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This is my first doberman and I am relatively new to dog training. I know, not the best combination but I really love the breed and did copious amounts of research before deciding to buy. Being new, I want to make sure I am doing everything I can to help ensure a healthy, happy environment for my puppy.

Here's the dilemma...

I've had my puppy for about a week, he was a little under 8 weeks old when I picked him up. We've been working on socialization and simple obedience training (sit, come, learning his name...) The biting however it becoming an issue. I know that dobe puppies are very mouthy, but the traditional method of saying "Ouch!" or whining like a litter mate would, then ignoring him, doesn't seem to be working. He simply crouches down, wiggles his but and barks before going right back to the biting. I'm assuming he thinks I'm playing. Currently, when he bites, I am gently rolling him on his back with a firm "No" and holding him there until he calms down before letting him up. This method works better but he is hard headed and still wants to go back to biting, sometimes immediately after I let him up. Should I continue with this method or is there another that works better?

I'm worried that some of the biting may be a result of boredom. He has chew toys, pig ears, tennis and rope balls to chew on. We go on walks every morning. However, mental stimulation games don't seem to hold his interest for more than a minute or two(I hide treats in a folded towel trying to encourage him to find them, or put peanut butter in a kong chew toy). And when I throw a ball he has no interest in chasing it. He seems to be more focused on wanting to play tug or play rough/bite my arms/pants legs and shoes. I have been avoiding the tug game in hopes that it will help with his bite inhibition.

Are there any good games to play that can stimulate him both mentally and physically while avoiding the tugging/bite behaviors?
 

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Do NOT take him to a dog park or anywhere else where there have been a lot of dogs until he has had all his shots...Dobe puppies are especially susceptible to parvo, for example--and parvo can be a killer. You don’t want to risk his health.

I’m not really going to address the puppy biting issues much--except to say that I have found that removing all contact with the puppy--quietly and calmly with a "no bite” statement, put him in a crate or a dog safe room, and you go to another room just for 30 seconds to a minute or so. He needs to learn that biting means NO attention, positive or negative. Anything else (even negative responses from you) is attention and you don’t want him to learn that unacceptable behavior means attention. Be VERY consistent--every time he gets too wound up and starts with the mouth--back to isolation he goes--even if he was just there 3 minutes ago.

Especially do not pin him to the ground.
 

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Got mutt?
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Take him to a dog park and let him romp with another puppy.
Dog parks are teeming with rude dogs and ignorant owners, as well as diseases and parasites. Finding another puppy (with age appropriate vaccinations) or a stable, puppy-friendly adult (also with appropriate vaccinations) who shares a similar play style, and setting up private "play dates" is a much better option.

As Melbrod said, Dobermans as a breed tend to be more susceptible to parvo, and there have been some especially virulent strains going around the past few
years.

There is also an awful lot of dog flu, and it could be showing up in areas that previously didn't have it, because Texas is in the middle of an outbreak, and there have been hundreds of dogs shipped to shelters all over the country in the past few days to make room for new, storm related intakes.

Touching on the rude dogs with their ignorant owners, one bad encounter can have a profound negative impact on a puppy's behavior around other dogs in the future.
 

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I like what melbrod has said.

Puppies of any breed will wear you out!

I don't pick pups up, by choice, anywhere. They just show up here.

You are the pack leader. Young Dobes make poor judgement calls without proper supervision.

Sounds like you retreived puppy too soon. Just my opinion, but I like receiving pups around 10-12 weeks old. There is just so much more brain in their head's, than two weeks ago.

I would suggest a puppy training class. Ask your Vet to refer you to a traing class. If your Vet is smart he will refer you to a reputable trainer. At a reaalistic price.
 

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Bazinga!
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Toys are typically very boring things.

Please stop rolling the puppy on his back there is no reason to do this and you will create issues as he gets older.

Check YouTube for a video called 'its yer choice' this helps teach puppies self control and I find it can help with mouthing. It helps teach self control and is a fun and rewarding game to play.

Absolutely No to the dog park suggestion. Beyond diseases as Rosemary said ignorant dogs and owners can create issues with your puppy that are best avoided at all costs.

Training classes age appropriate exercise and obedience work as well as making sure puppy naps. Over tired puppies tend towards whirling dervish behaviour.
 

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I've had my puppy for about a week, he was a little under 8 weeks old when I picked him up. We've been working on socialization and simple obedience training (sit, come, learning his name...) The biting however it becoming an issue. I know that dobe puppies are very mouthy, but the traditional method of saying "Ouch!" or whining like a litter mate would, then ignoring him, doesn't seem to be working. He simply crouches down, wiggles his but and barks before going right back to the biting. I'm assuming he thinks I'm playing.
Biting: Reread Melbrod's suggestion for dealing with puppy biting. Dobe puppies are really no more mouthy than any other puppy--but they are BIG puppies with jaws that can, even a very young puppy can cause you pain. The "ouch" and/or whining routine only really works on a few puppy--ditto for handing them a toy hoping they'll bite it instead of you.

