5 month old female dobe aggressive?


Hi all,
Almost 3 weeks ago my hubby and I picked up our little girl, Clove. She’s almost 5 months now. When I first went to meet her, she was timid but did not bark or anything at me and even let me pet her. Her previous owners said she did great with them and their family but had not been socialized much with others outside there family. I grew up with Dobermans so I do know they take more effort and training, as well as specific training to their breed, so I am more than willing to take on this challenge. I took her home and introduced her to my hubby. She was very anxious but wasn’t vocal and didn’t growl, however the following day when he came home from work, she growled and barked at him and wouldn’t let him come near me. I thought that was odd that she was already so possessive of me in 24 hours. Anyways, I knew she was going through a lot of change and was probably scared. It scared my hubby cause although she is 5 months she is already very large for her age and has a very deep bark, not a small puppy bark. Anyways, my hubby kept trying over the next few days and she has warmed up pretty quickly. She now loves him and gets so excited to see him, but there’s still some things he does that she doesn’t like and she will growl at him. We’re trying to teach her what is acceptable behavior and what is not, but we do not yell at her as we know they don’t respond well to this. Over the last couple weeks we have been getting her around our friends dog, who she loves, as well as our large group of friends. She does well outside the home with meeting people, but inside our house she acts kind of aggressive with people, although it does seem fear based. The thing that concerns me the most is that she will seem to warm up, but then randomly snap. Like the other day she had her head in my friends lap, who she just met that day, but then randomly started barking in her face and growling, and my friend didn’t do anything. I think it alarmed my friend and I felt so bad. I know she is probably scared, but should this be a warning sign? Do I just keep doing what I’m doing and socialize her, teach her what is acceptable and what is not? We have a lot of friends with kids and dogs and I want her to be a friendly dog and not have to worry about her snapping randomly. Any Insight would be much appreciated!


$ Premium Subscriber $
Hot Topics Subscriber
$ Forum Donor $
She is new to your home and needs the time to adjust and realize she belongs with you. It’s overwhelming for her to meet new people and a bit confusing.
It seems her reactivity is due to fear. They can develop fear biting and fear aggression when their environment changes like this.
I would not have friends over until she feels comfortable in her new home.

I would find a trainer experienced with the breed and get her started with confidence building training.
Once she becomes confident she will not feel the need to lash out unexpectedly.
Teach NILIF (nothing in life is free). Make her work for her food, toys, privileges.

I would not allow her on furniture until she is confident in the home.
Crate training would be good since she is starting her doberteens and will be getting into EVERYthing and looking forward things to get into. A crate keeps them safe from chewing and or ingesting a foreign body.

Be firm but fair and consistent with what you expect of her. Train multiple times a day and reward her.
Working and stimulating her brain with puzzles or other brain toys will wear them out more than exercise.

Don’t expect too much from her at this time until she figures out that it is really her home and then starts to relax.

Even though the prior owners told you about her life, don’t assume it’s all true. There are most likely things they did not tell you so start with a clean slate with her and I think in a few months time you will see a confident and happy Doberman.


DCF Owner
Administrative Staff
Hot Topics Subscriber
I agree with everything said above. At 5 months she's in a transitional stage to start with and going to a new home with new people can be pretty overwhelming for her.


Well-Known Member
I grew up with Dobermans so I do know they take more effort and training, as well as specific training to their breed, so I am more than willing to take on this challenge.
This is great to hear, because you know how amazing she will turn out to be after the crazy puppy period is done. I agree with everyone, in particular to not overwhelm her with new people/dogs right now. Get her to focus on you first as that will help with outside activities too.

Re your hb, we found that our Dobe was initially more bonded to my hb, then towards me, and now again to my hb. The connection gets stronger over time even if it is slightly different with each of us, but one thing that really helped is that we were both on the same page with regards to NILIF - it gives them the structure they need and it teaches them to respect both of you.


$ Forum Donor $
It's pretty much all said in the above posts. I wish you luck and hope you have patience with Clove. Keep posting and asking questions as things change & evolve with her. We're here to help! Welcome from New Mexico.


Hot Topics Subscriber
$ Forum Donor $
At five months, are you and your husband doing daily training with her? Does she look to you for guidance or does she feel/act that she has to protect you from any given situation?

There is a big difference there….if she feels as if she has to always watch and protect you because she feels you can’t step up and handle the given situation then you have a reactive Doberman. She needs to know you are in charge and in any given situation you can handle it as the primary alpha. Yes, a Doberman will always try and protect its owner but I believe there is a difference in there.