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Einstein is 9 weeks old. A buddy of mine just got a 9 week old gsd. Einstein has been very mellow since we got him a few weeks ago so we'd decided to let them meet each other over the course of an hour or so. The gsd was completely uninterested in Einstein, who was very interested in playing. We gave them about ten minutes of no touching then got them closer together and let them sniff around. After twenty minutes or so Einstein started getting inpatient and started running circles and barking at the other dog...who still wasn't interested in playing. We tried to facilitate them to play but it seemed that Einstein would get close and the other dog would bark nip and return to his owner. Eventually they were barking and dancing around when I heard a few growls and Einstein had pinned the other dog down with his teeth around his neck. Einstein either doesn't know how to bite hard or has learned not to because he's never bitten me hard enough to cause any real pain. The gsd bit me today when I was taking a toy out of his mouth and drew blood, a tiny bit on my thumb. I don't think einstein could have hurt him but we kept them separate, with me holding Einstein for about thirty mins. We let them get back together and while they stopped the really rough play...Einstein mounted the other dog and started humping...I thought he was too young for that and he'd never done it before. We separated them for good after that.

My question is this: what should I look for to decide if my dog is fighting or just playing rough?
 

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Hey there Conspiracy!

Xena has been displaying similar behavior to the two male dogs in my home (besides the humping part). At first i thought it was puppy play, and although the two boys would warn her "enough" with a growl, she would still continue to mouth them, jump, tug, bark, and whine/growl at them. This is where I think I have a problem with her. I correct her when she approaches them in the house, and she will leave them a lone, or give them a simple sniff. However if I am not consistently on her case, she will be right back at where we started. I believe she is trying to be dominate over them, and this MUST be stopped immediately.

Im still working with her, and do my own training...we start REAL training this Sat...I CAN NOT WAIT!! We BOTH need to be trained, badly lol

Im by no means have any viable advice on what to do on Einsteins behavior, as to that I am still trying to figure it out for myself. But I would suggest to display at all times, that you are pack leader (this too I am working on myself). The owner of the GSD must have displayed good leadership to his pup, as to why the pup knew how to behave in front of his owner.

Puppy woes....tell me about it!! Im sure DT will chime in on advice :D
 

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joie de vivre
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They're playing. Dobes play ROUGH no matter what age they are. And it sounds like your pup is being obnoxious (i.e. a Doberman puppy). If you don't like him doing something, just redirect him to some other play.

The first night of Fiona's puppy socialization class at my training club the trainers wanted to let them play the last 5-minutes of class. So we unleashed all the puppies and the second Fiona was set loose she had barreled through a few puppies sending them rolling and falling over and jumped one, pinning it to the ground by it's throat. She was 14-weeks old. Everyone in the room gasped and people started grabbing their puppies, thinking she was aggressive and fighting. LOL Most people just don't know any better because they're used to lower-drive, mellower pups. Anyway, people's minds were set at ease after a few classes of being around Fiona and realizing she wasn't aggressive - she was actually super happy and social. She was just a lot of puppy to handle compared to the others in the class, and that theme continues to this day at 3-years old. :)

Your puppies are not trying to dominate and I wouldn't "correct" them for playing. I'd also throw all that pack leader/alpha BS out the window, personally. Your pup is not going to grow up to rule the world just because they bite when they're little and harass other dogs. I do think you need to referee how much they can harass the other dogs but I'd do that in the form of redirecting with a toy or taking them outside to play with you to give the older dogs a break, etc. You aren't actually "correcting" anything with your pup right now because they don't really know your expectations so far. You have to teach them what to do before you can get on their case for not doing it.

It's kinda like with a little kid. You shouldn't really spank them for not cleaning their room when they're 2-years old because they don't understand what's going on yet. You have to have patience and let them grow their brains a little so they can understand what you're communicating to them. Luckily, dogs mature faster than kids so your dog will understand bite inhibition in a much shorter time than a human baby will learn to clean their room. Make sense?

Also, a lot of people expect that a Dobe pup will entertain themselves and they can be very hands-off as long as the pup has a few toys and a little walk each day. And to an extent that's true...if you don't watch the pup ALL the time, they will definitely entertain themselves in some fashion. But you're probably not going to like it. Dobe puppies require 100% supervision and 100% of your time that you can spare. You need to be playing with your puppy to help wear them out and to build that relationship. That shouldn't be left to resident pets. The new pup isn't their pet or their responsibility. Give them breaks from the pup often. The puppy should be spending way more time with you than other dogs, especially during maturation. You don't want the pup ignoring you for other dogs.

Anyway, I really need to take video of my 2 girls playing sometime and post it on here so noob's can see what Dobe play looks like. If you've not been around it, some people think they're fighting. But trust me, I've had to pull 2 fighting Dobermans off each other and when you see it, there is NO question if it's play.
 

