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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
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Red face Mouthy adolescent...

I'd like to hear how others deal with rough play. Just looking for some new ideas as it never hurts to try something new.

Max is almost 18 months old and doing quite well considering we've only had him 3 weeks and he knew NOTHING before. He's very high energy and gets walked 2-3 hours a day just to keep him from jumping out of his skin. I'd love to play with him, but he's just not getting the idea of playing easy. As soon as we start playing anything he gets too rough and I have to cease the game. I'm sure he'll improve in time, but for now he's either on or off and not getting the idea that there's and in between.

He initiates play with other people and dogs in the same manner. My girls (mini Dachshund and JRT) are just fed up! They'll walk with him and hang out, but when he starts trying to play, they leave. I have to tell people not to play with him (most think it's cute until he rips their clothes). Any new ideas??
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 10:49 AM
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Sounds like he may not have enough mental stimulation. Dobermans are thinking dogs, they think they work. They like to have a job, and if they don't have a job they will like you say jump out their skin. I would recommend, if you aren't doing this already put him on OB class or agility...or something else he has to think about and use his brain.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 11:13 AM
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Does he play 'fetch' or 'Frisbee', or some form of physical exercise that doesn't require you walking 2-3 hours a day. That sounds pretty extreme and I have a working lines dog, myself. We train only from 10 to 20 minutes a day, but play other games as well.

My trainer demonstrated to me semi-rough play with Bella then bringing her back down, with stroking her ears, slowly stroking her side, talking softly to her and giving her the 'enough' command. So, the exercise was getting her riled up then settling her down. So, basically it was training her how to control how much she escalates and then when and how to settle.

I'd never escalate her higher than I felt comfortable that I could settle her down again, but my trainer explained to me that you're responsible for escalating her, learn to control how she settles.

It was a fun exercise.

Good Luck.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 11:21 AM
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My Eli is 9 months old. He gets exercise, by walking, free hiking, swimming training and we do training. I don't think he will ever be a dog I can actually play with in a wrestling manner. He body slams, his paws are deadly weapons and if wanting to wrestle he just doesn't hold back. I have two little dogs and they won't play with him either. He does go free hiking with them and we do family dog walks, he is good that way. I play fetch with him a lot, it is a game he loves and I have taught him "back" so he backs away then sits and waits. I will not throw it if he jumps on me. The way he plays is rough and it is just his style, nothing wrong with that but certain things he can not do with me playing wise and the same with the little dogs. I have worked and worked on "leave it" regarding the little dogs and things are better but he really wants to play and loves them so much LOL LOL. Have you thought of going to an obedience class and practicing daily. That really helps my boy focus. My guy is active but really an hour a day of hiking is all he needs. After that what he really needs is ATTENTION from me so I do obedience mixed with play by way of fetch, wait, stay, go get it , find it things like that.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 11:44 AM
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Also, just like many people mark a good behavior (a treat, treat and click, or treat and marker word) it can help to mark the bad behavior that caused the play to end. Sometimes, they just haven't put two and two together. A loud "uh-oh" or just a screech as you immediately walk away will help. Consistency is key, too, so you can't ever let him get away with it, and this means everyone - neighbor kids, in laws, etc. If he tends to chase you and nip at you when you walk away, you can control the situation a bit by leashing him to something so he has to sit by himself for 15-30 seconds after he gets carried away. It will also be helpful to slowly start this by calmly petting him first so you can have some success, and then bring out a toy or whatever seems to set him off. Another article I just read faulted people for only practicing when their dog is calm, because the most important times your dog will need to listen is when it's amped up. You are supposed to get them really really crazy with a toy (doberspins and all ) and then freeze and ask for a sit. The first couple times, it might take a bit for them to settle and listen, but wait it out. When they finally sit, then you immediately go back into crazy play, and then try it again. It teaches them that when a command is given, it must be carried out before the play goes on, and I think theres some merit to it, although the commands must first be taught in low distraction. Good luck!

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 12:37 PM
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18 months of age is usually a VERY busy age for Dobie males. Is Max neutered?

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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Max awaiting his trip to the doc to be neutered, while I'm sure this will help some things, consistency and patience will probably be what wins in the end.

The reason that we walk SO much is we own a small trucking company and are traveling a few days a week and don't have a fenced area for play everyday. Since we've only had him a few weeks, I don't trust his recall enough to allow him off leash play without other physical boundaries, preferably fences. Banjo, his predecessor, loved fetch & catching frisbees and was reliable enough to play most anywhere so we had much less walking and more free play time.

No one has ever played with him, at least not since he was 4-5 mos old, so he's just been introduced to balls, frisbees & other toys. He REALLY likes them so I think he'll learn fetch fairly quickly. Right now it's more sheer joy and abandon that he has a toy and room to run, the idea that he should actually bring the toy back has yet to sink in. <GRIN>

I really like the idea of escalating and stopping for practice! As yet, he's the only one escalating, I think I'll incorporate that, it sounds like a good mental & physical game for us.

We only "work" on real commands and such 10-15 mins 2x a day. The rest of our time is spent exploring, both of us enjoy our long walks, seeing new things & meeting new people.

Thank you all!
BTW, I put spaces in my posts, but they don't show up? Could be a Blackberry issue? Sorry if they're hard to follow all crammed together.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 07:02 PM
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I'd also recommend giving him some big marrow bones to gnaw on, bully sticks, etc to encourage him to vent that bite/chewing on something appropriate.

My Rexy is a rescue and if he gets really wound up, will still run up behind us and nip the crap out of the back of our ankles. Basically he cannot handle physical roughhousing with people without the nipping coming out. He is great at tugging on tug toys, etc that help vent that bite on something other than us. I've had him 4 yrs now and he understands "leave it" to stop when he gets wound up, but he falls into the old habit if people run from him in a "chase" game. So- we do NOT play those kinds of games with him.

You may have to train your people to not play that way with your boy also! Have them play with a Chuck it and ball, tug toys, something that keep his mouth occupied.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-07-2009, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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Just an update on Max...
He's improving steadily in all areas. We mix long line & leash work, he's definitely got heel, sit & down mastered. Now we're working on sit/down stays and recall. He "works" happily and doesn't go berserk when he's released to free walk.

His attention span has improved greatly and the over-zealous play has improved with it. I added an e-collar last week with great results. I knew that he knew what I wanted, but he wouldn't "leave it" on anything if. I didn't get up and make a major show of disapproval. First day with the e-collar, the ringer was enough to stop 99% of his "I want to be the center of attention" behavior.
He's almost figured out that people can be stupid, but he has to remain calm (all 4 feet on the ground & no mouthing) regardless of how the idiots encourage bad behavior!
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