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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My puppy is now 8 months old and she is a super sweet and loving dog and When it's just me with her she is great. When my kids come home from school however, she turns into a major handful - jumping all over them, nipping and play biting (its starting to hurt as she gets older). She went to puppy training for the basic commands, and I have been reinforcing all the training at home but all hell breaks loose when the kids get home and with them as a distraction, she doesn't listen. (I try to tire her out before they come home by going to the park for an hour, but it doesn't seem to help much).

As well, I have noticed that in the last month, she has become more aggressive, towards other dogs and people she doesn't know. If my husband brings a friend into the house I really have to hold onto her because she barks a LOT at them and takes several mins before she is comfortable which is the opposite way that she used to be, and I frankly don't even feel confident letting her meet other dogs right now.

My question is this - clearly she needs more training. I live in the Toronto area and have been referred to Gemini K9 in Scarborough by several people. I took her in yesterday, and while she was there, she was extremely upset, barking at the lady doing the consultation, and anyone else who walked by. She calmed down and layed down after a while, but her tail never went up, which is an indication that she is still nervous. I was recommeded to NOT go with Basic Obedience I, but to go with Agression Training....which is $835. I was expecting to pay about half that for OB. Does this seem excessive to you? I know it's hard to give advice because you guys haven't seen her behaviour. And she's not agressive with the family. But she IS very aggressive lately with strangers. I have heard this is the best trainer in my area, but is there anyone else in Scarborough or the surrounding area that deals with aggression that may not be as much? I am willing to pay it if it is reasonable to you guys, because I love her and want to fix the problem before it gets out of control....
 

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My puppy is now 8 months old and she is a super sweet and loving dog and When it's just me with her she is great. When my kids come home from school however, she turns into a major handful - jumping all over them, nipping and play biting (its starting to hurt as she gets older). She went to puppy training for the basic commands, and I have been reinforcing all the training at home but all hell breaks loose when the kids get home and with them as a distraction, she doesn't listen. (I try to tire her out before they come home by going to the park for an hour, but it doesn't seem to help much).

As well, I have noticed that in the last month, she has become more aggressive, towards other dogs and people she doesn't know. If my husband brings a friend into the house I really have to hold onto her because she barks a LOT at them and takes several mins before she is comfortable which is the opposite way that she used to be, and I frankly don't even feel confident letting her meet other dogs right now.

My question is this - clearly she needs more training. I live in the Toronto area and have been referred to Gemini K9 in Scarborough by several people. I took her in yesterday, and while she was there, she was extremely upset, barking at the lady doing the consultation, and anyone else who walked by. She calmed down and layed down after a while, but her tail never went up, which is an indication that she is still nervous. I was recommeded to NOT go with Basic Obedience I, but to go with Agression Training....which is $835. I was expecting to pay about half that for OB. Does this seem excessive to you? I know it's hard to give advice because you guys haven't seen her behaviour. And she's not agressive with the family. But she IS very aggressive lately with strangers. I have heard this is the best trainer in my area, but is there anyone else in Scarborough or the surrounding area that deals with aggression that may not be as much? I am willing to pay it if it is reasonable to you guys, because I love her and want to fix the problem before it gets out of control....
First I would go with Basic OB, then intermediate/advanced off-leash...build up your bond and respect, with dobe.
Don't know about the Agression Training...but many puppy classes are a real joke & give the owner/handler a false sence of accomplishment.

I saw a similar trend in a 4.5 month old Mastiff puppy, that growled at my sweat girl Amy (therapy dog).
Owner laughed (wtf)...thought she had a natural protection puppy...she was so proud, of the pups outburst
- went to puppy class, without any change in behavior / house manners
At 2 years old, dog was drawing blood on childrens ankles (nipping daily)...coming in the front door, home from school.
- dog only listened to mom & me (after I gave it a tuneup)
- she didn't want the help I offered, and sadly vet finally put it to sleep, one day...could have been saved
Dog did not respect the majority of the family members...and over time, it got much worse...the leader in the house, was not leading.
 

