Doberman Help

Enzodog

Novitiate
Hello,

I'm new to the Forum. My name is Pete and I just recently returned our Doberman to the breeder for biting my 13 year old and we are devastated about the entire situation. Did I do the right thing is my question.......

Back History on Enzo the Doberman: He comes from an exceptional breeder, he is 20 months old, no health problems, we socialized him from 8 wks old with every dog and person we could find. We hand fed him from 8wks until 6 months old and loved and worked on discipline daily.

My 13 year old would play games with Enzo, chasing each other, playing catch, hide/seek, etc. Sometimes times the dog would get a little more aggressive and bark and nip the kid. My son would grab him and head lock the dog.....I told him not to do this anymore. They looked like a couple of boys rough housing....this was an obvious mistake I let go. This dog is an absolutely fantastic dog and is friendly wagging his little tail at everyone. Lately he seemed to get more and more attached to my wife and almost guarding her......he never growled at me ever.....he was my best friend. (spooning on the couch watching football with me) but recently he started growling at me......it seemed like he was changing. He really was all about my wife.

On the night of the incident my son let the dog get out of the house, He chased the dog next door to get him back. When he reached the dog, he grabbed the dog by the collar and told him to follow, Enzo growled, my son kept pulling, and the dog kept growling. ( I told the kid a 1000 times not to continue whatever you're doing if Enzo growles at you.) The dog finally turned and bit my son on the hand and wrist while pulling him to the ground.....then he let go of my son and ran back to our front yard. My son got up and tried to get into the house for help (he was bleeding badly) the dog would not let him get back into the house. The neighbor called my wife on the cell phone to come outside to help (she was unaware what was going on because she was in her office in the back of the house.) She was able to get the dog under control and in his crate. My son had to go to the ER and get stitches for a deep wound on the wrist and several punctures on the hand.

I made the decision to return Enzo 2 days later. We discussed the retraining of Enzo and the entire family. (Especially the 13yr old) I feel like we worked really hard for this dog and gave him 100% love.....but maybe not enough training for the kid and the dog. I obviously failed the dog and my kid by not training them. My wife is very very upset about returning the dog without trying to retrain everyone. But given the severity of the bite......I didn't feel Like it was a choice. My wife wants to get another Doberman and I'm just not sure .....

Very sad Doberman family...
Any advice is much appreciated.
 

Ddski5

Hot Topics Subscriber
$ Forum Donor $
Jeesh….so sorry this happened. I have two Dobermans and they mean the world to my wife, three daughters and myself. I would be extremely upset too. But in the end you had to make the choice between your son and Enzo. If you did not take action and something more serious happened?? It would always be in the back of your mind I think. No, I think you made the right decision.

To be completely honest and no disrespect intended, a Doberman is not a dog…a Doberman is a Doberman. Not an animal to be taken lightly or to allow them to think they are on an even playing field with you. Your son playing with Enzo like that put him on an even field of pack order. Probably gonna hit a nerve here….Headlock? Rough housing like boys? A common issue that is overlooked is folks humanizing their animals. No they are not humans, they are animals and should be treated and respected like animals. The situation was not Enzos fault, he gave your son warning two times and from what I can decipher has growled at your son before?? That is a clear signal that he does not respect your son as having to follow commands from- let alone being dragged by his collar.

No, I don’t treat mine like robots. We play in the yard (don’t wrestle), ball, tug, and train. They always know who the master is. I don’t say that in a high falluting domineering way but in the end, they know.

My three daughters have been taught and lectured on the do’s and don’ts on how to handle our Dobermans. There is no way they should think about engaging them if they growl or act in an aggressive manner. I would never think my female Freyja would do this but really don’t know about my male Ragnar.

I don’t want to get long winded here because I don’t want you to become defensive on my reply….but you have to handle Dobermans differently, and not just you- the entire family has to be trained and have knowledge on what to do in certain situations. Seems you spent a lot of time and energy with training and care for Enzo, I sure hate that this happened.
 

