Insubordinate Puppy.... and advice on kids and training please....

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Mocha's picture
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Joined: 2013-12-30

I am guessing from all the similar posts this is normal behaviour but I have read conflicting opinions on how to handle it.

My 9 week old Dobe nips, all the time.  Having had large breed dogs in the past my husband and I do the loud "Eh" command, this has been effective in the past.  Yeah, apparently not effective on Dobermans.  

As if that wasn't bad enough... this is where the insubbordination comes in, she challenges me.  She will look me directly in the eye, will not look away (for a very long time), and then barks at me.  She also jumps up while barking and staring at me.  She doesn't do this with my husband but is starting to do this with the kids.  I dont think I have handled this well.... I have repeated the "eh" command and then held her down (gently), until she relents, then let her up and provide her with a chew toy. 

We have tried to just re-direct immediately to a chew toy, but when she is "talking back to me", it hasn't worked.  My husband and I are trying to teach the kids (11 and 12), how to responsibly 'handle' her; they have only used the "Eh" command and try to walk away, but she is a puppy and goes after them, biting at their pants.

My kids are GREAT with her, very patient and calm, but almost too nice - their "eh" is quite soft. Any advice on how a young person can effectively discipline a puppy?  My husband and I don't want to be the only ones doing it, because we want her to understand the pecking order in the house; but I want to be sure I am teaching them the proper technique to discipline the biting.

Thoughts and ideas (as well as criticisms) are welcome.  I am here to learn.

Thanks, Jeanette

Hi Jeanette , that could have been me writing the exact same post not so long ago ! Mina is 18 months now but we have been through it , as have most doberman owners unless their pup is a bit quieter . We got Mina at 10 weeks and I thought IDE get this cuddly puppy , I was horrified when she would bark and treat me almost horribly !!! Much much more me than my husband . We don't have kids but we have nephews and nieces . My little niece is fearless and when Mina was naughty I taught her to say no firmly but I always intervened if Mina touched Angelica in a rude manner and I never ever leave them unattended . I was at my wit send with Mina but a breeder told me I had to toughen up and when she was jumping at me biting I had to get the back of her neck ( not too firmly ) and give her a not shake but enough to know she needs to toe the line now as she was really beginning to hurt me .a good "no" and ignore her. This took time .... Also lots of training . As Mina got bigger we had to keep her as tired out as possible keeping her joints in mind .as soon as we got her running for the ball and coming back and getting her tired , she turned a corner and behaved better. It's a long road but soooooo worth it ....we adore her and she adores us as little mocha will . Just be firm and fair . Nothing prepared me for a doberman ! We have had many challenging breeds but none such as a dobe .. Good luck . I find once ime past one obstacle the next arises !!!!! Love Paola and Mina x 

Tinks65's picture
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I'm sure others will be along soon with good advice but I will chime in to say I agree with Paola. Dobies are a strong breed. Jade is my first and I experienced a lot of what you are describing as well. When she was younger I thought she was very dominant and now I think she is very much a typical doberman, no more dominant than average. I've come to realize from reading other's experiences that doberman's can be very "sassy" and vocal. The barking and "air snapping" at first seemed pushy and dominant but now I think it's just the way she likes to communicate. I've worked diligently at training her and have always made sure she has had plenty of exercise keeping in mind that "a tired dog is a good dog". She is two and a half and I'm now reaping the rewards of all my hard work. She's wonderful and even minds me at the dog park to the point that many of my dog park peeps have noticed! yay Jade! Hang in there and keep working with her, puppyhood doesn't last forever :)

Mocha's picture
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Joined: 2013-12-30

Thanks Paola and Tinks65, I am learning that she is all "sass" and no aggression.... Dobe's do communicate differently, that's for sure!  

I was more concerned with "flooring" her, where I would hold her down on the ground if she actually bit someone - worried that with Dobermans having such delicate personalities/emotions, that this would potentially cause problems.  It appears to be working quite well with Mocha - to the point that now a stern word corrects her behaviour immediately.

She is doing really well and is learning super quick!  I just wanted to be sure I wasn't being too hard on her.  With patience, I am confident she will 'get it'.  The kids are having much better results now too.  Helps that the weather is warm enough for walks now - so I no longer have to tire out a puppy in my living room! LOL!

I appreciate the answers and words of encouragement!

Jeanette

A book I recommend on understanding dog behavior is "The Other End of the Leash" - my copy is currently missing because someone that borrowed it never returned it and I can't remember who it was!

There are so many non verbal cues you can use to help your puppy learn what is not acceptable. Lots of puppies go through this phase - it is just a matter of handling it properly. 

