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Kaiser just turned 4 months this week, so I know he's still a young puppy, but we're concerned about how aggressive he seems.

We are first-time dog owners so everything is ‎new to us but his behaviour doesn't seem to strike us as normal puppy behaviour.

We were finally able to stop his play nipping by using a spray bottle - nothing else worked.

He's very affectionate but does often get too rough quickly (kisses sometimes turn to nips). He's normally fine in big crowds but if we aren't in a crowd, he barks and growls nonstop at people passing by (e.g. Driving by in the car, walking on the sidewalk, people walking past the house, etc.)‎ If we try to get him to stop barking, he snaps at us and will try to bite.

He often will get carried away during playtime and try to nip/bite, will nip/bite at our legs if we're running (either playing or trying to jog while walking him) and growls and bites hard if we ever try to take something out of his mouth (if he's picked up something he shouldn't eat - he'll never drop it on command). Even if we're just laying down relaxing, sometimes he'll try to get his teeth on us!

Any advice? He's growing really quickly (45 lbs this week) so we're starting to get worried with how powerful he's becoming!

Thanks in advance!‎
 

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have you worked with a trainer? squirt bottles shouldn't be necessary for a nippy puppy. :\
 

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How to train your puppy not to bite - YouTube

Training with Positive Reinforcement on Pinterest

It's highly doubtful that your puppy is aggressive! Please consult with your breeder, check your local kennel club for puppy classes, and get ready to knuckle down and learn all you can about puppy training. You wouldn't try to fly an airplane without learning how and trying to train a Doberman is sort of like that. :D

Seriously, many first-time puppy owners are overwhelmed with puppy training because it is not an intuitive thing. Luckily there are great resources and I've given you two great sources above. I also recommend that you immediately get Susan Garrett's DVD entitled "Crate Games". It's an excellent set of little five-minute games that you play with your puppy which teach overall impulse control.

Also the first link above is a direct way to address the puppy biting immediately. Study The video a number of times before you try it with your puppy. Practice on another human before you practice with the puppy! No kidding, this will keep you from confusing the puppy with clumsy technique. Hunker down and invest some time and energy in learning how to train. It is pretty exciting when you get into it. This is the commitment you owe your puppy and yourself. Good luck and please keep us posted!
 

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Good News :)

You don't have an aggression problem, you have a puppy ... a Doberman at that. Be the leader he needs and all will be well in short order. Congrats and enjoy the process. I'll also add that it's good you're seeking help; too often people assume the pup will *outgrow* undesirable behaviors. What actually happens, is they become more deeply ingrained. You're likely going to get a lot of great advice in this thread, be sure to follow it.
 

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Yes! I would double up on the advise of falnfenix, especially being that you are first-time dog owners (yikes!). However, not to downplay the urgency in your concern, but much of what you've described regarding his nipping and trying his teeth on you, basically his teething, is quite normal and is actually a transient state, not in an engineering term but rather in terms of it being a behavioural state of passing that will eventually phase out as he finally gets his adult teeth.

That said, what helped us, which essentially helped Shadow, was an endless supply of small (fist-sized) squeaky toys made of some rubbery material. If you choose to get him some, which I highly advise, be weary of the safety of the material its made from (read the package etc), AND, when (not if) the toy starts coming apart in whatever way, even if it's just a small hole or crack, discard it right away but do it discretely. The way to do that is to get a new one from your stash in which you already have and should keep stocked up, and introduce the new one to him by coaxing his attention to it - the new one - while discretely removing and discarding the other. I would go as far as putting the one he just destroyed outside in the recycling bin (or garbage). I stress this point because it has happened once that our pup Shadow had caught the residual scent and "sniffed" the old one out from our holding bin we keep inside. Yep, he just snuck it from under our eyes only to find him playing with it a few hours later as he was once again pouncing on it while the new one was right beside him. Anyhow, point is, be vigilant about not letting him play with a toy that is no longer fit for him to play with... for his own safety and your peace of mind.
Another thing you should know, and be very much aware of as well as be ready and willing to do, as this definitely helped Shadow with his energy level as with helping him to no end in achieving a relative level of calm-ness, was to exercise him every day without fault. Take note: Especially at your dobe's age, I suggest at least 1hr to 1 1/2 hrs a day as that is what it took with Shadow. We would do 1/2hr to 45 min in the morning and the rest in the evening after supper.

