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A Dobe Down Under
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Hi All - I'm a new Doberman owner with a 11 week old puppy. Just a baby! :p

A little background - Milly is my first dog but my husband has grown up with dogs his whole life. I fell in love with Doberman's years ago and have been following the breed and doing my research - talking to owners, going to shows, meeting with breeders, puppy proofing the house... I have been implementing the methods from the Monks of New Skete (train and breed German shepherds) as well as some Cesar Millan, Victoria Stilwell and many helpful tips from this forum! We live in an urbanish environment with access to parks and a courtyard backyard. My husband and I both were not working the first two weeks we had her to dedicate to her. I currently work from home as well.

With all of that said, we are exhausted. We find ourselves in what I consider a "daily war of wills." She is extremely bright- we have taught her how to sit, go down, the beginnings of stay and fetch. However, when we tell her "no" or "off" she immediately goes back for more relentlessly. She also bites frequently and nips the back of our legs. We've redirected to toys, said no, walked away & ended play and when it's gotten crazy, we put her into a submission type hold until she calms down. However, we seem to not be making any progress at all. She also whines and stops when walking on a lead especially right out front of our house. Housebreaking has gone ok.

My question is - when should we expect to see progress or milestones? Is it going to be 6 months/1 year/2 years before the biting and need for redirecting stops?

If any experienced doberman owners could share their milestones that would me most helpful so I can know what to expect.

A few milestones I'd be curious about - fully house broken, stopped biting/nipping, walked well on leash, could be left alone without destruction, learned basic obedience, significantly calmed down, learned how to play properly (fetch/agility etc)

Thank you in advance for all your help! (And reading this long thread!)
 

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Dobies have a lot of energy and while it was cute when they were little the fact is they get a lot bigger and the it is no longer cute. You really have your work cut out for you...believe me I know I have 4 Dobies and I am still learning...you really have to make sure that you and your hubby spend a lot of time with your pup. When your pup does something bad you like bite you need to yelp as loud as you can and ignore your puppy but if your pup is still coming at you full force you block your pup with your arm or leg and if that does not work you need to put your pup in timeout. Only do it about five minutes then take your pup out of time out and begin to play again. Some people do not believe in hitting a pup but blocking a jump is not considered hitting.. Turn your body away from the jump don't put your knee at your pup or anything like that just to be specific on what to do. When did you get your pup at what age? And I don't like to use treats that often but praise works just as well as matter of fact my pup loves his play time and then me rubbing his ears and belly...it is a constant job 24/7 i have been to ER vets at 3 am because I feel asleep with him and he ate my daughters sock and slipper luckily it passed but it was def a scare...so make sure if you are not around or you are extra tired to please put your pup in their crate for their safety and the safety of your purse and checkbook...best advice is don't give up ...I think of my Dobies as my children and I have three children and 4 Dobie kids...I would never give up on my babies but sadly so many owners find that they can't handle the dog and then give up and get rid of them please just have patience and be consistent in what you want from your Dobie. Remember you are the master not them.....just like with kids you are the adult not them....good luck....


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It all depends on you and your hubby if you guys are consistent then they will learn things a lot faster but if you do not enforce that you are the master and they are the pup then it could be never...dogs especially Dobies are smart ..sometimes to smart.. Mine will walk on a leash and use to try to walk me so then I went from a six foot to a lupine training leash of about one eight inches and when I take him out he knows who is walking who.. Biting was very hard to break I got my pup at a way early age and so he did not know what bite inhibition was and needless to say neither did I ..razor sharp teeth hurt going in my hand and on my body so I started working on him daily on biting and my patience was thin.. I tried kongs and treats and everything so finally I got that bitter spray and a reg spray bottle ..I sprayed the bitter spray all over everything..furniture shoes socks and myself... Then I sprayed reg water in his face every time he would chew or bite or jump...consistently.. Then I put something sweet on my arms and hands so that he wanted to lick me instead of bite...now every time he comes to me he feels the urge to lick me thinking he will taste something sweet ..I still surprise him sometimes...it has worked for me ....but he still has a lot to learn....


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Hi, welcome! Doberman puppies can be challenging and exhausting all right! They are bundles of energy that's for sure.

It sounds like you're off to a good start with her but if I may offer a few suggestions, please do not put her into any type of submissive hold. The only things this will do will make her fear you or mistrust you. She is not trying to be an "alpha", she is not being defiant, she just being a baby. So there is no need for a submissive hold.

Redirecting is good, turning your back and refusing to acknowledge her until she calms down is also good. Crate training is your best friend. Make her crate a good, happy, safe place. If she gets over excited, she can calm down in her crate, a "time out" as it were. Dobes are a very sensitive breed, they do not respond well to physical punishment or correction. I've found over the years that positive reinforcement works best, keep things happy and upbeat.

I think it's great that you're reading up on training but there are some better options out there. In particular, I would avoid Cesar Millan, I have never heard of the other two, maybe others have. There are some really good training resources out there but I'm experiencing brain drain right now and can't think of the names. Hopefully some others will chime in.

As far as milestones go, each puppy is different. My boy Soter was fully house trained at about 13 weeks but I've had others that have taken longer.

We never really had a problem with nipping and biting but we taught him "gentle" from day one. We used a variety of methods, redirecting, ignoring and yelping really loud in a high pitched voice when he got too rough.

