Fear aggression? Or just the Doberman personality..?

sarahgibes

New Member
Hi there dobe world. I am a first time dobe owner so I always have so many questions and concerns since they aren’t like any other dog.
Maia has been growing into such a wonderful girl, she’s almost 6 months now, but her behavior toward strangers is starting to concern me.

we live in an apartment complex so there are always lots of different people in and out, walking in the hallway next to us, coming in the door while we’re coming out, in the parking lot, etc. she barks and growls and get very defensive EVERY time. She also started growling and barking at kids. I don’t think she does it as much (to adults) when we are somewhere other than our apartments like at the store or the park, she’ll just avoid people but if they come to close she’ll start growling and sometimes bark. I’ve tried bringing a few friends over and she will again, bark and growl, after a few minutes she’ll tolerate the stranger in the house but every once in a while if they make a movement or hand gesture she’ll start barking at them again. The other day my 2 year old niece (who Maia has known since the day we got her) tried to gently pet Maia and she snarled at her, and it’s just been freaking me out how shes been reacting to strangers, and we’ve socialized her so much! We take her everywhere with us since she was 7 weeks, we’ve always encouraged people to pet her, give her treats, but all of a sudden she’s kinda changed.
**SO MY QUESTION ISSS** will she grow out of this behavior? Is there something I’m doing wrong? Is there something I can do to make her more friendly? Or am I just going to have a very stand off dog ?
Thank you!!
 

Tropicalbri's

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That’s fear and lack of confidence. Confident dogs don’t bark and growl that way.
It’s her not knowing how to handle new people or things yet. She needs to have confidence building training and more environmental exposure so she can calmly handle these situations.
 

sarahgibes

New Member
That’s what I was thinking too, that it’s coming from fear, she’s been a nervous dog ever since we got her and always been skittish
 

Firestar Dobe

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Both of my girls are well trained and excellent when we are out and about. They allow people to pet them, but they are not like other breeds such as Goldens for example. A lot of dogs love to be petted by anyone who is willing, my girls only want a couple of pats from people who are not family and then they usually ignore them! Dobes have been bred as personal protection dogs. They prefer their owners over all others even when others are giving attention and affection. As for playing with other dogs, that will take time. Dogs use teeth, paws, and vocalizing when playing so you will need to be on your toes so the situation doesn't get out of hand. Your girl is just like a toddler at this stage, she needs training, and confidence building. Her little brain is in overdrive with everything going on around her and it is up to you to help her understand the behavior that you expect. It takes time and patience to get there, but you will do great! She will become completely devoted to you and your family! You will find invaluable info on this site, ask as many questions as you need to, everyone here will do their best to help with answers. Remember to train, train, train! Don't worry, you've got this! :thumbsup:
 

sarahgibes

New Member
Both of my girls are well trained and excellent when we are out and about. They allow people to pet them, but they are not like other breeds such as Goldens for example. A lot of dogs love to be petted by anyone who is willing, my girls only want a couple of pats from people who are not family and then they usually ignore them! Dobes have been bred as personal protection dogs. They prefer their owners over all others even when others are giving attention and affection. As for playing with other dogs, that will take time. Dogs use teeth, paws, and vocalizing when playing so you will need to be on your toes so the situation doesn't get out of hand. Your girl is just like a toddler at this stage, she needs training, and confidence building. Her little brain is in overdrive with everything going on around her and it is up to you to help her understand the behavior that you expect. It takes time and patience to get there, but you will do great! She will become completely devoted to you and your family! You will find invaluable info on this site, ask as many questions as you need to, everyone here will do their best to help with answers. Remember to train, train, train! Don't worry, you've got this! :thumbsup:
Thank you! Yes I train with her every day and I see a private trainer once a week, she is so smart and so confident in her commands and everything I’ve taught her so far, but the confidence building is something she needs work on, she is very sweet natured you can see it in her eyes she doesn’t want to hurt anyone when she’s barking at them, she’s just confused and scared, and I just don’t know how to make her not feel that way around strangers! Hopefully this is something the trainer will address with our remaining sessions with her too
 

