KT since reading about Red's tail, i also put sunblock on Q's now. We have the highest skin cancer rates in the world here. No ozone layer :(

rgreen4's picture
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Here is the link to the thread with the photo of Snoopy on the treadmill.

[url=http://www.gentledoberman.com/forum]http://www.gentledoberman.com/forum]

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I tried to post the link earlier but it kept telling me that need to wait 180 seconds before next post. ??  Snoopy tries to chew just about anything.  The kids stuffed animals are the jackpot for him, and his doberteeth cut through anything plush like that.  he was bored one day and chewed the corner of the couch.  He has all of the toys any dog would love, so I just try to catch him in the act and replace it with one of the toys and tell him NO.  I guess just being consistant is what is going to break him of it.

rgreen4's picture
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When I brought Princess home, I cut some boxes and placed them in strategic places, in front of couch corners, across the front of the couch, etc. She seemed to like the cushions from the love seat for some reason. I found a puppy (baby) gate at PestSmart that would work for my little hall and put it so when I am in the office/computer room they have access to it and the guest bath (water bowel) and the small hall. At one end is the door to the guest bedroom (closed) and at the other the doorway to the living room (baby gate).

This way I can keep track of them when I'm on the internet.

Lady Kate's picture
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I've seen it done and the pictures of Snoop are amazing.. Do you start with treats dangled in front of them? My thoughts for the DoberDiva is that she would just think it was a new 'tuffet' for her to rest her royal behind on.. Whatever I put on the floor, towel, new rug, etc. Sofia will immediately decide it's hers to own.

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I did put a beggin strip dangling from the safety string the first time he was on for more than a minute,and that seemed to get him to look forward instead of to the side.  Once he realized that it burns off his energy he liked to walk on it.  Now I have to be in the same room but he will stay on it anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes.  Sometimes if he is really into it, he wont even need a lead on there.  He likes to do it and I like for him to do it.  Just like Cesar says " A happy dog is a tired dog" and he is definitely that when bed time comes around.  In the morning I will take him for a 45 min walk, go to work and my wife sets him up on the treadmill for as long as he will walk once during the day.  Which usually is equal to about 2 or three miles, then when I come home we usually go for another 45 min walk.  Sometimes when we are walking though I just feel like making a bigger circle so we go for an extra mile or so.  The big walk we do is probably about 3 to 3 1/2 miles.  we get home he will take a nap, wake up and eat, go outside for potty and then back inside to sleep for the night.  Lately though he has been my alarm clock with having to go potty an hour and a half earlier.  I don't know whats up with that, but it's not so bad getting an even earlier start on the day, unless I don't get to sleep at a decent time.

rgreen4's picture
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You haven't found the snooze button yet?  ::)

SnoopyDobe's picture
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No I have not, what would that be to tug his left ear then the right then in a secret sequence. :D please inform me of the secret handshake.

rgreen4's picture
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Unfortunately, that varies by dog. You'll have to ask Snoopy. ;D