You can take her to the vet and get checked out just in case, but I think it sounds like she's being a typical spoiled young Doberman; an adolescent brat.
Yeah, my first inclination wasn't anything health-related. I figured this was just the beginning of her "adolescent" problems manifesting. Yay!
What I mean by "house rules" regarding furniture and people is...do you have rules in place for those things? Or is she allowed to do what she pleases? Can she use the furniture at her leisure? Is she allowed to steal your seat or do you make her move?
When we're sitting on them, she must be invited up on the couch. And yes, I tell her to move when I go to sit down. She is very slow to do it. It takes several commands if not forcibly pulling her by the collar. Sometimes I will break out a treat to get her to do it. Also, the last two or so days before this happened, she had been sleeping on the couch at nights. Instead of sleeping on her blanket by our bed, she went to the couch in the living room and just plopped down on that. I figured I'd try it out to see what happened. Maybe this is simply a result of letting her do that. I'm guessing it's probably more deeply rooted than that, though.
And, I can't believe I forgot to ask this but, how do you deal with her when she growls at someone? And what did you do when she snapped at your niece?
This is a great question because there are SO many opinions out there about this type of thing, and obviously I don't know which one is "right". At the moment, I will bop her in the nose when she reaches at something she shouldn't or (now) if she growls, and then I'll say, "NO!" or "Not for you!" (depending on what she is doing at the time). Often times, if she persists, I will stop doing whatever we're doing and ignore her.
I've heard so many different views on this (everything from, "You should NEVER use force punishment" to "You should alpha roll her if she does that" and everything in between), so this area is basically just a big confusing mass of contradicting opinions at the moment and I'm trying to figure out what will work for my dog specifically.
As for the out-of-control barking...I would only let her out on a long-line, meaning you're going to have to go out with her. Because right now she knows you can't do anything about it with her off leash, she can just prance away again out of your reach. And if you're not out there with her you're not there to work on problematic behavior. So, out on a long line with you so you can put in some training time on her recall and you can stop her from boredom barking.
OK. So, not a leash, but rather a really long line that will give her some freedom? And does this mean (as I asked a previous poster) that she can't go out at ALL without the line, or do I just use the line some of the time for training?
Also, when we first got her and for the first several months, she was on a line in the front yard (we hadn't gotten our fence in the back yard yet), and I still wasn't sure exactly how to deal with "corrections" in such a situation. I would get the line (after she ran and barked a bit) and pull her in, but that didn't seem to "teach" her anything (obviously, since she would still do it then and she's still doing it now). Are there specific methods I can use with a line to train her not to bark and run away?
This is a pretty crucial time for good, consistent training. I would recommend getting her and yourself into a training class. It's good bonding, socialization, and it will help give you a timeline of progress on which to work with her. It will also put you in face-to-face contact with people who may be able to help you in person with other challenges along the way.
Yeah..... I'm hoping it doesn't come to this. I don't have a whole lot of disposable income at the moment (about to have my first kid) and I'd like to deal with this on my own, unless it's proven that that's simply not going to be a possibility. Obviously I'll bite the bullet and do it if that's what it takes, I'd just like to try learning how to train her directly before I go that route.
Does she have a coat? I know it's cold and I'm not sure where you live so it may be sub-zero or something, but if it's 20* F or above here, we suit up and get out for exercise. If she doesn't have a coat you can use an old sweatshirt and just roll the sleeves up for her front legs (cheap alternative to buying a coat for a growing pup) but I really think you gotta brave the winter and get her out every day for exercise (within reason - if it's freezing rain maybe no walks in that
). Even if it's just a 20-minute walk, it can make big difference in how difficult she is to work with.
I honestly had no idea that you could buy winter coats for you dog.
An un-exercised young Doberman is a PITA. The problem with not exercising a young Dobe is that they are not consistently polite and obedient yet. So when they get restless, they also become rude and obnoxious (hence, the barking). They're like a pressure cooker of energetic pup waiting to erupt.
Yeah... I'm starting to get that.
Exercise, stricter house rules, and more challenging training.
What would an example be of "more challenging training". I've been teaching her the same "Sit, down, stay, come, etc" commands since I got her and I really don't know what to "graduate" her to. I saw the "spin" command on a video on YouTube the other day so I taught her that, and it only took her a couple days to pick it up (it still takes a few repetitions of the command before she'll do it, though).
Of course, that's true for almost every commend. She is still VERY sporadic on how she obeys commands. She knows "down" quite well and does it instantaneously almost every time. "Sit" will often take several attempts, if not a whole bunch of moving her around and trying to calm her down. "Stay" and "come" are OK, but take a lot of "concentration" on her part (no distractions). Is this because she wants more "challenging" training? Or can I not proceed to other things until she has figured out "the basics"?
Oh, and have you ever raised a Doberman before? What's your experience with dogs, in general? Do you have any experience formally training a dog? (Just trying to get an idea of what you're comfortable with and what your level of experience may be.)
I've not only never raised a Doberman, but this is the first dog I've ever raised from a puppy. We have another dog that we got from a shelter and she was a year and a half when we got her (and deathly afraid of me and all other men. My wife did most of the "training" with that one. She doesn't listen to a word I say and she pretty much sleeps all day, so I just ignore her (the dog, not my wife).
I'm willing to learn anything, it's just a matter of WHAT to learn. I would think there would be a YouTube video out there that walks you through "how to train your dog to do X step-by-step", but I have yet to come across it.