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Hi,

My Doberman seems to have an excellent temperament. When we got him he was very friendly and still is. He doesn’t even bark at strangers yet and he is 10 months old. I can take his food away from him, clean his paws e.t.c and he lets me. He is fairly obedient, he will sit, stay, come, down and wait for a command before he eats. Out of the home he is a lot less obedient but does listen on occasion.

However recently there have been a few occasions where he has barked at me. He is only allowed downstairs and he tries to come upstairs but we never let him. A few weeks ago my sister told him off for comming upstairs and he growled at her then began to bark. He had never done this previously. She walked away as she was a little shocked. (I dont think she should have done this).

Then he did the same to me. I am not sure if he growled but he began to bark at me. I shouted at him and he continued. Then I went up to him and he began to go to the floor and come up and did that a few times. (He does that when he plays sometimes).
He did the same again just today and I just called in my brother and he stopped (I think this is because he was excited to see my brother).

He did the same again to me when I was spraying dog deodorant on him. I can normally put dog deodorant on him with no problems, however he began to bark at me when I did so this time. He was actually barking more so at the deodorant bottle. He kept on barking, going down and running near me a bit, then coming back and barking. He even did like a pretend bite on the bottle (just opened and closed his mouth near the bottle).

Should I be worried? If he barks at me again what should I do? I don’t want any aggressive behaviour towards me or my family from him. I would appreciate any help.
 

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manj said:
However recently there have been a few occasions where he has barked at me. He is only allowed downstairs and he tries to come upstairs but we never let him.
Then I went up to him and he began to go to the floor and come up and did that a few times. (He does that when he plays sometimes).
He did the same again to me when I was spraying dog deodorant on him. I can normally put dog deodorant on him with no problems, however he began to bark at me when I did so this time. He was actually barking more so at the deodorant bottle. He kept on barking, going down and running near me a bit, then coming back and barking. He even did like a pretend bite on the bottle (just opened and closed his mouth near the bottle).
Hi and welcome, is this your first dog?

The going up and down on the floor with their front paws and sticking their butt up in the air is an invitation to play. I call them play bows, all they mean is "play with me", give me some attention.
It is his way of telling you he wants to play and is feeling goofy. My older puppy still play bows ALL OF THE TIME. You say her nick-name many times, she play bows. You jump at her in a play type fashion, she play bows over and over and zoomies around. We have fun with the play bows with our dogs. They play bow each other too.

Your dog may look grown but he is still very much a puppy, and he will play mouth things maybe sometimes and will play bow a lot still. Most all dogs play bow.
When mine gets very excited (even adults will do this) they sometimes mouth on toys and just mouth in excitement on something nearby, like a toy, one of mine even picks up things and carries them in excitement, when he wants to play he will shake them. It is not aggression. Just yesterday out of the blue we were playing with our youngest, an older puppy, and she lightly mouthed the corner of the table really quick. She is not destructive and has never done that before, she is just a puppy and sometimes they will try things when really excited (we were playing fetch and I wasn't throwing it fast enough so she was doing zoomies and getting way excited, which I was encouraging too I must admit, just having fun).

The barking is a way to express themselves. Some are mouthier than others when it comes to "barking". Some even seem to talk. Some can become pushy with barking, demanding we allow them to do things, such as feed them quicker, play with them more, etc.
Many dogs bark a lot in play. Some bark to hear their voice. Some bark when not sure of things. Some bark b/c the other dogs are barking. Some bark b/c they hear something and want to alert. The barking is their voice, it could mean a lot of things, when coupled with a play bow, it usually means let's play or I am happy. You said he was easily distracted, maybe he just wanted some attention (good or bad - attention is attention). And growls can also mean different things based on the pitch, some are like talking too. It really depends.

I can't say for sure what your situation is or isn't, since I haven't seen the puppy or you and your family and the way the interactions are going but I would imagine you don't have to worry about this being aggression.
Some people are worried about Dobe puppies for doing normal puppy behaviors, b/c the Dobe is sometimes given a bad rep. Not saying this is the case here though at all though, just something I have noticed a few times.

Do you do any training with him? How much exercise has he been getting?
 

