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Old 11-27-2012, 11:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Is my Doberman too aggressive?

I have a 7 month old female doberman I got as a puppy and want some advice about what I should expect from her. I owned a doberman before and was around dobermans a lot when I was younger, so I know a lot about the breed. My current doberman is very sweet, but seems more intense than the one I had before. She is very bitty when she's excited and this is hard on my 8 year old daughter. One specific thing I've noticed is she reacts more aggressively when I play (slap) box with her. That's something I don't remember from other dobermans I've known. A big part of this is I think the fact that she gets left alone all day while we are at work. My wife has really fallen in love with her, but tonight she was so upset by these activities she was screaming at me about getting giving her away. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You say she's left alone all day, what kind of exercise does she get throughout the week?
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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She goes for a walk or to the dog park twice a day when I'm off work. On days I work, I take her for a walk or to the park after work.
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You might try a forum search on bite inhibition.

Everything I've read indicates that doberman puppies bite & nip a lot & that it takes a ton of work to train them that they shouldn't.

I'm sorry that your daughter is having a tough time. Sounds as if they need to be separated on a regular basis.
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I agree with working on bite inhibition.

However, I think the big issue is that she has too much energy. Do you have a backyard or fenced area where she can run and play more often. For a breed like this, a walk simply isn't enough for most dogs. Look up what a flirt pole is and maybe get one of those if you have the space. Most dobes love them.

Also, training tires out the mind so some training session would also be helpful.
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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My daughter really loves her; its mostly just when she gets home and the puppy is so excited about seeing her.
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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One specific thing I've noticed is she reacts more aggressively when I play (slap) box with her.
So, just what reaction do you think you should get when you "Slap Box" with your dog? Seems to me you are just asking for the kind of reaction you are getting and do not want. You are just asking for her to be aggressive.
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Good point. I have come to that conclusion. I just remember my other doberman and others I have known didn't react so aggressively (growl and bite at me). It was more play for them.
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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She attends training classes, but I think I do need to spend more time working with her. She loves to work. I'll check out the flirt pole. Does she sound like a normal doberman that just needs more activity? I really would like to keep her. I have never considered giving up a dog before, or thought I ever would.
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Does she sound like a normal doberman that just needs more activity?
Yes.
This is a breed that is made to work and be active.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:12 AM   #11 (permalink)
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sounds like she just has lots of pent up energy. I work an office job from 7:30-4:30 mon-fri. and when I am away, my puppy stays in a nice little gated area of the livingroom so he isn't pent up in his kennel all day. He has TONS of toys to play with and I also leave him plenty of bones and even throw in hidden treats for him to find in his toys when I have left. every morning before I leave to work, I am up early and I take him outside and play for a full hour. When I come home for lunch, he is once again outside playing for another hour with me and the second I come home for the day, he is right back outside with me, running and playing and we play inside until bedtime. Needless to say, by the end of the night, Toorc is a pretty happy and exhausted puppy for being alone most of the day
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:18 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Just remember be careful you will want to wait until her growth plates in her joints are closed at about 18 months old. Also training obedience or tricks or both will tire her out also a good dog is a tired dog.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:49 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Nope. Not abnormal by any means. She's teething and she has pent up energy. Work through it and let her know it's not ok to bite. Period. Ps I second the flirt pole. It's the best for giving them a short time work out for all of that pent up puppy energy. We have one in the yard and one in the car for long road trips. Best toy ever.
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:10 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
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sounds like she just has lots of pent up energy. I work an office job from 7:30-4:30 mon-fri. and when I am away, my puppy stays in a nice little gated area of the livingroom so he isn't pent up in his kennel all day. He has TONS of toys to play with and I also leave him plenty of bones and even throw in hidden treats for him to find in his toys when I have left. every morning before I leave to work, I am up early and I take him outside and play for a full hour. When I come home for lunch, he is once again outside playing for another hour with me and the second I come home for the day, he is right back outside with me, running and playing and we play inside until bedtime. Needless to say, by the end of the night, Toorc is a pretty happy and exhausted puppy for being alone most of the day
Yup, for those who know me in real life, and know what a humongous fan of MORNINGS I am, are now laughing their butts off at me, for embracing the pre-dawn constitutional (minimum mile and a half, with off-lead breaks and training mixed in) before work. Ugh.

OP, stop that "slap boxing" stuff.

Teach her, appropriately, that dog teeth do not go on human skin.

Teach her a human-approved greeting behavior, for when she sees your daughter--like a polite sit and wait for petting.

Get a good trainer, preferably one that will work with the whole family, and at least a couple sessions in your home setting, and put those boundaries in place.

Up her daily mental and physical exercise.

