Doberman Puppy - Bitting and other questions

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Joined: 2010-01-18

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I got these questions from someone today so I thought I'd make them available to the community to contribute to. I have bought a nine week old male puppy. This little dog is very nice but he always bites with his needle teeth in our hands. The information I have is very different. One says, don't stop him, the other says to use a very hard way to teach him obiedence. Well, neither of these ways are appropriate for a puppy. The reason someone might say allowing a puppy to mouth (play bite) is good is because they want to train the puppy in Schutzhund. They might be afraid by correcting this behavior will make him not do good bite work. Also, giving the puppy a hard or physical correction at this age (less than 6 months) is very inappropriate because he is too young and in the fear imprint period (8 – 11 weeks age Fear Imprint Period ) Doing so will cause much bigger problems. The best thing to do is to redirect the puppy. He’s treating his new family like his littermates. This is a healthy behavior and should be directed toward toys, bones, and other interesting chew items. When the puppy starts biting, tell him a loud no and then stick a chew in his mouth. Sometimes I shake the chew around so he’ll bite it hard and then I tell him “Good Boy”. Than we have another problem, he runs behind the cat and it seems that he likes to catch her and bite her. Again, this puppy is treating the cat like a littermate. He needs to learn that chasing kitty is bad. I have two cats. One just hides when the puppies are out and the other just lets the puppies drag him around. He’s a big cat and can take care of himself. He knows how to fight off the puppies when they get rough without hurting them. I used to rescue him, but right away he would just go lie on the floor again and get attacked. Honestly, I think he likes it. He hops on the couch when he’s had enough. What you should do again is redirect this behavior. Also, you need to prevent the puppy’s prey drive from being directed at the cat. Anytime he chases the cat you should tell him NO and then direct his energy at a toy. You could also make sure the cat always has an escape, like a puppy gate or furniture for the cat to flee to. We are in a process where we are not always at home. Is it bad to have a puppy alone in the house for some hours? Yes, it's ok to leave a puppy home alone. However, it is very important that anytime the puppy is not being directly supervised by a person that he is confined to a kennel. Puppies are really good at finding danger. Young puppies can be leaky, so it’s best to have them out for a pee every 4 to 6 hours at least. In the wild, this is how puppies are treated. They stay in the den while the older dogs go find food so this treatment is natural. It seems that every mistake which is done with Doberman puppies results in danger. Is this right? No. Most mistakes just create an annoying dog. It’s very hard to make a Doberman mean or dangerous. Dogs are dangerous when they feel scared. The Doberman is bred to not be afraid and to think things through. The only way to make a Doberman dangerous is to abuse it or neglect its socialization. I grew up with German Shepherds, but now I realize that this dog is totally different and I maybe made a mistake. Often people think of German Shepherds and Dobermans as being the same breed, one with short hair and one with long. However, the Doberman and GSD are very different breeds. The GSD is, well, a shepherd. They were originally bred to protect a farm and perform different shepherding duties. The Doberman was originally bred as two things, a companion and a protector. The main difference in the home owners will notice is that the GSD will not require as much human attention. The Doberman was bred to be at man’s side literally 24 hours a day, and that’s where he wants to be. In my experience the Doberman is also capable of a higher level of obedience. Understand, what makes a dog obedient is the same thing that makes a puppy ‘stubborn’. So Doberman puppies are notoriously evil. The Doberman can be trained to perform a task under tremendous pressure. For example, you can train a dog not to ever leave his handler. What has happened to soldiers and police dog handlers when they become injured and unable to flee from the oncoming enemy? Does the dog leave to save himself? No. He stays and protects the handler until he is killed, or he drags the handler to safety. This has happened even after the dog is injured. Now, what you have is a puppy who has the potential for this kind of dedication. But, in its raw form it is simple stubbornness. The key to shaping this fine trait is training. Training is simply teaching the dog how to get what it wants and needs in an acceptable way. Don’t be discouraged. I doubt this will turn out to be a mistake. The puppy age is very difficult but if you do what is needed you will be rewarded with a wonderful adult Doberman. Do you know any good DVD's about Doberman puppy training? I’ve read some good books, but I’m really not sure of any good DVDs. I find them too expensive myself, but I’m cheap. Anyone else know any good Doberman puppy training DVDs?