Shadow loved running/chasing after either a softball or a soccer ball. My wife and I would go to the nearest soccer field (it can be any field for that matter that has enough field space) and have Shadow chase it across the field (width-wise). I would throw or kick the ball to my wife just fast enough so that he couldn't get to it in time while she would immediately pick it up or kick it back to me at essentially the same rate, and we would do this for about 5-6 cycles. He would run back and forth with vigor until he got his exercise and used up all of his frantic energy.
Now I can see in my minds eye that some may cringe and/or may not agree with the thought of this type of play. PLEASE all that may wish to respectfully give their opinion on this, do know that we did let him/Shadow "win" every 5 or 6 cycles of back and forth play; we would purposefully let him catch the ball, as this is equally important. He would run away with it but we knew it wasn't for very long as he would usually drop it and look for his water bowl. Anyhow, he ABSOLUTELY enjoyed the game and couldn't wait to get to the park, so much so that he would whine and sing the typical melodic dobe hymn when we were a few streets away from the park and then he would realize that "that" is where we were heading. Also, as mentioned we ALWAY had all the water he needed as we would lay out his ss water bowl on the field's sideline. If you are to do this, or any sort of game you see fit for him to get his energy expenditure, I also suggest to bring viable treats so that when you do call on him to come to you and/or to redirect his attention etc, as required, be ready with treats to reward and reinforce the good behaviour; I would keep them in a ziplock of sorts to limit the scent of them, otherwise Shadow would be distracted by their scent.

Those are just a few things that successfully worked for us. As I'm sure you know, aggression has to be dealt with as early as possible. But generally, first-time puppy/dog owners (at times even experienced ones) seldom know the proper way on how to deal with this and curtail it; it's certainly NOT by being aggressive back towards him, never ever. So this is why I think you should highly consider a dog trainer whom has many years of established experience dealing with various issues of aggression, where he/she can teach/train you, not your dog, the proper techniques. Remind yourself that your pup is extremely intelligent, more so than the average pup, but as well, he is most probably hypersensitive as they usually are and I believe it goes hand-in-hand with their high intelligence; so he will learn good, or bad, commands very quickly.

Lastly, I believe this cannot be overstated enough, be patient, be understanding of your pups energy needs, be firm with tact and gentleness, and be especially consistent with all of that and all that you ask of him.

I am sure that I've overlooked some other important points that others can/will chime in, but nonetheless, I was simply speaking from our experience in recollection as I just wrote this since you asked for advice. So my advice like the post before, do get a trainer to help you, your family and mostly your pup. I believe you will reap the rewards of a beautiful loyal protector of your family, and a friend that will always be there for you, that is for his entire life. :)
 

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Your puppy is not being aggressive - he is just being a puppy. You need to work with a trainer (a good one) to show you how to take control. A spray bottle is not the answer. I always would make sure my puppy had a leash and collar on in the house with me so I could make whatever corrections were needed. Its very important you have someone show you the right corrections to be making though.
Good luck
 

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Doberman puppies are not advised for first time dog owners because they are a difficult time intensive breed to raise and the will get on your very last nerve. And yet as difficult as they can be, they are also very sensitive and their whole personality and outlook on life can be easily ruined by mistreatment. You always want to use positive reinforcement with a doberman puppy. They thrive on positive reinforcement.

I strongly advise you to purchase this book and to use it. The Power of Positive Dog Training (Howell reference books):Amazon:Books

Don't allow a trainer to manhandle your pup, use chokers or electric shock collars. Ask before you sign on with a trainer what training method they follow and only sign up with positive reinforcement.

You need to train your puppy to swap things you don't want him to have for a high value treat. High value treat=the bestest tastiest treat you can lay your hands on. String cheese, oven dried chicken liver pieces or hearts...something very, very tasty.

Exercise is extremely important for a doberman like said by Shadowpatch. Don't do heavy exercise either an hour before or after feeding because of bloat risk. A tired puppy is a good puppy and much less likely to get into things they shouldn't.

Please get the book as it covers so much that your doberman and you need to learn. Kikopup on youtube also has some good training help.

Another book that will help you is here. It will help you understand what your pup is trying to communicate to you.