Yes, the puppy thinks you are playing with him--and because puppies play with other puppies by biting he comes back for more. It's also why holding their mouth shut doesn't work. If they bite a litter mate too hard and it hurts the litter mate will refuse to play and will go away. Do the same. Do it without a lot of fan fare--I might say, "No bite" but that's all--I don't bother to say "No" a lot of puppies don't know about "No" and what it means. But they get the message quickly when you go away and pay no attention to them--I walk through a door and shut it in their face--for maybe a minute--much longer than that isn't necessary. If they persist then they go into a crate or x-pen--again, briefly--often a puppy will try to persist in biting because they are so ramped up they can't stop--like cranky toddlers who really need a nap they'll often go to sleep if isolated for even a brief time.

But you do have to be consistent and do this each and every time the puppy is biting. I hate being mouthed by dogs--so I'm very consistent about stopping all interactions with a bitey puppy. I've found that nearly all of my puppies stop biting within a couple of weeks at the most.

Currently, when he bites, I am gently rolling him on his back with a firm "No" and holding him there until he calms down before letting him up. This method works better but he is hard headed and still wants to go back to biting, sometimes immediately after I let him up. Should I continue with this method or is there another that works better?
NO--it basically doesn't work--it's part of the much older "I am the alpha" routine that was very well debunked a good many years ago. Withholding attention works much better. Rolling puppies on their back is frightening to many puppies and for most of the rest they still think you are playing with them. It isn't so much that he's hard-headed--it's really that he's just a puppy and trying to play with you as if you were a puppy. Your role in all this is to teach him your rules and play with him by those rules. So if he bites--no play, no attention. If he's not biting and you are playing with him--play games that don't involve getting your hands or any other parts of you or your clothing near his mouth. Tugging if you are in to that--but all play stops if he gets you instead of the tug. Teach him to retrieve--keeps your hands out of his mouth.

I'm worried that some of the biting may be a result of boredom. He has chew toys, pig ears, tennis and rope balls to chew on. We go on walks every morning. However, mental stimulation games don't seem to hold his interest for more than a minute or two(I hide treats in a folded towel trying to encourage him to find them, or put peanut butter in a kong chew toy). And when I throw a ball he has no interest in chasing it. He seems to be more focused on wanting to play tug or play rough/bite my arms/pants legs and shoes. I have been avoiding the tug game in hopes that it will help with his bite inhibition.
He's awfully young to expect him to play by himself--my puppies learn to play with various things from the older dogs or from me. The biting is still him trying to engage you in puppy play with puppy rules where it's OK to bite. He'll get the fact that it's not OK to use his mouth on your when you stop, every time he lays teeth on you, engaging in play or any other sort of attention.

I don't give pig ears, raw hide or anything like that--too many dogs end up with diarrhea from eating them. I also don't give tennis balls (too easily chewed up and swallowed--since I work at a vet clinic I've seen all too many surgeries for intestinal blockages from chewed up toys) and rope toys unless it's a tug type are all to likely to end up with a lot of rope strings in the dogs gut and they can and do create linear obstructions in the gut--sometimes even worse than blockages.

I buy really heavy duty (and large) sized toys that have squeakers in them--puppies will learn to play with them by themselves--and will drive you crazy squeaking them.

I actively TEACH puppies how to play some games. I teach retrieving inside by rolling a ball--most puppies will chase a moving object--but that means you only roll it a short distance--a couple of feet--increase the distance as the puppy learns the game--use two balls to start teaching retrieves along with the "chase the ball" part.

When I teach "find it" games I take a very small treat and let the puppy see where I hide it--then tell him to find it--as he learns that you can expand into further away, other rooms and of course teaching him to wait while you hide the treat.

Teaching any of this stuff should be in very small increments of time--just as teaching things like sit, down, stand, stay. At the age your puppy is just a few minutes of any of these games (or games played with toys) is all you can really expect to get and hold their attention.

Play tug with him--what will teach him bite inhibition is the discovery that if he bites you instead of the tug that will end all play.

Are there any good games to play that can stimulate him both mentally and physically while avoiding the tugging/bite behaviors?
It isn't the tugging that encourages biting--it's the playing games with him that involve playing by his rules instead of teaching to play by yours.

But learning to play with you, instead of using you as a play toy or playing with you like you were another puppy is above all a learning experience for the puppy. If you are consistent, he'll get the message. But all too often what happens is in the name of trying to fade an undesirable behavior (biting) new owners try everything they have ever heard of but don't stick with any one thing long enough for the message to get through to the puppy.

Good luck--he'll learn...
 

