First Time Doberman owner with a question.

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newdobe29's picture
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Hi. I'm new to the site and just brought home my first Doberman puppy. His name is Scout and he is 12 weeks old. I'm in awe of this breed and our new puppy. We picked him up on Sturday. He's Only been with us a day but has had no accidents and is already sitting on command. He's very calm most Most of the time unless our kids who are 4 and 7 want to play and he is very playful with them. He is the most well behaved puppy I've ever seen! I do have a question. My son had a friend over today and they were outside playing and Scout was out there also. My husband was there supervising everyone. My sons friend went to go inside to get a drink and when he headed towards the door Scout ran over to the door and barked and growled like he didn't want him to go in. I was shocked he would exhibit protective qualities so early. I don't want him growling at kids so I gave a very firm no. He didn't do I again but I could tell he still wasn't thrilled the next time their friend needed to go in fir something else. Is this normal for a puppy to be protective? Also what can I do to ensure he is gentle with kids and not aggressive? This is the only time we've heard him bark and other than this one incident he's been unbelievably perfect. I'm a new doberman owner so I am jus wondering? 

Legend of Zelda's picture
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Welcome newdobe29! Unless you have another name you prefer to be called :)

From my point of view, I think he's just being protective of his territory or doesn't trust your son's friend very much. I haven't had any friends come over to the house, so I don't know how Zelda, my own doberman, would react. Just distract him from the friend by playing with him or pick him up and have him play with the boy out of his sight (just a guess, i'm not too sure).

Others definitely can help you with this :D I hope I helped you with my little input.

 

Legend of Zelda, or Erika

newdobe29's picture
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Thanks so Much for the reply. I just can't believe that he is already trying to protect! Our kids have their friends over ALL the time so I just want to do everything I can to make sure he never is aggressive with them. 

newdobe29's picture
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Thanks so Much for the reply. I just can't believe that he is already trying to protect! Our kids have their friends over ALL the time so I just want to do everything I can to make sure he never is aggressive with them. 

cisco9510's picture
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Just keep correcting and training- it probably is just him protecting his new turf... just make sure the correction is also a reaasurance, What I do is give them a no if they are protecting something they shouldnt, then I tell them its ok until they calm down... if he isn't doing after first correction but looks like he wants to get protecty (its a word) just go to him, pet him and keep saying its ok- good boy until he calms- then take to the person and let them do what they were doing while you priase him for being a good boy...

Cisco is always on gaurd when my father in law is here and I have to do that when he is here.... He loves him and plays with him but when he goes into another room Cisco sometimes gets on edge...

Just keep working with him and welcome tp the site

KevinK's picture
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Your dog is more likely to be scared than protective at this age.  Around 12 weeks is one of a dogs fear periods, keep the experiences good, and keep socializing.  Or, it very well could be nothing more than bad manners.  Remember that the pup doesn't know what's acceptable and what's not, so just stay diligent with not allowing it, and he'lll learn quickly.  It's amazing how quickly these pups learn.

newdobe29's picture
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Thanks everyone for the advice! It was very reassuring. Hes such a great dog and I'm sure he will learn fast. Our breeder did mention that he was a little barky. :)

missdoglover's picture
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Welcome to the forum and I can't wait to hear more about Scout!

Karissa

MyDeutzia's picture
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Welcome to the Forum..... you have come to a great place!! 

Please do not use the word "aggressive" on a 12 weeks old pup!  They are babies! Think of what a mother dog would do if a pup got too " saucy".  She would give the pup a quick nip or tap with her nose, I call it a pop!  You can correct any behavior with kindness, just be firm and everyone in the house has to be on the same boat!  Remember he will be an good sized dog.  Do not let him do anything now, that you don't want him to do later, jump on people or furniture, run out of the door in front of you, jump out of the car unless you say OK, nip at the kids, chew on people, bark at people.  Just remember he is not being mean or aggressive, just spreading his wings and seeing what he can get away with.  Kind of like how your kids will be in their teenage years! ( Good Luck by the way, I've raised 4 and had my fill).  Do not reward the bad behavior and be sure to tell him "yes" when he does something right!!

Best of luck with your new baby!!  Enjoy the Forum!!

blue4's picture
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Welcome to the forum!!  Our baby Reesie was growling and barking at people at 12 weeks old as well.  Particularly at my son.  He would growl at him (see attack of the growling puppy thread) quite often.  We stopped several habits:  no more on the bed.  no more on the couch.  no more sleeping in the bedroom (he's in a crate in the living room).  no more sitting beside the table getting carrots while we eat.   no more going through doors before us.  no more going down stairs before us.  Whether he was being "aggressive" or not, it seemed like aggression to me at the time and made me very nervous.  I now realize, much as MyD said above, Reesie was trying to find his place in our pack, where he fit in and what he could get away with.  I can't tell you how benefitial basic obedience and all the things above have been.  It is like a different dog.  I felt like I was taking away all the fun things at first, but now, to see how he feels more confident, to see how he interacts with the kids, it is worth it. 

