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Discussion in 'Training & Behavior' started by allieb, Nov 19, 2020 at 1:44 PM.

  1. allieb

    allieb New Member

    Bugzy is 14 months old and it started showing at 11/12 months. He gets very upset when you're in his face which was fine I just didn't get in his face anymore. Then he would get angry when he was sleeping and someone was near him. So I left him alone when he was sleeping. Now he gets "aggressive" at random times. I bought a muzzle because it is not worth the risk. I brought him to a behaviorist and he just told me to buy a "calming collar." I also brought him to the vet several times and they said nothing is wrong. When he gets "upset' he will sometimes growl but typically just air snap. He has never bitten but he will get close and like snap his teeth. He has been doing better but recently it has started happening again. Like every one step forward we go 5 steps backwards. I really do not know what I am doing wrong if anyone has tips please help me. I am also really bad at explaining things, so if anyone needs me to answer questions please let me know.

  2. Ravenbird

    Ravenbird Notable member

    Yes, I think more detail on this is needed so we can assess what's really going on. You're in his face, like telling him to behave? or like smooching him? That would definitely be two different reactions. Someone near him when he's sleeping - bugging him? waking him up? or just watching TV and he doesn't want them close to him? What does he do when he "gets angry"?

    My initial reaction to your post is to say that you are allowing him to control your behavior which will only lead to disaster. You have to be his leader and he has to go by your rules. Also he's at his teenage years, and just like humans this is the age he's testing the authorities on what he can get away with. The more times he exhibits behavior that you don't like and gets no correction - or worse yet rewarded! - it will be repeated more often and with more confidence on his part.
    • Agree Agree x 4
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  3. Oh Little Oji

    Oh Little Oji Formerly Tad Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Hey, welcome!

    What a handsome dude in your avatar pic!

    What kind of dog(s) did you have growing up, and who handled and took care of them the most? I am assuming this is your first guarding breed, or sort of serious breed.

    While we can certainly be their buddies and enjoy all the love and fun they bring, we have to be their leaders! This is achieved in many ways – some small.

    Do you let him get on the furniture? Where does he sleep? How does feeding time look?
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Kaiser2016

    Kaiser2016 Active Member

    This is likely what has caused the situation to escalate. You should be able to do anything with a dog that understands his role in the pack. When they experience little victories like this, it gets worse just as Ravenbird is saying. You should implement the NILIF system where he has to work for everything so he knows you call the shots. I will add that although the teen stage is the hardest time, depending on the dog, it can recur if you get too soft with them, especially if it's your first time Dobering you might not even notice the little terrorist making their little moves :facepalm:

    You ask if this is aggression: I wouldn't accept my own dog growling at me. And then even doing an "air snap" :shock: I can't blame you for buying a muzzle, but hopefully you will be able get it all under control.
    • Like Like x 1
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  5. allieb

    allieb New Member

    So he doesn’t like anytime your in/near his face no matter what you’re doing. Same with sleeping like today i sat next to him didn’t even touch him and he growled. When he’s mad he growls and tries to bite. Also i have a prong on him so when he does act like that i correct him once and go make him lay down.
  6. allieb

    allieb New Member

    this is my first guarding breed. I have dealt with many other guarding breeds and other animals, but this is my first personal one. He has a crate in my room but in my movie room he has a designated chair that has his blankets on them. No furniture though other than that one chair. Feeding is at 7,1:30, and 8.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. allieb

    allieb New Member

    I feel like I don’t let him get away with anything, even when he growls i correct him. I might not be harsh enough.
  8. allieb

    allieb New Member

    Also thank you to everyone for replying and helping!
  9. AnnV

    AnnV $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    As already mentioned by others, 1st advice: Nothing. In. Life. Is. Free.
    It is not clear (to me) whether you do any NILIF at meal time? Have Bugzy obey a command until released before he gets anything at all that he needs/wants.
    First the food, you control every single meal, every treat, toy, and/or....a tiny cuddle. After a while Bugzy may offer the sit or other by himself, predicting your command, in that case change command. No walking through any doorway without obeying a command first.

    I would reduce, minimize or exclude touch and eye contact, no cuddles or pets until things change and not allow on any furniture at all for now. In case you do baby talk, I would also change tone of voice to neutral, at least until things get on a more even keel.

    It is crucial to establish the Leadership role at all times, otherwise corrections will not have the longterm necessary effect.