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sweep the leg
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I really need to take video of my 2 girls playing sometime and post it on here so noob's can see what Dobe play looks like. If you've not been around it, some people think they're fighting. But trust me, I've had to pull 2 fighting Dobermans off each other and when you see it, there is NO question if it's play.
As a noob - I'd love to see that! Can't be too prepared. . . :thanx:
 

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joie de vivre
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As a noob - I'd love to see that! Can't be too prepared. . . :thanx:
I'll try to get some video of them playing this weekend and post it. It would also be helpful for noob's to see normal Dobe puppy play, but I don't have any puppy play videos. But at least with some video reference for Dobe play people will see they're not actually trying to kill each other. Huge difference between play and "I'm going to rip your face off."
 
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brw1982

I'm so glad to know this!! I am always supervising her, she never leaves my sight. I let her play with the other dogs to socialize her, and do redirect her rough play. I just couldn't decipher what her rough play intentions were. I don't think she's at all agressive, let's me take her food, water, and toys from her with no problem. She will also let me groom her with no issues as well.

Seeing the video would help a lot! I saw one of another DT member "Lucy", and how many we're explaining she was just playing.

Have to tell my family about how to redirect her instead of yelling at her. A simple no is all that is needed at most. Looks like the whole household needs to be trained as well! As for the alpha method. I wasn't sure of this, but I do understand that showing your dog the confidence and strong mind set helps with stability in many aspects. By just body language and no physical or vocal commands can send this message to them right? I'm sure (or hope) this is gonna be taught at the training classes at PetSmart (not the best IMO, but it will be good socialization and distraction work) im going to sign her up for actual training with my local kennel club.
 

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they're playing. Dobes play rough no matter what age they are. And it sounds like your pup is being obnoxious (i.e. A doberman puppy). If you don't like him doing something, just redirect him to some other play.

The first night of fiona's puppy socialization class at my training club the trainers wanted to let them play the last 5-minutes of class. So we unleashed all the puppies and the second fiona was set loose she had barreled through a few puppies sending them rolling and falling over and jumped one, pinning it to the ground by it's throat. She was 14-weeks old. Everyone in the room gasped and people started grabbing their puppies, thinking she was aggressive and fighting. Lol most people just don't know any better because they're used to lower-drive, mellower pups. Anyway, people's minds were set at ease after a few classes of being around fiona and realizing she wasn't aggressive - she was actually super happy and social. She was just a lot of puppy to handle compared to the others in the class, and that theme continues to this day at 3-years old. :)

your puppies are not trying to dominate and i wouldn't "correct" them for playing. I'd also throw all that pack leader/alpha bs out the window, personally. Your pup is not going to grow up to rule the world just because they bite when they're little and harass other dogs. I do think you need to referee how much they can harass the other dogs but i'd do that in the form of redirecting with a toy or taking them outside to play with you to give the older dogs a break, etc. You aren't actually "correcting" anything with your pup right now because they don't really know your expectations so far. You have to teach them what to do before you can get on their case for not doing it.

It's kinda like with a little kid. You shouldn't really spank them for not cleaning their room when they're 2-years old because they don't understand what's going on yet. You have to have patience and let them grow their brains a little so they can understand what you're communicating to them. Luckily, dogs mature faster than kids so your dog will understand bite inhibition in a much shorter time than a human baby will learn to clean their room. Make sense?

Also, a lot of people expect that a dobe pup will entertain themselves and they can be very hands-off as long as the pup has a few toys and a little walk each day. And to an extent that's true...if you don't watch the pup all the time, they will definitely entertain themselves in some fashion. But you're probably not going to like it. Dobe puppies require 100% supervision and 100% of your time that you can spare. You need to be playing with your puppy to help wear them out and to build that relationship. That shouldn't be left to resident pets. The new pup isn't their pet or their responsibility. Give them breaks from the pup often. The puppy should be spending way more time with you than other dogs, especially during maturation. You don't want the pup ignoring you for other dogs.

Anyway, i really need to take video of my 2 girls playing sometime and post it on here so noob's can see what dobe play looks like. If you've not been around it, some people think they're fighting. But trust me, i've had to pull 2 fighting dobermans off each other and when you see it, there is no question if it's play.
good post!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
BRW - You said the pups arent trying to dominate but I've read that humping is definitely a sign of trying to display dominance over another dog. Theres no doubt that he was humping him. Is that normal?

The GSD is another high drive puppy thats why we thought they'd be good together, but he had no intentions of playing. I know ideally Einstein should pretty much ignore other dogs until I give him the ok to play and that was the case for a while...but once he got worked up he couldn't control himself. I took him inside to show that he was not acting correctly then let him back out after about 10 minutes. Does that sound like the right way to handle the situation?

