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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2016, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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Play or Aggression?

I've posted about this in the past, but I figured better to post a new thread. Jack is going on 17 weeks now. Training is going well, except for the biting. I am aware Doberpups play harder, are biters, and mouthy, but I just want to clarify. Randomly, Jack will start nipping at clothes, shoes, he'll jump to get shirts, arms, anything he can get his mouth on. He's losing teeth every day so we know he's still teething. When you correct him, he wines and growls and jumps back to nip. The other day, he was just on the couch chewing a bully stick, and just went after my wife's arm. He bit hard and caused pretty much instant bruising and swelling on her arm. Then he wants to keep going. He's 42 lbs at just over 4 months old, and his "play bites" hurt. (My wife more than me) He doesn't show any other forms of aggression. We play with his food while eating, we take chews away from him, he's a very good boy. We just want to make sure this isn't aggression. Sometimes he does a play bow, sometimes he doesn't. Maybe we don't see it because he starts nipping at legs and escalates it from there? He's a good boy, we just want to make sure he's not showing signs of aggression. Our vet says he has a great demeanor and will not be aggressive. Our trainers say that he is not aggressive at all either. But I don't feel that he will exhibit this behavior with others as he does with us. Is he going into his teen age? Should we be concerned about aggression?I'm sorry if this is a repetitive post, just really had to get it out there again. Thanks all.


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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2016, 01:36 PM
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Have rules, enforce them fairly, if he's a jerk on the sofa? He doesn't get to BE on the sofa. If you take a chewy away from him, make sure you give something in return, ask for the chewy, and give a treat when he 'drops it' or whatever term you choose. And always look at things from the dogs point of view. Do you take and not give back? If so, yeah, he's going to protect 'his' valued item from theft by human<G> ALways try to be fair to the dog, it's hard enough for them to learn our verbal language, but when we can't communicate with them at all, or we send mixed signals, it's gotta drive them batty, and ends up with unwanted behaviors due to confusion
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2016, 02:10 PM
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Lots of good reading here / study it, all opinions fully expressed:
https://www.dobermantalk.com/general-...last-week.html

PS - I will just add, your Jack somewhat sounds similar to our current Kelly (when she was young).
- but I will not tolerate real growling or be bullied & hurt, by own pup / she needed some correction, earlier than later

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2016, 02:35 PM
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I think some blow this out of proportion. I have played rough with both my dobie pups and accepted the mouthing/ vocalness as understood I agged it on. This has never carried over to aggression problems in my dogs as adults. Same goes for dogs before I got into dobies.

For me the important thing is having the OFF switch. They must know that when you say enough is enough it's time to calm down and be a sweet puppy again. Many will disagree but I've always handled it this way. They are puppies. They are playing rough. Just as kids will wrestle there way of wrestling includes mouthing. Just my .02
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2016, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
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Have rules, enforce them fairly, if he's a jerk on the sofa? He doesn't get to BE on the sofa. If you take a chewy away from him, make sure you give something in return, ask for the chewy, and give a treat when he 'drops it' or whatever term you choose. And always look at things from the dogs point of view. Do you take and not give back? If so, yeah, he's going to protect 'his' valued item from theft by human<G> ALways try to be fair to the dog, it's hard enough for them to learn our verbal language, but when we can't communicate with them at all, or we send mixed signals, it's gotta drive them batty, and ends up with unwanted behaviors due to confusion

He doesn't have any resource guarding issues. We take stuff away, reward him, then give it back or something in its place. If he has something he's not supposed to, we take it, give him something appropriate. The only issues we have is his random bouts of nipping, growling, and biting us. Arms legs feet. He'll lunge too. Just want to make sure it's play behavior.

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I think some blow this out of proportion. I have played rough with both my dobie pups and accepted the mouthing/ vocalness as understood I agged it on. This has never carried over to aggression problems in my dogs as adults. Same goes for dogs before I got into dobies.

For me the important thing is having the OFF switch. They must know that when you say enough is enough it's time to calm down and be a sweet puppy again. Many will disagree but I've always handled it this way. They are puppies. They are playing rough. Just as kids will wrestle there way of wrestling includes mouthing. Just my .02

His off switch is if we go into another room, or crate for 10 minutes. But as I said it happens sporadically. And it can be pretty unpleasant for the wife. Just want to make sure it isn't aggressive behavior. Thanks.



