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Help- Gsd/dobberman

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by tinysarah, Apr 4, 2011.


  1. tinysarah

    tinysarah PetForums Member

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    Hello

    I need some advice on what to do with conan, my 10 month old Gsd/dobberman puppy. He weighs 47kg.

    He seems to be completlt different in his behaviour towards me and my partner- he's really good, follows him
    around like the preverbial lost puppy, does everything he tells him, never shows aggression or anything.

    But with me it's like he's another animal- he bites, pulls my clothes, has already headbutted me, bite my hands
    and arms not really hard- no that's a lie, it bloody kills! And has drawn blood
    a few times. Most recently 10 minutes ago when I tries
    to pull something he swalled out of his mouth. He chews and tries to rip the sofa and rugs, acts like a complete mad dog. But as soon as my partner comes
    through the door, he's all over him.

    He's not been "done" yet, but Duncan said he had no idea how bad he was with me until the other day when he 'pretended' to go out, actually went upstairs and could hear him
    growling at me.

    When he was a puppy, I had the first 2 weeks off and spent all day
    with him, toilet trained him, played with him and everything, told him off when he was naughty.

    I just don't understand why he's like this towards me. When he's with other people he's fine, other dogs he's brilliant with.

    Any help/guidance would be brilliant.

    Sarah
     
  2. Rottiefan

    Rottiefan PetForums VIP

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    How often do you spend with him on a daily basis? Do you think he's actually being aggressive towards you, or is just over-exuberant play/attention seeking?

    Dogs perform behaviours that are likely to get them what they want. In your case, it could be that Conan has learnt that biting your clothing/mouthing your hands and arms earns him attention and valuable rewards, e.g. to go outside, his dinner etc., etc.

    Do you do any training with him? By teaching basic commands, using food/toys as rewards for calm behaviour, we can build strong bonds with our dogs and teach them that for them to receive what they want, they need to do XYZ, which are human-acceptable behaviours, such as sitting at the door before leaving the house, or not pulling on the lead etc.

    You say the dog is all over your husband- in what way?

    You mentioned that, when Conan was a puppy, you 'told him off when he was naughty'. What types of reprimands did you use? Telling a dog off, in the traditional sense, is frowned upon in dog training as the dogs either 1) have no idea what you mean and/or 2) it forms negative associations between dog and owner. By you telling him off when he was young, a negative association could have been built and reinforced over time, which could be the reason for the anti-social behaviours now.

    I would look to do some obedience training with Conan. Spend time teaching new things and try to apply these new behaviours to real contexts, so as you have more control over his manners.
     
  3. tinysarah

    tinysarah PetForums Member

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    Hi

    thanks for the reply.

    When I say told him off, i mean i would tell
    him 'no' and walk out the room and not play with him
    for a couple of minutes until he had calmed down. If he bit the sofa then I'd tell him 'no' and give him his chew toy to chew on.

    We've been to puppy training when he was 5 months old and he did everything he was told there, I've started going back over all the stuff we learnt there and are going to take him to adult classes soon with the same woman who did the puppy training.

    Hopefully it's just him 'being a teenager' and he'll grow out of it, as it is literally a mad 10/15 minutes he has.

    I'll keep you updated.

    Sarah
     
  4. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Rather than pull and struggle to get things out of the dog's mouth, a calm way is needed, so training to release objects "Drop" and "Leave It!" is important.

    It could be, that you're seeing puppy-nipping type play behaviour, because you were the playmate in those early weeks. If you haven't taught safe games to play, which avoid the dog jumping on you, getting growly and tooth-skin contact, then pushing you around is the only game he knows.

    Once you and him have lost it, then he won't listen to you; and your partner leaving might be a trigger for "play time". Furthermore whilst you were able to get your way, by an intimidating reprimand "told him off when he was naughty" may just not be credible to an adolescent security breed mix.

    That's speculation, but plausible; I totally agree with Rottie, establishing control by rewards based obedience training, ought to be constructive fun for your dog and help you & him form a respectful bond, rather than be in Kampfmodus.

    Seen your reply, I've argued a fair bit on the forum against "just saying no!" but thinking it through and establishing a desirable alternative behaviour instead, as just supressing things seems to work in a puppy but is harder to do when the dog reaches adulthood. One of the persons whilst meeting us walking our pup, who tried to persuade me to use stern reprimands "that'll stop him" actually was having his wife bitten in exactly the way you described for years, before they stamped it out!

    It sounds like a constructive play session, learning to follow some of your commands, could really help him grow out of it, much quicker than just waiting for him to settle with age, would do.
     