Puppies are so much fun - yet so much work!!!  Your kids will gain a best friend in their new puppy as they help train him.  It's so good for everybody....enjoy!!

Lady Kate's picture
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Newdobe29... Am a little late with a welcome here. But nonetheless... so happy to meet you. Such an exciting time ahead for you. and please... keep asking questions. The members on this forum are not only knowledgeable and passionate about the wonderful breed of Doberman, they are more than willing to share experiences ( the good the bad and sometimes the ugly) with you.. Can't wait to see pictures of Scout and watch him grow up!!

Kate and Sofia

newdobe29's picture
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Your post was sooooo helpful! Our Scout loves our kids who are 4 and 7 but he has barked a couple time at our son but not our daughter. We don't let him in our bed but his crate is in our room. Last night our son got scared and came in our room and scout growled at him from his crate. I think I will move it to the living room also. Thanks again. Very helpful! It's so amazing to me how smart he is already and he seems to get his feelings hurt so bad when we have to tell him no. He will go and pout in his crate. I feel sometimes like we take away the fun too but we want him to be well behaved so we are firm and consistent. 

MyDeutzia's picture
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Good, glad to hear that you have set some rules for your pup!  They look for a leader and if there is no leader, they feel like they have to be it!  Some are not comfortable being the leader and then you get the fear aggression.  I would not allow any growling at people, especially a family member.  Correct him with a voice sound or we sometimes use the "pennies in an empty soda can".  The loud noise is enough to distract them from what they are in the middle of.

blue4 is so very right!  There is a time and place for everything...like fun!  You initiate fun and you end the fun!  I have raised my 4 kids around Dobermans.  Both your pup and your kids will learn alot from the experience!

PhilNCaine's picture
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It sounds to me that the breeder didn't do much socializing with the pup. Nevertheless, just keep correcting the pup. Consistent NO, no hitting, swatting, etc. Your pup will pick it up early. And I have to agree that the pup just may be scared a bit.

MyDobieGirl's picture
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Hi, I am a little surprised that he's doing so much barking/growling at such a young age as well and I agree with PhilNCaine that it doesn't appear the breeder did much socialization.  

You say that your kids have friends over all the time, which is great for socialization for the dog! :)  But when they do have friends over, make sure you keep a close eye on the kids.  Afterall, kids are kids and can get overly excited around dogs and actually set back your socialization efforts.  My dog was recently chased around by a toddler who thought it was great fun to play 'tag' with the dog...my poor dog was running for its life! :P  Stuff like that could really scare a young pup.  Even if your dog is not directly part of the chase, if you have a bunch of kids over and they're getting rowdy your pup may get concerned.  If you have a bunch of kids over, constantly treat Scout everytime he looks over at the kids without reacting.  It's great that you gave a NO to Scout after growling at the kid, try incorporating treats into that next time.  When you say NO, if Scout responds, immediately treat.  Treat again when he looks at the kid without growling, and again and again and again.  Try even having the kid give Scout some treats too.  Make it a positive experience for him.

Socialization outside of the house is important as well of course.  When we first got our pup it felt like everyday we were taking him somewhere new to get her used to dogs, people, and whatnot.  We treated her everytime she saw a person (she didn't bark/growl at people but if she did, she wouldn't have gotten a treat) and of course always encouraged people to give her treats.  Take advantage of their puppyhood because once you have a full grown dobie, not many people are going to want to give them treats anymore, especially kids.  

Something that really needs to go of course if the fact that he's barking at your son.  That means he sees your son as his inferior and does not respect him.  He should never, EVER bark at anyone in the family.  Have you started basic obedience with Scout yet?  Sits, downs, wait, leave-it, etc?  Those are great ways to build up a good respectful relationship with your son and Scout.  It puts your son in a position of control.  Since your son is so young though, just make sure he actually makes the dog do the commands and isn't just giving out freebies.  Also try to have your son play a more active role in just taking care of the dog.  We make our dog wait for all of her meals, she isn't allowed to eat until we release her.  It reinforces authority (nothing in life is free) and also teaches her patience.  The wait command is great and since the reward of food is such a strong one it's also really easy to teach.  We have our dobie sit and wait until the release command.  It's a very easy one to do with your kid as well, especially after Scout learns it because after awhile you won't even need the command anymore, the dog will just know.  This is also a great command to teach because you can use it and then have your son participate in filling him his food bowl or something so Scout can see that food comes from him too!  Another thing you can do is to not leave toys all around the house.  This is especially important for pups because everything good should come from you.  Have your son and your daughter be the ones to bring out toys, of course teach Scout not to jump at toys because that could seriously hurt them.

