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Old 12-08-2009, 07:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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12 Week old puppy-nipping/biting

I know that all puppies nip, but this is the deal with Count Basie. He is very loving and very smart. We have lots of toys for him and he plays for a while and then becomes nippy. To the point that if we yell ouch, or NO!, he begins to bark very loudly at us, jumps up on all fours and barks and barks. This behavior seems to me to be very aggressive, and I am a bit concerned. In the beginning, we would grab him by the scruff of the neck, give a shake and say "No!". However, tonight was terrible...he wanted to bite me, jumped up and bit my pant leg; I ended up putting him on his back and forcing him to remain in that position for a few seconds.

Another problem, we bring him outside to our nice back yard for some exercise. He insists on eating the mulch surrounding bushes outside our porch. Before I can grab him, he has a few pieces in his mouth. During the night last night he coughed up a couple of pieces, so I cannot allow him to run free in our fenced in backyard, because he insists on eating the mulch (which, by the way, I have sprayed to death with repellent...he seems to find a piece or two that he can tolerate). Then he runs away and my husband and I are like idiots chasing him to get them out of his mouth. He will, again, bark at us and even growl (sounds awfully cute, but is it)? Your help is appreciated. Thank you.
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds like a typical Dobermann puppy. Just wait until he starts digging holes in the middle of your nice yard.
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My 10.5 week old is the same way. I found that when I say tried grabbing the scruff of his neck to stop him it actually got him more excited..almost like he was rebelling a little bit. For the first little while I would try keeping his mouth closed with my hand and saying "No Bite" which still kind of works but sometimes has that same excited effect on him. I find that actually keeping my voice very neutral but stern works best, rather than raising it (because that also gets him excited lol), and just saying No. If I put my finger up while i`m doing it he thinks he should be able to eat it.. so that didn`t work either lol.
Try saying No and if he doesnt stop try picking him up and puting him into a corner of the room and making him stay there (no matter how many times you have to put him back in there) until he visibly calms down.
Thats what seems to be working for us, but they`re all different in their own ways
I`m getting him into puppy classes after Christmas, which might not be a bad idea, too if you can`t fix the problem! Good luck
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Very typical. He isn't being aggressive he is being a Doberman. Be firm and consistent. If he misbehaves stop playing. Stop everything. I tether mine for more control. They eventually learn. Wait until he starts showing you the bitey face.
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm no expert but with dobermans I've heard it over and over.......
For sure don't even think about not doing a formal puppy training class. IMO a key part of doberman training is socalization to as many people, places, situations, other animals, etc as humanly possible. Puppy classes gets socalization with other dogs and you have a trainer that uinderstands the behaviours of your dog.
You bring up an issue you are having and watch how your pup goes from not hearing a word you say to in complete attention and listening and responding with the class trainer......making you really wonder who the dog is she has...it can't be yours.

Forget Petsmart those kinds of classes, ask your breeder or check with pet stores for a good formal trainer, I'm sure you will find one. I know we had a few choices and they were between $100-200 average.
Ours was 8 weeks and a test at the end
about 1 /12 hrs one night a week and a lesson each week to then work on for the following week with each week building on the previous lessons.
It's probably the best 8 weeks and time you can give your dog and to improve his bonding and stress social heirechy.

Don't even consider skipping the basic training with your dobie puppy...big mistake.
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Sounds typical ... if the OUCH does not work ... try to stick your thumb into his mouth and hold his lower jaw and give it a shake. He will not bite you ... this has worked for Isys and she does not nip after that. Good luck!
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I agree with what everyone else has said about getting pup as socialized as possible.
As for biting, what we do is say "no" in a very firm, growly tone or make a yelping noise and then ignore puppy. If she stops then we give her a fun toy and make lots of fuss when she chews on the toy instead of us. It seems to be working and she is getting better. Make sure that EVERYONE involved with the puppy (including all guests) don't let the puppy chew on them.

Be sure not to chase your puppy when he steals stuff from the garden, that will turn the stealing into a game. Instead get him to come to you by being super exciting (high pitched calling, running the other way) and reward him when he does come. I would use a squirt bottle to stop him from stealing from the garden as well as a repellent. Maybe look into booby trapping the garden?
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Sounds like he's getting overexcited playing and then has a "dobe puppy" moment. Don't scruff him and shake him, or put him on his back; that'll just get him more wound up. When he starts nipping, shove a toy in his mouth--distract him, show him what he can chew, and then praise him. You can yelp to show him not to bite, then concentrate on calming him down with a firm "No" and distraction. If he won't calm down, try putting him in a quiet place away from you (puppy proofed, of course) for a minute of two. Sometimes they get really wound up when they are overtired; you may look into his quiet area a minute of two later and find him asleep!