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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2016, 05:11 PM
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I couldn't say for sure about aggression with your particular pup, but in my experience Stella was terrible during the dobershark time. She bloodied my husbands nose on more than on occasion, once was a very well timed head butt, the other she just thought hey your nose looks kind of fun, think I will bite it. Of course she got into a bit of trouble (off to a time out), but she is 18 months now and she doesn't have an aggressive bone in her body with regard to her family. She is extremely well behaved with children ages 1-7, of course the children treat her right as well, but she is very tolerant of the noise, and the running, etc. She also was a sleeve grabber, pant leg grabber, and butt nipper. The first Easter we had her, she had to stay inside while the grandkids hunted eggs cause she would have mowed them down, chewed on their heads, and ripped off their clothes. Now, she can play outside with the kids and I have no concerns about anyone getting knocked down or chewed on. They grow out of it for the most part I think, assuming there is some kind of training and boundary setting going on.

That is not to say that some puppies with temperament problems might show signs as very young pups. Just want to add that disclaimer.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2016, 05:50 PM
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What sort of "correction" are you giving him?

I've unfortunately heard of a lot of people get concerned about puppy biting being mistaken for aggression. Even if he's growling and barking at you, at this age, its not aggression, he's just trying to find a way to get your attention and incite play (which he's getting). I have scars (we were told to refer to them as love scars, because one day your dog will no longer be with you, but you will always have those scars) from my boy biting at my arms, jumping up at my clothing for attention and grabbing skin on the way down. Even though he's still young, he does mouth in certain circumstances and I can wrestle with him, but he will know if he's bitten me too hard when we're playing because he knows "ouch" means he took it too far. If he keeps trying to bite me, I say "ouch", get up and leave the room/shut the door.

If your boy is bruising, he just doesn't know the strength of his bite yet, especially because of his new teeth coming up.

If you're ever concerned about the behaviour of your dog or if you have a moment when you feel like you're way in over your head, its probably time to get a good behaviourist/trainer in to assist your pup and you for guidance.

It's unfortunately only going to get worse before it gets better.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2016, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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What sort of "correction" are you giving him?



I've unfortunately heard of a lot of people get concerned about puppy biting being mistaken for aggression. Even if he's growling and barking at you, at this age, its not aggression, he's just trying to find a way to get your attention and incite play (which he's getting). I have scars (we were told to refer to them as love scars, because one day your dog will no longer be with you, but you will always have those scars) from my boy biting at my arms, jumping up at my clothing for attention and grabbing skin on the way down. Even though he's still young, he does mouth in certain circumstances and I can wrestle with him, but he will know if he's bitten me too hard when we're playing because he knows "ouch" means he took it too far. If he keeps trying to bite me, I say "ouch", get up and leave the room/shut the door.



If your boy is bruising, he just doesn't know the strength of his bite yet, especially because of his new teeth coming up.



If you're ever concerned about the behaviour of your dog or if you have a moment when you feel like you're way in over your head, its probably time to get a good behaviourist/trainer in to assist your pup and you for guidance.



It's unfortunately only going to get worse before it gets better.


This is exactly what we assumed. We just want to be extra sure since he will be a big boy, as I said he is 42 lbs at 4 months old. As far as corrections, we have started e-collar training with a facility in our area. I am aware of the stigmas and stereotypes associated with e-collar training and have done lots of research. We are in no way using the e-collar as a form of corrective training. It is a "pay attention to me" training and at his age we are using it very lightly. Which he is responding well to. For the biting, we are still redirecting with chew toys, leaving the room, and a short voluntary crate time out if needed. Leaving the room, or time outs, usually end in him calmer and not in that mood. He doesn't show any sort of other aggression, it seems to be a "hey, play with me" kind of behavior. We just want to be sure.


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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2016, 07:22 PM
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This is exactly what we assumed. We just want to be extra sure since he will be a big boy, as I said he is 42 lbs at 4 months old. As far as corrections, we have started e-collar training with a facility in our area. I am aware of the stigmas and stereotypes associated with e-collar training and have done lots of research. We are in no way using the e-collar as a form of corrective training. It is a "pay attention to me" training and at his age we are using it very lightly. Which he is responding well to. For the biting, we are still redirecting with chew toys, leaving the room, and a short voluntary crate time out if needed. Leaving the room, or time outs, usually end in him calmer and not in that mood. He doesn't show any sort of other aggression, it seems to be a "hey, play with me" kind of behavior. We just want to be sure.


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Won't comment on the e-collar as I'm not favourable of them. What you are currently doing with the redirecting, leaving the room, short time outs until you notice he settles, etc. are great ways to stop the biting of your arms. If you've noticed he calms down after it, that's a good sign, it just takes consistent repetition and patience .

My boy still grabs at my dad's clothing and mouths him without permission to try to get him to play and that's because my dad let that behaviour go unchecked whilst I was monitoring. It is a REALLY mouthy breed and sometimes its just something they continue to do throughout their life, but its the way you manage it that makes the difference.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2016, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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Won't comment on the e-collar as I'm not favourable of them. What you are currently doing with the redirecting, leaving the room, short time outs until you notice he settles, etc. are great ways to stop the biting of your arms. If you've noticed he calms down after it, that's a good sign, it just takes consistent repetition and patience .