AGC
AGC's picture
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Joined: 2013-09-14

 

I personally dont like the flooring technique. I have found that some dogs go crazy when they are released from the floor.  What I have found works for me is a plastic bottle with small stones in it and shaken when the dog does something unaceptable along with a verbal "NO". As time passes you will find that when you point the bottle at the dog, this has the same effect. Eventually you will be able to point at the dog without the bottle. This technique requires no strength so everyone can do it (with some training of course!) 

Tannaidhe's picture
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Joined: 2013-02-25

When Koko is being just absolutely impossible, I will grab his ear - I don't pinch it, I don't pull it, just grab it, though I don't 'follow'  his movement so if he thrashes, he pulls it - which works really well for him to get his attention and settle him down a bit.  However, Koko is super sweet and has a laid back personality (which is a totally seperate matter from being a hyperactive ball of get-up-and-go lol); I would never recommend doing that with a dog with whom there was even the slightest question of "will they bite" (or a dobie with recently cropped ears - Koko's are natural). 

With our tiny dog, her "you are being impossible" attention-getter - which is usually only used for excessive clucking (soft huffing barking) - is a spray bottle/squirt gun of water.

I've had dogs that clapping loudly once or twice was effective.

 

For example, my progression usually goes something like this:  Uh-uh.  UH-UH!  NO!  *grab ear/squirt*  *swat/spank and isolation in back bedroom*


It really depends on your dog what you pick, but you really need some sort of "okay, cut it out or you'll really be in trouble" kind of signal.  I agree with AGC, imo, the flooring technique is not really effective - it's too harsh in the dog's mind, too tiring for you, and all around just a bad tone to set with a dog, trying to assert dominance by force.

AGC
AGC's picture
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Mocha, you say you want techniques that all the family can use including your children. I WOULD SUGGEST THAT YOU DONT USE FORCE,FLOORING,EAR GRABBING TECHNIQUES.....Physical confrontation is not a good idea even for adults but especially for children

Tannaidhe's picture
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Joined: 2013-02-25

Okay, you totally misunderstood what I was talking about and there's no need to get rude about it.

 

I WAS NOT TALKING ABOUT USING FORCE.  I wasn't talking about twitching my dog for goodness sake. 

I will grab his ear - I don't pinch it, I don't pull it, just grab it, though I don't 'follow'  his movement so if he thrashes, he pulls it


It's just his signal that I'm serious now.  I don't use it as a handle to force him to do anything.  I have many health problems and I don't have even half the strength required to use ANY kind of force on him.  He is more than strong enough to pull me over and has been for months; he did pull me over multiple times before we got an EasyWalk harness.  This is WHY using force on dobermans is such a bad idea - unless you are a single guy who is very strong and will never get sick, training dobermans to stay in line via force is just asking for trouble.

AGC
AGC's picture
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Dont quite understand your post. Cant see where I was being rude to you... However The use of the words "grab ear", "swat/spank" COULD lead others to think that this was using force and that wouldnt be a good technique to let children use.

Mocha's picture
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Joined: 2013-12-30

Thanks for all the feedback and i am taking all your comments to heart. Much like child rearing, in the end - as long as you are not abusing your dog- everyone finds a technique that works for them. To comment on the ideas recently suggested.

We have socialized Mocha around loud, unexpected noises, with teenagers around ( or preteens) i dont want her to react to sound negatively at all - whether that is to indicate shes done something bad, or just for the shock factor. So, while thats a great idea, i dont think it would work for us. 

The ear 'holding' is interesting. Through my reading, it has been mentioned cropping ears and tails was originally done because the ears and tails were a weakness in fighting situations for the dog. Not sure if thats true, but it makes sense. These are sensitive areas. I dont think its abuse since you are letting him determine the severity of the force and i could see pups understanding this quickly. In litters you see them use this amongst each other all the time. 

To clarify for me, i think i have "floored" her a total of 5 times. It worked for us.it was used for extreme situations only- when all verbal commands werent working. But i cant have her thinking biting is ok. Air chomping, barking, etc is handled differently at my house, thanks in large part to other techniques that i have read here. 

Discipline in any form is a personal choice and as long as its not over- used i do not see a problem using some physicality. As much as we wish it would, i dont think using only verbal commands is as effective. At least not for me. I didint intend for this thread to get heated, just looking for other ideas and opinions. I have had large breed dogs, horses and 2 children. In all cases you will hear different techniques and  always have to listen to criticisms on the choices you make. From being too lenient to too harsh. In all these situations i have found that every now and then you need to do something to  bring them up short and understand that behaviour is NOT acceptable. Mocha is doing very well and has not actually bitten in about a week and a half. She is respecting tge kids, and listening to 'off', 'sit', 'stay' from both of them. Those were my main ones. She even gives my son high fives now, on command!

i appreciate the insight. 