Don't ever chase a dog to catch them; they're faster than we are and think it's a wonderful game! If you need to be able to control where he goes, keep him on a leash or a long line. If he's loose and you need to catch him, you can try running away from him (make it sound like a fun time), or bend over and really make a big deal about looking at something fascinating on the ground (pretend, of course), while you call him to come see in a happy, happy voice. Then he'll probably try to catch you!

He's too little to worry about his behavior being true aggression--he's just a puppy playing with his mouth and carrying on with growls and barks like he would be doing with his littermates. Relax, have fun, work on developing a calming persona when you need to quiet him.

And hang in there--he won't act like this forever. And then you'll miss those puppy days (believe it or not!)
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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My 5 month old puppy still forgets not to nip hands sometimes and she has her adult canines already. Ouch! I've tried everything, yelping and walking off, firm no and nose clamp, directing her attention to her toy. I think it's something she has to grow out of. She sees hands as seperate things such as toys the way they move around in the air and her nature is to bite them. It's still a playful thing and she is getting better. Slowly though. The other problem is my Dad puts up with it instead of correcting it.
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Old 12-08-2009, 11:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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It's normal puppy behavior to bite, bark, and put things in their mouths. You are the person that should be watching them. IMO, shaking him by the scruff and putting him on his back is not teaching him anything. In fact you might be scaring him. Like Melbrod said put him on a leash or a long line when your outside. If he grabs something like the mulch you can easily get it from him. Tell him no, and give him a toy or ball and interact with him. You won't have to do this forever, but he is just a puppy, and puppies need to be supervised. Go to the puppy corner of the forum, there are lot's of good threads on this subject.
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Old 12-08-2009, 11:31 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Please don't grab him by the scruff of the neck and pin him to the floor. Please don't stuff your thumb down his throat, or grab his lower jaw and shake it around. Please. Bad moves. Especially for a puppy. You are the leader, the one charged with guiding him to proper behavior.

When he bites yelp loud, or say 'no' and redirect his attention to something he can bite and when he does praise, praise, praise, like he's the best puppy in the world. Do this forty thousand times and you'll notice that this behavior will begin to diminish.

Your little puppy is learning all about his environment by using his mouth and nose. It's your job to carefully and gently show him what is acceptable and what is not. It will seem like forever, but then one day he'll be behaving just great.

He is a puppy and will act like a puppy; play growling, play romping, play jumping, play biting, etc., it's how he learns about his world. Your job is to redirect him to something fun to get his mind off of doing the things you don't want him to do.

Be very observant and try to stop bad behavior before it begins. You can leash him to you, so that you can keep an eye on him and help him to have positive experiences and not bad ones.

We have several threads on DT for new puppy owners as we all seem to have had the same questions when we were new.

Everything you describe your puppy doing, is all just signs that he's a happy, exploring puppy.

You want to insure he has good experiences, see's life as fun and full of play and that you think he's just the greatest guy, ever. So you want to redirect him to good behavior by distracting him from bad behavior and when he makes a modicum of effort to do the right thing, praise, praise, praise.

Welcome to DT and congratulations on making a really great breed choice! They are amazing animals!!
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Old 12-09-2009, 12:28 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Do Not know if you know it or not but Cocoa Mulch will Kill a pup or dog when they eat it also Sago Palms will also kill them. Put a long line on the pup or put up fencing around you r mulch. If you expect to have a great looking yard where the pup/dog is to be forget it do not think it is possible others may correct me if I'm wrong. Our back yard is a dog yard nothing fancy at all.The only thing I wish I had not put back there years ago is a Oak tree Acorns are also bad for dogs.Now this tree is huge too big and expensive to cut down. I just found out about a year or so ago Oak trees are bad for dogs.
Sounds like a normal puppy to me if you check out the search at the top of the page about puppy biting there are some article already posted about it. Ian Dumbar has a good one think it is in there.Good Luck with you new baby.
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Old 12-09-2009, 05:00 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Be consistent and PATIENT. You will get through it.
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Old 12-09-2009, 05:37 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Give him a bird dog to chew on!! Just KIDDING, When Truman starts all the biting nonsense, the best thing that works for us is to walk away and ignore him (if NO doesn't work!)...although he did pants me the other day when I was walking away...
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:24 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ToyzShopGary View Post
I'm no expert but with dobermans I've heard it over and over.......
For sure don't even think about not doing a formal puppy training class. IMO a key part of doberman training is socalization to as many people, places, situations, other animals, etc as humanly possible. Puppy classes gets socalization with other dogs and you have a trainer that uinderstands the behaviours of your dog.
You bring up an issue you are having and watch how your pup goes from not hearing a word you say to in complete attention and listening and responding with the class trainer......making you really wonder who the dog is she has...it can't be yours.

Forget Petsmart those kinds of classes, ask your breeder or check with pet stores for a good formal trainer, I'm sure you will find one. I know we had a few choices and they were between $100-200 average.
Ours was 8 weeks and a test at the end
about 1 /12 hrs one night a week and a lesson each week to then work on for the following week with each week building on the previous lessons.
It's probably the best 8 weeks and time you can give your dog and to improve his bonding and stress social heirechy.