Enzodog

Novitiate
You're exactly correct in every single thing you said....spot on. We're all just feeling like a train wreck over the entire situation! I feel like I gave a child up for adoption.
I much appreciate your thoughts and advice! I don't think you’re being long winded at all......I appreciate the fact that you would take the time to give such a detailed answer...you're just telling the facts and the truth.

thanks again.....
 

LifeofRubie

Active Member
I'm very glad you did your research and got him from a reputable breeder who was more than willing, I'm sure, to take him back. We never want to think we'll need to return pets that feel like family but, sometimes, it works out that way.
 

Ravenbird

$ Forum Donor $
I don't have much to add, just want to say I do believe you did the right thing. Way too much wrong with this dogs upbringing - rough-housing with your boy, spooning on the couch with you, beginning to growl at both of you while at the same time resource-guarding your wife. If you do consider getting another Doberman, I'd advise waiting at least a year or so to let all that happened really sink in. If you want to learn more about Doberman behaviors & training problems (you'll find your family wasn't alone in dealing with this!) start reading though the "Training & Behavior" threads. I spent months reading this forum before I got my puppy and even though some of the threads are years old, the questions & advice are still helpful. I hope you & your family recover but learn from this sad but valuable lesson.
 

Two Dobes

Hot Topics Subscriber
I feel very badly for you and your family, and agree that you did the right thing. Dobermans are not dogs....and must be handled differently, as stated above. You are not alone in your situation, we made alot of mistakes with our first Doberman many many years ago; A. Did not do my research B. Got him out of the newspaper....C. treated him like a baby D. ended up euthanizing him when he almost took my arm off. They need rules, boundaries, and consistency. Unfortunately, it is always the dogs who suffer at our mistakes.
 

Firestar Dobe

Hot Topics Subscriber
$ Forum Donor $
I am sorry you had to go through this. As an Trainer, one of the first things I teach is that kids are never allowed to play with a dog unsupervised, there should be no rough housing and play also needs to be only at certain times, I don't mean scheduled, I mean only when Mom or Dad say it's okay to play. Dogs are not toys or entertainment, although they do entertain us at times, they are animals with feelings and fears and need their calm times, working times and play times. I can tell you really tried to do everything right, but no one is perfect and we all learn from our mistakes. You were on the right track with the training, but at 13yrs old, the dog did not consider your son to be an alpha, just another pack member. I hope this doesn't put you off of trying again. I hope your son is doing well. Please look over this site as their is a ton of info on training and raising a well behaved, happy Doberman.
Welcome from Wisconsin! :ntmy:
 

Ukesox

$ Forum Donor $
The whole situation you described is horrible for you & your family but your decision to re home Enzo is the right one for all of you. You son needs to feel & be safe & Enzo needs a fresh start. I find it hard to believe that after such an incident your son would ever regain the confidence needed to change Enzos belief of his place in the pecking order. I hope you don’t give up on Dobies as you sound like good owners that made an easy mistake as first time owners. The only thing I have to add that might help towards understanding Enzos behaviour & help in the future is that one of the traits of the breed is that they have a very strong sense of “fairness” which goes beyond obedience. It sounds crazy but all of mine have displayed this.
 

Ukesox

$ Forum Donor $
”Fairness” is not the right word (which is why I put it in inverted comas) but it’s the best I could think of to describe what appears to me to be a response to something they see as inappropriate & comes from a combination of their sensitivity & intelligence.

The elder of a pair of bitches I had, who was very vocal by nature, would sit & without any aggression give me what I can only describe as an extended verbal reprimand if I gave the younger dog attention & not her.

The Dobie stare & expression ...’come on, you’ve must be joking’. I’ve shown you I can do this !”…as I’ve insisted that a reluctant Dobe completes a forth go-find routine.
The same look & occasional bark back when they’ve they’ve been taken out of the back door into the yard at the end of the day when its raining & they’ve given the toilet command.
 

Ddski5

Hot Topics Subscriber
$ Forum Donor $
I figured that’s what you meant.

They are very smart and some can be very independent. They know what you are asking but don’t want to do in all fairness to them, but they are trained to be obedient. It is at that time I get the famous “side eye” look from Ragnar.

“Cmon…really Dad???” Okay okay, if you say so.
 

Top