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Is she getting enough exercise at the park? I ask because when Jewels doesn't get enough exercise, she's can be quite the busy girl!! I taught Jewels to fetch the ball, and I got one of those 'launcher' things for balls. I take her to a safe park, and launch that ball for her to chase. She can chase that ball for quite some time, but when she gets home, she's a nice calm puppy.

Now, since she's a puppy she can't do 'forced' exercise (like jogging, or biking). But fetch allows them to stop when they're too tired. I find that as soon as Jewels isn't jumping around like a nut after I take the ball from her, she's had enough exercise. I try to do this twice a day, though truthfully, she's the sanity in my day, my reason for working, I just LOVE being with her. So, perhaps once a day for your puppy, like right before the kids get home, would be enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So re-reading what you highlighted, I guess I am a bit confused (or in denial?) about aggression vs dominance. She definitely does jump and play bite with my children and often my aunt, and that is showing dominance from what I have read/been told. But is dominance and aggression the same thing? The biting that she does doesn't seem like she is trying to hurt, it seems like she is playing and is not aware of how strong she is and how to play in an acceptable way. Not that I'm ok with her trying to be dominant over family members, but I did figure that the basic training would help us deal with this properly.

I guess I was a little taken aback at the idea of $835 for training her and I don't want to be taken advantage of and recommeded this huge training package when basic ob would work. By recommending the basic OB, does this mean that you feel that getting the basic training in, and having our bond and respect increase will in turn help the aggression?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Is she getting enough exercise at the park? I ask because when Jewels doesn't get enough exercise, she's can be quite the busy girl!! I taught Jewels to fetch the ball, and I got one of those 'launcher' things for balls. I take her to a safe park, and launch that ball for her to chase. She can chase that ball for quite some time, but when she gets home, she's a nice calm puppy.

Now, since she's a puppy she can't do 'forced' exercise (like jogging, or biking). But fetch allows them to stop when they're too tired. I find that as soon as Jewels isn't jumping around like a nut after I take the ball from her, she's had enough exercise. I try to do this twice a day, though truthfully, she's the sanity in my day, my reason for working, I just LOVE being with her. So, perhaps once a day for your puppy, like right before the kids get home, would be enough.
Well, what happens when I take her off leash is this: She tears around in circles around me for about a half hour (or until she starts jumping on me, because at that point I put her back on the leash). She ignores anything that I try to throw for her to play fetch with (she will only fetch with the kids around for some reason! lol). Then she kinda just walks beside me for a while, so I eventually put her on her leash and we go for a walk for the remaining half hour. Even if she is exhausted, however, she still manages to get over excited when the kids get home
 

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Like Beaumont67 said, I'd start with basic obedience. She's still easily influenced by the training she'll get. Starting with basic obedience can help with a bunch of different behavioral problems.

Have you tried keeping her on leash when the kids get home so you can keep her under control? What about a "Leave it" command?
 

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i recommend sit means sit!!! fantastic company and really good collars... they have a lifetime warranty!! you get what you pay for!!
I checked out the "sit means sit" website Sit Means Sit | Dog Training| Dog Trainers | Dogs Training Collars | Dog Training Schools

And I also read your post in another thread... http://www.dobermantalk.com/breeding-breeders/25433-desert-legend-2.html#post1078700

This could be why your dogs cower away from you... You shock them into submission.

I am not against e-collars. I have one for my dog, but he is trained correctly to it. Toruqe has never been "shocked" for bad behavior, the collar is just as an extended leash really. As a reminder and an attention getter. NOT FOR PUNISHMENT!!

JMHO

Edit to add: OP, just keep at it. Keep socializing her. She is a puppy, I'm sure a large one ;) but a puppy none the less. There is no reason to go "shocking her into submission." That is going to cause WAY more problems down the road. Its tough, 8 months is a tough age where she is going to test you. I am no expert but I would go with OB first and focus really hard on "leave it" and a "watch me" command. That way you can distract her from whatever it is she is aggressing towards and give her treats for doing the right thing and eventually, strangers and strange dogs will mean "look at mom and I'll get a treat" Win/win really!
 