We started puppy kindergarden last week and tonight is his first class with other dogs. I'm going to be embarrassed if he acts like he did last night. Normally he is SOOO mellow, but last night was the first time I've really felt and SEEN his muscles. Although they were roughly the same size, einstein a bit bigger, they looked miles apart in build.
 

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brw1982

I'm so glad to know this!! I am always supervising her, she never leaves my sight. I let her play with the other dogs to socialize her, and do redirect her rough play. I just couldn't decipher what her rough play intentions were. I don't think she's at all agressive, let's me take her food, water, and toys from her with no problem. She will also let me groom her with no issues as well.

Seeing the video would help a lot! I saw one of another DT member "Lucy", and how many we're explaining she was just playing.

Have to tell my family about how to redirect her instead of yelling at her. A simple no is all that is needed at most. Looks like the whole household needs to be trained as well! As for the alpha method. I wasn't sure of this, but I do understand that showing your dog the confidence and strong mind set helps with stability in many aspects. By just body language and no physical or vocal commands can send this message to them right? I'm sure (or hope) this is gonna be taught at the training classes at PetSmart (not the best IMO, but it will be good socialization and distraction work) im going to sign her up for actual training with my local kennel club.
I don't buy into the whole "alpha" thing because, first of all, there's a ton of misinformation out there about what the "alpha" of a wolf pack does. The alpha actually rarely corrects other members of the pack. He's kind of a silent ruler, if you will, and even goes so far as showing other pack members submission in play to build trust among his pack. Subordinate members of the pack often initiate play and he accepts, and he often lets them win - again to build trust among his pack. A leader isn't a very good leader if he bullies everyone all the time. That's not power. That's leadership by force and it will only last as long as he can prevent anyone from taking over. Trust builds loyalty and respect. Bullying builds contempt and frustration.

I think a lot of how your dog(s) respond to you comes from your natural demeanor. Dogs, Dobermans especially IME, are far more in-tune with who we are as people than we often are with each other. Just because you display what you think as confident movements and actions doesn't mean the dog perceives it as such. They can still pick up on if you're nervous or unsure in your actions no matter how you try to look to them. So if you (general you) are unsure in how you're handling a dog, they know it. No matter if you correct them strongly, or yell, or whatever. They can still call BS on someone who is a little nervy and unsure no matter how they behave toward the dog, and this, IMO, is how some people end up raising a dog they can't predict or trust because the dog feels like they can't predict or trust you either. So you're not reliable and they feel like they have to be on their toes, ready to react to whatever you do. And how they react can end up bad sometimes.

Dogs are companion animals and most, the vast majority, will naturally look to the human for guidance. If you're nervy and unsure and they're looking to you for what to expect in a situation, they're going to feel insecure too.

There are some things about dogs and training that you simply can't train into people and I see this day after day in the puppy classes I assistant train. There are some people who seem naturally suited to a specific breed, or breed group, of dog. And there are some people who have no business with a breed of dog because all the training in the world won't make them a suitable personality for that breed. You can train someone the basics of raising a dog and handling, but you can't bestow upon them confidence, patience, and understanding.

So in that sense, yes, I do believe your movements affect the dog/pup but it's more about your natural presence rather than consciously trying to behave as though you're in charge. Really intelligent dogs like Dobermans know what you're going to do before you do it. You aren't going to convince them you're anything that you're not naturally. Just my opinion.

As for humping being dominance, sometimes. But it doesn't always mean "I'm the boss of you!" In the case of young puppies playing I would attribute it just being a part of a super excited puppy who hasn't yet developed proper doggy social skills. Young puppies still with the litter will sometimes hump each other. It's just part of growing up. It can also be a sign of emotional displacement; an ill-socialized dog may hump because they don't know how to really interact with other dogs. An insecure dog may also hump when they feel pressured (like if they get in trouble) and they don't know how to properly deal with it.

BRW - You said the pups arent trying to dominate but I've read that humping is definitely a sign of trying to display dominance over another dog. Theres no doubt that he was humping him. Is that normal?

The GSD is another high drive puppy thats why we thought they'd be good together, but he had no intentions of playing. I know ideally Einstein should pretty much ignore other dogs until I give him the ok to play and that was the case for a while...but once he got worked up he couldn't control himself. I took him inside to show that he was not acting correctly then let him back out after about 10 minutes. Does that sound like the right way to handle the situation?

