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How to stop constant nipping for attention

Discussion in 'Training & Behavior' started by dsut, Jan 2, 2020.

  1. dsut

    dsut New Member

    Hi everyone. I’ve asked for advice before and have tried to follow it but nothing seems to be working. Not sure if anyone can shed any light on this situation as I’m at my wits end.

    My one year old Dobe has been mouthy from the moment we got her at 6 weeks and we haven’t been able to stop it. Timeout, water pistol, crying out, firm NO.. nothing has worked.

    Just as an example this is how my day started today:

    Played tug for a few minutes. Then she ate a little. Then started her usual: ran around barking, nipping, jumping up and darting away. (I keep her on a short leash at all times but it’s still almost impossible to catch her so I don’t even try as it’s all part of her game). So said NO firmly but that never works so ignored her in spite of some really hard pinches on leg. She then ran to a cushion on couch and bit that for a reaction but I ignored it. Then ran to a rug and wanted to pee on it but I stopped her so she peed on the kitchen floor. Then ran to her toys, back to me, a few more nips which I ignored. Then wandered around aimlessly, yawned and lay down.

    I praised her and asked if she wanted to play more and her eyes lit up so that was probably what the whole episode was about. Made her sit and stay while she waited for her toy and she was as good as gold. The trouble is that this goes on all day every day.

    I’m at my wits end. I know she’s bored but I can’t entertain her constantly so all I do is “manage” her all day. A few training sessions with treats. One long off leash walk. Playtime/tug. Some leashed indoor time but that usually ends as described above so I put her in the garden or in her crate for a nap.

    Never at any time is she playing by herself and only once in a blue moon does she nap on couch for a few minutes. The rest of the time she demands full attention. I wish I could have her roaming in and out of the house without collar and leash and have her be part of the household but it’s just not possible. She’s a totally different dog when she’s not on the end of the leash but I feel

    shutting her out is making the situation worse and makes her dart away more so as not to get caught and put away.

    She is far worse with my husband so I have to intervene all the time. She literally doesn’t leave him alone for a minute. I realise she’s spoilt and we haven’t established a strong enough Alpha but she listens perfectly on the leash or when I have treats in my hand.

    Is this all a game? Will she outgrow it? I used to think so but as she’s maturing it seems less likely.

    Any advice would be welcome!
    • Empathetic Empathetic x 1
  2. Doberman Gang

    Doberman Gang Hot Topics Subscriber

    You answered your own question here. You need to assert yourselves as being the leaders. Do you give corrections for bad behavior? Do those corrections have meaning? How much play/exercise with you or your husband does your dog get each day? Is your dog crate trained? Due to the possibility of bloat our dogs get kenneled after every meal for 45-60 minutes. Establish a daily routine so your dog understands down time, playtime, feeding schedule ect...
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Viemarangelrock

    Viemarangelrock Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Issues arise when a dog has no boundaries and does what the hell they like. The spoiling needs to stop because it’s not good for her. Coddling and lack of boundaries and rules can actually create anxiety and insecurity in her. Without a clear leader present, she’ll feel like the burden of being in charge falls on her. Trust me, she doesn’t want that burden. She’ll feel a lot happier with a clear leader giving her guidance. And that leader is you.

    As @Doberman Gang has already mentioned....Routine!! They thrive on an established routine.

    Also, make sure that your training commands are clear and that you apply them in consistent circumstances. You need to provide her with a clear framework for what is and is not allowed, and then stick to it. You might think it is a kindness to allow her to break with her usual behaviour norms on occasion, for example, sitting on the furniture or sleeping on the beds, but these kinds of ‘exceptions’ and lack of consistency in her training and handling will only serve to confuse her.

    If no boundaries are set, if there is no direction or discipline from you, she will assume the leadership role. Please remember, she doesn’t perceive her unruly behaviour as inappropriate. You need to establish effective communication.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  4. Tropicalbri's

    Tropicalbri's $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    I was going to point out what @Doberman Gang highlighted. I would not allow her on any furniture and I would give correction that she understands is a correction. It may seem harsh to you but small nagging corrections are soon ignored and have no significance. Firm corrections and follow through is very important with this breed. You need to let her know the rules are your rules not hers and she HAS to conform. They are like kids, you can threaten to do something but if you don’t follow through immediately it is ignored and they have control of you. You are in a battle for leadership and she needs to understand her place is below you and your husband.