Doberman Gang

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Thank you! Yes I train with her every day and I see a private trainer once a week, she is so smart and so confident in her commands and everything I’ve taught her so far, but the confidence building is something she needs work on, she is very sweet natured you can see it in her eyes she doesn’t want to hurt anyone when she’s barking at them, she’s just confused and scared, and I just don’t know how to make her not feel that way around strangers! Hopefully this is something the trainer will address with our remaining sessions with her too
Use a negative marker and have her perform a sit or a down. Practice with strangers just walking by, they do not need to meet her. She should be comfortable in public with you and others around, that’s it. You are in control, correct her unwanted behavior but in a matter of fact way. You are in charge not her. She needs to follow your lead, if you aren’t worried about strangers she doesn’t to be either. When a stranger is coming by and she acts up, Mark the behavior (No, Phoeey) then correction of sone kind (I prefer leash pressure) ask for a sit or down. When she is calm mark and reward. You must be firm but calm the entire time.
 

sarahgibes

New Member
Use a negative marker and have her perform a sit or a down. Practice with strangers just walking by, they do not need to meet her. She should be comfortable in public with you and others around, that’s it. You are in control, correct her unwanted behavior but in a matter of fact way. You are in charge not her. She needs to follow your lead, if you aren’t worried about strangers she doesn’t to be either. When a stranger is coming by and she acts up, Mark the behavior (No, Phoeey) then correction of sone kind (I prefer leash pressure) ask for a sit or down. When she is calm mark and reward. You must be firm but calm the entire time.
Perfect I will try this! Thank you :)
 

Kaiser2016

Active Member
She's at the age where the Doberteens will be starting and they do change during that stage too. Mostly, they seem to forget all their training because they're not interested in listening to you. Puppies also go through several fear periods, so I'm thinking she is probably in one of those now because she is more reactionary than rebellious. Very important to not coddle their fears, they must be ignored.

The hardest thing for us to learn (it's our first time Dobering too), is that they read our body language for cues on how to handle the situation. If you get nervous, your dog reads that off you. I would practice some scenarios at home so that you are prepared on how to handle encounters, that way, you don't even have a chance to feel uncertain and your dog becomes more confident as a result.

Is your trainer a positive only trainer? If so, that does not work well for this breed and sometimes feeds into their problems.
 

sarahgibes

New Member
She's at the age where the Doberteens will be starting and they do change during that stage too. Mostly, they seem to forget all their training because they're not interested in listening to you. Puppies also go through several fear periods, so I'm thinking she is probably in one of those now because she is more reactionary than rebellious. Very important to not coddle their fears, they must be ignored.

The hardest thing for us to learn (it's our first time Dobering too), is that they read our body language for cues on how to handle the situation. If you get nervous, your dog reads that off you. I would practice some scenarios at home so that you are prepared on how to handle encounters, that way, you don't even have a chance to feel uncertain and your dog becomes more confident as a result.

Is your trainer a positive only trainer? If so, that does not work well for this breed and sometimes feeds into their problems.

thanks for the advise!! Yes she totally is entering her dobe teens where she just does not want to listen, unless there’s treats involved. My trainer works with the E collar so every week we’re slowly getting her used to it. At first it really shut her down but I’ve seen lots of improvement with using it but my trainer hasn’t addressed what I do when she starts getting all defensive when she doesn’t need to be yet. She mostly barking and growling when it’s around our apartments, which I’m assuming she is associating the whole complex has her “territory” because she doesn’t do it much in public unless people get too “omg it’s a doberman!” And try to get too close to her, she does not like that! I’ve had to get a vest that says do not pet because people don’t have boundaries.
Anyway, what kind of scenarios do you guys practice? I’d love to try everything and everything! :)
 

Foxrider714

Member
I am still working on this with Bruce at 19 months.. it’s a hit or miss with him if I have him in the front yard when I am doing things out front and a dog walks by he barks like crazy cause it’s his house but some times he will be fine even on walks... I bring him to dog parks and we watch from a distance to work on it but it’s best to get rid of there energy first and then try walking around your complex and see if she would still be like that
 

sarahgibes

New Member
I am still working on this with Bruce at 19 months.. it’s a hit or miss with him if I have him in the front yard when I am doing things out front and a dog walks by he barks like crazy cause it’s his house but some times he will be fine even on walks... I bring him to dog parks and we watch from a distance to work on it but it’s best to get rid of there energy first and then try walking around your complex and see if she would still be like that
Thank you! I agree
 

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