5 month old, questions

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Jaxthedobie's picture
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Joined: 2014-11-13

Hello everyone! Jax is now 5 months old and is a enormous handful. I wrote a list of the things he has been doing, I am just curious if it is normal, what I should do etc.

-When I am on walks with Jax and he sees another person or dog just casually walking/exiting their home all the hair on his back raises up completely and 70% of the time he will bark at them, start pulling on the leash and will not focus on anything but the person/dog. I did not get Jax for any kind of protection so I really don't like to see him suspcious when he sees people or dogs 

-When he is in the house no matter what he is doing (sleeping,playing,eating,etc.), if he hears even the smallest of noises coming from outside he jumps up looks out the window and starts barking up a storm as if he is suspicious to whatever is going on. 

- I cannot leave the room for even one second without having Jax jump up on the table and grab things off of it. Sometimes when he jumps up on the table and I correct him he give curls his lip and snaps at the air back at me, sometimes even nips me and lets out a little growl. 

-He is still not potty trained...never poops inside but he will pee like 3 or four times a day. I take him out all the time and I feel like he should be potty trained by now. He sleeps in the crate at night and I take him out at like 1am before putting him up and he starts crying to be taken out at like 7am. 

-It seems like no matter how much excersice Jax gets he has a never ending supply of energy. It gets exhuasting and everybody tells me that their puppy was eat sleep play repeat but with Jax it's just eat play repeat until bed time. I know they are high energy dogs and I am prepared of that but with him being a puppy I dont know how to burn his energy considering long walks or running with him are bad for his joints. He rarely sleeps until right before it is time to go in his crate. Total Jax gets about 2hr of excercise daily. 

-He has no respect for personal space and will leap on you while you are just calmy sitting on the couch.

 

I could go on but I think that is enough questions for now! Feel free to give advice, it is needed (:

 

astewtru's picture
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Joined: 2014-11-01

It was right around 5 months that Harlow started "acting up". I found that we were starting to let the little things slide and she was taking a mile. So we had to get back to basics. Super strict on being pack leader. Doggy Dan the online trainer was a godsend. You can do a 3 day online trial for $1. Totally worth it. I make sure when we are out walking, it is training time. 10-20 min at a time. I keep high quality treats in my pocket, like chicken or weiners. Totally need to be in tune with them and at the first sign of Jax not paying attention to you, pull out a little treat. Be careful NOT to reward the bad behavior...stop it before it starts!

For counter and table surfing, we used mouse traps. Yes we set her up. No she did not like it, no it did not hurt her but sure startled her enough that she hasn't done it since.

The suspicious barking is probably because he feels like he is the pack leader and needs to protect you as he doesn't see you as being the protector.

Seriously, check out the online trainer. It is amazing what I learned in just one weekend! Good luck! My Harlow is 6 months, it sure is a trip!

Hi , I do sympathise . They are little horrors sometimes at that age !! We went through hell with Mina at times ....  It's not fun though when you are going through it & you feel everything you are doing is wrong . 

He does sound like he needs boot camp though. ! Just so you aren't dealing with a full grown rebel ! I had to tire her out in every way I could think of .. Was only way I got a seconds peace . He sounds too over protective . Mina does this & I find it hard to walk her on my own now . Can you re direct with food ? When she used to bark & throw herself at me , eventually I had to very firmly say " No" with a firm but not aggressive shake at the back of her neck . Think most dobe owners go through this esp with a male ! Good luck x

You have what's call a "normal " 5 month old. You're still working on his obedience so don't expect perfection yet. He still has a way to go.

As to him barking at people and dogs, he's showing confidence and I personally wouldn't try to suppress this but would work it into his OB. When you're walking and he starts to bark at things, turn away and make him heel. Correct him for being out of position and reward when he arrives there. After some time he'll learn to come to you and stay at your side when the strangers appear. As he gets older the bark will go away but not the confidence and his OB will get better.

When he jumps up and barks at, whatever, follow him to the window (cookie in hand) and look interested in what he's doing. Investigate with him. He thinks he's helping. Sound calm and walk away from the window urging him to follow. When he does, feed him. What he'll learn is that there a end to the investigation and all is well because you investigated to making him feel comfortable. And all the while you never supressed his confidence.

When he growls and/snaps at you, abruptly put him on a down. Not knowing how long his downs are put him on a down while standing, with a confident posture (remember, you da boss) ,over him. Release/reward him after 20-30 seconds and let him think about what just happened. Don't let him get up on his own, you release him. It tells him you're the boss and he practiced stay. Win win.

