Nipping at sons friends

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sindelina's picture
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Joined: 2008-09-03

Ok everyone, I need some help.  Tauchey started nipping at my son's friends when they come over.  He nips them at the ankle and just under the butt area.  The second they knock on the door, it's immediate chaos because my 11 year old Golden is a crazy barker and always has been.  Her barking, gets him barking, and so on.  The first time he met some of my son's friends, he did fine with one of them, the other kid started acting a bit "nuts" by yelling and jumping, and that startled Tauchey, and he began barking at him.  Today we had 3 of them over.  He immediatley jumped on them...which I corrected, but the one boy became very fearful of him not wanting to move.  When he did finally start walking, Tauchey got behind him, and started the nipping.  A little bit later, when they came upstairs to leave, he nipped one on the hand, and the other under the butt.  Again I corrected him with a sharp no, but to be honest, he seemed to be in a different frame of mind.  Luckily the nips were very light and the children were laughing about it as they left (tho I was not). 

He has never done this to any of us (his pack), not even my 4 year old.  The more we get to know him, the more I am seeing some nervousness around men and children.  Which is rather strange.  When we first met him he was great with my kids and my husband.  He didn't have a problem with them upon meeting, so I don't understand the change.  He is very loving with all of us, and good with women when they come over, but I need some help with the kids and men thing.  The nipping scares me, as I fear that may turn to biting down the road if I don't get this corrected right away. 

Thanks in advance for your help.

Soleil's picture
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Joined: 2008-04-04

Hmmm well it seems you have a few problems here.  ??? First off the senior dog of the house just sounded the alarm... I rather like a few warning barks to let me know someone is here but "crazy barker" sounds a bit out of control.  Secondly you have three kids walking into your house and most likely they are not being calm and quiet about it. That is more than enough to get any puppy excited.  First i would try to make sure the old golden girl is not making a huge fuss.  People don't get as nervous when they see a barking Golden as they do when they see a barking dobie. But the Golden is setting off the dobie.  I have a golden and one the easiest thing for him to be quiet in a greeting is make him get a toy.  Now when anyone comes over they get greeted with a wagging fur ball with a bone in his mouth but he is pretty quiet about it.  When the mouth is stuffed he cant bark. (note: I found this to be untrue with the Dobie though she can bark even if she has a bone or tennis ball in her mouth)
Second no attention for either dogs from the guests unless they are sitting.  They catch onto this rather quick.  If you can't do this by just command have the puppy ear a leash so you are in control of him... redirect his mouthy behavior with a chew toy.  again with the whole keeping the mouth occupied.  Take the time when the friends come over for a calm greeting.  Teach the friends to turn their back and cross there arms on the puppy if he jumps. 
I would not be too worried about the nipping turning in to biting.  You are right in wanting to correct it but it sounds like your dog is just treating the kids like puppies that he is playing with.  And dobie puppies like to play rough with nips and jumps and all sorts of stuff. 
Lastly about your puppy being nervous around men.  Take him out and expose him to all different situations a social dog is a stable dog.  Maybe he is not around kids and men (outside the family) as much as needs to be to  realize they are ok.  Expose him to all kinds of people and situations.  Bring him for a car ride.. take a walk.. make it fun.
And remember when all the craziness is going on try to be calm.  So much easier to say than to do but if you are calm, the dogs will be more calm, and the kids will feel that you are in control. 
GOOD LUCK! :D

sindelina's picture
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Joined: 2008-09-03

Thanks so much Soleil.  My Golden does get the toy...but after the crazy barking.  It's just something we have let her get away with for too long now.  And I do agree with you, I think that's what's getting our Dobe going.  The other day, Belle (the Golden) didn't hear the knock at the door, and when they entered, our boy was much more calm.  I am taking him with me everywhere I can...I don't know how well he was socialized as a young pup..but I'm doing my best now.  He is fine with men at the Pet Store, etc, just not when they are in our yard or home...but i'll keep working with him.  Thanks again for the advise, I'll start doing that right away :)

Soleil's picture
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Joined: 2008-04-04

Well he is a doberman.. naturally he will be more protective of the home and you.  But its your job as the Alpha to take the lead and let him know that the people you have over are guests and should be treated politely, even if they are males. ;)  I'm sure it will be fine.  He sounds like a smart boy. 
I know what you mean about letting the golden get away with stuff.  Its funny but getting a doberman really changed my perspective on things.  My other half used to let Tucker (the golden) get away with all sorts of naughty behavior because he was a golden... Nothing vicious but impolite.  He was extremely lenient on jumping and barking cause no one is really too scared of a jumping golden giving a happy exuberant hello.  But when we got Soleil that changed because people got a bit nervous with doberman... long story short i found that if you have the same rules form both dogs it makes life easier.  If your don't want the dobie to bark then teach the golden not to as well.  Then they can help you with training!  ;D

sindelina's picture
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Joined: 2008-09-03

I agree 100%.  I really let Belle get away with everything because she is a Golden, and she never scared anyone.  When the kids came over and she barked like crazy...it was always "Oh Belle, be quiet."  Then they would pet her, and that was it.  However, with Tauchey, the Doberman...he starts barking at them and they freeze like statues.  The get tense and scared, which I'm sure he's picking up on.  So I have to make new rules for my old girl now too, so that life is easier on us all.  He is a very smart boy, so i'm sure with some work, he'll understand what I want.  :)