Advice...help please

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WHODATROLLTIDE's picture
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Joined: 2011-01-28

Ok..so I need some seriuos advice. Griswold, 15 weeks old, is a sweet and smart puppy most of the time. However...he has a very aggressive biting problem with me (wife) on a daily basis. He will get in moods where he will literally come after me growling and snapping ike a crazy person. I have bruises and cuts all over and it's getting to the point where I am timid of him. I don't understand where we (or I maybe) went wrong. I have tried EVERYTHING to get him to curb the biting. The pinch the neck, giving him appropriate toys, the yelping, the holding his muzzle, the putting your hand in his mouthg and on his lower jaw, putting him in his crate, yelling NO, etc etc. He doesn't stop. He is crate trained, potty trained and otherwise seems to be progressing well.  Everyone tells me I need to establish myself as the pack leader..how do I do this??? He bites my husband very little and usually listens to him when he tells him No. I am dedicated to helping my pup learn proper behavior. I exercise with him daily and we are in puppy training as well.

bbroyles's picture
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Joined: 2010-09-09

Don't put up with it! If you are doing all the things you mentioned everytime and still getting no change in behavior, it's time for another approach. He is growing fast and you don't like it now. Get some info on putting him down on the floor and keeping him there for a minute or so. You will be over him, straddled and holding him down. He will not like it, because you are forcing him to be submissive. It's not a harsh move, but a firm one. Like sitting in time out with a child that refuses to stay in time out. If they can't or won't stay in time out, you have to sit them in your lap and hold them a few minutes. Until they learn you are serious. It's important to be above the dog, not just holding his collar. Check with a trainer or research more online before trying for more of a specific technique. The main thing you are communicating is you are in charge. Again it's not mean, harsh, yelling. It's just firm. I'm bigger-I'm stronger-I'm your superior after a couple of times start the "No" again. He should respond with a little more attention to the "no" command. A time or two may be all that is needed to gain a new perspective on his part. Good luck. Remember that although he is just a cute little puppy now, he is growing rapidly!!!

I've found that when this usually happens the person is not being forceful enough. I don't believe in putting the dog to the ground it can do more harm than good. I will try and get the article regarding it. You are bigger and stronger at this point and it is time that you step up and claim your self as alpha. If  you don't do it now you will have a bigger problem on your hand. That means no soft voice when giving commands, say it like you mean it and MAKE it happen. This is a puppy and you are 10 times his size! Why do you think he doesn't do it with your husband? Start teaching him obedience the sit being the first thing. Make him sit before you go through the door and wait. He is never to run through before you. Make him sit for a second and wait before giving him his meals. Get him involved in a puppy preschool class. The key to anything is consistency all the time EVERY TIME! You are boss not the puppy, and you don't take it any other way. I've worked with quite a few people with this problem and all the cases so far have been someone that is not good at being alpha it shows in your voice and it shows in your gestures, and the general way you treat a dog. The puppy is extremely smart and they sense this and will take advantage of it. They look to you more as a equal sibling type of thing one to play and chomp on as they wish. Even in a puppy pack the other puppies will tell the ones off that play to rough. If puppies are taken away to early from their pack then they don't learn this and it is your job more than ever to teach it to them. Another thing is dont repeat a command over and over that they know how to do or know what you are talking about. You say it once if they dont do it then you make them do it.

cisco9510's picture
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Joined: 2010-11-10

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That was my problem - Cisco did this to me up until about a month ago - and my trainer kept saying to me BE MORE FORCEFUL... YOU ARE THE ALPHA! and until it clicked with me he ran all over me... Now he doesn't and it is becasue it clicked with me.... YOu may think you are being tough enough but you prob aren't these boys (esp ones like ours) need man handled sometimes... It worked with the kid... Good Luck

sweetpea's picture
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Joined: 2010-10-25

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Great post rnd!  What she said ^^ 

Griswold uses your body language and tone of voice to determine whether you mean business.  The actual word "no" for example won't mean much to him if you coo it as if you are speaking to a baby (my mom used to do this to her dog and it drove me nuts).  Use your tone to convey your message, and if you've already been doing that step it up a notch. 

DJ's Dad's picture
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Joined: 2010-10-04

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I Agree wholeheartedly with the posts above about being more forceful.  You dont have to be mean to him, that's not what I mean....but instead of "asking" him to do something, TELL him to do it.  Look him right in the eye and let him know that you are NOT going to allow him to treat you like this.  It works. 

WHODATROLLTIDE's picture
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Joined: 2011-01-28

Thanks everyone. I do feel as though I am forceful and very stern with him. But I'm going to try even more so. I actually did the sit thing this morning..kinda by accident and had his muzzle closed in my hand and straddled him. He didn't like it but after a few times he stepped back looked at me and went and played with his toys. At this point that is progress for me b/c that is the first time he really stopped on his own. I'll keep you updated on the progress. We are in week 2 of his puppy training this afternoon so I'm hoping to learn some things there as well.

Lady Kate's picture
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Joined: 2009-10-28

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And here's another idea that I use all the time

THINK Alpha

Put your self in that frame of mind ... I PROMISE you these dogs are pyschic and will get your vibes..

their instincts are so strong, that if you feel fear, trepidation or even hesitation, they sense it and act on it

Hey.. give it a try...

bbroyles's picture
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Joined: 2010-09-09

Rnd - Thanx for so many reminders. I should print your comments along with everyone else's and tape them to the bathroom mirror, above kitchen sink, by the doors etc. It's so easy to become lax in all the training you mention. Maybe especially for dobermans because we know they understand so fast. And it's easy to get lax about training. In reflection to my dog's behavior, he gets "off" because I do. I guess it's the make it happen part I forget, until I get so frustrated that his behavior leads me to look at my behavior!
I do the same thing to my kids!
I have put one dog to the floor a couple of times, Maya, the Afghan we have now. My daughter was 4 years old when we brought Maya to our family. Maya was snapping with razor teeth at all of us. Nothing aggressive, just littermate status. I've been a single parent forever and if anyone was going to achieve Alpha status it was going to be me. At the suggestion of her breeder, I made the move to get her down. She responded with more "respect" and the move wasn't needed again. We continued to struggle with the painfully playful razor teeth, but she learned the degree of tolerance and we all survived with no emotional scars. She has been an absolute regal lady since Puppyhood!
I hope that you will locate the article and post here or send via email. I would like to read it.
Again, thank you for the reminders of being consistent, firm and insistent on good behavior.

bbroyles's picture
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Joined: 2010-09-09

Whodat,
"He stepped back and looked at me"
Sounds like that may have been a different look. The one you needed him to see. The one that registered "authority" in his puppy mind! Hopefully that will set the stage for new interpretation to the "No" command. A couple of fingers across the nose along with No and lots of consistency. Good luck. Dobies are a bit determined! You just have to be more so :). Let us know how it is going!