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HELP!!! (i am going to write in mostly lower case, as my more convenient shift key isn't working). i believe my dog has a serious case of the doberteens and I don't know the best course of action to take with this. he has always been a bag of naughty, and i correct him with "ah-ahs," ignoring, off, spray bottles, "stop that" spray, etc. he has the typical symptoms such as ignoring commands, getting into everything, barking constantly, and every other thing. my concern is that he seems to be getting aggressive with strangers and other dogs. he's gone through initial puppy training and has been socialized from day one.

when i go to work i drop him off at my mom's for "daycare" with their three dogs and four cats or my dad picks him up and brings him to work with him. on the weekend he goes with me almost everywhere. i take him with me to get coffee and to the pet sore weekly, if not for food at least a toy so he can interract.

it all started with him barking at absolutely everyone walking on the street while he rides in the car. now it has escalated. when i took him to petsmart the other day he barked loudly at a little girl/toddler in the store. i am fairly certain this was an aggressive bark. last straw was the other day he apparently growled and bit at one of my dad's employees little girl puppy who was trying to play with him. luckily, it didn't result in injuries. then yesterday when i took him for a walk, he barked and lunged at a man walking past my front yard and barked at another man and woman further from my house. luckily they were total dog lovers and werent offended. id feel better if i was confident that he wouldn't have bit them if i didn't have a good hold on him.

at home, he is very sweet (aside from the rambunctious puppy stuff). he is affectionate to me and all his other human and four legged house mates. he loves to play and can drive us crazy, but he isn't even a little aggressive toward any of us. giving him up would never be an option, but i want to know how to handle this. i obviously don't want to endanger a person or other animal with his recent behavior, so do i stop socializing him and keep him confined to the house aside from isolated walks, or will that make it worse? i've owned a doberman before, and i don't recall ever having this issue.
 

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how much training does he get daily? he sounds bored. train daily, increase duration of training, add in new things, and make it fun! mental stimulation is a great killer of boredom. :)

also, if you don't already do this with him, teach him the "find it!" game. start easy - hide something, let him watch you hide it, tell him to find it. increase difficulty. this gets us through bad weather days.

the possibly aggressive behavior is concerning, though, and something i'd consider discussing with a trainer or behaviorist. hopefully others will have more suggestions for you.

also, if this is a recent thing, i'd consider getting a full blood panel done, just to be on the safe side.
 

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obedience,teach some tricks, play fetch time out in a crate once in awhile look up NILF dog training to teach some manners you can google it teach " Drop It" & " Leave It" can really help the whole life of the dog. Might give the dog some Bach's Rescue Remedy and usually some one says a drink or two for the owner doesn't hurt that is a ha,ha. Good luck you are not alone we all have been in your shoes.
 

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I will definitely teach him the "find it" game! He does work with me daily on training. However, I am currently just trying to reinforce everything he has already learned and I think he'd enjoy some new things in there. He knows sit, leave it, watch me, shake, and a very enthusiastic bow! His stay, down, and drop it are not reliable yet. Really, none of the tricks are reliable when he is excited, i.e. on an outing of any sort.

I love the "stop that" spray, but I go through it like water and if it's not in my hand and ready to go the second he acts up it's not effective. I've also tried spray bottles, but I think he's getting use to it now (my sister sprayed him last night and he started trying to catch the water in his mouth).

I will definitely look into the NILF training and Rescue Remedy. And LOL, a glass of red wine at night has been my sanity sometimes!

He really enjoyed his training and I know he'd want to do more. I just don't want him to hurt another dog in there. Maybe I'll give private training a whirl before I bring him in with other dogs again.

Have either of you tried any of the dog puzzles for your dogs? He's lucky he's so darn handsome!!!
 

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Bellalea
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Don't worry your not the only one who has delt with this type of behavior. Many of us are currently dealing with this. Thumbs up to noticing a change in behavior and seeking advice. This may be just simple "doberteen" as you call it. However it could be a bit of reactivity.

My dog started out just barking at dogs on our walks. We thought nothing of it, just thought he wanted to say hi. Then he started freaking out when he saw another dog. Barking, growling, lunging. Then over time it was toward strangers and esp. Children. I wish I would have been more aware of the situation when the signs first started. We now are currently working with a trainer and are working to adjust his behavior. I take his favorite treat (string cheese) we sit at the window and watch dogs and people walk by. We use the "look at that" game. Where when he looks at one of his triggers I say yes (or you can use a clicker) and then he gets a treat. It has helped a lot and now he looks to be for treats instead of barking at the dogs or people.