Don't even consider skipping the basic training with your dobie puppy...big mistake.
At what age did you begin the training?
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Old 12-09-2009, 10:06 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Boy do I know what you are going thru- my girl was doing the same thing- when I tried the yelping thing- it just ramped her up more to bite. Then the redirecting- didn't buy it- she just dropped the toy and came back to me. Ignoring her, walking away and time outs -just seemed to make her save up her energy to bite Not to mention if I did that I probably never see her! Ha- But what worked for me was a stern NO-or NO Bite and held her muzzle until she seemed to calm down. It sounds harsh but it works- and that way you do not get as frustrated either.

As far as the grab and dash- it is such a fun game for them and stinks for us. Again- I think you are talking about my girl - she loves to grab things and run- mine loved chewing on rocks! I use the long line for this issue- because everytime she would grab one she thought it was game on time and I would just get frustrated and what pup wants to come to a person who looks mad? This way the cloths line is always on her and therefor she cannot get too far. Big help is to have two lines - one for outside and one for inside time- this way the one that is dirty from being outside does not get dragged around the house. Then when they do the dash inside you can prove to them that you can always retieve them and you are in charge.

Good luck - and thank God they are cute or they would never survive!
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Old 12-09-2009, 10:09 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Mindi in MO View Post
Give him a bird dog to chew on!! Just KIDDING, When Truman starts all the biting nonsense, the best thing that works for us is to walk away and ignore him (if NO doesn't work!)...although he did pants me the other day when I was walking away...
Hahaha Mindi that image is toooo funny. Should have seen what mine did to my husband yesterday. Let's just say he hit a higher note than I thought was possible.

Oh and one more thing. I think all of us have had to have rock pick up parties in our yards. Dobergoats.
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Old 12-09-2009, 11:16 AM   #18 (permalink)
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What kind of repellant did you spray your mulch with? Hopefully a non-toxic kind.

As far as the nipping, this is a stage they go through. They're teething and want to bite & chew on everything including you. They have to learn bite inhibition & a soft mouth. Keep several very loud squeaky toys around & when he starts to nip you, grab the toy, squeak away & redirect him using the toy & a high pitched "Let's play!" voice.

For the soft mouth, you can teach him basic commands & when you treat him, tell him"Easy" when he takes it. Don't let him take your fingers off to get the treat. Praise him when he uses a soft mouth & say Ah-Ah when he doesn't.

You may have to do these things a thousand times before he complies.

I don't care for using the other methods like pinning him down, grabbing the lower jaw or putting thumbs down his throat. Much too harsh - he's just a baby.
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Old 12-10-2009, 07:11 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Alisande View Post
Very typical. He isn't being aggressive he is being a Doberman. Be firm and consistent. If he misbehaves stop playing. Stop everything. I tether mine for more control. They eventually learn. Wait until he starts showing you the bitey face.
Ah yes, the bitey face. Reminds me of Nosferatu.
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:41 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by caramella View Post
Please don't grab him by the scruff of the neck and pin him to the floor. Please don't stuff your thumb down his throat, or grab his lower jaw and shake it around. Please. Bad moves. Especially for a puppy. You are the leader, the one charged with guiding him to proper behavior.

When he bites yelp loud, or say 'no' and redirect his attention to something he can bite and when he does praise, praise, praise, like he's the best puppy in the world. Do this forty thousand times and you'll notice that this behavior will begin to diminish.

Your little puppy is learning all about his environment by using his mouth and nose. It's your job to carefully and gently show him what is acceptable and what is not. It will seem like forever, but then one day he'll be behaving just great.

He is a puppy and will act like a puppy; play growling, play romping, play jumping, play biting, etc., it's how he learns about his world. Your job is to redirect him to something fun to get his mind off of doing the things you don't want him to do.

Be very observant and try to stop bad behavior before it begins. You can leash him to you, so that you can keep an eye on him and help him to have positive experiences and not bad ones.

We have several threads on DT for new puppy owners as we all seem to have had the same questions when we were new.

Everything you describe your puppy doing, is all just signs that he's a happy, exploring puppy.

You want to insure he has good experiences, see's life as fun and full of play and that you think he's just the greatest guy, ever. So you want to redirect him to good behavior by distracting him from bad behavior and when he makes a modicum of effort to do the right thing, praise, praise, praise.

Welcome to DT and congratulations on making a really great breed choice! They are amazing animals!!
thank you so much for taking the time to write this (I am sure this is the 1000th time you have done so). I called the breeder and she said the same thing;; she did, though, suggest some coins in a can to shake when Basie misbehaves. We tried it, and it works. It seems that he is much more responsive to our "No', "Leave it", "sit" "stay" etc. What do you think?
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