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Well, what happens when I take her off leash is this: She tears around in circles around me for about a half hour (or until she starts jumping on me, because at that point I put her back on the leash). She ignores anything that I try to throw for her to play fetch with (she will only fetch with the kids around for some reason! lol). Then she kinda just walks beside me for a while, so I eventually put her on her leash and we go for a walk for the remaining half hour. Even if she is exhausted, however, she still manages to get over excited when the kids get home
Jewels was the same way, she would not bring the toy back and then she would get distracted. I realized that I had just assumed she would fetch (probably because KC and Haili were the kind of Dobermans that just brought the toy back, I didn't teach them to do that, they just do). So, I worked on fetch in my room, with her alone and no distractions. I like kikopup's training techniques, and so I used those. Now, Jewels is driven to bring that toy back, no matter how far I throw it. She gets a nice LONG run each time she chases the ball.

I'm not sure what it's like when the kids get home, but if the kids are excited to see her (as most kids would be), she may be rising to their level of excitement. The suggestion to have her on a leash is excellent; teach her that she must sit to get attention. You can do this during the day when the kids aren't around, and the kids will need to set the same expectation (this is where the leash will be invaluable, you can prevent her from actually jumping on them, but I wouldn't use the leash to 'correct' her, only to prevent her from injuring them). The kids should remain calm, almost indifferent about arriving home at least until she's calm. What I do with my dogs is if they're bugging me for something (like say they want to go play ball), I typically ignore them until they lay down, and after that happens, I get the ball to go play. I feel that they learn that being calm and relaxed gets them what they want...:)

You may find kikopup videos very helpful, she has a page on her website that lists her most popular videos...

Dogmantics - kikopup
 

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I am going out to a Chinese restraunt in a few minutes, just making a few quick points or opinions to share:
(I will check out the links later)

You maybe in denial?...when you quote "And she's not agressive with the family. But she IS very aggressive lately with strangers".
As nipping at kids ankles should be a no-no and should be under control already...if the dobe views you as the pack leader.

I don't use an e-collar (don't have to & don't want to) and I don't even exercise the dog, before I train it...(again, don't have to & don't want to).
To me, canine exhaustion is not what I want or need, to start a training lesson (to make it weaker, and easier to obey me)...I want the high energy and drive (if its there), that needs to be re-shaped...b/c I am looked up to 24/7, (in the dogs eyes) due to my presence, love and leadership role...when I control the energy, life learning & desire to please me and take direction, is achieved...because I communicated what I wanted and had expectations...that I insisted on.
 

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I don't even exercise the dog, before I train it...(again, don't have to & don't want to).
To me, canine exhaustion is not what I want or need, to start a training lesson (to make it weaker, and easier to obey me)...I want the high energy and drive (if its there), that needs to be re-shaped...b/c I am looked up to 24/7, (in the dogs eyes) due to my presence, love and leadership role...when I control the energy, life learning & desire to please me and take direction, is achieved...because I communicated what I wanted and had expectations...that I insisted on.
Just to be clear, I was not suggesting that a dog has to be exhausted to learn, and I do not 'exhaust' Jewels to train her. I don't even always exercise her before training (as training itself is a tiring activity).

In my experience most young animals, horses, dogs, even people benefit from letting off steam. So, a lot of times I do let her run off some steam, I feel that by doing so, I set her up for success during our training session (and she's never exhausted). I never do that with my adult dogs, I don't need to (though I do exercise them too), but puppies are still learning about self control.

JMHO...:)
 

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i recommend sit means sit!!! fantastic company and really good collars... they have a lifetime warranty!! you get what you pay for!!
No wonder your dogs cower. The puppy doesn't cower because YOU haven't gotten your hands on him yet.
 

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It sounds like your puppy needs socialization and training. I agree with the basic obedience class, so that you can learn how to train her and she can learn to trust and respect you.