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welcome! you've already gotten some good advice, and i dont think it is is aggression necessarily either. It sounds more like play, especially at 10 monthes, hes still quite a goof. How come you keep him downstairs? he probably feels frusterated cuz he wants to be with you and cannot. Tell us a little more about how much training and excersize he gets.
 

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bleh60 said:
How come you keep him downstairs? he probably feels frusterated cuz he wants to be with you and cannot.
I agree. It sounds like it is going to start becoming a game (if it hasn't already), he wants to come up those stairs for sure :)
 

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Welcome. I agree with what was posted. It all sounds like a 10 month old puppy playing. Socialize, socialize, socilaize. That is the key to a well brought up puppy of any breed. Take him to obedience classes and train him at home. They are very smart and need something to challenge them mentally. And don't forget the fun games in the yard to play to burn off some energy with walks. Good luck and just have fun!
 

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Tamora is 10 months old and I agree with the others, it sounds like play. Can you get in an obedience class? It will do wonders for the both of you.
 

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My dobes bark at me for everything. Its not in a mean way...they bark like they are "talking to me"

I think the dog is just playing, trying to initiate some kind of "game" with you...but it is hard to say without seeing it.
 

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Agreed here too, Orson will bark to go out, be fed, play, sass me when I am not paying attention, and the list goes on. As others have said, if we don't see it we can't say for sure, but the 'bowing' or bending down thing is Always a 'frisky play time' manuver with young and sometimes older dogs.
 

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It could be the dog is trying to play. It could be this is the beginning of some effort to arrange things the way the dog wants, the start of some attempt to dominate the situation and the owner. If the latter is what's happening, this situation *could* escalate to some aggression unless it's nipped in the bud.

I don't think anyone could say for sure without actually seeing the situation and the relationship the dog has with the family members.

Regardless, a good obedience class never does any harm, and in most situations will do a whole lot of good. It's the best way I know of for an owner to learn how to communicate with their dog and get the relationship right.
 

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I have to agree if the dog is doing the bow and barking then he is just trying to play. You must also understand that dobermans need to be with their families. If your family is upstairs and he is not allowed in this area this could lead to bad behavior, i.e chewing on things that he should not be chewing on. I also believe that obedience classes work wonders. They teach the dog to respect you and understand that there expectations of their behaviour. Another key thing is excersice. Even though dobermans thrive as inside dogs this does not mean that they do not require TONS of exercise. Taking your dog on a daily walk with also help establish who the leader of the pack is and get him his daily exercise. Good luck and let us know how things go.
 

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Sounds like a "communication"bark to me also,Mischa is a constant "talker" you will know the difference between the barks and growls when he challenges a stranger or something and means it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks he did this again last night

Hi,

He did the same thing again last night. During the day he is either outdoors or in my kitchen if the weather is bad. In the evenings he is in the kitchen and when we cook food we tell him "out" meaning go into the utility room. The utility is joined to the kitchen and the door left open so he is still with us and can see us however he is just a few steps away. We bring him into the hallway half hour before sleeping. I am worried that the smell of food may be getting to him? Sometimes we cook meat in the kitchen. Should you not cook meat in front of your dogs?

He is taken for a 30 minute walk in the morning and a 20 mintue jog in the evenings and 10 minutes of obidence. He seems to display this behaviour whenever he has been told off a lot. Yesterday my brother kept telling him off because he was eating his own bed. He was told off a lot and when i went into the kitchen later on he began to bark. He started off with a bark/cry (He normally begins like this - he barks and the bark ends with a small whine/cry). He then pauses for a minute and looks and begins to bark constantly until stopped.

My breeder was surprised and said she had not had any aggressive behaviour from any of her dobes and she has 7 which are all my dogs family. My breeder told me to throw a pan on the floor so as to make a loud noise and distract/scare him. I did this and he did stop. She did say if i had any more problems to let her know and she will come over and help. The previous time he did this my brother came into the kitchen and he stopped and went to meet my brother. She said not to hit him which i dont do anyway. My trainer told me to grab him by the collar and stare him in the eyes until he looks away and if he continues roll him over. I have read information saying the alpha roll is not a very good thing to do? Could he be ill and should i take him to the vet? He is a very friendly dog and my parents dont tell him off much and he has not done this to them. They think i am worrying to much and cant imagine him being aggressive at all.

Thanks for all your help guys.
 