On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals:Amazon:Books
 

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I strongly advise you to purchase this book and to use it. The Power of Positive Dog Training (Howell reference books):Amazon:Books
If you buy any book, please get the one above. Reading it, along with the positive dog training classes at Petco helped us so much. We learned how to find what motivates our dog (treats and praise) and the rest was just figuring out how to get across to her what we were asking but man, once we got it and she got it, life got easier for all of us.
 

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Do not take your puppy running until after he is 18 months old that is when their growth plates in their joints close. Get a trick book teach tricks go to puppy kindergarten classes, obedience classes where you both go together you stay with the pup. They usually have Dog Training classes for obedience in most towns ask your vet, groomer, see if they have a kennel club might ask them. The obedience classes usually a for a hour once a week they send you home with home work you must do or you will get behind. You only need to train about 10-20 minutes a day any longer your pup will get board. That is where the Trick book comes in teach a trick along with the obedience so they will not get board. Try to teach "Drop It'' and " Leave It" since you are new to puppies & dogs you can use the trade game to teach those two commands tiny bits of hot dog , chicken, something they are not use to getting they will want to trade for the tiny bites of good food. You can teach sit by holding a tiny bit of food over the heads take you hand with the food go past the nose head goes up butt goes down into a sit. Little tricks like that help teach your pup make training fun, make yourself the fun-est person around run backwards call your pup they will learn come because you are fun. I have had dogs for about 55 years Doberman breed is by far the roughest playing pup I have dealt with being nippy is just part of being a Doberman pup. They have nick names Dober-shark,Dober- goat so crate are really good. Good Luck
 

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Do not take your puppy running until after he is 18 months old that is when their growth plates in their joints close.

Given this statement relative to my own personal example(s) and experience, should you have directed it at that, I realize that perhaps my point was not all that clear since, admittedly ironic, I foolishly assumed that commonsensical assumptions would have prevailed regarding my suggestion(s) of "play/running/exercise". So if I did lack the required clarity to define the meaning of the play exercising/running my wife and I would engage in with our dobe (post thread#5) and you perhaps got the impression that I was suggesting to take the pup out for jogs or runs, I apologize for that and I'd like to further clarify.

First off to all and specifically the OP, I was not implying nor was I suggesting going for a run/jog with your pup at such young age, so please do not do that. Equally, in response to the OP and the OP's situation, I do make the assumption that no one on here meant that in any way either. However it is possible that I'm incorrect, but I'm speaking for myself and others can perfectly choose to respond otherwise.
Even though, different interpretations do exist therefore my examples/suggestion etc may have been "murky" or could've been misconstrued. So, to be clear-er, the point in my post that I was emphasizing was the energy level of dobe pups (up to 2 years of age and sometimes beyond), and that contending with the pups energy, albeit in a most creative way to not be harmful, is what will most probably alleviate much of the grief the OP was experiencing, as this should also help in the trust and bonding that needs to happen.

Secondly, the "play-exercise" with Shadow progressively started as active play in our yard when he was 3 or 4 months old. Prior to this, and for the remainder of his life, we took him out for walks several times a day, naturally, starting with short distances etc; which I'll assume some level of common sense in all owners and not have to define, and detail every phase. Even though, it goes without saying though I still sadly see this happen... what I feel is most important regarding walking a young pup, when your pup stops and refuses to go forward DON'T DRAG THE PUP!!! Don't force him or her in any way, pick-em up and carry him/her. I would safely presume that everyone on here knows better than to do this. Anyhow, walk with your dog every day, even if only in your yard... this is applicable and effective with ANY dog, and so this equally counts for exercise; + every walk can be a training opportunity, practicing proper commands you've learnt (hopefully in puppy training and/or with a book) applying the subsequent sage principles suggested by Patches Mom, as with what everyone else has suggested in terms of obedience training with a trainer.

Thirdly, I'd like to highly emphasize and reiterate the success we had earlier in Shadow's development of self play especially when he was younger, whether it is agreed upon or not, with those rubbery squeaky toys from the petshop that Shadow would incessantly jump on, pounce, and throw about the house for hours on end. It worked very well for us as it would get some of his compulsive puppy energy out.