Good luck with your girl and welcome to DT!
 

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mama2Phoenix - Thank you for reaching out for suggestions. Berfore I provide my suggestions, please note I am not a professional trainer/behaviorist and suggest that you contact one who will be able to evaluate what is going on in person and give you some suggestions.

In regards to your puppy acting up when your children come home, it may be that they are making your puppy get super excited, and the way that she shows this is by jumping up and mouthing - which I may add is very NORMAL puppy behavior. If I were in your situation, I would start having the kids work with the puppy everyday. Here are some exercises they can do will help build self-control in the puppy and help redirect her nipping in a positive manner:

1. Polite Hello - In this exercise, puppy does not get ANY attention whatsoever when she jumps up. That means no squealing, no pushing away, no yelling, nothing. All you and your kids have to do is turn your back to puppy and ignore her. When she has all four feet on the ground, then you can pay her attention. After a few rounds of this, I would place puppy on leash and have the kids walk up to her one at a time. If puppy jumps, kids turns and walks away. If puppy does not jump, kid gives goodie and then walks away. After a few successful runs with this, I would then want puppy to sit when each child walked up to her. After a few repetitions, and if you are CONSISTENT, puppy will learn that jumping up = being ignored, all four feet on group = attention and good things.

2. Name Game - this is a great game to play with the kids. To begin with, you simply say your puppy's name and when she turns around and looks at you, you would click (or say, "Yes") and treat. Everyone should practice this game, and the kids find it to be very fun. This is a great attention builder and, obviously, helps the puppy learn their name.

3. Puppy needs to chew! Your puppy is teething and needs to have oral stimulation ALL THE TIME. When with you or your children, you should have a large variety of proper puppy things to chew on. If puppy is trying to chew on your or your childrens legs, say "Oww!" ignore the puppy for a minute and when she comes back to you WITHOUT biting, give her a puppy toy.

As far as the "aggression" with other dogs and guests, my guess would be that this is more a fearful reaction rather than aggression. Puppies go through a "fear phase" in their normal development, and this may be what is happening now. I would help your puppy deal with these scary situations by clicking and treating for looking at a stranger or other dog (this is the "Look At That Game" as described in Leslie McDevvitt's book, Control Unleashed). Your puppy may also need more socialization and exposure to things. However, this exposure must be POSITIVE, otherwise you would be enforcing her fearful reaction to new/"scary" things.

Just to reiterate, it would be best to touch base with a professional trainer/behaviorist. If your puppy starts showing some really strange behavior, I would also suggest ruling out any physical issues which should be done by your vet.

Best of luck and please keep us posted!
 

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i recommend sit means sit!!! fantastic company and really good collars... they have a lifetime warranty!! you get what you pay for!!
Sit means sit is a total joke in my opinion and they use electronic "torture collars " which is exactly what they are. That trainer can call them anything he wants but they are definately not teaching the dog to do anything. It only teaches the dog to do you want because it is afraid of getting shocked it doesn't teach the dog to want to work for you. It always amazes me how some people are so naive in Vegas and so quick to put those torture collars on their dogs. They should make the owners walk around wearing them for a while while being zapped before exposing their dogs to having to wear them, but then they would probably go out of business. It's cruel and barbaric to say the least. It's not dog training by any means, it's fear training. I would never ever in a million years refer anyone to that company for training.
 

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ps I did not mean to thank Justin for his post. How do I Unthank him. I'm embarrassed to have my screen name under anything associated with sit means sit. help!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Like Beaumont67 said, I'd start with basic obedience. She's still easily influenced by the training she'll get. Starting with basic obedience can help with a bunch of different behavioral problems.

Have you tried keeping her on leash when the kids get home so you can keep her under control? What about a "Leave it" command?
I have tried the leash and you know, I should do it more often because really it does work. As long as I have her on a leash with me, and she follows me wherever she goes (as in walking from room to room as I do things). My 15 year old son often puts her on a leash and leaves her in the living room while he is in the kitchen and that just makes things worse because she gets very stressed when she is not with someone...