We started puppy kindergarden last week and tonight is his first class with other dogs. I'm going to be embarrassed if he acts like he did last night. Normally he is SOOO mellow, but last night was the first time I've really felt and SEEN his muscles. Although they were roughly the same size, einstein a bit bigger, they looked miles apart in build.
Einstein is not going to ignore other dogs until you give him the okay to play because he is a baby. I can expect that of my dogs because they're 3 and 4 years old but they've been trained and conditioned to understand that.

Drive is many things and, honestly, most people don't have a good understanding of drives. I don't fully understand all the drives of dogs and I've read and read and spent a lot of time talking to other dog people and asking questions. So when you say the GSD puppy is "high drive", what does that mean to you? Is he energetic? Is he outgoing? What is it that you're labeling "drive" for the GSD pup in this case?
 
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Every 9 week old doberman/gsd period I have ever come across is for the most part a clumsy, chubby, little landshark. 9 week old dogs have razor sharp teeth, but thats about it. Puppy play will be rough, with each dog telling the other when they have gone to far.

Now, having a "build" at nine weeks is confusing to me. My girl at 9 weeks was a pile of mush. A local owner with a champion male was also built like mush at 9 weeks. I understand all dogs mature differently, and I'm not saying they can't be feisty, but by what your saying something seems off.

Also if he's 9 weeks now, and was at puppy class last week. My math skills tell me he was 8 weeks and attending puppy class... Personally I would drop out until he's had all his shots. If you were allowed in the class without being up to date, than how many other dogs are the same. Personally thats enough for me to find a new place when my pup was ready :).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Every 9 week old doberman/gsd period I have ever come across is for the most part a clumsy, chubby, little landshark. 9 week old dogs have razor sharp teeth, but thats about it. Puppy play will be rough, with each dog telling the other when they have gone to far.

Now, having a "build" at nine weeks is confusing to me. My girl at 9 weeks was a pile of mush. A local owner with a champion male was also built like mush at 9 weeks. I understand all dogs mature differently, and I'm not saying they can't be feisty, but by what your saying something seems off.

Also if he's 9 weeks now, and was at puppy class last week. My math skills tell me he was 8 weeks and attending puppy class... Personally I would drop out until he's had all his shots. If you were allowed in the class without being up to date, than how many other dogs are the same. Personally thats enough for me to find a new place when my pup was ready :).
Last weeks class was for the humans, no dogs allowed. They let him, and other dogs, in the class if they're up to date on their shots. I'm still trying to find a vet in our area and will probably make that call sometime before next class.

I wouldnt call einstein "built"...the post was more of a "I've never seen these muscles before". I'd still call him a bit skinny, I can see his ribs more than I'd like but based on what I've seen/read hes in range for what he should be weight wise. Compared to the GSD, furry little thing, he looked pretty stacked just because he doesnt have the coat to hide his motion. That make sense?
 

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First, I really recommend you watch this video on dog communication. It's good primer on how to read dog body language. How to communicate with a dog in their own language- dog training dog communication - YouTube If you want even more on the topic (and I highly recommend it!), pick up a copy of Turid Rugaas's book, "Calming Signals: On Talking Terms with Dogs." It really helps you learn to "read" your puppy and it's incredibly useful.

Here's a video I shot of my two playing "Dobershark" in the house. It's kind of dark, but you should be able to hear the noises they make and see how they are playing. This is actually very mild for them, too. They usually sound quite a bit worse!

ULsaiSnlYDA
 

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Here's another video of Shanoa playing with her good friend Mari. The girls are less vocal, but you can see they get pretty wild.

Va_lEwK7r6I
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Here's another video of Shanoa playing with her good friend Mari. The girls are less vocal, but you can see they get pretty wild.

That is pretty much exactly what Einstein was doing, except the GSD wanted no part and I think it escalated for a brief second into more than just playing. The best way to put it, probably a lot different for females, is that when I was growing up as a boy we'd play fight and wrestle ALL the time. Very often it was fine, fine, touchy, touchy, ANGER ANGER ANGER. Then back to fine 30 seconds later. Thats exactly how I'd put it.
 

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Sounds very normal. You just have to set boundaries and not let your pup harass dogs that aren't interested in play. You don't want him to become a bully.
 

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MeadowCat

Thanks so much for sharing your videos! It helps a lot to see what we're looking at. Boundaries will be set durin play time!!:D
 
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I agree with those saying doberman play is rough. I remember when Rowan was younger and he would play rough with his lab buddy, doing the same biting necks/boxing/wrestling, etc. One time after a play date the lab was in doggie day care and he got a "time out" for being so rough but he was used to playing that way with Rowan!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yesterday was a success at puppy kindergarden! He played nice with other dogs for about 10 minutes before wanting to get rough with a toy terrier, that thing literally was the size of one of his toys ;)

Im thinking maybe the incident was partly because the GSD was at our home, which Einstein is still trying to lay claim to.
 
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