    Keep us posted:)
    • Agree Agree x 5
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  10. AnnV

    AnnV $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Oh, I had typed this sentence also but it somehow disappeared. I would suggest not to sit down at the same level as Bugzy, whether on the floor or furniture. Again better keep Bugzy off any furniture.
    • Agree Agree x 5
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  11. jazzies mum

    jazzies mum Hot Topics Subscriber

    Me neither! For any reason at all! I take it as a personal insult from my dog and act appropriately. Having said that, my Jazz has only growled at me twice after the terrible Dober Devil pup days and both times she had something she felt possessive of. I just acted astounded, as I was, and proceeded to take her object and have a good look at it while telling her I could do that if I wanted, then gave it back with no more said. That was enough to establish proper order.

    I do agree that you might have to go back a step or two with your demands and insistence on obedience. Make some good fun play sessions mixed with obedience so he gets to enjoy your interactions. A male dog tends to be more hard headed during their teenage stage it seems to me and they all will tend to take the extra mile with any inch given. If my memory serves me correctly it was well into Jazzies second year before some small privileges could be allowed without her thinking it meant she could push the boundaries. If your boy doesn't like to be crowded then you can respect that, but you need to be able to handle him all over when required so I would probably do short sessions of handling, ie checking mouth, handling feet and running hands over the body, (not all in one session), and then reward by backing off and praise when he calmly allows this. The rest of the time try to be neutral and businesslike. He might even surprise you by making his own approach to you after a while!
    • Agree Agree x 5
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  12. allieb

    allieb New Member

    I make him wait for food and toys but I read into the NILIF and I’m going to try it. Thank you so much for offering advice!
  13. allieb

    allieb New Member

    Thank you so much! I’m going to try all of these methods and keep everyone updated!
    • Like Like x 1
  14. allieb

    allieb New Member

    I have one more question! I am super excited to start all this and get Bugzy’s complete respect, but I am dog sitting my friends dog this weekend and Bug gets a long great with her! Should I start the NILIF tomorrow? Or wait till he’s back to normal again?
  15. Ravenbird

    Ravenbird Notable member

    Sounds like he's definitely challenging you. You sat next to him & he growled. This is Alpha Dog telling you where you can and can't sit. Good on you to correct and make him go lay down, but better yet, no matter what the situation is, don't allow it to ever start. Bugs needs his own place LOWER than every other place in that room. At this stage in the game he should be on floor level always. His chair in the movie room, if you choose to let him keep it, could be turned to face the wall. Then he can choose to sit in it isolated or on the floor. A mat or "place" for him in every room so he has a place to go, but never allowed any other choice of places. Does he crate? Where does he sleep at night? Is it his choice or your choice? This last question should be something you ask yourself multiple times a day.

    Personally I'd start now & use the fun dog distraction as a prime example to Bugs that he has to listen to you no matter what. Fun dog? Sit Down Stay, then play. No listen, no play with the fun dog. Keep play very short, or not at all if he doesn't earn it. He doesn't need or deserve a dog guest at this point, he has make-up points to make with you. Just keep in mind every time he gets an inch, he will work on making it a mile the next time. I think he's just testing you, so stay strong, keep a prong on him and a tab leash that you can easily grab and correct him at any time. Also, least I sound like a harda$$, lots and lots of reward games, one on one, just you and him. Like when his fun dog friend is there, take him out alone and play a fun rewarding game without the visiting dog! NILIF, but always reward the good stuff! And keep offering him a solution of making the right choice easy with bonus reward and the wrong choice downright unpleasant.

    Wishing you the best, and do keep us posted. You have tons of help & support here!
    • Agree Agree x 4
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  16. Ddski5

    Ddski5 Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Since my (short) time with Dobermans and from all the info I have read/researched, I have found that there are many types of mentality/temperaments. The really nice and sweet, the very testy asshats, those willing to please no matter what, the very easy to train, the “I don’t care”, I do what I do, etc.....

    Needless to say, some are much easier than the others. I can tell you firsthand that Ragnar, you saw at the fields, was much harder than my pup Freyja I am training now.

    I have waited to respond because I am trying to figure out why Bugzy is growling and snapping at you?? Why would he snap at his owner, the person who cares and feeds him on a daily basis?? You said he has been checked by the vet numerous times so pain, discomfort, thyroid levels and health are ruled out.....

    Is he just a moody shit? Regardless, one should be very cautious getting into a dogs face or messing with a sleeping dog let alone a Doberman- period. Yes, I can do it at will with both of mine but I am the established Alpha- leader- Boss and they know it.

