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2yr old male doberman high anxiety

AHarmon

Novitiate
I'll keep this as short as possible with as much detail as I can give. I just got my almost 2yr old male doberman back from my ex-husband who I had fought since the dog was 4 months old. While my ex husband did train him well I am seeing a lot of anxiety in him especially at when it gets dark out and before we go to bed. He's pacing, whining, up and down and won't relax at all. I've only had him back for 3 weeks so I know there is an adjustment period but what can I do to help him? We can't even watch a movie or a TV show with the dog interrupting it a million times. I know he's still very much a puppy and we do play w him amd go for walks when we get home from work but holy goodness every night. His anxiety has my anxiety through the roof. Also how do we get him to eat when we arent home? He's been eating his food after we get home. We walk him several times after we get home with the last being about 9pm and I am still getting woke up at 3am for a walk. I have my alarm set for 430am to take him out as I am awake at 5am for work. Any tips and tricks??? I've always had dobermans growing up but hes the youngest I've ever had.
 
A 2yr old male should be settled down somewhat…but in reading this
I am seeing a lot of anxiety in him especially at when it gets dark out and before we go to bed. He's pacing, whining, up and down and won't relax at all.
He is not getting enough physical or mental exercise during his daily routine- and it needs to be daily….not 2-3x week.

Hopefully you are doing a lot more than just walking too because that is not satisfying him- also sounds like he has a more higher drive than your past Dobermans.

I know you said you’ve had Dobermans in the past so no disrespect to you but you have to physically/mentally drain that boy daily or he will find a way to do it himself. That’s prob what you are seeing at night, him being antsy to expel energy. Remember the spot on Doberman saying? A tired Doberman is a good Doberman.

There is no substitute for training…
Good luck….
 
I'm thinking he may be having a bit of separation anxiety from your ex if your routine is different than what he's used to. It will definitely take time to settle into a new routine.
Also how do we get him to eat when we arent home? He's been eating his food after we get home.
How long are you away from home? Our dogs are always fed at a certain hour in the am and pm around our schedule and if they don't eat it within 15 minutes or so, it gets put up until the next meal time. They are social eaters and want someone around.

Welcome from Minnesota. We'd love to see some photos of him.
 
He needs to learn to settle. Honestly, walking him a lot may be adding to it all. I think two good walks a day should be sufficient and the rest, mental work. More mental than physical! I would get him in an obedience class so that you two can bond together and a trainer can help spot any hiccups.

Are you free feeding? I'd feed him twice a day, when you wake up and when you get home from work. Its easier to monitor eating habits and food consumption that way too and you don't have to worry about wasting food or stale food.

Start teaching him "place" or "spot" where he goes to a place in the room, lays down and stays there. A rug, a bed, a chair. Whatever works for him. Work on this on the side (when not watching a movie) and build high value for staying in place. Build up duration for how long he can place. Add distance after he has duration down (pop out of the room for a few seconds, come back and reward for holding place). Then once he is good, you can have him place while watching tv.

They say it takes at minimum 3 months for shelter dogs to adjust to their new home. I would assume this would be no different. Give it time, add structure, add mental work, join an obedience class and work on your bond. It will get better.
 
Agree with all that's been said, and you can add more detail to the situation if you want, no need to keep it brief. Many problems are in the hidden details of the daily routine. Yes lots of exercise, yes more mental stimulation, yes more bonding between the two of you, yes he's probably wondering what happened to his old routine, yes make him lay down and Stop while you have a movie to watch - You have a life too! These dogs love and NEED structure, boundaries and a leader. All three, not one or the other. The higher drive/energy type Doberman you have, the more important this is.

You can do this, and welcome to Doberman Chat from New Mexico!
 
Welcome! These folks have covered it all. You and your pup will bond and create your own routines. Give it time. Get to know him and he will work hard to know you.
 
Is he crate trained? If not I would start there, being older it might be hard at first but it will teach him to settle down and keep him safe, especially if he is having separation anxiety. And also as said by others feeding twice a day at specific times, if he doesn’t eat within 10-15 minutes put the food up and he waits until the next feeding time. Giving him a routine will also help him.
 
I have a 3.5 yr old Doberman mix. He is a complete anxiety-reactive dog. He actually is starting to obey commands better now than he ever did as a pup when we paid a private trainer to come to our house (obedience classes were a big no as we started him straight out of the shelter). At the slightest noise of ANY kind, he will jump like he's been shot. Ice maker freaks him out. If a neighbor slams a car door, he is terrified. This causes him to be on high alert at all times. Thunder & fireworks are horrid. Vet put him on 25mg of zoloft & we give it to him about 530pm so he can sleep. He startles awake & has now started having moments of aggression with me over NOTHING. Can be setting beside me touching me on the couch laying down & will suddenly turn around & bite me. Next time he wont. I feel that he's got something wrong with him mentally. Have read about "sudden rage syndrome" & am beginning to wonder as he immediately will snap, growl & bite & then approach me like nothing just happened & start to lick my hand he just bit. He doesnt do this to my husband. Not sure why he would "bite the hand that feeds him." I love this dog & have put in lots of blood, sweat & tears for him. I dont understand.
 

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Can be setting beside me touching me on the couch laying down & will suddenly turn around & bite me. Next time he wont. I feel that he's got something wrong with him mentally. Have read about "sudden rage syndrome" & am beginning to wonder as he immediately will snap, growl & bite & then approach me like nothing just happened
That's pretty much a description of Sudden Rage Syndrome. I would definitely discuss with your vet. Nerves like you describe are hard to manage and not usually changed a lot by training. I feel for you and your pup.

