Feel Like I could just sit and cry:(

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mommachap's picture
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Joined: 2011-10-28

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Oh my was today ever a bad day with Emerson. I'm not sure what is going on with him right now, but wow was he ever bad today:( I know that he knows better, but I can see that he is testing me. As soon as he is doing something he is not supposed to he drops flat to the floor like he wasn't doing anything, and as soon as my back is turned he is back to it. He is stealing food off the counter... anything actually that he thinks he wants, papers, toys, the kids plastic dishes... really anything. He will steal anything the kids have in their hands, and as soon as I start to move towards him to get it away, it is the crazy run through the house, like he thinks its funny to watch me chase him.... lol. I have got him gated in the front entrance (it is the only place in the house where he can be contained without having to be away from us) with his bed, water and a few toys when he is not in his kennel or outside and other than the time that he is supervised in the house. But seriously it is turning into hell when he is out. I can't even walk when he is close to me, he has started this thing where he goes in front of me and hops backwards while jumping up and biting my arms and hands. He is constantly going after the baby and pushing her over so he can pin her down. I get after him every time, but he does not seem to be getting it. I am not sure what to do. Is this a normal 17 week old thing? Will he get past this? I love him to bits and really want to be able to make this work, but what kind of life is that for him if he always has to be locked away. Do you have any training books or methods that you could recommend so I can get him under control? Please! My hands and arms are so marked up from all his biting today:(

poogie's picture
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Hello

I cannot help much but I am in the same boat! I don't have any children but Rolo our 13 week old puppy is doing the same thing to our cats and biting alot! What have you tried to get the biting to stop? How much are you exercising him? Do you take him to any training classes? 

I ahve been told it will get better!

DobieWanKenobi's picture
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Woah. I won't say whether it's normal or not, as I'd never allow any dog of any breed, gender, age or background to do any of what you mentioned. But, I'll recommend you put a leash on him and just leave it there. You'll be able to grab it so he can't run away and then scold him for the behaviour however you normally do.

 

None of my dogs have ever had a biting stage. Even when teething, they chewed toys or furniture. Never people.

 

Have you tried just lifting your knew when he jumps up at you? That's a habit that might look cute on a 17 week old puppy, but won't look so cute on a 17 month old dog. Well, it will...But it'll be more dangerous, LOL. You'll want to stop that ASAP. If you're not up for the kneeing, then just turn and walk in the other direction without acknowledging him. Or, have a friend or family member hold his lead and pull him off when he jumps up, saying "No" or "Off" so that it becomes a command.

 

He won't get passed it unless you teach him, because he's getting away with it every time right now. He gets what he wants as well as a game, and then nothing to say "Hey, that's bad, don't do that". Even putting him behind a gate or in his crate for a few minutes once he's 'offended' would get him thinking "Right, well this is boring" and he'd eventually put two and two together. Jumping on people + running away = a boring room.

 

How much exercise is he getting daily? What kind of games do you play? How much training does he get, roughly, a week?

Tinks65's picture
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A bit of advice I got years ago ... a tired pup is a good pup. Jade is my first doberman and I have learned that she needs loads of exercise and play. If the weather is too yucky to walk we play hide and seek or "find it" or even just regular obedience training a few times a day. I also have several different challenging toys like the kong and tug a jug. Early on I also realized that if I didn't make sure she had time in her kennel through out the day she would seem to "forget her place" in the house and run amok lol. Being kenneled reminds her that she needs to just chill sometimes. She will whine a bit when I put her in but it's getting less and less. I never kennel her for more than an hour unless I'm going out and then I make sure she gets a good long walk when I return. Over all I have found that the more play, time at the dog park, and walks she gets the better she behaves. 

Way before Cesar Milan I found a book written by a guy named Brian Kilcommons its called Good Owners Great Dogs ... or maybe it was Great Dogs Good owners, anyway It was my puppy bible for many years. I think dobies have specific issues that arent really addressed but this place is awesome for that. Good luck to you and Emerson and hang in there it really does get better ;)

DobieWanKenobi's picture
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I've found that Dobes have their own special ways, that only Doberman specific books/forums/training articles acknowledge, as well. Glad it's not just me. In a All Breeds Forum that I frequent, questions regarding Kayenne and her behaviour are often unanswered, because I'm the only one on the forum with a Doberman, and people who haven't handled Dobermans before don't seem to know how to handle certain behavioours with them, despite being able to give advice on other breeds that they've not previously owned and what-not.