    My friends that have unruly, untrained dogs often accuse me of being too strict with my two but I don’t negotiate behavior, I administrate. My rules are house rules and if they expect to enjoy the perks of the home they must adhere to the rules. Training, training, training is key to a well behaved, well balanced and enjoyable companion. Mine are still trained everyday if only for 15-20mins a couple times a day. They are allowed free time to play and act crazy but when I say stop the rough housing they must respond.
    A trained dog imo is a happy and secure dog. They know the rules, the routine and it makes them more stable and responsive.
    • Agree Agree x 4
  5. dsut

    dsut New Member

    Yes I do give corrections and she knows I mean them. It’s just very hard to get her to stop if she’s nipping and darting around. I can’t try to catch her as that’s a game so I first say NO very firmly and then try to ignore and wait for her to stop even though the nips are painful.
    she is crate trained and has a strict routine.
    She has one long walk and several play sessions per day. She also has a large garden to run around in. I feed her twice a day and crate her after meals.
    Im aware that she needs a firm hand and she’s very o Edie this on the leash. The problem arises when she’s off leash and she knows we can’t catch her
  6. Doberman Gang

    Doberman Gang Hot Topics Subscriber

    I would suggest when she is out free, you use some form of correction collar with an 8” to 12” pull tab attached. This gives you something to grab and correct with when she comes in for a nip or tries to jump on someone. This will be more difficult now that she is older but if done consistently she will learn quickly.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  7. dsut

    dsut New Member

    As far as I’m aware she has a strict routine and boundaries and I don’t think I’m spoiling her. She has one corner of the couch that she’s allowed on and never on beds etc.
    She hassles my husband constantly. He works long hours so doesn’t spend much time with her so she demands all his attention when he gets home ie constant mouthing nipping climbing on top of him licking etc. Dominant behaviour for sure. I have to keep her on a leash to keep her away from him as no matter how insistent he is she wont listen.
    We have a Dogwalker who walks her on the mountain occasionally with a lot of dogs and he says she shows no aggression to dogs or humans but every now and then she jumps up on him and nips him for no reason and he has to leash her. He says he’s never experienced this before. Just don't understand it either as we’ve had quite a few dogs, one of them a Dobe, and never had these issues before.
  8. dsut

    dsut New Member

    What would you call a harsh correction?
    I train her every day and she’s very obedient when I have treats in my hand. she is allowed to be on the end of a corner couch with her blanket on it. Is that not a good idea? It’s just the only peace we get when she lies there occasionally for a few minutes.
    She just seems very hyper as she brings me her tug toy every few minutes and if I don’t play she nips and barks etc and if I try to ignore her as I can’t catch her she bites the couch/ pees etc. I realise I need to be a leader but it’s almost impossible if I can’t catch her to discipline her. I’ve tried to step out of the room for a while but then she takes it out in the furniture etc. I think she knows she’s behaving badly but also that she can get away with it for a while. Once I catch her it’s a firm reprimand and time out but that doesn’t stop her doing it 29 minutes later. I’m not sure if I’m missing something here...
  9. BamMoMoMommy

    BamMoMoMommy $ Premium Subscriber $ $ Forum Donor $

    Not a pro with training by a long shot......my comment is based purely on past experience with my own dogs:

    How are you (and your husband) addressing the actions voice/tone wise?
    I have found with all our Dobes over the years when they are misbehaving we can't be animated in reaction and our tone needs to stay low and calm.

    "Loud and yelling or screechy--sing song" voices and us reacting with arms waving, body flaying....to them means
    "OH YEAH!! PLAY TIME." and getting their attention for correction is next to impossible....or worse they equate correction with play.

    I actually drop my voice a few octaves when doing a correction and go into praise calm slow with build up so as not to get them excited again...thus needing to start the process over.
    • Like Like x 2
  10. dsut

    dsut New Member

    She’s never without a collar and leash but even so is difficult to catch as she darts around. What do you mean by correction collar? She wears a half choke. We don’t get prong collars here If that’s what you’re referring to
  11. dsut

    dsut New Member

    I agree with that! As frustrated as I often am I try to stay calm and low. What actually works is if I ask her a question eg do you want to play? Or do you want a treat? and she’ll stop
    In her tracks and look at me, showing me that’s what she wants. Problem with that is that I feel she’s getting what she wants by nipping etc
  12. Tropicalbri's

    Tropicalbri's $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    I would tie her leash to your waist so she has to take every step you take. She has no control and no choice but to follow. If she starts the nipping then you have the leash right there and can give her collar a quick corrective pop with a calm. Firm no and then get a sit command. Once she complies reward with praise. I seldom use treats anymore unless it’s learning something new. I give praise for following commands.
  13. dsut

    dsut New Member

    I’ve done that and it’s worked for a while and then she lies down and makes it impossible for me to move
  14. Tropicalbri's