Please do understand, as I bring caution to the over exuberance of some who may have the tendency to believe more is better, as it is generally not true, especially in what I'm discussing herein... that you need to astutely "read" your pups energy level during play-exercise at all times, as we did, and to not push him in ANY way beyond his energy level. There are many signs to look out for which, for me, seem evident, but nonetheless look for him drifting his attention after a while during vigorous play (which may also mean that he/she needs to "go"), either running off in a completely different direction seeking a break from play and/or seeking water. Inside our home, after Shadow had indicated enough play on his own, he would head off to lay down on our tile flooring, and not the carpet because it was cooler for his body, or sometimes he'd head off for his water bowl then the tile floor, or sometimes he'd jump up on his couch, and then I knew he was good for a while. Outside, when he had enough, he would look for shading under a tree etc, but I'm sure you'll become familiar with the signs he gives off.

Lastly, when we did PROGRESSIVELY increase his "play-exercise" to the stated soccer field - again, I reiterate that this, in and of itself, was equally progressive and completely directed by his own accord and energy level - in my recollection, he was just over 7 months old, so he was older than your pup, when we started this type of play. Even if he's younger, you can still bring him to a field and get him to run around after something for a little bit at a time, like a ball or a toy he likes (be creative), just stop when he shows tiredness, sit beside him and bond with him... oh, but he will still "nip" even when he's beat, just a little less though.
When we first started this type of play, we did it for about a few minutes at a time and then it progressed to longer, but at his pace. It actually started by me kicking a soccer ball around, as I enjoy playing soccer. This type of play naturally got him interested in the ball, and I would play with him trying to "deak" him out, dribbling the ball with and between my feet and trying to run past him... So, please understand that there was no running or jogging him on a leash involved, nor do I condone this, or, have I ever remotely suggested you go running with your pup at his age. That said, when Shadow was about 14 months, I started going for short 10 min slow paced jogs with him and subsequently longer... that is, of course, until my vet diagnosed his DCM, and naturally I stopped bringing him for jogs, or any form of exercise that would excite him.

At any rate, please, Patches Mom, as I'll assume you strictly meant not to jog/run until AFTER he/she is past 1.5 years of age, could you point me, via pm, to that particular reference and/or link stating this since I'd really like to have more details on the findings. Did it come from an orthopedic vet/medical paper of sorts? If so, please do send me the link, should you not mind.

Thank you for your input as it enticed me to clearly specify what I was, and was not, suggesting.
 

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In addition to the book recommendations above, this is one of the best "puppy raising" books I've read. It's really worth picking up. It also has some basic puppy care advice. I got it as a gift from one of my trainers when I got Richter, and I highly, highly recommend it. Puppy Start Right It will help you with a ton of basic puppy training, including biting, and it will help you know what is "normal" for puppies at each stage of development.
 
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Hey Shadowpatch,

Not Patches Mom but just by way of some general information that might be of interest to anyone following this thread--I offer the following.

I don't have any specific links about the common recommendation that 'forced" exercise (forced is described as being exercise on leash where stopping to lie down, roll in the grass, speed up, slow down etc are not at the dogs choice but rather that of the owner) be curtailed--it often involves jogging or biking several miles in the name of providing adequate exercise for young dogs.

The parameter of "older than 18 months" comes from a group of studies by vet orthopedists or orthopedic surgeons (and you can Google to find such studies). Most dogs growth plates have closed by 18 months but prior to that time extensive and regimented exercise can and sometimes does damage the growth plates of young growing puppies. Males, because of their larger size and slower maturation are more at risk for damage like this than bitches.
 

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Hey OP,

Firstly congratulations on becoming a dober parent. Having very recently gone through the experience myself from tiny puppy to juvenile dobe I know your pain. You are in for some amazing times ahead, some days you will feel like you are making progress and that all will be ok, other times you will want to shut yourself in a dark room and hide from your incredibly annoying puppy!! Lol! My girl is 15 months now and over the last year + myself and my doberdaddy have gone through some tough times, some hilarious times, some emotional times...but only 2 weeks ago we realised that out little bugger of a puppy hadn't shredded anything or stolen anything or generally been a brat for at least a few months now. I'm making the journey sound horrible, it isn't, but take each day as it comes and the relief will come without you even knowing it. Iv waffled enough...back to your post:

Take your puppy to a good positive re-enforcement dog trainer who will teach YOU and the puppy new things,
Teach the puppy some basic commands, 'leave it' being incredibly important in cases like you describe when the puppy is picking up things it shouldn't have,
Wear the puppy out with short bursts of training or games,
Give plenty of exercise as dobes need physical and mental exercise to wear them out,
Learn to speak dog, learn the calming/stress signals our fur kids make, and the best way to deal with the particular signal when they make it. All dogs talk to us but some of us don't educate ourselves enough to understand that they are trying to tell us something,
Be kind yet firm with your dobe, they need this as they can be pushy little divas!

