Doberman nips at my rear end for attention

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eileennellie's picture
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Joined: 2008-04-21

My female doberman will be 3 this May. She is a bit silly & goofy, butshe randomly demands my attention by nipping at my butt with her front teeth as i walk away! It's like a pinch, really, but it is annoying & she clearly knows it's not alright to do, as she does it so fast that by the time I turn towards her she is already in another room! And she only does it if I am not facing her. She looks super ashamed and guilt stricken after she does it, but that might just be part of her plan to get attention, I can't tell if she is honestly sorry she did it, or if she is just sorry that it didn't work out as she wanted and it resulted in negative attention instead of positive. I have never so much as spanked her on the rump. Never, ever treated her in an aggressive manner at all, and I got her at 8 weeks old, so where did she learn this passive-aggressive behavior? I mostly just want to know what to do to stop it. I should add that she isn't deprived of attention in any way-I don't work, so I spend almost all my time w/her, she sleeps in bed w/my boyfriend & I every night, under the covers, head on my pillow. Our Boxer has to sleep in her dog bed, so Paris (my dobie) has it pretty good, I would say. We go to the park, the river, around the neighborhood on walks, I even take her on play dates w/friends dogs! So why is she so worked up about this to the point that she nips? It's almost like she figures that any attention, even bad, is better than none at that precise moment. help!

Soleil's picture
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Joined: 2008-04-04

Hello Eileen.

A butt nipping Dobie does not sound like a good situation to me...  But I have a few questions... then maybe why she is doing this and how to stop her will become more clear...

eileennellie wrote:

She is a bit silly & goofy, but he randomly demands my attention by nipping at my butt with her front teeth as i walk away! It's like a pinch, really, but it is annoying & she clearly knows it's not alright to do, as she does it so fast that by the time I turn towards her she is already in another room! And she only does it if I am not facing her.

What do you mean by she randomly demands?  What I am trying to ask is what happens before this?  Are you giving her affection and then when you decide you are finished and start to walk away and then she targets your bum?  Cause if thats the case then she has learned that behavior to get you to pay more attention to her... although it is negative attention she is still receiving attention when she does this.  What is your reaction when she does this?  Does she nip in any other situation or is this the only time when she nips... does she do this other people are only you? 

AlphaAdmin's picture
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Joined: 2010-01-18

Pet Profiles

Hi eileennellie, welcome.

Soleil is right, some more info would be helpful. However, this 'nipping' is not an aggressive behavior. It's more of a slightly dominate behavior. The Doberman does this when they want to initiate play. And - in a family / pack - only the dominate members initiate play. Getting upset or worried that she is cowering in the other room could all be part of her game. The best way to stop this is to verbally correct her as soon as she does it. As soon as you feel the nibble give her a sharp NO or a tssst, but don't move. From there just ignore her for a while - perhaps an hour or so.

She's probably looking for something to do is all. 'I know, I'll get Mommy to play with me.' This behavior likely means your alpha role is not well enough established in her mind.

So, when she pinches, give a correction then immediately ignore her. Later, You approach Her and give her a moment of play / attention, best after she does some commands for you, then stop. If she continues demanding keep ignoring. She just needs to learn she is not high enough in the hierarchy to demand anything from you.

I willing to bet there are a few other little things going on that has lead her to see herself at this higher level of dominance. If anything - she's probably spoiled and not lacking anything - especially since you're concerned enough to ask questions.

Why don't you tell us about how these events usually take place:

Getting in bed
Feeding time
Going outside
Training sessions

FIFISMOM's picture
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Joined: 2008-05-14

Our very 1st dobie used to "nip" - our sons in the 1st and 2nd grades - but only when they fought.  My boys were very close in age - just over 1 yr apart - and our Rebel would NOT tolerate their fighting.  Best babysitter I ever had - if they got tough, he got in the middle and broke it up - and he NEVER broke the skin And people call dogs dumb....................

eileennellie's picture
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Joined: 2008-04-21

Wow, I didn't realize how long it had been since I had a computer! If it's not too late, I do still get an odd "pinch" from Paris , & would still love any help on this issue. By odd pinch, I mean maybe once every 1-2 months. Nothing about these butt nippings connects them in any way, as far as preceding events, surroundings, routine changes, etc. Well, aside from the fact that it only happens when I have my back turned.

HOW WE.....

GET INTO BED: I love sleeping w/Paris, but she is a big hog. So we built her a bed that is 2 ft wide x4 ft long, & sits at the same height as our bed. Foam camping mattress, pillow & her blankets=happy dog & room to roll over for me! At bedtime, I get in bed & 95% of the time she waits by the bed & hops into hers 10 seconds after I  do. However, she does go to bed on her own if she is sleepy & I am not going to bed anytime soon. She burrows under blankets on both beds, usually mine if it is empty, but she likes either. She never stays up if I go to bed, even for a nap. I can count the # of nights I slept w/out her cuddled up w/me over the last 4 years on my fingers! Only when flying is necessary do I not take her w/me on trips. Actually, I think bedtime is one of my favorite things because of her!

FEEDING TIME: I have an 8 year old female Boxer as well as Paris, & they eat different foods. They each have their own bowl for food, sharing H2o. Both get 3-3 1/2 cups of dry kibble per day. Spaced out over 3 small meals, or 2 if they are hungry earlier in the day. It is usually just a simple "scoop one food, dump in bowl, scoop the other food, dump in bowl" 30  second process. The dogs don't even pay attention or notice when I do it most of the time, it's kind of a nonevent.

GOING OUT: Paris will let me know if she needs out, & that is rare, like if I sleep in too late. Otherwise, she goes out when I say "Lets go" or the always classy "potty!" She goes out, goes potty & is back at the door pretty much like clockwork. Faster if it's cold or wet out. She did run off once when she was about 1. At 5 AM. In the snow. After a 5-10 minute hike around the 'hood, I went to get the car & there she was, sitting at the door, looking soooo ashamed & scared! Never happened again. She is always well behaved about that. I let the dogs frolic in the back yard (fully fenced, W/huge, heated in cold weather doghouse) whenever they get to roughhousing in the house, usually several times a day. Much more in good weather. Once about a week ago, she wouldn't go through the gate (wire fence she can see through easily). She stood in the driveway, which is the opposite direction from where I was at the gate. Finally demanded she come,which she did, but then my Boxer headed back out the gate to the driveway! & then they switched places again! My boyfriend came out to see what was going on, also blocking the walkway to the driveway, & the dogs just went through the gate like there was a bath or some other awful torture waiting for them! It was daytime, no strange cats or anything odd in the yard. I'm still confused by it.

TRAINING SESSIONS: 1 on 1, I try to work small segments into the whole day, so Paris is not bored w/it. & she always seems to enjoy any activity we do, inside or out. I think she knows how smart she is, & loves to show me. She is very capable of acting like she doesn't hear things, but it is her funniest act, the aloof, casual, almost snooty doberman princess. She only does that one if I wake her up randomly, & it last a minute or two, making everyone laugh, &, I know, reinforcing it. She is clearly a smart, smart dog. Maybe too smart....Nah! She never pushes her boundaries during activities w/me, she is more of a show off, proud of how good she is doing whatever it is she is doing. Always fun seeing her solve problems or learn on her own, too. She may be a genius dog!