confirmaiton of normal puppy behaviour.

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Gogh's picture
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Joined: 2015-03-25

Hello!

 

I am simply looking for a little confirmation that my new guy isn't off his nut:

 

 

he is almost 11 weeks now, still biting me...(I yell out OUCH! and try to redirect to appropriate chew toys, which seems to work... but how long should I expect him to be doing this? what's your experience?)

 

also he will go a little into barking and growling mode, but I do not know if this is playing/normal or if he is trying to dominate me. (also most of the time I think he is just over-stimulated and after a ten minute crate time-out he has either fallen asleep or calmed down..) Normal? any tips? (I can handle it it but that barking can already scare people who are not accostomed to dogs... he nevdr does it outside, but has done it at one of my friends when she was over)

also, he has learned, "sit", "Paw"(where he shakes my hand) and "stand up" - on his hind legs. but sometimes I will give the sit command and he acts a like a teenager already, just looking at me... I usually just wait untill he sits down. but perhaps I am expecting too much at such a young age?

he is never allowed to walk in front of me through a door, but on leash he is a little all over the place (usually towards the end of our -10-15 minute walk...I guess his concentration is gone by then?), but this is to be expected right?

 

mostly I am just finding the balance between affection, play and pack leader hard to perfect....

 

 

anyway, thanks all.

 

 

 

DJ's Dad's picture
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First off, welcome to the group, and the world of doberman puppies.  LOL. 

If you have never had the pleasure of living with a growing up doberman before, you probably already know that they are somewhat unique in the way they play, think, and perceive things....unique compared to many other breeds of dogs, especially.  Dobermans are not a passive breed---they are very very active.  Some are quite vocal.  They seem to have two speeds at 11 weeks of age---1. Full Steam Ahead, and 2. Off.  They will run, play, chase, get into all sorts of mischief, then suddenly just decide to take a nap and crash onto the floor, a dog bed, your shoe, wherever they are when the mood strikes. 

Biting and nipping is a problem most doberman puppy owners face at one time or another.  How long this phase lasts depends a lot on your reaction to it.  You say you yelll 'ouch' and redirect him with an appropriate chew toy.  That's exactly what you should be doing.  Teach him to play gentle with you. He's a baby right now and is exploring his limits, so you have to make it clear to him exactly where his limits are with inappropriate biting.  Lots of chew toys around.  Gentle corrections for biting. Lots of praise when he does good.  Positive reinforcement for good behavior goes a long long way.

Barking and growling is another way he is exploring his limits.  Believe me, at 11 weeks old he is NOT trying to dominate you.  But, if you believe that's what he's trying to do, he will be able to pick up on your feelings and could possibly start to see himself as the boss instead of you......see what I'm getting at?  You need to let him know that YOU are the boss, not him.  All things come from you.  Food, attention, toys, playtime....it should all be done when you decide, not him. If he knows some simple commands already, use that to your advantage.  Make him sit before he gets fed.  Make him shake hands before you give him a toy to play with.  Make him lie down (or sit or any other command) before he gets his leash snapped on to go for a walk. He will learn to respect you for this, seriously, he will.  Start him out knowing this, and it will be easier to deal with when he reaches that magical defiant age of 8 - to - 10 months, (more or less).  If he barks at people, do the same thing you do when he bites----quickly redirect him from his unwanted behavior and then praise him up big time when he decides to play with a toy instead of stand and bark or growl.  You dont want to discourage growling, but at the same time, you dont want him to do it all the time either.  You're 100% correct in stating that the balance between being a good dober-parent, the alpha person, and a fun playmate for your new puppy is a difficult task.  It sure is when they are still learning their place in your family pack.