    Tropicalbri's $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Keep moving even if it means she gets to slide across the floor. She is controlling you by doing this. Step up your game, don’t ask, show. When we talk to dogs they hear blah, blah, blah until they hear a keyword that illicit a reaction of pleasure, like treat. Just snap her collar when she lays down and give the come command in a no nonsense type voice.
    You can be authoritative without being aggressive. Is she crate trained?
  15. dsut

    dsut New Member

    Yes she’s crate trained. I hear what you’re saying and I agree. I’ve just never hard to work this hard with a dog before. Our last Dobe wanted to please. This one not so much. I know she’s being playful and testing but it’s working in all our nerves. When people visit I allow her to greet them, leashed, and then I remove her as she hassles them. That frustrates her so it’s a catch 22.
  16. Doberman Gang

    Doberman Gang Hot Topics Subscriber

    What ever collar you use when teaching corrective behavior, so yes a martingale is fine. You can also use a 5’ - 6’ drag line, this gives you the ability to step on it so she can’t get away. (Drag line is a leash that hooks to the collar but has no loops or rings at the other end, so she can run with it on and it is less likely to catch on things. )
    • Agree Agree x 2
  17. BamMoMoMommy

    BamMoMoMommy $ Premium Subscriber $ $ Forum Donor $

    I am feeling for you here......I get the frustration, vexation and absolute "I love you but you are gonna make me LOOSE MY MIND!!" insanity that comes with strong wills!! I am dealing with something similar in a four year old ...who in the last few weeks has hit what seems to be his "HEY...your not the boss of me no more" teens....BUT..he's not our first..and we know we will find a solution...and so will you. It'll happen.

    One thing we have learned is in the Alpha pack....there has to be an Alpha human........if my husband and I both start flexing Alpha at them at the same time...it confuses them..even if we are giving the same command...so the one who was "last in" when they are being corrected..steps off and lets the one who started the correction..work it out.

    My husband and I have similar approach to correction....and we try to stay as stream lined and in sync with each other as we can...but human nature.....we each have our own quirks when working with the boys. As long as we don't both come at them at the same time.....they have figured out our "quirks" and work well with whichever one of us is doing the correcting...but if we are both trying to get their attention/do correction......it will be a lost cause pretty quick.

    I am the primary care giver for our boys...so I am "the lead dog" so to speak...LOL...my husband follows my lead in the training process for the most part. There is some leeway in there and we deal with that by working alone with them..without the other pup and person in sight so they learn "our quirks"

    If your husband isn't working with her....on his own...doesn't have time to do so.......then you need to train him...LOL....to work with her the way you do..same phrases, same hand motions. I have filmed my husband working with them..and vice versa and we watch each other so we can stream line/sync our methods.

    Good luck and hang in there......like other have said....and the most important thing is constancy and schedules.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. Viemarangelrock

    Viemarangelrock Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Frustration will feed her wildness. You may think you’re acting calm but she could be reading it differently.

    When she’s bored she acts out in order to engage with you. Daily, what mental stimulation does she receive?

    1) Establish, maintain and reinforce structure rules 24/7.

    2) Patience

    3)Be consistent. Don’t cave in or give up on a rule, boundary or requirement because she is acting out.

    4) When you tell her to do something she must comply.

    5) She must work for EVERYTHING!

    6) Patience

    7) YOU control space and movement. Body blocking, tethering etc...

    8) Teach her to ‘Place’ on a mat.

    9) Add mental stimulation to her daily routine

    10) Keep training sessions short but full of fun

    And lastly....patience.
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  19. dsut

    dsut New Member

    This makes sense! I’m home with her all day so I guess I’m the alpha although clearly not doing a good job lol. My husband has no interest in disciplining when he comes home after a long day at work and she senses that and pushes his buttons all evening. I’m constantly “rescuing” him by pulling her away, so we’re def not in sync as far as corrections go. I think we’re too old for this firecracker When our last gentle Dobe passed and kids left home my hubby just wanted another one, against my better judgement. We got more than we bargained for but she certainly keeps things interesting thanks for the support!
  20. dsut

    dsut New Member

    Thank you! You’re 100%correct... she prob does pick up on my frustration. Having her nipping and flying around the room several times a day definitely tests my patience.
    I use the NILF method so she works for everything.. food, toys etc
    I’ve taught her place but there’s a limit to how long she stays there... unless the treats keep coming.
    for mental stimulation I train her a few times a day for a few minutes at a time. We also play hide and seek with her toys and use kong & snufflemat for treats & feeds. Not sure if this is enough?
    Controlling movement and space is the biggest challenge so may have to tie her to me for the next while.

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