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Just me talking here - But I would not give him ? Her ? any pig ears - or rawhide bones - One day by the pool and the Big Girl would not leave her spot by the edge of the pool - just sit there and would look over the edge and look down - Wife went over to see what was going on and seen her rawhide bone sitting on the bottom of the pool - SSSSSSSOOOOO when ole dad got home - I got to fish it out - that thing had swollen up about 3 or 4 times than when it was dry - Never gave her - or the other dogs any of them after seeing that - It do's the same thing in there gut

BTW - Don't worry - , like the others have said - patience , work and age will do the trick - He - She will be a great dog ------------------------ Someday :grin2:
 

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I was a first time dobe owner as well. We struggled for months with the biting, didn't get better til a few months ago, and he just turned 1. You have to see what works for your dog. The "ouch" attempt only amped him up. He thought it was more fun getting a reaction out of us. Leaving or crating him when he did it did absolutely nothing. He continued to play bite, and it only became harder and rougher as he got bigger and stronger. Common sense right? Anyway, I got some advice from someone on this forum and it worked for us. My opinion, and many others here, afraid to say so, is that walking away from a problem WILL NOT correct it. Yes dobes are Velcro dogs and they want to be by us, understandable, but leaving him/her won't correct the unwanted behavior. Unwanted behavior needs a correction. It may have worked for some people here, but positive only training did not work for us. We used a remote collar (also frowned upon), not as a correction, and different strategies during training to curb the play biting. We still train on it as well. We now play semi-rough and he'll just mouth, no pressure. He will still get excited and put a little more pressure than I like and a simple tap on the collar and a "no bite" stops it immediately. Message me if you'd like, but you simply need to find out what works for your dog. Mine is just a rough tough boy who enjoys playing hard and rough.


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....We used a remote collar (also frowned upon), not as a correction....
Sincere question: How do you use a remote control collar not as a correction?

My understanding is that a remote control collar is best used once a dog knows what he is expected to do....to make sure that he has a command down and set in concrete. The collar shows him that even when you can’t reach him physically, you can still somehow reach out and correct him when he is not obeying your command properly.

But he has to understand what your command means first.

You can use the collar to teach him to connect two things like “if I cross that line, it hurts”...but in my experience, because the correction seems arbitrary to the dog at first, he can become more fearful/frustrated because he is getting hurt (or experiencing some kind of discomfort) without knowing why--before he has a chance to understand what concept is being taught to him.

I mean, if you were snapped with a rubber band every time you reached out to grab, say, a piece of candy off the table......you might decide never to reach out at all, because you haven’t figured out what the snap only means “no candy”. You learned the wrong thing--and, depending on your personality, might become more fearful of a "dangerous" world, or more aggressive fighting against an “unjust” world.
 

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Sincere question: How do you use a remote control collar not as a correction?



My understanding is that a remote control collar is best used once a dog knows what he is expected to do....to make sure that he has a command down and set in concrete. The collar shows him that even when you can’t reach him physically, you can still somehow reach out and correct him when he is not obeying your command properly.



But he has to understand what your command means first.


We used other techniques along with a low stim for him to understand. We've been through training courses with the remote collar and know how to use it. It's used on lowest acknowledged level to give a command. I'm not a professional as I've said, I've used it with trainers and it works for us. I've read a high level stim can be used as a correction when there is completely undesired behavior. But we don't use the collar in that way. I'm not trying to start an argument, I'm just trying to state to OP that I feel every dog is different and they need to figure out what works for them.

Also saw your edit. Trust me, he was not afraid to attempt things more than a few times to figure out what he's supposed to do and not supposed to do. In that case, it's still a low level stim to get attention, then "no" for whatever it is. He understands. And this is what works. It's his attention grabber when needed. Does that make sense?


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I guess I really don’t get what you are saying, at least not without more detail.

First you say: “walking away from a problem WILL NOT correct it....leaving him/her won't correct the unwanted behavior. Unwanted behavior needs a correction. It may have worked for some people here, but positive only training did not work for us.”

Then you say: “....We used a remote collar (also frowned upon), not as a correction, and different strategies during training to curb the play biting”

It sounds like, from what you said in your next post was that you’re using the low stim setting on the collar as a sort of “look at me; pay attention” command???? If that's the case, it seems like mentioning the remote collar specifically in connection with stopping play biting would be kinda irrelevant here; I mean, there are a lot of things that can be used as attention getting mechanisms. But you’re right, you might need different kinds of stimuli to get a dog's attention--they’re all individuals.

But maybe I’m missing something??

Maybe you could describe the different strategies you used during training to curb the play biting. Seems like the techniques you learned then might work in this case, or at least could be modified to help.
 

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OP, as someone new to Dobermans and new to training, I strongly recommend you find a qualified trainer and get your puppy into a good puppy class. Certified Dog Trainer and Behavior Consultant Directory - CCPDT

A good trainer is a very valuable resource for all of your questions and will really help train you on how to teach your dog appropriately, with methods that are appropriate for a puppy. Re-read dobebug's post - she has a ton of great information and has had Dobermans for a long time...she knows what she's talking about! What really matters is being really consistent in your methods and not giving up because something doesn't seem to be working immediately...puppies take a lot of patience!

We'd love to see some pics of your pup!
 
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