Soter knew all his basic obedience, sit, stay, down and heel before we went to obedience class. We took him mostly for socialization, he was 1 year old. However, now that he's turned two, he's decided he doesn't need to heel anymore. He is pulling constantly, we're going back to our heeling basics :rolleyesww:

As far as his energy levels go, he's still showing no signs of slowing down! He's a VERY high energy boy but, that's what we wanted. Dobermans, especially the males at least in my experience, can be very slow to mature. That said, it's worth every minute of work you put in when they finally do mature.

As far as being unsupervised goes, if I'm in the house but just not paying attention, Soter is mostly fine. However, my house is still Soter proof. No socks, dish rags, shoes or anything else he can swallow laying around. If we're leaving the house, all my Dobes are crated.

Hope this helps, hang in there! IMO there is nothing like a Dobe, they can be a challenge but are sooo worth it.
 

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I understand the war of wills. I look at as more will she understand before I give up (will is weak in this one) . You have been giving some great advice but also when the puppy is a little to hyper you can also hold him by his collar and wait for him to calm down. I found that to be easier for me because my puppy wanted to reengage play time. I also tell my puppy do a sit. Then wait it out. If when free he was to crazy I would just put him in the crate. Most of the time he was passed out in 5 mins.
 

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Do not use alpha rolls or submissive holds on your puppy. You will ruin your relationship with your puppy with those methods. Use only positive methods with a doberman puppy as they don't do well with punishment or force based methods and using them will destroy your bond with your puppy as dobermans are a sensitive breed.

Victoria Stilwell methods are fine as she is positive. I always suggest the book by Pat Miller, The Power of Positive Dog Training.


Kiko pup on you tube is very good, too. http://m.youtube.com/user/kikopup?&desktop_uri=/user/kikopup

Females mature faster mentally than the males. Seems like my girls were pretty mature at around a year of age, not totally, but a whole lot better than a puppy or a male of the same age.

Here is another helpful article on the stages of development of a puppy. These ages can vary some, so remember that. :)

http://www.doberman.org/articles/puppy.htm
 

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I'd dump anything recommended by Cesar, and the Monks of New Skete have some outdated stuff, too. I'd recommend picking up the book Linda recommended, as well as this one: Puppy Start Right.

Do you have access to a good, positive-reinforcement method trainer? A puppy class with a great trainer is so useful.
 

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A Dobe Down Under
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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you all for your advice. I had been questioning if the submission holds were the right thing to do. When I was doing them, the look in her eyes was not good. Last night my husband and I went through our new game plan which is really going to focus on positivity. It's only been one day but so far it feels much better. There's a much calmer energy in the house.

I will definitely check out the books and videos you suggested!

Last night was also our first puppy school which was helpful to see how everyone is in the same boat. Milly was well behaved and advanced in many areas compared to most of the dogs (mostly toy breeds) I think I may have been putting a little too much pressure on her as well to advance quickly. Going to slow down a bit.

Thank you again
 

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Thank you. :)

They're really smart, but the attention span is not much at her age. I would only do five minutes sessions serveral times a day at her age. Always end on a positive and happy note. It's better to leave her wanting more, than wanting it to end.
 

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Thank you all for your advice. I had been questioning if the submission holds were the right thing to do. When I was doing them, the look in her eyes was not good. Last night my husband and I went through our new game plan which is really going to focus on positivity. It's only been one day but so far it feels much better. There's a much calmer energy in the house.

I will definitely check out the books and videos you suggested!

Last night was also our first puppy school which was helpful to see how everyone is in the same boat. Milly was well behaved and advanced in many areas compared to most of the dogs (mostly toy breeds) I think I may have been putting a little too much pressure on her as well to advance quickly. Going to slow down a bit.

Thank you again
Was the litter evaluated by a puppy evaluator and if so, what was the type of temperament the puppy was tagged with? Is this a compliant pup or is this a pup with its own agenda? what do you want to use the pup for when fully grown?

You are right, she is only 11-12 wks old and it is premature to expect her to behave responsibly. What you want now is a relationship such that :
  • she trusts you to protect her (pick her up or stand between her and unfriendly strange dogs),
  • you are clear with what you want her to do, and
  • you have confidence she understands what you are asking in terms of being able to perform that action (e.g. sit, down, come, her name - which should be an attention getter and not a signal to come)
  • you control the food and place of security to sleep in

Also, there is something called NILIF - nothing in life is free - so you make her earn everything she gets including her meals (3 x daily) - just make her sit or down or stand or come or be still when you feed her. You can use the meal delivery as the way to teach stay: sit her and then lower the food, every time she gets up or moves you lift the food right back up again then repeat until you can put it on the floor and then immediately let her have it with a release word (OK maybe). Work on adding duration later - on another day - get her used to behaving for her meals first and then add in seconds to sit and wait in subsequent weeks.

Make everything she learns fun to learn and get rewarded for. A dobe requires the judicious use of the word 'NO!' which is only used when the dog deliberately ignores you or disobeys a command you know that they know AND you need to get the dog to stop for a really good reason. 'NO!' is negative and a form of punishment - do not overuse it or it loses its value and bores the dog.

Have fun!
 
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