    Which leads me to next thought and I mean no disrespect to you whatsoever....when meeting you at the fields- you are young, nice and sweet young lady. Are you this way with Bugzy? Do you talk sweet, coax and cuddle him? Do you ever firm your tone, jerk his leash, grab the skin cuff of his neck and twist little- establish dominance? There are a lot of established experienced Doberman owners here and it seems to be the consensus that Bugzy doesn’t seem to respect you as the leader- the Alpha. He is “telling” you to get away, get back- I don’t want you near me. That is like a toddler telling their mother leave me alone I don’t want to do it- get away from me....If the mother does what the toddler says and doesn’t correct this behavior then the toddler will grow up to be a rebellious crackhead. If the mom cracks toddler in the ass, instills NILIF and discipline then toddler learns boundaries and expectations. You get the picture. I can tell you that mine thrive on discipline, they excel in situations when they have to perform on the T and I am in complete Alpha mode- like when we are at the soccer fields and I know that nothing can go wrong here.

    Lots of experienced- fantastic advice above. I say to lock his ass down through training and discipline, they respect boundaries and expectations. You have to remember what a Doberman is and what it was bred for....you most definitely do not have a Lassie on your hands. Sounds like you have an asshat that is challenging you. Curb it now, get control. When I am home with him, I would have a short leash on him and he would go wherever I would go and I would constantly have him heel, sit, down and stand. Get tired of that, then place him in a certain spot for 5mins, then place him in another spot for 5mins, etc.... put him on leash tethered to you and walk around the house again, sit, down, heel- over and over. Then as you start to see the asshat in him break and he is less challenging, then I would reward him with a treat here and there.

    Something that DobermanGang (a trainer on here)reminds me often that I believe we may be somewhat lenient on, is that regardless of what we may want in our Doberman, they are not humans so treating them with humanistic qualities is actually a bad thing to do. It sends the wrong signals. I am guilty of this somethings, and remind myself- this is a Doberman and needs to be treated as a Doberman.

    Again, no disrespect to you if you already know this.... just sending my thoughts and hope it helps.
    • Like Like x 4
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  17. Doberman Gang

    Doberman Gang Hot Topics Subscriber

    My question to you is, what training do you do with your dog? How do you make it fun? How much time do you spend playing and interacting with him. He will learn to respect you if you are fair and show him leadership which includes play time with you. Play can be interrupted for short obedience commands. At first you must play more and ask for less obedience but eventually you can change it to a random reinforcement behavior. You must also set the rules for play. This is much easier if taught when they are young puppies but can still be trained at your dogs age. If you dog enjoys playing with you and following the rules of play you will but yourself as the leader and your dog will respect you more out of love and wanting to please you than you forcing obedience in them. You may want to find a trainer to help teach you.
    • Agree Agree x 5
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  18. Ravenbird

    Ravenbird Notable member

    This is SO true. When I searched and found a working-bred Dobe, I thought I was going to get the same dog I had before, just a little bit harder and more forward. I got the harder & more forward with total independence and no nice & sweet at all. She hurt my feelings something fierce with lacking that desire to please. Throwing her middle finger at me every step of the way. Her first 8 months were spent trying to gain control. I second-guessed myself constantly. She didn't hate me, she just wants to be Alpha. Still a work in progress, but now that I know what she is, how she thinks, what motivates her, we are a life-long team. It has been blood sweat & tears, in every literal way, but worth it all.
    • Appreciation Appreciation x 3
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  19. allieb

    allieb New Member

    WOW so many great replies! It has become evident I have been too soft on Bugzy. This forum has been great to learn and expand my knowledge on dobermans. I started the NILIF system with him and even though it has only been 2 days I can tell he is starting to look to me almost asking "is it okay if I go play?" "is it okay to go get the ball?" I am really excited to have a dog that respects me and does not use me as a door mat. I am using all the tips everyone has sent in. Right now as I am writing this I have him in a down position on the other side of the room. I have quickly realized this is the kind of discipline he needed in his life! I will continue to update and ask questions. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has been kind as well as given constructive criticism. One other question is what are everyone's fun training commands y'all have taught. Bug knows the basics sit, down, stand, come, stay, heel, and center. Are there any other ones you guys recommend?
    • Like Like x 6
  20. allieb

    allieb New Member

    Also I want to thank @Ddski5 before I bought Bugzy I tried another Doberman forum and quite honestly everyone was very rude. I told myself I would never try again just because it hurt my feelings, and as much as I would say I am tough and can handle it. They were grown adults talking trash to a child. When I met @Ddski5 at the dog park he told me about this. It has been so amazing to ask questions and get kind responses. So thank you to everyone :)
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