Let us know how all that goes, but if your pup has a stable temperament, I predict your next update will be positive, if you follow thru.
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:19 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedFawnRising View Post
Yup, for those who know me in real life, and know what a humongous fan of MORNINGS I am, are now laughing their butts off at me, for embracing the pre-dawn constitutional (minimum mile and a half, with off-lead breaks and training mixed in) before work. Ugh.

OP, stop that "slap boxing" stuff.

Teach her, appropriately, that dog teeth do not go on human skin.

Teach her a human-approved greeting behavior, for when she sees your daughter--like a polite sit and wait for petting.

Get a good trainer, preferably one that will work with the whole family, and at least a couple sessions in your home setting, and put those boundaries in place.

Up her daily mental and physical exercise.

Let us know how all that goes, but if your pup has a stable temperament, I predict your next update will be positive, if you follow thru.

I'm uber jealous that you get to go for actual walks lol Toorc has to get his full puppy series before I feel comfortable with him leaving my yard. But you can bet when he is in the clear, it will be a good old fashion walk and leash training before work every weekday morning
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:12 AM   #16 (permalink)
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You might look into training the puppy to find a stuffie or a ball to show off to your daughter when they are greeting. That way the puppy teeth will be occupied.

I got an adult dog & she'd already been taught this - she goes and finds a toy when we get home. I'm not sure how it's trained, but I've seen someone else mention it here.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:04 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Rou does the toy greeting on his own. I believe it stemmed from bite inhibition as a puppy. I would stick a toy by his mouth when he felt like having my hand there.

Now, I come home, and he bounces over all excited, but runs to get a toy from his toy basket, showing it off and bouncing around with it until greeting is over and it is time to let him outside (which is usually immediately as he is still a puppy and I don't want "out" all over my carpets)
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:12 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I third the 'stop the boxing' with your Dobe.

I also third or whatever it is you up her exercise. I know you work, but does your wife? Can one of you come home at lunchtime, if not can you afford a dog walker or can your pup go to a creche? I work from home, (I am a farmer) and my dogs are with me 24/7, running around the farm as I work, yet still I walk them. Honestly I have never known a dog want or need so much exercise as my boy, but hey, I got a Doberman, so I have to do what is right by that Doberman.

As for the bitey thing, oh boy do I know about this, Toby will take hold of your hand and walk with you holding it in his extra sharp teeth as if you are his prized bone if you let him. He also nibbles when he is excited, not so bad if he nibs your jacket, bloody painful if it is directly on your skin.
I taught Toby. 'Be Nice!" and 'Calm Down!' from the start. If my boy tried to bite at me I redirected (using a toy) which I gave him to carry in his mouth instead of my hand. Heck I still do it and he is 2 years old now. When he gets overexcited I place my hand on his shoulder, bring him closer to my side and tell him in a very low key, calm voice to 'calm down'. My own demeanour is calm, you will be amazed how quickly a Dobe catches on you wish him/her to be less bouncy and more tranquil if you keep on doing it.

The issues you mentioned are not reason enough for 'giving up' your dog. Just work at training, exercising and socialising and you will be surprised how quickly your dogs behaviour turns around.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:17 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I agree with what everyone else has already posted. Doesn't sound like your pup is "aggressive," just too much energy.

Mon - Fri, when I get home from work, Duke is bursting with naughtiness and energy because he's been in his crate during my working hours. The rest of the evening is time spent on exercising, playing, training, chewing, watching tv, wrestling...etc. so that he's spent by bedtime.

When I'm not working and home with him all day, his listening skills and obedience is so much better. Just has to do with the fact that they are kids that need stimulation to tire them out.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:01 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Star Doberman View Post
Good point. I have come to that conclusion. I just remember my other doberman and others I have known didn't react so aggressively (growl and bite at me). It was more play for them.
I play rough and wrestle with Fiona because we have since she was a puppy and she loves it. I don't have kids at home to try to monitor play with though.

What makes you think that she's not playing with you when she growls and bites back during rough play? Tali simply will not play rough with people; she shuts down. But Fiona will growl and snap and chomp and punch and pounce all in good fun. When I say, "Alright, that's enough" she backs up and stops. So it is possible for some Dobermans to play rough respectfully and with boundaries with an adult; I'd definitely not allow rough play between a dog and a child though (not saying you are, just saying).

And I wouldn't expect every 7-month old puppy to have gold level manners in greeting people, especially not kids. Some pups seem to be born polite, others are baskets of crazy and you have to direct and guide their interactions with humans of all ages so they learn what's desired behavior.

Unless your pup is really snarling, snapping, and gnashing at people and I've missed it, to me it sounds like you have a perfectly normal Doberman puppy (in need of more exercise and better direction and redirection) and your wife is over-reacting.

Is your girl's breeder reputable and someone you can rely on for support? If so, I'd call the breeder and talk to them about your wife's concern; ask for tips and advice.

