Male puppies' biting behavior. Is this odd?

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Rednailz's picture
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Joined: 2008-07-16

I have 2 male puppies, just over 8 weeks old.  When they play and bite at each other, it's usually on the head, leg, ears, etc.  However, one puppy tends to bite the other's "private parts."  The one being bitten puts up with it.

A neighbor saw this and said the puppy is trying to nurse off the other one.  Really?!  Is this normal?  Is it something that I should stop when I see it or will they grow out of it?  I've raised 2 puppies together before but they were male & female and I didn't see this behavior.

AlphaAdmin's picture
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Joined: 2010-01-18

Pet Profiles

Anything is possible with 8-week-old puppies. They're ninnies. Anytime one is pushing the other around who isn't defending himself, you should redirect the aggressive one's behavior. Usually though they'll take care of themselves. You just don't want one producing behavioral problems in the other. Naturally the alpha keeps the young in the pack behaved.

I certainly hope you don't have 2 male dobermans that you are raising like this! You are asking for trouble if not a dead dog.

Rednailz's picture
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Joined: 2008-07-16

Your concern is noted.  Both dogs are alive and well at 10 months of age.  Both are supervised when they are together.  Both are in obedience training and will continue to be because it has been such a rewarding experience for us.  Both are neutered.  Both are in a very structured environment where it is clear that dogs are not in charge.  I realize your viewpoint is that the only way to mitigate the risks of having two males in the same household is to avoid the situation all together.  There is another school of thought that says two males can be raised together provided they are given strong direction.  As you can guess, that is the approach I am taking.

In case anyone is wondering, the odd nipping behavior went away after a few weeks. 

At 10 mo you have JUST BEGUN! Males in particular do not even reach a maturity level until around 2 sometimes even later. Even in the very BEST & MOST EXPERIENCED Doberman homes with the proper direction and structure as you call it there are still problems. That is why no REPUTABLE Doberman breeder would EVER sell 2 males into a home. If anyone thinks that neutering will prevent the problems you are sadly mistaken. The other school of thought that you are referring to doesn't work well with Dobermans. I wish you the best of luck.

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

Rednailz one thing I would recommend you invest in is a pair of the bands that go around the dogs waist to keep them from marking their territory in the house. Even neutered males will do this, and it is hard enough to control with one, but two make it much more difficult. They are available from Pet Smart and Pet Edge as K-9 Wraps and Dr. Foster & Smith as Male No-Leak Wraps. However, if you have access to someone who sews, it is simple to purchase some inexpensive white hand terry towels and cut them so they are about 18" wide and long enough to wrap around the abdomen. Fold them in half, stitch them so the stay and then sew velcro strips on the end to fasten them.

The first of these was on a male Poodle named Victor that belonged to an AKC breeder, groomer, trainer and Judge with whom I used to board my dogs. She never could break Victor of marking in the house. She showed and judged mostly terriers but would board for a limited number of people. I boarded there until my male got to big to go through the pass through from inside run to outside run. Her's were as I described, home made from old terry towels, but they worked. On Victor they weren't that noticeable as the towel was white and so was he.

Here is a link to the F&S listing. http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3307+32+14457&pcatid=14457

To those of you considering 2 males here is an excellent letter from a very reputable Doberman breeder describing her story of owning 2 males together. http://www.kinetic-unity.com/males.html

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

The trigger for the problem was two - an older male vs a younger male and an active female in the mix. But rednailz may reach a similar point in that the two males cannot be out together. When I had a similar situation in that I had father and son in a pen together (along with mama and a sister to the younger male) they got along alright because papa was the alpha male out there. Plus, he spent most of his time in the house. I was also careful never to leave the younger male in with an active female either.

Of course two females can get into it as well. Multiple dobies of the same gender is always an interesting situation. The closest I ever came to a real Doberman dog fight was between my first female and a strange female in a vets office reception area. The strange female came in the door behind us the the two dogs lunged at each other. Fortunately, the owner of the other female had her on short lead as I did Windy, so they could get close but not together.

If you read through the article again you will notice it wasn't the female that triggered it. The problem started before the female came into the mix. What I'm trying to say it is not for your average casual owner to try and raise 2 males together. I don't care how experienced a dog person claims to be it is ASKING for problems and I would NEVER sell a male into a situation like this. Another thing that will add to the problem is if they are siblings.