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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 08:43 AM Thread Starter
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How to correct my puppy - advice needed please

Hi everyone,

Here am I again, with my questions...I have a 9.5 week old Dobergirl, and she's unlike any dog we ever owned...She's super smart, very affectionate, and also very stubborn at times. It's been a long while since my husband raised a puppy ( I never raised one ), so we just want to make sure to raise her right. Here are my two questions...

Yesterday, Domina got to meet my in-laws for the first time. When they walked into the house, she started barking at them, but then sniffed them and calmed down. After a while, my hubby was petting her and she was calmly laying next to him and enjoying herself. Then, my mother-in-law happened to approach them and she had an itch so she raised one of her hands high ( to scratch herself ), and Domina quickly jumped in front of my husband, and started barking at my mother-in-law. One of our dogs used to do this when she was older - anytime someone would raise their hand ( that was close by ), she would immediately start barking at that person, because she thought someone would hurt us. Also, that same dog would back away when told no. Domina, she didn't do that. When we told her no, she just kept barking. So, we removed her from the room. After she came back to the room where everyone was hanging out,she sniffed my in-laws and was fine again.

What is the proper way to handle this type of behavior? She didn't respond to "no" yet, maybe due to the fact that she's 9.5 weeks, I don't really know. but one thing is for sure, we won't be able to carry her to the other room when she is grown up, so we would like to find a way to correct her without being harsh so to speak.

Other question is - when do they grow out of their biting/nipping stage? She's gentle most of the time, but sometimes, it really hurts when she bites. We're redirecting with toys, and also, we remove ourselves from the room ( if she happens to do that to our toddler, we firmly say no, and also pick the baby up and go to another room ). Hopefully she'll catch on. Should we continue doing this, or is there a better method? I swear, this nipping stage seems like it will last forever...lol.

Thank you all for your help, we just want to raise this beautiful girl right.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 08:54 AM
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I wouldn't say at this point she is being protective, but more fearful. She is quite young and every interaction is a new one. She is used to you and your husband only for the moment as far as people go.

As for the nipping, this could go on until she is finished teething. Until then, exchange an undesirable chewing item (your shoe, your hand, hair, couch, pillows... etc) with a desirable one (a safe toy).

Time and patients are both very important especially in the coming months.

I'm sure others will chime in with more useful information

Any updated photos?
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 08:58 AM
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Redirection and withdrawal of attention is what worked for us when Elka was a puppy. It just takes time, and she is still a baby!

So far as the barking goes, interrupting and redirecting could also be the way to go there as well. Maybe whistle or clap to get her attention, and then when she looks at you, there will theoretically be an interruption in the barking that you can reward with a toy that will then distract that active puppy mind.

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 09:09 AM Thread Starter
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Here are some updated photos ( my hubby thinks I'm crazy, I snap at least 20 photos of Domina as well as my daughter every day).She sleeps in some crazy positions ( and snores as well!!! ) like you can see in the photo...She also loves to watch my daughter draw/paint...

GingergGunlock, you gave me an idea ( whistle ). We have some party whistles from New Year's Eve, I'm sure they can serve the purpose, because she looked at me right away when I accidentally blew the whistle the other day.







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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 09:17 AM Thread Starter
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Forgot to add, there is just simple plain water in the "spray bottle" in the first picture. She actually likes "catching the water" when you spray it so to speak.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 12:07 PM
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I would be asking for a way to make her more comfortable with people. While this isn't the worst case scenario, I'd be worried if a 9.5 week old was barking like that. I'd get a good trainer in ASAP to walk me through how to work with getting her comfortable with strangers. I wouldn't correct or force the issue.

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 12:18 PM
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Please watch this video several times and implement the training right away. You want to give your pup something to do besides fill up with anxiety and bark. Also, have other people who approach her feed her with high value treats (cooked chicken) that you hand them. She needs lots and lots of socialization paired with food (classical conditioning). She is a lovely puppy! Keep the photos coming.

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/TBvPaqMZyo8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 12:28 PM
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Please watch this video below several times and implement the training right away. You want to give your pup something you want her to do instead of what it sounds like is currently happening (she is flooded with anxiety and barks).

Also, have other people who approach her feed her with high value treats such as cooked chicken that you hand them. Don't let them come close enough to make her bark - have them start out throwing treats to her while they stand at a distance that does not cause her to bark. Then they can move in by inches at a time, feeding all the way. They should NOT approach her head-on, instead have each person approach with his/her body turned sideways to your pup, no direct eye contact with her, and human feeds while sidestepping closer by inches. IMPORTANT: If she stops eating and starts barking, it went too fast for her. Reset the human at a distance that does not cause her anxiety.

Please study up on canine body language so that you can learn how to read what signals your pup is sending out. She is NOT stubborn. She needs help from you and labeling her as stubborn will only interfere with YOU learning how to train her and how to help her adjust to her new world!!

Your sweet puppy needs lots and lots of socialization that does NOT cause her anxiety. This MUST be paired with food (this is classical conditioning). Ask friends and family to help you with the beginning interactions - you will teach them exactly how you want them to approach. When she is getting more relaxed with approaching humans you can move on to doing this with lots of other people. She will quickly become more willing and eager to greet strangers IF you condition it correctly and consistently. This is a critical thing to teach!!

She is a lovely puppy! Keep the photos coming.

How to stop unwanted behavior- the positive interrupter- dog training clicker training - YouTube

Regards from Tricia and the Doberloves!


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Last edited by triciakoontz; 01-02-2013 at 12:33 PM.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 01:07 PM
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Oh gosh, what a cutie. That first picture is priceless!