 

Jeanette

 

 

stacy's picture
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Hello, I am a new Doberman mommy.  We've never had a doberman before and Milo will be seven weeks old tomorrow.  We've had him for a week tomorrow.  We have two children home, 7 and 12.  Milo is in his biting phase but he is also so lovable.  I read a Vet's suggestion that putting your finger in house mouth, holding his tongue down and staying a stern NO works.  Something about their gag reflex and they don't like it.  I tried it this morning and it seemed to work, but I just held down his tongue, I didn't stick my finger down his throat.  He calmed down right away and I gave him some love and he was good.  I'm not really sure what the best method is, we've tried the firm NO, redirecting him with toys, he just thinks it's a game.  Maybe we've found a method that works now, I'll keep you all posted.  

I've also found that he is already very smart.  He's learned to sit on command this week, to stay when we come through the door and let us enter the house first, he's getting better with "come" but we're still working.  I have read so much lately and plan on attending puppy obedience classes too. 


I love this forum and I appreciate everyone's input, it really helps.

 

Stacy

talisin's picture
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I don't think that physical force of any kind works on a dog as it will cause reactive behavior and that is the opposite of what you want.

Proper positive training and never letting a child of any age annoy a dog, some teenagers are worse than young children so never leave your dog with any young person. Put yourself in your dog's place how would you want to be told not to do something, how would you react if you had any physical contact while you were upset or scared  or agitated; I treat my animals the way I would expect my mom to have treated me (verbally) and how I would want to be treated today.

My animals learn fast and easy with my methods I would not do any physical contact unless you have to jump in to protect your dog from an outside source.....there's a difference between a tap to say hey let's go and a tap to say I told you not to do that......

leslieak's picture
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I agree with Tal. You may get some strong responses from others but it is great you are asking for feedback. Since he is so young the best thing to do is redirect and he should think it is a game! Your job is to make it so much fun to bite toys why would he ever want to bite people. It takes time so remember to keep redirecting, be consistent, and be careful not to reward the unwanted behavior. Try short time outs in the crate if the redirecting isnt working so the puppy knows that biting isnt a effective way to get attention. I am sure you will get some other helpful tips. It is definitely a learning process having a doberman.

lynn_bud11's picture
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I can definitely appreciate all the suggestions here, but if you use a crate for bed, it isn't wise to use it for punishment! It can make the dog think that whenever s/he is put in a crate they are being punished! It is confusing to the dog! and if they don't see what you want to be punishment, as a retriet or a reward of sorts, they will do the opposite and see it always as a punishment, and you don't want either of these things to happen! You want them to associate the crate with bed time or relax time, not punishment! Unless of course the crate is ONLY used for punishment, which is highly unlikely!!

talisin's picture
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I use my crates for time outs/punishment as well as safety for them while I am out and about, or busy.....my dogs know when they did something wrong and I put them up for a breather for us all - at those times I leash them and walk them to their crate and tell them "go" and point with my finger and they go in and lay down with a "umph" sound like a spoiled child sent to their room; then when I go to the grocery store or if I need to clean the house without a dog underfoot, I go to the crate and call them nicely and excited like and they come running and run right into their crate with no issues and then they sit and very attentively watch me clean house or watch me leave.......they have never refused to go in their crate after a time out or punhishment trip to the crate......they read my demeanor and they know leashed means time out and calling to the crate means have a great nap or have fun watching the vacuum and mop.....they are very stable and well mannered dogs and understand.....

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I'm so glad to see this post with so many helpful suggestions. I have a three year old dobie (Meghan) and a five month old dobie (Molly). Where Meghan was a dream puppy (very mellow and sweet) Molly is a holy terror! She is very sassy and "talks back" when I tell her NO or try to stop her from doing something naughty. She also will run up and nip me on the butt or back of the leg when she wants my attention, and then runs off, hoping I will chase her. Of course, she doesn't pull this with my husband (we don't have any kids). We are in the final week of our six-week puppy obedience class, and I've found that I can usually get her in check by putting on her training leash (with a slip collar) and having her do some work for me (sit, watch me, stay, etc). When she is really on a tear and just won't settle down, she gets a three to five minute timeout in the bathroom to collect herself. Some days are definitely easier than others. Fortunately, my two girls get along great, although they can get pretty unruly while playing, my older one is great with the puppy. I know that I have my work cut out for me with Molly, and that I need to keep going with my training, keep her well exercised, and keep her focused to ensure she knows that she is NOT the boss. :)

Carla04's picture
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I am so glad to read this post and I can relate to all of it! My 12 week old pup is a little dream except for these issues at the moment. The barking back chat, the nipping in the back of legs etc. I am hoping it stops very soon as comical as it seems it really isn't when your on the receiving end.
Thank you for your advice. I will try all of these and see which works for my little fella.

talisin's picture
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good luck and maybe wear rubber galoshes in the meantime :))