On the other hand: Have tried correcting him, what is his reaction? Can you tell him to lay down in his own bed, or get off the couch when you want to sit on it? What is your reaction to him when he is afraid of the ice maker or a car door? What do YOU do?
 
That's pretty much a description of Sudden Rage Syndrome. I would definitely discuss with your vet. Nerves like you describe are hard to manage and not usually changed a lot by training. I feel for you and your pup.

On the other hand: Have tried correcting him, what is his reaction? Can you tell him to lay down in his own bed, or get off the couch when you want to sit on it? What is your reaction to him when he is afraid of the ice maker or a car door? What do YOU do?
Well, as you know, Dobes have snap, snap, snap sort of bite. This happened a day ago on the bed and instinct is to say "NO!" & it seems to make him more aggressive at the moment. I NEVER smack his nose as in the beginning. Now I just get away from him & dont look at him. He seeks me out to tell me he's sorry. It's usually when Im eye level with him (laying on the bed, setting on the couch). Never when Im standing up. When he jumps at the ice maker, I calmly tell him, "It's ok, that's just the ice maker - we're alright." Same for when the neighbor slams her car door. She comes home from work about 10:15pm when he's asleep & it's just like someone set off a bomb. Same thing, "Thank you for letting me know Neighbor is home. We're ok." Then he lays back down & goes back to sleep. Ive never really tried to give commands when it happens as it's so fast & unexpected. I just dont know what to think. He imprinted on me when we got him at 10wks. Im the one that he follows, sleeps with , sets by who feeds him, teaches him, plays with him, but Im also the one that he seems to be dominant with. He sets on the couch behind my head with his paw touching me.
 
Here's the one with his paw on me.
 

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Before I tell you that I think it's sudden rage, I think I'd suggest taking a leadership role. Some insecure dogs badly need the opposite of what we think. Rather than comforting them and reassuring them that things are OK, they need reassurance that you are the leader and will let them know that YOU are not worried about it, and if you are worried about it, you will be in charge of his and everyone elses safety. In other words, when you tell him it's just the ice maker, you are agreeing with him that there was a noise to be concerned about. So he continues to be aware of the noise. If you never said a word, ignored him completely (No talk, no touch, no eye contact) anytime he startled at the ice maker or the car door, perhaps he'd get the message that if the noise doesn't bother you maybe it shouldn't bother him. And if he can't blow up big enough to get your attention about it, maybe he'll quit blowing up. It's worth a try.

Shared beds and couches are earned, not a right. Any dog at any time for any reason who snaps at you should be banned from sharing those with humans. I would leave a short leash tab on his collar and if he snapped at you again, grab the tab, take him off the couch, put him in his own bed on the floor and don't allow him back on the couch. He must know in no uncertain terms that biting isn't allowed. Again, being soft and feeling sorry for him for years can make him think you'll never be strong enough to protect him, or to take charge, so now he feels like he must take charge of things, which in turn rolls over into just being boss about little things. Dogs don't think like humans. It's not that he doesn't love you, it's just the respect that's gotten out of balance. Think over the relationship dynamics and why he has a different reaction to you than your husband. Also, basic training: sits, down, stay, recall, all those should be in place and made into a fun game. He does a "trick", you reward him. Win Win, you both get something out of it. Pretty soon he's happy to just be obedient because you asked and he wants to please you.

There are many examples of similar situations on this forum. Read through some of these other peoples stories and the answers that follow. You'll find you are not alone. There are also some true sudden rage stories to be found. It's not very common, but it does happen. Nobody can diagnose that over the internet, but for your sake I hope it's lack of leadership on your part because that can be fixed with training. Most true sudden rage dogs end up euthanized.

Your dog is a beauty. Please keep us updated on his behavior and hopefully progress. ❤️
 
I agree with @Ravenbird - just the photo of him above you on the couch, makes me think that HE thinks he may be in charge. We had friends who had a chihuahua that did that. If they tried to remove him, he would growl, and they would leave him alone.
Keep us posted on your progress!
 
Now I just get away from him & dont look at him.
You're retreating. Red flag.
It's usually when Im eye level with him (laying on the bed, setting on the couch)
I agree with the others, never share the bed or couch until they earn it. And even when they have earned it, you have to let them know it's a privilege YOU have given and that you can also take it away. My male Doberman is almost 8 and he only recently got couch privileges - he has his own couch for which we trained him to jump up, but he regularly tries to get on other couches without permission or invitation and we correct him every time. They do test us.
When he jumps at the ice maker, I calmly tell him, "It's ok, that's just the ice maker - we're alright."
That's coddling. Dogs don't receive reassurance the same way that humans do. Ignore the sounds like they don't matter and the dog follows suit, assuming he sees you as his leader first.
He sets on the couch behind my head with his paw touching me
Total red flag. Don't allow this.
 
From talking with a dedicated young woman with a high quality working line male, and high end working line trainer, these behaviors that kaiser's comments upon are some examples of undesirable dog behavior due to insufficient training or leadership by the human.

Get a trainer for you both. You are not a bad person and its not too late. Its work but very rewarding, especially after three year point on big strong makes, I read here and elsewhere.

Have fun! Update us again in awhile with your success!
 

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