I'd say you've been given a lot of great information so far to digest. Remember to stick to one method consistently for best results.

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adara View Post
I would be asking for a way to make her more comfortable with people. While this isn't the worst case scenario, I'd be worried if a 9.5 week old was barking like that. I'd get a good trainer in ASAP to walk me through how to work with getting her comfortable with strangers. I wouldn't correct or force the issue.
I've been looking for a good trainer for the past week, and so far, haven't been able to find one, but will continue searching. She is fine with strangers outside of our home ( when we take her to the park for example, to the vet etc ). But when someone new comes in our house, her first reaction is to bark...Thank you for your advice!
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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What a great video Triciakoontz, thank you!!!
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 01:40 PM
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She's adorable!



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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by domina View Post
I've been looking for a good trainer for the past week, and so far, haven't been able to find one, but will continue searching. She is fine with strangers outside of our home ( when we take her to the park for example, to the vet etc ). But when someone new comes in our house, her first reaction is to bark...Thank you for your advice!
Are you in the states? If so, I really like the Association of Pet Dog Trainers - Trainer Search
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I am. I live in the outskirts of El Paso, TX. I found some trainers, but I didn't think they were good ones ( just from talking to them ), so that's why I'm still searching. Thank you so much for the link, I'll check it ASAP.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 02:04 PM
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If you are bringing her to the bark, why not carry her through a Petco type of store? I wouldn't let her run around and lick the floor, but getting her used to people at your level may help her get used to people of all shapes and sizes. She isn't a chihuahua so she will not be carried for very long.

I brought Rou home at 7 weeks, and knew he needed very early socialization. That is what I did, and that is what I have been doing for months. Constant socialization. He even has a group of Dobie pups that we get together and let them play and run in public places (reasonably far away) and we get them used to other people and dogs all over.

Just a thought.

I would enroll her in group classes to keep it going.
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post #16 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 03:35 PM
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Oh, she is CUTE! I like the picture of her at the easel, watching.

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post #17 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 04:39 PM
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If she's nervous about strangers she might not be ready to take treats from them yet. You can start by keeping her near you, letting her observe the stranger from a distance where she is still comfortable and calm, and give her treats yourself. Move slightly closer. If she's still comfortable, more treats. Gradually move closer. You can start to have the stranger toss treats near the pup. Gradually, they toss treats closer to them, assuming she remains comfortable. Ultimately, if she is comfortable the whole time she can take a treat directly from the stranger. Just work in very slow steps, always with her comfortable, calm, and not uncertain.

I also hope you can find a good trainer. Look for someone who uses positive reinforcement methods.


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post #18 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-04-2013, 03:41 PM
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I had a similar issue when we got Chloe a week and a half ago. The person who gave her to us, had not socialized her with anything or anyone, and basically kept her out in a cold garage. Not to mention her dad tried attacking her over eating his food.

Needless to say when we got her, she was very timid with everything. We took her in to petsmart (we held her) while we got some things and wanted to gauge her reaction with different people and dogs. She growled quite a few times and was very timid, so we knew what we had to work on. (Knowing is the first step).

When we got her home, it took her two days to wag and 3 days to not run away from our other dogs (including our own), we started having family and close friends drop by and socialize her a bit at a time in a positive manor, then stepped it up to family dogs (males and females) and children over the past few days.

Now anyone who comes in the door (Adult, Kid, Dog) she is very loving and affectionate. She is no longer scared to play, she wags, etc. She has really come into her own and absolutely loves our male!

Obviously with both of our pups being so young, do not let her go many places until she has all of her shots, especially where I am, a new strain of Parvo has been going around, and its very scary.

Make sure it is all positive interactions and don't reward her for barking, etc in any way shape or form, reassure her, but like I said, and can't stress it enough, keep it positive.

Good luck!
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post #19 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-04-2013, 06:14 PM
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I think you've gotten some great info here, and I want to "second" the idea of socializing her more. My Khaleesi did the growl thing when young at the pet food store. She needed reassurance that I indeed saw the other person/dog, with calm reassuring words.

That took some of the sting out. She is wary of the people that trip her "beware" trigger, but now she is almost always friendly to those I show friendly signs towards. She does need to know that you're not expecting her to assume all the duty of recognizing potential threats. So the "yes, I see" gentle tones to boost her confidence are helpful.

The nipping you speak of is very typical of a young pup teething. She will outgrow, you need to re-direct, remove your hand/foot -- and look away, keeping your hands away.

One thing Dobes hate more than almost anything: to be IGNORED. When she is not positively rewarded (by simply getting more attention), she will catch on that the negative behavior got her less attention. So I still use "off" and look away (turn around) and take my hands in the air away from her when she does something I don't want to reward.

Loud negative attention (yelling NO and smacking at her) can have the opposite effect you wish.

Just some thoughts. Your pup is gorgeous!!!! They grow so fast, so enjoy this cute crazy stage! (And be prepared for more than one inadvertent puppy venom type bite, it's gonna happen, esp when they are teething!)

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post #20 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-04-2013, 09:25 PM
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Domina is a cutie, her stretched out on her back-side photo, is too funny.

a) our pup at 9.5 weeks old, tended to bark at the men next door and children...took her a week to find them normal...and she has been playing with my carpenters highschool kids for the last week, and can't get enough of the boys now
b) my pup is 4 months old now, and it took this Dad one month to get full soft bite/muzzle control...and it was daily work & exhausting
- now she is a joy of a puppy, with house manners...more reading links, on puppy biting 4 month old puppy freaked out

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post #21 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 09:42 PM
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Hey domina, just checking in for any updates and to see how things are progressing! Hope all is well.
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