 

I find the fact you have to go to a Doberman specific forum, or book, to get any decent advice the majority of the time a bit disheartening.

Lori's picture
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He's testing you and by the sounds of it, he's winning.  Stop letting him....you may think you are being firm but you obviously aren't being firm enough.  When he jumps lift you knee and knock him back (not voilenty but rough enough to get the message)  Do not stop for him, keep walking and if you have to walk right into and through him.  Be careful not to truly hurt him but don't be afraid to physically push him around.  He will learn to get out of your way after you knock him over a few times.  If he still doesn't get it grab him by the scruff and give him one quick little shake with a loud firm NO! and move him.   

 

Get a squirt bottle and every time he goes near the baby say no and squirt.  it saves you from having to be right there, you can squirt him from further away.   Doesn't hurt him but they usually don't like being squirted in the butt. 

 

Take him out and give him his own play time totally devoted to him.  They need a LOT of exercise and they need mental stimulation.   It will only get better if you fix these issues now.  If you continue to let it go it will get much much worse...

 

mommachap's picture
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Thank you for all of your advice. It has made me realize that he is not getting enough exercise during the day. I thought that letting him out into the yard for free play was enough, but I am guessing that he needs way more than that. How much exercise do they need? Will it be enough to take him out into the yard and throw a ball for him for 20 mins at a time a few times a day? Or does he need a walk or two on top of that. I am finding it really hard to get him out for a walk every day with 3 kids and trying to do school on top of everything. How do I start playing the hide and seek with him? I have never heard of playing games with dogs before, it sounds fun! I have been lifting my knee when he jumps up at me, but maybe I am not being firm enough, so he thinks I am playing with him. I had no idea that getting a pup was going to be this hard. I am starting to think that they are actually harder than having toddlers... lol. Still love him to bits though, his eyes just make me melt:)

 

Oh I wanted to ask you guys if you ever use Cesar Milan's method. My parents use it on their english springer spaniel, and they told me to try it last night to try and get him back to a calm state. I did try it but I was not sure if it actually worked or not. It was about 45 mins of circles around the living room and he would twist and was able to get his head around to bite me. I wanted to get your opinion on it, he seemed to really not like it and was truly trying to bite me. I just feel so lost when it comes to training him. Is Cesar's method a good one for dobermans?

Abigail's picture
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Dobermans are a VERY high energy breed. He is still a puppy, (how old now?) so you need to be careful when walking on hard surfaces/pavement, but just a romp in the yard is not enough. You should definitely exercise him 30 minutes a day, be it throwing a ball (on grass, if it's outside) or just running with a toy in your hand so he chases you. Make sure you involve mental stimulation do. Obediance training, harder toys, games of find it, whatever. Often, mental games wear them out more than physical ones ;) 

 

The thing is, if you have a doberman, you will need to make time in your day to exercise, train, and socialize, if you want a happy dog and a balanced home, where he isn't a terror to everyone. Remember, YOU are the leader, and YOU decide what the rules and boundaries are. He should be calm too, but more importantly, you need to be. Calm and cofident. He has been testing your authority, so now you cannot let him get away with ANYTHING. The crazy puppy stage will pass, but what comes out of it is up to you. If you work hard with Emerson, he will reward you. 

He is a baby and you need to treat him like one. If he is being bad while loose, then leash him to you.  He is not safe to turn your back on him yet. Think of him as if he were an 18 month old toddler and you will get the idea of his age.

Raising a puppy is a lot of work if you want a good dog. Good dogs don't just happen - they are trained. 

There are some really good books out there on raising puppies - my personal favorite (not too long or boring) is:  How to Raise a Puppy you can live with - here is a link to it on amazon.com 

 

 http://www.amazon.com/How-Raise-Puppy-You-Live/dp/1577790766

 

This is the book I have recommended to my puppy owners, neighbors and friends!

DobieWanKenobi's picture
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Er. I won't give any advice on your other questions, but I'll just say, Cesar Millan does a lot more off set than he does on, and you'll need his books before practicing the methods. There's a warning at the start of his shows, that says not to practice his methods without a professional trainer. That's because he doesn't explain and show you everything he does, and why he does it with that particular dog, instead of what he did with the previous dog, on his show. You can get that information from his books.