Also...Dobies are natural guard dogs.  Of course they will be wary of strangers, they will bark/growl at trespassers...that's part of the breed.  It's like wanting a retriever that won't jump in the water after a stick.  It's part of who they are. The reason I say this is because from my experience, too often I get frustrated when she barks at someone outside the house and I want to immediately say 'NO' to her because I forget that she's a guard dog.  It's her job to alert me if someone's around the house.  So instead I say 'what's wrong?' and at this point she'll either trot on over to me or stay until I get to the window to look outside.  It's a work in progress since she's our first dobie too but I definitely recommend working WITH the guarding instead of trying to snuff it out altogether.  Of course, there are instances when she definitely gets a firm NO and no cooperation from me - if she barks at guests in the house.  That's a definite no-no.  

Sorry this is so ridiculously long.  Oops.  :P

blue4's picture
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I just wondered how Scout was doing.   I thought I would visit to see if you had posted an update.  You know, I agree about the socializing, but I want to add something, since our puppies seem so similar.  We have spent a lot of time socializing Reesie, but he is still easily ruffled up at stuff around the house.  He had a fit - really - over a garbage can that turned over during a storm and rolled down the hill.  He would not let it rest.  For days....so now we are working on "out".  When we tell him to let it go, he needs to calm down.  If we're ok, then he's ok too.  I just thought you might experience this problem also.  Not that I have a wonderful answer for it.  Someone else might!  Just seems like a lot of work, and reps with some really tasty treats.  He has got to want what I have more than what he wants to do - which is go nuts over a garbage can!

newdobe29's picture
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MyDobieGirl- Thanks so much for your post. Lots of good advice and I will probably go baand read it a couple more times to make sure I didn't miss anything. :)

blue4- So sweet of you to check up on us!!!!

Scout is doing better. He never growls at our son anymore. He only did it about two times and got VERY firm Nos so he hasn't done it since. We have a 4 year old daughter who he loves because she loves him and they play alot together. Our son is 7 and just not as in to the dog but he likes him and never mistreats him.

He's doing great with basic commands. He sits, comes, and we have been working on lay down. We also make him wait for his food and then give him an OK that he can eat. Sometimes we will take it away mid meal and give it back so to ensure he doesn't become food aggressive. He is such a sweet puppy and we are just loving him. He's very stubborn and persistant which I am assuming is part of the Doberman breed. I am sooooo excited because we were going to have to Petsmart training bc we didn't know of anyone else but I have found a guy that does training for k9 dogs and he has a training facility and is willing to do obedience training with Scout. I think he even does agility and things like that. He told us to wait a couple more weeks to start bc he wanted Scout to be good and bonded with us. So we will start that soon. For now Scout is potty trained and SOOOO well behaved in the house. He plays nicely indoors and hasn't torn anything up yet. :)

As far as the breeder socializing I think he did a good job but was limited since they didn't have children. I've noticed that when the kids have friends over Scout gets on guard and will grown at them. This has happened about 3 times since we've had them. Once the kids are here for about 10 minutes then he's fine but he's always suspicious at first. When we go to the park he never growls at the kids but if they approach him he isn't super friendly. I think he's just never been around them so he's not sure what to think. Any adult can come over and he's super friendly and goes over to be petted. We are definitely working to make him more comfortable around children and doing what we can to socialize him.

Thanks again for the good ideas. If you think of anything else please let me know as I have never owned a Doberman before so this is ALL new to me! Hope you all are having a great week!!!!

MyDobieGirl's picture
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I figured your son probably didn't spend as much time with him as your daughter.  :P  When we brought my dobie over to my parents she took way longer getting used to my little brother compared to my mom.  The reason was because my mom loved her and constantly gave her attention and treats and my little brother was scared of her so tried to keep himself distanced from her.  It took a lot of talking to get my brother to realize that the more he distanced himself from her the more time it would take for her to warm up to him.  

The breeder we got ours from didn't have kids either and since we don't have kids ourselves, nor do we have anyone around us with kids, that's been a real pain for us.  One thing I really do regret with her is not making more of an effort to FIND kids to socialize her with as a puppy.  So since Scout's still in puppyhood definitely take advantage of that and have as many kids as you can give him toys and treats!  Do all this BEFORE he turns into a full grown dobie that kids back away from. :P  

 

Blue4:  You're probably already doing this but I figured I'd mention it anyhow.  Do you let your pup investigate everything (within reason) that freaks him out?  For example, taking him over to the trash to let him sniff and see for himself that everything's ok.  Then if he STILL freaks, get him to quiet down and treat the quiet.  My dog used to get freaked out if she saw a plastic bag outside on a windy day.  You'd think that bag was about to attack at any second with the way she carried on.  I felt ridiculous taking her and chasing down that bag so that she could see it was ok.  :P

blue4's picture
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That's  a great idea MyDobieGirl...I should have tried that.  It was our neighbor's across the valley and it went into the ravine - we could have gotten to it though.  I missed that opportunity!

Great to hear about Scout - and he's so beautiful.  Turning into a wonderful family member!