ETA...I'd be careful using a flirt pole for such a young dog. You can do joint damage with such high-impact activity in a still growing/developing dog. Personally, I'd opt for more free running play, perhaps a bit longer walk (depending on how far you're walking her already) and more (short) sessions of training to tire her out.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:33 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by brw1982 View Post
What makes you think that she's not playing with you when she growls and bites back during rough play? Tali simply will not play rough with people; she shuts down. But Fiona will growl and snap and chomp and punch and pounce all in good fun. When I say, "Alright, that's enough" she backs up and stops. So it is possible for some Dobermans to play rough respectfully and with boundaries with an adult
Just wanted to say that this applies in our family as well. The hubby wrestles with Duke every single night. If he misses his wrestling appointment, Duke reminds him by nose poking his hands, or nibbles at them. To me, the wrestling session looks scary because there is a lot of noise, furniture moving around and flashes of big white teeth. But if Duke gets a bit too excited and starts to chomp down a bit too hard, hubby says, "easy" and Duke knows that wrestling time is over and calms down immediately.

Because we do plan to try for children in the future, I do not wrestle with Duke. He knows that he doesn't get rough with me, although he thinks it's funny to run at full speed and fake jump onto my back. Even if I try to instigate wrestling sometimes, he looks at me like, "what are you doing?!"

They are balls of energy and very smart. As long as you teach them, they do not want to disappoint.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:11 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Instant Noodle View Post
Just wanted to say that this applies in our family as well. The hubby wrestles with Duke every single night. If he misses his wrestling appointment, Duke reminds him by nose poking his hands, or nibbles at them. To me, the wrestling session looks scary because there is a lot of noise, furniture moving around and flashes of big white teeth. But if Duke gets a bit too excited and starts to chomp down a bit too hard, hubby says, "easy" and Duke knows that wrestling time is over and calms down immediately.

Because we do plan to try for children in the future, I do not wrestle with Duke. He knows that he doesn't get rough with me, although he thinks it's funny to run at full speed and fake jump onto my back. Even if I try to instigate wrestling sometimes, he looks at me like, "what are you doing?!"

They are balls of energy and very smart. As long as you teach them, they do not want to disappoint.
I like what Instant Noodle said here ^^
My hubby wrestles with my boys and sometimes plays physically with Roxy too. She usually ends up shoving up to him, sticking her whole head under his arm, ending the "fight" with a cuddle. I think she'd rather keep the peace, and is more comfortable when everyone is calm.
Calm = Affection is a rule we've tried to reinforce from the beginning. It's the best way when children are involved.
And, of course, burning off the energy (physical and mental) is the only avenue to achieve this.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:19 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by brw1982 View Post
What makes you think that she's not playing with you when she growls and bites back during rough play? Tali simply will not play rough with people; she shuts down. But Fiona will growl and snap and chomp and punch and pounce all in good fun. When I say, "Alright, that's enough" she backs up and stops. So it is possible for some Dobermans to play rough respectfully and with boundaries with an adult; I'd definitely not allow rough play between a dog and a child though (not saying you are, just saying).
Flirt plays differently with me and hubby. I have neck/carpal tunnel issues and very sensitive hands. Hubby has contractor hands...he feels no pain. We taughnt Flirt bite inhibition by letting her bite and play. It was something she enjoyed so I used it to my advantage.

Here she is playing "bitey hands" with me but notice she doesn't touch MY hands? I wish I had a video of when she plays with DH. It's much more intense. I think they can learn how to play differently with different people.

flirt game - YouTube

All that being said, IF you play this game I think you must have rules and reinforce them. And IF you have kids that need gentler play the adult must teach the Dobe the rules of the game with each person.

We do use a Flirt pole with Envy. BUT I'm very careful in how I drag the toy, play the game. At a younge age, there is little to no leaping per se

Envy was 9 weeks old here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAYo4XSyHXs
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:21 AM   #24 (permalink)
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I too wrassle with my Kody on a daily basis. Gentle nips and teeth are indeed involved, but he instantly backs off when I exaggerate the OWWWW if I feel the beginnings of real torque. As a single dad, I am the only person on the planet who he gets to engage in this manner, so it feels under control as a healthy outlet for boy-play and burning of pent-up energy.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:24 PM   #25 (permalink)
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My S.O. and I wrestle with both of our dogs, and they absolutely love it. Willow, the dobe mix, seems to find it particularly entertaining -- she's all slappy paws and play bows and zoomies when I get down on all fours and start feinting at her with my hands. She loves being rolled and boxed with.

She has been trained to relax and back off when I say "enough", though, if she becomes too excitable. It's essential, I think, to have the ability to shut down the activity at a moment's notice if a dog becomes over-zealous.
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