My boy still grabs at my dad's clothing and mouths him without permission to try to get him to play and that's because my dad let that behaviour go unchecked whilst I was monitoring. It is a REALLY mouthy breed and sometimes its just something they continue to do throughout their life, but its the way you manage it that makes the difference.


We understand there's 2 sides of the e-collar training. But positive only training hasn't done much for him. Being a firefighter, I know plenty of police officers with K9 partners who have solely used e-collar training with the way we are using it and have seen stellar results. If it's used correctly I don't see any problem with it, and I'm sure many people on this forum feel the same but don't want to say because some will scrutinize. My initial question was about the biting, and I thank you very much for the advice. I see the patience thing is huge. Haha. I think Jack is just stubborn and when we're not playing he's like "hey dude, what's your problem? Let's play!"


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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2016, 07:55 PM
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We understand there's 2 sides of the e-collar training. But positive only training hasn't done much for him. Being a firefighter, I know plenty of police officers with K9 partners who have solely used e-collar training with the way we are using it and have seen stellar results. If it's used correctly I don't see any problem with it, and I'm sure many people on this forum feel the same but don't want to say because some will scrutinize. My initial question was about the biting, and I thank you very much for the advice. I see the patience thing is huge. Haha. I think Jack is just stubborn and when we're not playing he's like "hey dude, what's your problem? Let's play!"


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Hence why I didn't want to get into a discussion with it haha. Police and military still use them effectively. E-collars can be very effective if used in the correct way for certain situation and results , however, they're not a quick fix and the problem is many people don't know how to use them properly (not saying that's you).

Its like a kid, having to be patient and put up with their crap sometimes lol. Yup, I had the exact same problem with him -- constant energy, constantly wanting to play and not asking nicely to initiate play. Silly boys! You can always get something like a kong wobbler to keep him pre-occupied if you're not wanting to play -- has to be on your terms too.
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Hence why I didn't want to get into a discussion with it haha. Police and military still use them effectively. E-collars can be very effective if used in the correct way for certain situation and results , however, they're not a quick fix and the problem is many people don't know how to use them properly (not saying that's you).



Its like a kid, having to be patient and put up with their crap sometimes lol. Yup, I had the exact same problem with him -- constant energy, constantly wanting to play and not asking nicely to initiate play. Silly boys! You can always get something like a kong wobbler to keep him pre-occupied if you're not wanting to play -- has to be on your terms too.


Yes, which is why we are using it with a trainer, not just slapping it on him and zapping. Kong wobbler, is that the one that dispenses treats? He has tons of kongs but prefers us to chew on. Haha. Seems like you were in the same boat Kaiser! Haha


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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2016, 08:01 PM
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4 months is real young. Yup Dobis shark it up and they bang and bruise. My arms and hands have plenty of scars so that comes with the territory. My boy Anzio is almost 8 months and he still is mouthy he has good bite inhibition but he is still learning and he does nip or BITE at me. He is hitting adolescence and he is taking this or that and when we go to take it he growls,which he never did before,he does give it. For example if I do not have a long line or any line on him while we are on a free run and I tell him it is time to go he will push back and try to nip at me. With his lead on no issue. I do use a prong but not on free runs, could snag up on something. He has been through puppy school and 2 obedience training's. He knows his Yes and No his sit, stay and can place but is still obstinate at times. I plan on getting an e collar at year 1. Did you say the dog bite your wife when she went to take the bully stick? If so resource guarding is a sign of aggression. You mentioned you do e collar training now I am not educated enough on that to say yay or nay but he is still very much a pup. Just as my boy is at 8months. I would work a prong into your training and work yes and no etc..
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Yes, which is why we are using it with a trainer, not just slapping it on him and zapping. Kong wobbler, is that the one that dispenses treats? He has tons of kongs but prefers us to chew on. Haha. Seems like you were in the same boat Kaiser! Haha


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Its the large red one with a hole in the side that dispenses treats when they push/knock it over. It keeps them preoccupied and its pretty fun to watch them figure it out/bark at it when they first try it out.

He's still a goofy hellion that's unbearable when he hasn't been exercised or mentally stimulated adequately -- I told the breeder I like to run so I think I got an extra energetic boy lol.