Thanks for the advice
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
mama2Phoenix - Thank you for reaching out for suggestions. Berfore I provide my suggestions, please note I am not a professional trainer/behaviorist and suggest that you contact one who will be able to evaluate what is going on in person and give you some suggestions.

In regards to your puppy acting up when your children come home, it may be that they are making your puppy get super excited, and the way that she shows this is by jumping up and mouthing - which I may add is very NORMAL puppy behavior. If I were in your situation, I would start having the kids work with the puppy everyday. Here are some exercises they can do will help build self-control in the puppy and help redirect her nipping in a positive manner:

1. Polite Hello - In this exercise, puppy does not get ANY attention whatsoever when she jumps up. That means no squealing, no pushing away, no yelling, nothing. All you and your kids have to do is turn your back to puppy and ignore her. When she has all four feet on the ground, then you can pay her attention. After a few rounds of this, I would place puppy on leash and have the kids walk up to her one at a time. If puppy jumps, kids turns and walks away. If puppy does not jump, kid gives goodie and then walks away. After a few successful runs with this, I would then want puppy to sit when each child walked up to her. After a few repetitions, and if you are CONSISTENT, puppy will learn that jumping up = being ignored, all four feet on group = attention and good things.

2. Name Game - this is a great game to play with the kids. To begin with, you simply say your puppy's name and when she turns around and looks at you, you would click (or say, "Yes") and treat. Everyone should practice this game, and the kids find it to be very fun. This is a great attention builder and, obviously, helps the puppy learn their name.

3. Puppy needs to chew! Your puppy is teething and needs to have oral stimulation ALL THE TIME. When with you or your children, you should have a large variety of proper puppy things to chew on. If puppy is trying to chew on your or your childrens legs, say "Oww!" ignore the puppy for a minute and when she comes back to you WITHOUT biting, give her a puppy toy.

As far as the "aggression" with other dogs and guests, my guess would be that this is more a fearful reaction rather than aggression. Puppies go through a "fear phase" in their normal development, and this may be what is happening now. I would help your puppy deal with these scary situations by clicking and treating for looking at a stranger or other dog (this is the "Look At That Game" as described in Leslie McDevvitt's book, Control Unleashed). Your puppy may also need more socialization and exposure to things. However, this exposure must be POSITIVE, otherwise you would be enforcing her fearful reaction to new/"scary" things.

Just to reiterate, it would be best to touch base with a professional trainer/behaviorist. If your puppy starts showing some really strange behavior, I would also suggest ruling out any physical issues which should be done by your vet.

Best of luck and please keep us posted!
Wow, this is some really good advice - thanks so much for taking the time to respond in such a detailed way. I will definitely try this at home. The kids do love helping train her and my 5 year old is especially good at it (she sounds so cute when Phoenix sits when she asks her to and she enthusiastically says "YESSSSS!" and gives her a treat).
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thank you everyone for your thoughtful advice. I think that what I am going to take from this is that I should start with basic obedience, and hopefully this will help us create a well rounded puppy, who knows her boundaries a little more and who will listen, and this in turn will help the aggression issue. I really do believe in my heart that Zeusy Boy's Mama is right, she is acting out of fear more than aggression. And I will definitely keep up the training at home, involving the kids in it more as well.

Now my only problem is how to go back to the trainer and say I am not going to take their advice, and that I'm going with OB rather than the $835 package....:confused: This may be awkward.

I will keep you posted though on our progress and thanks again :)
 

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my dog doesnt cower away from me because of the collars... and you dont know sit means sit because they(and we) only use our collars for positive reinforcement... my dog is a rescue dog that was abused and cowers from all men... so don't tell me you know what it means... sit means sit is a great company and really works great!! collars help the learning curve tremendously!!! i find it funny that you think you know why my dog cowers!! when she does it to EVERY male she meets... another trainer in vegas used them and the poor dog was never the same, WASN'T MY DOG!!!!
 
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