Chewing/Eating Behavior

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MNDobeMom's picture
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Joined: 2009-02-03

My Doberman is 14 weeks old.  Enki is our first Doberman and we are absolutely in love with him.  He's a great little guy and has been responding very well to his training (we take puppy classes at Petsmart once a week and practice all week until the following class).

The one behavior I have noticed that I can't seem to get any response out of him to stop is the immediately putting things in his mouth.  For example, we have bushes in our backyard and he has recently begun to run into and chew on the branches.  I suspect that this is just part of teething, but the other day I looked over at him to find my little guy wide eyed in a panic and pawing at his mouth.  I rushed over and sweeped his mouth with my finger and found that he had a stick lodge in his throat!  I removed it immediately and he seemed fine (it goes without saying that I was pretty shaken up for a few hours after!) and went back to playing.

My concern is that he's chewing on everything he seems to find and I spend most of my days chasing him around and saying "Drop It!" to get him to release the item so I can redirect him to a chew toy.  My family has puppy proofed our house, but I can't puppy proof my routes when I take him on walks in the neighborhood.  We're practicing "leave it" now in puppy class, but he seems to struggle with this.  He seems to respond well to ice cubes and chew toys that we leave in our freezer, but I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong.

Any advice on this?  So far, my husband and I have fished out peanut shells, sticks, leaves, bird seed, and napkins that he's found on the sidewalks in our neighborhood. 

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

Your not doing anything wrong, except to maybe expect adult behavior from a baby. My new red female Princess is 11 weeks old and she is chewing and mouthing anything that she can. She loves to shred paper, and a plant that I have in the corner of the living room had suffered great distress, but it's fast growing, so that's life.

As with human toddler's they have a very short attention span and are easily distracted. I'm surprised that they started you on lessons that early, but the secret of puppy lessons, is that it's not the dog being trained. You are learning how to react to and work with your baby. If you have a fenced back yard, I would simply police it to clear out the small twigs and let him run. I realize the weather is not cooperating up there as yet, but it will.

If you have to walk him, you really only need to walk him until he has finished his business. Once he has accomplished that outdoors, make a big deal of it. You must let him know how proud you are of him. His goal is to please you, and when you praise him, you let him know he succeeded. When I picked up Princess, the breeder (horseatingweeds on this forum) in casual conversation mentioned that the puppies were in the habit of going outside about 5 minutes after eating.

I had forgotten how important that is, and to date (over two weeks) we have not had a problem with finding a smelly Mt. Doberman yet. When I let her out of her crate, it's straight outside until she piddles, and then I feed her. On the almost two day trip back, and the night in the Motel, I walked her on a lease until she finished, and then it was back inside.

At that age, most of the exercise they need can be achieved inside. I have an advantage of a 6 year old male to wear her out, but at the same time she wears him out as well. Give Enki some of the squeaking chew toys and a new one to me (my last previous puppy is now 6 years old) are the soft chewy knotted ropes. Princess has about destroyed hers, so when I hit the stores tomorrow I will pick up a few more. I plan to tie a string on one so I can pull it across the floor, she loves it when I wiggle the one she has.

Enjoy him and give him plenty of lap time. The latter will quickly disappear when he gets closer to the 40 pound mark. But the loving care and affection will stay with him forever. My 6 year old at 120 lbs is way beyond lap puppy, but he loves to come over and lay his head in my lap so I can scratch him between the ears.

MNDobeMom's picture
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Joined: 2009-02-03

that's a great idea about the string.  I'll have to try that.

Don't get me wrong, Enki is an amazing dog and I love him to pieces.  He's a very good boy and loves to play (though my cats aren't particularly fans of him).  The minimum age for the training program we enrolled him in is 10 weeks and he's at 14 today.  Enki responds very well to training and it doesn't take much to teach him a new command -- maybe a couple of tries and he gets it.  I love how proud of himself he appears to be when he practices with me.  I hope he never grows out of his bouncing on his front legs -- I love how his ears flop up and down when he does it (we are not cropping his ears BTW).

But you're right -- I should ease up on what I expect out of him.  Puppy teeth are sooooo sharp and I have the scraps and scratches on my hands to prove it.  It sucks sometimes.

In the meantime, he does get lots of lap lovin'  and a lot of attention.  We're doing the best that we can.

Thanks for the advice!   :)

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

At 14 weeks, I was wondering about the ears. At this point they would not be certain to stand. They are so intelligent and easy to train. I have not really started on Princess yet (11 weeks), but she is starting to understand the process. My effort currently is teaching her what she can chew and what I don't want her to chew. Red is starting to protect her as well as play with her, but is not fond of her chewing on his paws (the only part of him that she can get in her mouth).