I think mainly the point is to educate yourselves so you can educate your puppy, as a first time dog owner you have chosen a notoriously tricky breed to start off with which is why they aren't generally recommended to first time dog owners. All in all I don't think for a second your puppy is aggressive I think he is a puppy.

I'm sorry if I have made this truly amazing breed sound horrific, they aren't and I would go through it all again in a heartbeat. My girl is perfect now and so, so well behaved. If you are willing to put in some time and effort you and your boy will surely make it out unscathed.
 

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A young dog can even be "coerced" on their own to overdo running/exercise say with too much chuck it ball on a field.

I was running my dogs butt off on a field regularly 30-40 minutes w/a chuckit around 15 months before getting the warning not to do that until he's older. Until then I'd assumed "forced" meant biking or jogging & "roadworking".
It may or may not have affected his back toes along w/a food change. Really he'd run until he dropped chasing that thing if I let him.

Recreational running at their own pace is fine, just not coerced in any way. It's just not worth the risk.
 

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I just put that out there just in case no one was aware of it I was not saying anyone was doing it. It is hard to know on a forum what people know and do not know so it was a reminder that is all.
 

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I just put that out there just in case no one was aware of it I was not saying anyone was doing it. It is hard to know on a forum what people know and do not know so it was a reminder that is all.
Oh I completely agree, and much of what is advised/shared is subject to interpretation relative to each contextual mindset of the "reader", I feel, at the moment the posted message is being read.

I believe that defining the degree of required exercise, if you kindly allow me to put it that way, at the evolving stages everyone's puppy goes through - regarding every breeds' growth-plates - is a very important point that needs to be "put out there" as you say, so I do appreciate that it has been put out there.

I'd go as far as say that it should be discussed on this forum, if not done so already, however in a different thread to avoid hijacking this one any further, as I bear guilt of that realization; even though to a degree I feel it has been applicable to this thread as advice offered and points defined and redefined for context.

To address my desire for more clarification on the subject, I have since done a few hours of research on growth-plates (Epiphyseal Plates) in dogs, cats as with humans that I'd like to share as a point of interest. I'm endlessly curious... I can't help turning over every stone that peaks my interest, giving reason to my life purpose of melding empirical and tangible data.

That said, in an effort to remain respectful of the purpose of this thread, I've started another thread that is linked below so to limit/end my hijacking of this one:eek:

http://www.dobermantalk.com/doberma...vity-vs-growth-plate-closure.html#post2915634
 

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I disagree with most of these responses (and the nonscolant attitudes behind them) which seem to blame the entire issue on your lack of knowledge, and normalize the bad behavior of your puppy.

No dog should be barking, snarling and biting you constantly----no matter the age.

This is the stage in the dog's life where you have to form a healthy relationship of mutual respect---you can't allow your pet to run your household.

Dobermans are large, powerful dogs that cannot be allowed to be treated like kittens or birds. If they are unmanageable, it can become a serious issue (and not just for you and your family).

Get some help. Find a trainer that can help you understand how to get control of your Doberman NOW, or he will have control over you and your family later.
 

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I have a pup the same age, I am new to dobermans also, lots of great advice here, trust me, I've asked a lot of questions and get great answers. What I can say since we are in the same boat is to remember your pup is still a baby. they mouth and want to bite everything, and hands are hard for them to resist, my dog still likes to lightly mouth and bite my hands but the pressure of the bite is not painful, they do have sharp teeth. what's helped me with this, is to say ouch and then ignore the pup for a while, repeat this, mine seems to understand and the pressure is almost nil, next step is no more teeth on human skin but shes still a baby. The jumping at play time, what's slowly working for me is I stop the game and leave for a few mins, come back and try again, she jumps again, I turn my back and stop the game, ignore her. I just built a crate, now when she does this I put her in it for 5 mins when she jumps on me, then let her out and try again. I read that if you leave them in the crate for more then 5 mins they forget why their in there.So it's a great training tool. I am a rookie so if others will chime in, I am getting results. The being possessive about her toys, maybe don't take it but replace it with another. This is a great site with a lot of very helpful people, I know your frustration, hang in there and be open to some helpful advice. People here have been so patient and helpful to me.
 
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