Peeing inside, you may have to start over with him. My wife usually works with but I can say wherever he peed , clean it up really well. We use white vinegar. You have to get all the smell out. If not, he'll smell it.

Energetic...lol You weren't really expecting any rest, we're you?

You puppy is normal and doing normal things for a 5 m/o. The way you handle it will be the difference between a good dog and a excellent dog. I like puppies that act the way your's does. I find them much easier to train.

Gunny

MommaL's picture
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Gunny, I love the window/treat suggestion.  I always go look when our boy alerts, but never thought of treating afterward.  Thank you.

Remember to treat going away from the window. This way you're rewarding the end of the episode, the quiet part and not suppressing the drive. They'll still bark at things when they're older but they won't obsess.

Another thing is doorbell and knocks. Have someone help you. When they knock or ring, the dog should be on a down before the door is opened. If he stays down, reward the down. If he gets up to investigate, slam the door (why you need the help. Don't want to insult a stranger) put the dog back in a down and try again. When he stays for a second or two, let him meet and greet your assistant who is holding treats. If you have to correct, you're correcting the down.

Again you've enforced the down without killing drive. You're teaching manors.

Gunny

Jaxthedobie's picture
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Joined: 2014-11-13

Thank you all so much for the advice! It has helped a bunch. Right now we are mainly really struggling with Jax's nervousness around new people. He typically will not go near anyone he doesn't know regaurdless if they have treats or do everything they can to get him close to them. He growls/barks at them and all the hair goes straight up on his back. He was socialized a bunch but I don't know what got in to him or what I can do besides socialize, socialize, socialize until he feels 100% comfortable around all people. This is huge for me because I would rather have any kind of problem with him as long as he is sweet to all people and dogs. Is this normal? Will he ever completely grow out of it? What can I do to stop this?

I appreciate your advice! Thanks:)

astewtru's picture
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Joined: 2014-11-01

I find dobes to be aloof dogs with anyone but their family.

 They aren 't a lab that's going to run up and lick people, mine isn't any ways. When we are out, people always want to come over and pet her or try to call her over to pet her and she just turns and walks away usually....a bit like flipping them the bird! I think her mentality is "you aren't my people, you are not worthy of my affection". I'm glad she isn't running up to people.

We have a sign on the door telling people to ignore the puppy when they come in, no touch , no talk no eye contact.

It allows her to assess the situation and approach when she's comfortable as well as not be a super excited pup when someone comes to the door.

So, get some friends/neighbours to help. Have them come around and completely ignore Jax until he is in a calm state...may take a while. Once his nerves are settled then they can engage him with a toy or treat.

Good luck!

Jaxthedobie's picture
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I always felt that with the right amount of positive socialization and experiences with people he could be just as friendly with people as a lab or any other dog. At the moment Jax does not like any one other then the people he knows. It is becoming a stress that he will never be okay with random people coming up to give him a pat. We will start having people over to do as you said but I am at loss for what to do with people on our walks when they ask if they can pet him. I usually say yes but lately when they get close he will not bite but bark back at them when they reach their hand out as if giving them a warning not to touch him.

DJ's Dad's picture
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I think that astewtru hit it right on the nail head.  Some dobes (not all) are 'aloof' and really dont want to be best friends with any humans except their own family.  DJ was that way for a LONG time.  If someone she didnt know reached out a hand to pet her, she would take a step backwards behind me, or move her head and shoulders as if doing evasive maneuvers to avoid the 'touch' at all costs.  I stopped making excuses for her.  I used to say "I dont know what's wrong, she doesnt usually act this way".  Now I just tell people that she has 3 humans in her family, me, my wife, and my son.  Everyone else is just 'things' to her.  That's just the way she is.  Since I have stopped being so uptight about her not being super duper friendly to strangers, she seems to have loosened up a little bit on her own.  I think she was picking up on MY stress factors.  Now she will actually allow someone to approach her for a pat on the head or a rub on the neck, give them a snooty look, and then sort of ignore them.  That's just her personality.  She will never be the kind of dog that will run up to a stranger, wagging all over, licking them and saying "pet me--please pet me!"  I've learned to live with it. And, I'm actually kind of glad she's that way.  I dont have to worry about her running off with someone, or allowing someone to steal her out of my yard. 