Oh also, make sure that when you're playing with him using toys to say "ouch", "ow" or yelp, drop the toy and walk off if he accidentally bites your hand that's on the toy (even if he so much as grazes your flesh), just to reinforce that any bad mouth contact = no play and distancing your self from him. Eventually, he will not grab a toy if your hand is covering it even if you tell him to get it.
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4 months is real young. Yup Dobis shark it up and they bang and bruise. My arms and hands have plenty of scars so that comes with the territory. My boy Anzio is almost 8 months and he still is mouthy he has good bite inhibition but he is still learning and he does nip or BITE at me. He is hitting adolescence and he is taking this or that and when we go to take it he growls,which he never did before,he does give it. For example if I do not have a long line or any line on him while we are on a free run and I tell him it is time to go he will push back and try to nip at me. With his lead on no issue. I do use a prong but not on free runs, could snag up on something. He has been through puppy school and 2 obedience training's. He knows his Yes and No his sit, stay and can place but is still obstinate at times. I plan on getting an e collar at year 1. Did you say the dog bite your wife when she went to take the bully stick? If so resource guarding is a sign of aggression. You mentioned you do e collar training now I am not educated enough on that to say yay or nay but he is still very much a pup. Just as my boy is at 8months. I would work a prong into your training and work yes and no etc..

No, he shows no resource guarding behavior what so ever. He will just be on the couch chewing and jump to bite my wife's arms. Like he got bored of chewing that, and her arm looked more appetizing. Haha. We tried a prong and he responded terrible to it. He is responding VERY well to the e-collar. We use it lightly at the moment, and he is on a very low stim level, actually where I can feel nothing at that level. The way it's used in his training is not corrective, it's more of a "hey, I'm giving you a command, pay attention, then get a reward." It's only been a week, I'll keep you updated on his progress. Thanks for the advice!

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Its the large red one with a hole in the side that dispenses treats when they push/knock it over. It keeps them preoccupied and its pretty fun to watch them figure it out/bark at it when they first try it out.



He's still a goofy hellion that's unbearable when he hasn't been exercised or mentally stimulated adequately -- I told the breeder I like to run so I think I got an extra energetic boy lol.



Oh also, make sure that when you're playing with him using toys to say "ouch", "ow" or yelp, drop the toy and walk off if he accidentally bites your hand that's on the toy (even if he so much as grazes your flesh), just to reinforce that any bad mouth contact = no play and distancing your self from him. Eventually, he will not grab a toy if your hand is covering it even if you tell him to get it.

I googled it and I definitely will grab one. Maybe fill it with his kibble? We also do the ouch/yelp as we get up and leave. It confuses him and then he cries at spare room door when we go into it. Then he's calm. But he does sometimes grab at our legs as we're walking to the room. He's just stubborn and ALWAYS wants to play. But it's weird, when playing with other pups, he doesn't bite or nip them at all. He's actually very submissive. Which is rather confusing as he does it to us.



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ha ha ya mom taste good. Yes please keep me updated on your e collar training. I am looking for as much experiential learning advice and tips as to the what and how in that regard. He is a good looking dog.

Merry Christmas from Massachusetts.

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ha ha ya mom taste good. Yes please keep me updated on your e collar training. I am looking for as much experiential learning advice and tips as to the what and how in that regard. He is a good looking dog.



Merry Christmas from Massachusetts.



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Thank you! Merry Christmas from Chicago!


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Sounds like my girl.
She play bites hard and I've tried all the things people have said here along with the trainers at the canine academy with no results. Pay no attention, leave the room for a couple of minutes, good time to treat train (it is sometimes), distract them with a toy and so on.
When she's over tired she goes to her crate, two minutes later she's asleep.
I chatted with another successful trainer who told me to use a spray bottle. Firstly I wouldn't of thought of this as it doesn't seem like a positive solution but after the very first time it worked. First we say no bite and distance ourselves, if she continues forward towards one of use we grab the spray bottle. Now we don't even need to spray her, just show it to her. No she isn't traumatized in the least by it. It's completely changed her behavior after the very first time. In fact I just have to mention, "do you want the spray bottle" and those bites turn to licks instantly.
She just turned 5 months old (35lbs) and has the greatest temperament I've ever seen in a dog.
Dober shark no more.
I do want to emphasize that I believe in positive training and if this traumatized my girl in anyway I'd never do it.
She has been more cuddly on our laps the past few days than the previous 3 months.
Every dog is different but everything others have said didn't work at all in our case.
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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 02:03 PM
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Christmas Pix of Anzio with his new Chili coat own. Protector of the Three Wise Men.
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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by slimwomack View Post
Christmas Pix of Anzio with his new Chili coat own. Protector of the Three Wise Men.


Handsome guy! Where'd you get the coat?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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post #21 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-23-2016, 05:45 PM
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Chilly Dogs. Check it out. Great coats and stuff.
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post #22 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-04-2017, 12:45 PM
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It sounds just like my dog when she was young, she loved to play bite. Giving her a hard "stop" command, so that she knows play time is over, is the most important thing! After a few months of training, she knew exactly when to stop, and eventually grew out of it.
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