    #4 RobD-BCactive, Apr 5, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  5. keirk

    keirk PetForums Member

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    Out of interest - what / how much and how often do you feed him? And how much freedom is he allowed in the house? (As in - is he allowed on the sofa, upstairs, all rooms etc).
     
  6. Rottiefan

    Rottiefan PetForums VIP

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    Getting back into training is a great idea.

    Ending the play sessions is a good idea, but I would just completely skip the saying "No" part as it is probably not contributing to the learning process. More realistically, it's probably just ignored now as he has no idea what it means.

    Adolescent dogs can be difficult as adult interests begin to grow. You need to cater for this and step up the training and socialisation period so you retain some basic control over his desires and interests.

    Make sure he is getting good exercise- long walks with lots of stops (every 30 yards or so) with you practising a few basics, perhaps a recall on a long line (get his attention, call him back, give him a treat and let him play with a toy if he likes, then say "Free dog" and allow him off to sniff again), as well as giving him a treat every time another dog passes or a stranger does.

    If he begins to mouth you, just don't say anything and leave the area. Or keep him on a lead in the house and isolate him somewhere. Any words said to him is attention, so just pretend you're doing some mundane job when isolating him.

    Another option is, when he begins to mouth and bite, ask him to SIT calmly, let him make eye contact with you, then invite him to play with a toy. If he carries on biting, then remove him as above.

    As easy as it is to get angry and frustrated, you have to come at it from the point of view of "This dog has learnt that doing X gets him Y- I need to teach him that actually this other calmer, more human-acceptable behaviour earns him Y".

    Good luck!
     
  7. Helbo

    Helbo PetForums VIP

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    All I can suggest from your post are these few ideas.

    1) I think you should become the primary feeder in the household if you aren't already. If you give the dog his dinner you become more important to them and this might help with commands and the dogs general behaviour towards you. Make sure you don't get bullied to feel the dog via barking, and I don't think it could hurt to get your dog to sit before you give him his dinner. Just as an extra obedience titbit.

    2) Keep up with the training you're doing. You need to make a real effort to not only go through obedience commands like sit...

    3) ...but perhaps try to teach the dog more complicated things like 'spin' to keep the dog mentally active. Toys like kongs etc are good for this also. This will help with any boredom related issues.

    4) On a similar note make sure the dog has enough exercise everyday.

    5) I wonder - do you ever go out and leave the dog alone with your hubby? Perhaps if you did he'd be treated the same way you are - or the dog will realise you are like your hubby and not tied to the house...

    6) Any bad behaviour towards you - instead of saying no, why don't you try to get the dog to sit and give him a calm rub on his chest for a while. Make it all nice and calm.

    I'm sorry if my suggestions are really simplistic - but I didn't want to read and run.
     
  8. Rottiefan

    Rottiefan PetForums VIP

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    All good suggestions. I would say for # 1, though, that hand feeding the dog's dinner through training would make an even stronger bond. Or more realistically, will strengthen the positive association between the dog and owner even more so.
     
  9. tinysarah

    tinysarah PetForums Member

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    Hi all

    thanks for the replys!

    I'll answer some of the questions and see what happens from there on;

    feeding- he's on 2 meals a day- breakfast and evening meal after his walk and he has a 2 bonios at 'lunchtime' when I come
    home from work at lunch to let him
    out and have a play. I give him his breakfast every morning, coming down 20 minutes before my partner does, I get him
    to sit and give me his paw then he gets his food. I do this all his meal times and he does it straight away.
    HTML:
    
    
    Never barks for his food. think I'll do the hand feeding as mentioned as he's fine taking food out my hand. We feed him royal canin maxi junior, but am thinking maybe he needs
    to go onto the giant mix as he's already 47kg and maxi is recommended for adult weight of 45kg

    Exercise - I take him out for 30-45 minutes
    in the morning before I go to work, then play in the garden at lunchtime
    with him. My partner gets home about 4:30 and takes him out for about an hour and half. At weekends we also go out for a really long walk/run in the forest together.

    I do leave him with my partner and he says
    that he's fine when he's with him- just sleeps and he said that it's probably because he sees me as more of playmate then him. I'm wondering if he also might be confused (conan the dog this is) with how boisterous he can be with me, which is no where near as much as my partner- who is 6foot tall 17 stone rugby player build, whereas i'm 5:3 and weigh 7 1/2. Who knows?

    I'm going to start giving him bellyrubs when he's being anti-social, as he often lays on his back, legs all spread open and it actually sends him to sleep when you rub his belly in a certain spot.

    Also going to look at teaching him some new tricks, he can already stand on his back legs and open the back door to let himself in from the back garden!

    Thanks for all the advice, will keep you updated.

    Sarah
     
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