Sgourle's picture
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Having a doberman and a lab mix in the house I'd have to say that I don't think Juneau is ever going to be as friendly (not exactly the right word...comfortable?) toward people as Otto, and I believe that a lot of it is the breed. Doberman were bred to work closely with one person, not any 'ol person who takes them hunting. Juneau is certainly confident enough in himself that he isn't afraid of people; he doesn't bark when they approach in a friendly manner, and he will let them pet him if he has no other choice (ie: is on a leash), but at the park or at home he really doesn't care to have anyone other than the immediate family touch him. Same as astewtru--Juneau kind of looks at them and their treat and decides, "meh, I don't really care to know you." Even people who have known Juneau since he was 4 months old have noticed that he really has no interest in them at the park anymore. He isn't mean, he just really doesn't care. Conversely, Otto runs up to everyone, treat or not, and throws his butt at them for some scratches, doing his little happy dance, oblivious to who they are or if he even knows them. I'm pretty sure that Otto could be all the way home with someone before it really even occurred to him that the person isn't his owner. No stranger danger in that one -_- I don't think it is entirely fair to expect Jax to be "okay with random people coming up to give him a pat" when that isn't at all what the breed was bred to accept. Let him be, keep socializing, and maybe he'll get there--or at least close enough =) The more you stress about it the more he will pick up on that and react accordingly.

Jaxthedobie's picture
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Update: Jax has made loads of progress! This past week we have taken him out a bunch and so many people have come up to him, pet him, played with him etc. He was doing nothing but wagging his tail and enjoying it with no hesitation.  During this week I would say he was nice and comfortable around a total of about 20 different people coming up to him or him going up to them.However, it is so crazy how he almost picks random people that he is not comfortable with. There were about a total of 5 different people this week that would be very friendly towards him however all his hair would go up and he would bark/growl whenever they tried to touch him. It was literally like one second someone would walk up to him and play and he'd totally love it and the next someone would come up and he would be very uncomfortable and unsure around them. It was very confusing. Almost like a switch flipped in his head. Why do you think he does this? I would think he would either be comfortable or uncomfortable around strangers but not just pick randoms that he didn't like.His uncomfortableness did not happen as many times this week so I am happy with his progress and I can't wait till we can completely eliminate it and he can be happy and comfortable around all new people. 

DJ's Dad's picture
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I think they pick up on people's feelings, emotions, fears even.  If someone approaches him that is sort of anticipating a bad reaction, just because he is a doberman, and they have an unsure 'aura', he's gonna know it.  Also, body language plays a BIG part on how a dog accepts a human.  If a hand reaching out to pet sometimes comes across the top of the head, he might see that as a potential threat and react to it.  Also, environment, what's going on around him, noises, distractions....all play a part in an anxious dog's perception of strange humans approaching him.  Sounds like you are doing everything right, though.  Keep up the good work.

DJ used to react less than stellar when strangers approached her.  I still keep a short leash on her when she is in a crowd and there are little animated kids around....she wants to chase them when they run.  Not to bite, but just to chase.  That scares kids and their parents, so I keep her very close to me in situations like that.  I also tell people when they ask 'may I pet her?' to let her come to them.  That seems to have worked well for DJ, and if for some reason she does not want to go to someone to be petted, I absolutely do NOT force her to.  She is a thousand times better about letting people touch her than she was when she was, say, 6 months old. She was so nervous about people touching her when she was younger, I was seriously worried that she would not pass her CGC test because the examiner had to touch her head, ears, pick her front feet up one at a time, and run a brush across her back and/or sides.  We took CGC classes to prepare for that, and by the time she took the test, she was totally at ease with it.

DobieWanKenobi's picture
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Kay has never been comfortable being interacted with by people she's never met and I honestly prefer dogs like that. She used to bark at strangers if they tried interacting with her or speaking with me, that I didn't like. I never addressed it as she had more pressing behavioural issues for me to deal with. By the time I'd sorted her other issue out, she'd stopped the barking and changed it to growling and moving back. Now, she'll shut up when I tell her and is happy enough to sit or lay down and wait for me to finish speaking with people (she's never met before) before we move off again.

 

Dobermans aren't supposed to have the "I love everyone" quality. That doesn't mean they should be barking and acting aggressively to strangers, but I wouldn't count on your dog being 100% comfortable with strange people interacting with him. It's not a bad thing. I have a Jack Russell and she LOVES everybody she meets, I hate it. As I said, I prefer dogs like Kay.