Good for you teaching him sit, shake hands, and other commands while he's this young.  You are just beginning to open the door to his learning any number of commands in the next few months to a year. Consistancy is the key to training any command.  If you tell him to sit and he just looks at you and does not comply, you have two choices.  You can do what you say you do now, and just wait him out until he does it, or you can encourage him to sit quickly when you give the command by giving him a little gentle pressure on his rear end to let him know you expect him to sit his butt down NOW, and then reward  him with a treat as soon as his butt hits the floor. Some people prefer to slightly pull upwards on the leash to encourage a dog to sit, or bribe them with a treat to sit.  For me, personally, slight pressure on the dog's rear works better than the other two methods. You phase out of pushing his rear end down as soon as he understands that's what 'sit' means...not just sit whenever he feels like doing it, but sit NOW.  Just remember, you only say the command one time, show him what you expect him to do (if he isnt sure), and reward him the instant he complies.  Treats, pats on the head, even a "yesss--good boy!" are rewards. Have you looked into any puppy training classes?  I always find that classes teach me things I can use, and the puppy will enjoy the social aspects of classes, too. My DJ absolutely loves going to classes.  She thinks it a great place to 'show off' her skills. LOL.

Leash manners should be starting now, while he's still young and small enough to control.  Wait until he's 80 pounds and pulling you around, and it's not fun to go for walks.  If he gets all excited near the end of your walk, take a different direction back home.  Keep him guessing.  Dobermans are especially good at trying to out-guess their humans, and I swear, sometimes they are mind-readers.  Encourage him to stay close to you by taking small treats with you on your walk, or carrying one of his favorite toys with you to make him want to stay close.  Encourage him to look at you --eye to eye-- often while you're walking him.  His attention should be focused on you as much as possible, although he is going to find a lot of things to see, hear, smell and grab in his mouth while on a walk....that's just what puppies do.  Give him plenty of opportunities to just be a curious little dog, but get his attention back to you every now and then while walking.  As he gets older, demand his attention a little more and more. Again, consistancy is the key.

He's a baby for sure, but dont let that be his excuse for ill manners.  You have made a committment to a dog that is a small, cute and adorable puppy, but before you know it, a year will go by and he will be a big, strong, adorable adult.  A well mannered doberman is one of the biggest joys of life, in my opinion.  Training your puppy to be the best doberman it can be is your responsibility. 

It all starts now.

 

 

MommaL's picture
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Joined: 2014-06-15

^^^^^ This!  Perfectly stated.

karie's picture
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Joined: 2014-10-10

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 very good advice dj's dad!!

Lady Kate's picture
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Perfect information except:

 

" Normal Puppy Behavior" ~~~ Oxymoron...

Just kidding.. they are all such individuals and you will have so much fun with him.

 

What's his name? So we can properly welcome you both to the Forum..

 

Gogh's picture
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Joined: 2015-03-25

thank you all, special mr DJ's dad:) very good to know I'm within normal behaviour.

 

One thing no-one has mentioned is : is it ok I use the crate for time out? I know you should never use it as a punishment(I don't't really use punishment in any form except ignoring and seperation from me(like play stops and I leave the room)(and a little light touch on the neck alon with my no sound...which he now responds to very well.

but I don't really see this as punishment(the crate) just a "you need to calm down a bit now"... is this ok?

 

His name is Gogh (like the painter). :)

 

Lady Kate's picture
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I think it's perfectly fine using a crate for a 'time out' as long as Gogh ( Great name) doesn't associate it with punishment.

Just calmly usher him in to his crate...say nothing.. no eye contact, no touch... just be firm and be sure he's calmed down a bit prior to the 'ushering'

It sounds like you're doing a great job... keep asking questions,.. honestly.. we have all been in your shoes at least once.. some of us many times..

We need some photos of this angel...

Maya's Mom's picture
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Get out of my head man!! LOL We have an 11 week old female fawn and if your little man is off his nut, my girl Maya is right beside him :) Maya needs her quiet kennel time too, it does wonders for re-centering her. Great feedback from everyone and it sounds like you are doing a fantastic job with him!  ~Denise

 

PS. Wondering what I can do to get DJ's Dad to come to live in my house, LOL  He's brilliant in my book!