 

I don't believe there's a training method for all Dobermans. You need to figure out how your boy works, and then adapt to bring out his best self. With my last Doberman, he reacted brilliantly to sharp corrections, and he thrived on scolding, rather than praise. When he was told no, he knew not to do it again. When he was told yes, he'd get a bit iffy, start doing things he thought he was meant to do, and we'd have to start again. My Dobie before that needed to be physically corrected. Instead of "No" I'd actually poke her. It wouldn't be a hard poke, but the words never sunk in. Just a poke to her side or rump let her know she was doing something wrong, adn then a pat on the head or a scrub under the chin let her know she was doing something right.

 

Kayenne is the first dogs I've had that thrives on praise, gets worse with scolding, and learns what not do to after getting told off and then ignored for it. I have to tell her when it's wrong, but I've found ignoring her for 10 minutes after she's done whatever she wasn't meant to lets it sink in. There usually isn't a repeat of the behaviour, but of course, she's a dog, and doesn't speak English.

 

You need to find how your dog works, then learn to work with him.

Happydance's picture
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Get him through his vaccines, and get him to class.  Even Petsmart, he's out thinking you and needs training!

Lady Kate's picture
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The "find it" game can start with something simple like those big red party cups... line three of them up with a treat hidden under one of them..

Show Emerson the treat and let him watch you put it under the cup and tell him "FIND IT!".. his sniffer will do the rest.. keep alternating the treat with the cups.. then branch out to other parts of the house.. in time, you won't even need the cup.. just telling him "find it" will trigger the game.

Only 10-15 mins. of training is a good start.. they have a short attention span ( some people call it D.A.D ( Doberman Attention Deficit) Sometimes mental stimulation tires the pup out faster than you'd expect..

Have fun and remember he IS still a baby..attention to his body language and trying to anticipate what  he's going to do before he does is the key.. You're going to have to 'puppy-proof' your house for a while.. leaving ANYthing on the counters is irresistible until he learns that it is not permitted. Some folks have put tin objects, cookie sheets, something noisy on the counter that is off setting and non-eatable.. patience, love and attention.. LOTS of it..

Good luck!!

rgreen4's picture
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If you are uncomfortable kneeing him, watch for his coil before jumping up, then either take a step forward or back. Either will disrupt his target and he will have to re-position. A firm "No" will also help at this point. My first Dobe was given back to her breeder at 4 months (16-17 weeks) because of just that behavior. It took me two days to break her of it with the knee. I had a wonderful dog for the next 6 1/2+ years until I lost her to cancer.

If Emerson has a crate, it won't hurt to crate him at times during the day. While they say not to use the crate as a punishment, he will learn that the separation from you is the punishment. As others have said, keep your voice consistent, do not scream and hollar at him not matter how tempting it is. When he does something good praise him highly, even over doing it won't hurt. He wants to please you, but may be getting mixed signals.

I also use a verbal Ah-Ah-Ah in a high tone to let him know when he has done something wrong. They seem to learn that more quickly than the word "No". Jake will stop and look at me when I do it. BTW, Jake is just a few weeks younger, and has tried many of the same tricks.

Hang in there, it will get better.

mommachap's picture
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I just wanted to thank everyone for all of the advice. I have been more firm with him, he is now only allowed in certain areas of the house, and I take him outside 4-5 times a day for 15 mins at a time to throw a ball for him to really tire him out. It really seems to be help! He still has his moments, but it is much easier to deal with. When he has those moments, I find the thing that works the best is actually a squirt in the bum with the spray bottle... stops him dead in his tracks. It is working great for teaching him to not jump up on the kids:) The cat is a different story, but seriously she is just way to fun to drag around... she is a giant squeek toy... bad I know, but we will keep working on that. He still is taking food off the counter, he actually just took my sons pb&j off of his plate this morning. My cousin told me to put a line of pepper around the edge of the counter, but I just dont know if I like that idea or not. It seems like it would hurt him. I think I will just stick with the squirt bottle and a firm "No". Eventually he will get it, right?

 

I just have to say, I was distracted this morning with writing this and forgot that he was out in the living room, and well he had an accident:( I know that it is my fault so he didnt get in trouble for it, but I asked him if he was a bad boy and if he had pooped in the house, and his head just fell... he looked so sad... he was giving me the cartoon puppy eyes.. lol.. It was so cute! As soon as I put my hands on my hips he busts out the cartoon eyes.. every time... lol

Don't know how people cant love these guys, they just have got so much character:)