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An alternative to throwing the bowl is to get a tin can with a lid on and put some coins or pebbles in and just shake the can so it makes the loud noise and that should distract him.
 

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He doesn't sound aggressive, especially when his age is taken into consideration.

He sounds to me like he wants to be where the action is; with you!

My Dobermans have always wanted to be right by my side, no matter where I am or what I'm doing.

Maybe that's what he's trying to say.
 

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Besides physical exercise, they need mental exercise too. Sounds like his energy level is always peaking. Does he play with toys? Plenty of toys at that age may keep him entertained while your not interacting with him. Cooking meat around him is not an issue, all different smells around him will be interesting at that age. I would use a Kong for some mental stimulation. Get a few of these and stuff them with peanut butter and let him go at it. You may have to teach him if not interested. After he learns about the Kong, you could freeze them and it will take him longer to get the goody stuff out. Its good mental stimulation. Also some more low impact play probably is required, try rolling a ball for him and work on fetch. Sounds like he will like this. Controling puppy energy is always a challenge.
 

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He does not sound aggresive to me, he sounds like he is bored and want's your attention. Is he kept in the utility room till you guy's go to bed?? If so, this is what could be causing the barking. All dogs need to interact with the family they are very social animals. They like to be in the same room and if they are not they will tend to bark especially if they have not had much interaction with you all day. Do you own a crate?? Instead of your brother "telling him off" for doing something that comes naturally to a ten month old you could crate him while you cannot watch him. Does he have lots of chew toys?? This is really helpful with young dogs, providing an outlet for chewing, boredom, etc.
You only get out of a dog what you put in. So if nobody is really paying attention or training the dog, he will find something else to occupy his time and chances are it will be something you are not happy with. I would enroll him in obedience classes, not just you working with him at home. Classes are good because your dog is interacting with other dogs and people. It also tries them out mentally. Good luck
 

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manj said:
Hi,

He did the same thing again last night. During the day he is either outdoors or in my kitchen if the weather is bad. In the evenings he is in the kitchen . We bring him into the hallway half hour before sleeping.
Dobermans want to be with their families. Is he outside by himself alot? Dobermans given a choice will not stay outside alone. They are not outside dogs. His barking (he sounds like a talker to me--I had one like that) is trying to communicate. I still feel strongly in obedience classes. It will really help more than you know. A good instructor gives home advice also.
 

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Dobes are often referred to as velco dogs because they stay next to you all the time. They don't like to be outside all alone and bad behaviors can start when they don't get enough interaction with the family. Monday - Wednesday my 9 month old male stays in a crate while I'm at work. After being crated all day we play nonstop all night. In one hand I can have a spoon stirring a pot and in my other hand is a rope that we are playing tug of war with. If he doesn't get enough exercise and/or play he let's me know by barking, growling and pinching me with his front teeth. When it first started I thought he was being aggressive but now I know he would never hurt me - it's just his way of saying "I am so glad your home. Let's have fun!" Doberman puppies are great big kids. Obedience class would probably be a good idea. You'll be amazed at the positive impact it can have on the relationship between you and your dog.
 

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I agree with the obediance classes- it will definately bond you and help a lot. I would not "alpha roll" your dog. I dont think its a good idea for anyone to be doing and will probably not teach him anything, especially in this situation. I wouldnt worry about aggression; he sounds like he just wants your attention and to be with you.
 

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As much as we'd like to think that our dogs can understand English, they can learn a limited vocab and register what a tone of voice means, but other than that, we are wasting our time trying to explain things to them. A louder tone of voice, esp yelling is barking to a dog. At 10 mos he is still very much a puppy - my 20-month-old Dobergirl still bows when she wants to play. Obedience classes, tons of exercise and indoor training to keep his mind busy will help a lot. I know it's a lot of work but the consistency will pay off. When Java tries to boss me around with her barking ie. you're not getting dinner fast enough, I make her sit, hush and then continue what I'm doing. Sure it may take me twice as long to reinforce good manners but it is paying off. Java will bark a bit and whine when I go upstairs but she knows she's not allowed up unless invited. Keeping a baby gate up too keep her in a safe place helps, as does giving her a Kong or favorite chew toy.

Good luck, and remember that a tired puppy is a happy puppy!
 
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