Some books that could be helpful:
"Control Unleashed" by: Leslie McDevitt

"BAT ( behavior adjustment training)" by: Grisha Stwart

And there are soooooo many others but those two have been the most helpful for me. If you have any more question and need anything please private message me and I would be more than happy to discuss this with you. Best of luck!


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This dog has bitten a child?

The behaviors you describe are not normal, not bored or understimulated or untrained or "doberteen" behaviors.

You need a board certified veterinary behaviorist. Now. Don't pass go. No doing this on your own. This is serious and you need a professional. You're lucky there are no lawyers involved. Find all board certified veterinary behaviorists here: Find a Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist « ACVB
 

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I think it said he had bitten a little girl puppy. Not a little girl child.

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Ah, I read little girl.

Either way, this dog seems to be growling and lunging at a whole lot of people. I'd still get a professional involved right away.
 

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Curious how much free running time he gets, how 'intensive' is your training, and did it involve any formal obedience which builds upon basics and teaches focus. I agree with previous post, sounds like he's bored and without structure or boundaries is starting to get himself in trouble, and could land him in hot water if not addressed asap.

Could you please explain the purpose of the spray you're using? You indicate you're going through it like it's water...which suggests it's not water? Sounds like wasted $ to me and probably confuses your pup. Working with a professional trainer will help you find better techniques to avoid undesirable behavior than spraying your pup.
 

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Thanks for all the input! No, he has not bitten any people. I just don't want it to escalate to that and want to nip it before it does. As far as his training, he has only done six weeks of basic obedience. I signed him up for additional classes last night, so I'm really hoping that helps him get back on track.

Free running only happens sometimes. I am definitely not comfortable taking him to a dog park now, and the parks here have a lot of restrictions in the ball fields. Probably about once a week my dad will take him to a different park and shuts the gates to a ball field to let him off his leash to play fetch (until the park ranger comes over). He does get to run freely in the backyard of course, but it's not huge open space. Other than that it's just walks on the leash.

The thing is, I don't expect him to act like a perfectly behaved adult dog while he is still so young. I knew going into this that he was going to chew things up and dig and so on (though I do correct that behavior). I do expect him to be making progress toward being a well behaved adult dog though. The thing that is not tolerable, even in puppy hood, is aggression. If he was little it wouldn't be such a big deal, but he is big and powerful and could cause serious harm.

Lisalea, that is a fantastic idea! I kept treats with me this morning while driving to get coffee, and he only barked once. Considering I drove through two school zones and very busy college campus area that is actually amazing!!! I would see him start to tense his body and ears perk up in preparation and I'd open the bag before a peep got out and he refocused on me and the goodies. I have a fairly active neighborhood so I will work with him in the window as well.

I have no idea where this has come from. I had a reputable breeder and met his parents and adult brother. All of them were wonderful and not a hint of aggression or hesitation in letting them loose on me by the breeder. They were extremely friendly and social. To my knowledge he has never had a frightening encounter with a person. All of his encounters with dogs have been normal as well. There was only one time about a month and a half ago that I was walking him and someone's dog was loose and ran up to us very dominantly and I'm sure Atticus could sense my anxiety. Atticus just stood there but also seemed uneasy with the other dog. It was another male dog about his size and luckily the owner ran out and grabbed him before anything happened.

Also, my neighbor has two smaller/medium dogs that try to fence fight with Atticus. It's a chain link fence between us. Atticus has always brought his toys over to show them and does puppy pounces and gets his front legs low with his butt up and barks to get them to play. However, they are not fans of him! I've noticed that when hes showing off his toys or jumping around they have their teeth showing and growling at him. Is he learning this from them? Yesterday I brought treats outside also in an attempt to keep him from them all together. They would get started and then I'd call him over to me and do some training to distract him from their barking. It did work for the most part. He seemed much more interested in doing tricks than playing with them.

I had him neutered in late February, and I wonder if something happened with another dog there that I wasn't notified of.

The spray I was using comes in an orange can and makes a loud noise and releases a calming scent. I bought it to correct the jumping mainly. The jumping has improved drastically! I didn't have this spray with me on either occurrence. My dad has never carried it so I know he didn't have it when Atticus snapped at the puppy.

I have been spending hours reading on this, and everything is so conflicting it's just so confusing. Every trainer has different methods, and I don't know what's the most effective method. I personally don't want a prong collar or shock collar on him, but if the positive reinforcement training doesn't work then what choice do I have? I will do that if that's what is truly best for him and keeping him and others out of harms way.
 