MommaL's picture
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Don't know if it was right or wrong, but our boy gets a fabulous treat EVERY time he goes in his crate that he gets nowhere else.  Regardless of the reason, I wanted it to be a happy place he could rest safely.  It was a life saver as a puppy for napping/time outs/mopping/whatever ... He is over a year old and still enjoys his crate time when it's needed.  He sleeps in the crate at night when everyone goes to bed and he will go get in it on his own if we all stay up later than suits him.  In my opinion, crates are a wonderful tool.

AresMyDobie's picture
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I never use the crate as punishment it's supossed to be a peaceful sleepy time place. I don't use time out either I simply turn and walk away when I am displeased if he calms down we can go about our day as usual. I know what you are going through lol mines 3 months.... He's a handful and starts his training in May after his vaccines are done

Gogh's picture
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Joined: 2015-03-25

Hi.

 

Thanks all..

 

just one note on the crate discussion. He gets treats and bones and we play a game where he sits and goes into the gcrate on command ("CRATE") for a treat... am working on making him love it(he sleeps though the night and naps in the day without any yelping..so it is not a bad association place, just it could be much more positive, I realize that and will adress it. but as some of us live in small apartments, it is not always possible to just leave the room. laptops, books on the couch etc. and I don't want him to think he owns my living room.. and just standing in the kitchen for ten minutes listening for what he does seems a little strange...:)

 

but anyway, so very much help from all of you.

 

 

 

 

Lady Kate's picture
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So many training tips.. so many pups... and each one is different and responds to things as individuals.. What ever works for you is the way to go..

The single most important piece of advice I can give is to keep YOURSELF calm.. (Not always easy when your pup is racing like a lunatic throughout the house with the entire Victoria's Secret Spring Line.. AAAAAGGGHH!)

I have tried it under the most dire of circumstances.. even when I've been at my wits end with Bella as she's sitting there like an absolute angel with my prized Creeping Charlie decimated and scattered all over the floor..

But yep.. Cesar is right.. calm and submissive.. body language is paramount.. ( yours)  and guess what??? They can SMELL when you're angry.. so harsh words are not necessary...it excites them more. Easier said than done..

Keep on keeping on and please don't hesitate to tell us what is working for you..

Danielleak's picture
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I think you all have said it perfect! Bane is a MANIAC!  Training goes well, but man that puppy nipping is awful!!!  Just reading the great answers from everyone, reassures me that it will...someday.... After I get some sleep... Will be an amazing journey!!  Welcome to the group gogh!! 

Gogh's picture
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Joined: 2015-03-25

Am glad to say the biting has regressed (still happens a lot) but now I know the patterns: Usually after training, tricks and walks as his concentration is gone. when he is overly tired, yes they get hyper when they should be asleep, just like people. outside I just stand still and sometimes wave a snack in front of his nose untill he sits down, then do a few tricks to make him forget he was jumpin on me and then give treat..

 

also one mistake i have made: I made a deceision to let him  be allowed on the couch as long as he stays on his big blanket. which works fine.. but I should have waited a month or so before letting him go there, becuase now when we sit there and chill, my face is right in his and, well, it is very inticing for him to just have a nibble... (never does go for the face, just the hands and arms, but still...)

 

but very proud at 11 weeks he can (with snack of course) sit, lay down, shake hands, stand on hind legs, get in position by my left leg and heel(for a about five minutes, the cheese is not ingteresting any more).

 

 

but lesson number one: make those training sessosion super short. like five minutes is enough.

second I am sort of reintroducing the crate.. it is not a bad place for him, but I want him to go there on command. because now I have sometimes used it to chill him out when the barking, biting become unacceptable, so he is understandable a little confused about the nature of this place:)

thirdly, I use two sounds for dissaproval: a quick hissing sound (yes yes, like cesar) and then if that does not work, a loud and dissaproving NO (sometimes with afirm grab of the scruff). however I learned that that big loud NO and the scruff just makes him excited and thinks we are both engaged in play so I try to fade that one out and just use the Hiss, and ignore, and distraction... 

 

anyway. thought I'd give a little update.

 

cheers all.