Join Date: Jun 2016
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Is my dog normal??
So I have a male doberman who is currently almost 9 months old. He is still intact because our vet would like us to wait until he is a year old. He is usually quite sweet, but he gets quite nippy. I have already read all over this forum and other sites before getting one and know that they are often referred to as "Dober Sharks", but I am not sure what is play nipping and what's not normal. He is very polite around strangers, but with people he knows well, he jumps up at you and tries to bite repeatedly. This often times occurs if someone tells him to get off the couch, when people are eating, or sometimes if you just walk past him in the hall. He growls and makes a face and seems to get very cranky and not be playing (?). Sometimes he then runs over and thrashes his dog bed all around after.
He has already attended the puppy Headstart classes and passed those, as well as the puppy Fun-da-mentals classes, and recently completed basic behavior and obedience. He will be starting advanced behavior in a couple weeks. I work fulltime, but try to keep him exercised. Recent example of schedule: Saturday we went on a short interval run (after vets approval), Sunday we went on a moderate hike, Monday we went on another interval run, Tuesday he attended doggy daycare and then Wednesday we went on a run again. None of this seems to calm him down. We provide him with a lot of bones that he likes to chew on, which occupies him when they are new, and have a buoy type toy that you fill with treats for him to knock around.
My sister in law is a dog trainer and her and all the trainers have said if he tries to bite, put your thumb in his mouth and push down and hold the top open. This is not working for me at all because it is so hard to do with a dog repeatedly lunging at you; once you let go he goes back to trying to bite you again, and once I did not catch the top quick enough so he crunched down on my thumb.
Most the time now he wears the leash around the house so I can grab it when this happens.
I always try distraction with toys and have started carrying treats in my pocket to get his mind working with sit etc. I know everyone on here says it is all about consistency..
We also practice things that put us in the leader position (going through doorways first).
Does anyone have any other suggestions? I am really hoping he is normal and keep telling myself all this hard work will pay off and he will grow out of it. We are starting to get nervous having him loose around anyone in our house.
Sorry for the long post. Thanks in advance!