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Fence fighting is accompanied by huge adrenalin dumps and can really cause the dog to be "over-threshold" with stress hormones. This can be affecting his interactions in the rest of his life. Any way that you can put up wooden fence on your side? There will be no good that comes from that situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I can certainly look into doing that. I think there would be a lot less unspoken tension between she and I if I did that, not to mention the benefit it would have for the dogs. I always told Atticus that those dogs are just jealous because he's much more attractive! :p

 

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this is not nearly as big a problem as some are making it out to be. Forget this certified behavior person nonsense. Find a good trainer in your area (one that DOES use corrections when needed, none of this purely positive BS) and take beginner, intermediate and advanced classes, whether private or group. Dobermans are smart, you need to be smarter and dog training is more for us than the dog. This will teach him that he does nothing without your consent. You dictate almost every move he makes. Everything a dog does, it does because WE allow it to. Your dog is growing up, and being a smart breed it will start to want to do what it wants, this cannot be allowed. So as soon as you KNOW he KNOWS what is expected (learned through training) you can correct him when he engages in behaviors that arent appropriate. There are way too many docile, soft dobermans who can learn through positive only type training. But luckily there are still some strong, confident dogs out there who need a strong hand. But always remember, NEVER correct a dog if you arent positive he knows what he is doing wrong. Well, except for something like running into a road after a car..
 

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OP, for the sake of you, your dog, and any potential third party...do NOT take this advice. Dangerous advice IMO. This could make your situation worse.


this is not nearly as big a problem as some are making it out to be. Forget this certified behavior person nonsense. Find a good trainer in your area (one that DOES use corrections when needed, none of this purely positive BS) and take beginner, intermediate and advanced classes, whether private or group. Dobermans are smart, you need to be smarter and dog training is more for us than the dog. This will teach him that he does nothing without your consent. You dictate almost every move he makes. Everything a dog does, it does because WE allow it to. Your dog is growing up, and being a smart breed it will start to want to do what it wants, this cannot be allowed. So as soon as you KNOW he KNOWS what is expected (learned through training) you can correct him when he engages in behaviors that arent appropriate. There are way too many docile, soft dobermans who can learn through positive only type training. But luckily there are still some strong, confident dogs out there who need a strong hand. But always remember, NEVER correct a dog if you arent positive he knows what he is doing wrong. Well, except for something like running into a road after a car..
 

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REALLY? so educating a dog on how it is supposed to behave is going to make a disobedient, young adult dog worse?... oh boy, time to delete my profile again.. you people are nuts!
 

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REALLY? so educating a dog on how it is supposed to behave is going to make a disobedient, young adult dog worse?... oh boy, time to delete my profile again.. you people are nuts!
No. But by physically forcing a potentially insecure dog into submission can create a reactive dog who is only 'obeying' out of fear. Is that the kind of dog you want around children? I wouldn't.
 

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this is not nearly as big a problem as some are making it out to be. Forget this certified behavior person nonsense. Find a good trainer in your area (one that DOES use corrections when needed, none of this purely positive BS) and take beginner, intermediate and advanced classes, whether private or group. Dobermans are smart, you need to be smarter and dog training is more for us than the dog. This will teach him that he does nothing without your consent. You dictate almost every move he makes. Everything a dog does, it does because WE allow it to. Your dog is growing up, and being a smart breed it will start to want to do what it wants, this cannot be allowed. So as soon as you KNOW he KNOWS what is expected (learned through training) you can correct him when he engages in behaviors that arent appropriate. There are way too many docile, soft dobermans who can learn through positive only type training. But luckily there are still some strong, confident dogs out there who need a strong hand. But always remember, NEVER correct a dog if you arent positive he knows what he is doing wrong. Well, except for something like running into a road after a car..
I disagree with the bolded above, why would a confident dog need a strong hand? My dog is quite confident, and sees no hand:confused:
 

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this is not nearly as big a problem as some are making it out to be. Forget this certified behavior person nonsense. Find a good trainer in your area (one that DOES use corrections when needed, none of this purely positive BS) and take beginner, intermediate and advanced classes, whether private or group. Dobermans are smart, you need to be smarter and dog training is more for us than the dog. This will teach him that he does nothing without your consent. You dictate almost every move he makes. Everything a dog does, it does because WE allow it to. Your dog is growing up, and being a smart breed it will start to want to do what it wants, this cannot be allowed. So as soon as you KNOW he KNOWS what is expected (learned through training) you can correct him when he engages in behaviors that arent appropriate. There are way too many docile, soft dobermans who can learn through positive only type training. But luckily there are still some strong, confident dogs out there who need a strong hand. But always remember, NEVER correct a dog if you arent positive he knows what he is doing wrong. Well, except for something like running into a road after a car..
EEKGADS, not again. No one suggested purely positive. And there is really no need to use corrections if you can train by telling the dog want you want it to do. Consequences are necessary, not corrections.

I would not correct a growling dog for growling. He may then stop giving any warning signs.
 
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