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[Need Advise] New 14 Month Old Male Joining The Family

Discussion in 'Doberman Talk and Discussions' started by Dakota, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. Dakota

    Dakota Member

    Hey Everyone,

    We've welcomed a new male into our family who is a 14 month old rescue who had to leave his previous owners because they split up and couldn't dedicate enough time because they
    both had to return to a full-time job.

    After meeting him last week we were very impressed by his excellent character and together with the owner we decided to give it a try. We welcomed him into our home today and
    without any sort of trouble our female accepted him. Our female is very easy going when it comes to other dogs and most of the snapping and growling came from the male. After
    some wondering around and some observation he got a little more relaxed and everything seems to go really well. We took them on 3 walks already and they both seem to be
    accepting each other on walks and even at dinner time there was no competition or any sort of growling. Our female seems to be totally fine with him being in the house, even
    sits next to him when we give them cookies and they walk side by side on walks.

    Now... the only thing that got my a little shaken up and even scared me a bit, is when he's on the couch and our female wants to get on aswell on the other side of the couch
    (we have a L form couch) he snaps at her and growls at her and even tries to charge her. Now, there hasn't been any sort of real contact and our female seems to snap back when
    he goes off and it usually just lasts for just a few seconds, but his strength and his confidence in the engagement got me a little worried.

    I know he's a little on edge, I mean, who wouldn't be, but I always thought it would be the other way around. He seems a little protective of me and my girlfriend, although he
    only met us once before. He's not dog aggressive since he comes from a family of 4 dogs and on walks he usually just barks at other dogs and sometimes doesn't even pay any
    attention at all. The weird part is, he only does it when the couch thing happens. Food, walks and just wondering around the house together is totally fine.

    Right now they are both sleeping sound on the couch, both on each side so it's only the initial approach to the couch.

    He scared the big jeeez out of me with his snapping cause I'm not used to other dogs and I know he's on edge after leaving his original family. He is a miracle on the other hand because he knows a lot of tricks, doesn't pull the leash, accepts commands from other people, knows the frontdoor and when to tell us when he needs to go outside and he's a perfect gentlemen... just that one little thing that got me worried and it got me shaking a bit today, he just scared me a bit.

    Is this going to wear off and is this just a stress thing and he just needs to get to know our female ? Knowing he lived with 3 other dogs in his previous family I'd say it shouldn't be a problem in the future but I just wanted to ask your opinions.

    Greetz & Thanks,

  2. Shadowlands

    Shadowlands Novitiate

    Honestly, I think you need to set clear cut rules regarding the couch and that, for me, would mean he gets no couch time at all until he settles in a little better and knows your rules. He needs to learn quickly that he does NOT get to decide who sits or approaches the couch at any given time.
    A question to ponder with this is if this wasn't in response to a dog, but a person, would you be willing to wait for it to "wear off"? My guess would be no.
    You need to correct him immediately when he does that. Speaking of which, you didn't mention what you did do when he did this. What was your response to his actions?
    • Like Like x 10
  3. Dakota

    Dakota Member

    I correct his behaviour by raising my voice and telling him NO and he gets the message because he sits down when I tell him NO.

    I might try to keep him off the couch if he keeps doing it and put him on the ground but I do want to give him the benefit of the doubt, it's been stressfull day for him.
    • Like Like x 3
  4. JanS

    JanS DCF Owner Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    Hey Dakota, nice to see you again and congrats on your rescue! Of course we need pics too. ;)

    Shadowlands covered your question well, and I'll let the others chime in as well, but I just wanted to pop in and say hi.
    • Like Like x 3
  5. Shadowlands

    Shadowlands Novitiate

    Very true, it has been a stressful day for him. Any repititions need to be dealt with asap though. With consistent responses from you, I doubt there will be any repeats. If there are, don't allow him on the couch for a while and he should get off when you tell him to the first time. I would love to see some pics when you get them. :)
    • Like Like x 3
  6. Dakota

    Dakota Member

    Thank you JanS.

    A rescue is new to us, so ofcourse I'm a bit careful but he's such a good boy but because we've only met him once before he came here I don't want to go to hard on him, he needs to learn he can trust us and I don't want to upset him to the point where he feels we're not his new family. He's been through a stressful day and apart from the snapping with the couch thing he has not done anything else upsetting or red flag raising at all. Looking at his training, the way he walks on the leash, the way he interacts with our female apart from the couch thing, he's a perfect gentlemen so I'm not worried about aggression issues.

    He's a floppy Dobe :) Our first one, our female and our previous male were both cropped and docked. The tail thing is so weird if you're used to docked Dobes.

    We haven't been taking a lot of pictures today, we wanted to give him room and no flashing lights to get to know the house and us as a family. But I'll post some pictures soon.
    • Like Like x 4
  7. Dakota

    Dakota Member

    Hey Everyone,

    Both dogs survived the night, thank god :) No incidents and nothing special happened. Both dogs spend the night on the couch, I slept like rock.

    It's getting better, not really any couch incidents, a small growl here and there but nothing really worth mentioning so I guess it's more or less first day stress.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. MyBuddy

    MyBuddy Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    This was my first thought. Right from the get go I'd be telling him the rules. No time to 'wear off'. That's not being mean or anything and it's only right then for that incident so I don't have a problem setting him straight. Then you go on as pleasant as you want and enjoy each other! :D Like Shadow said, if this were a child in your home, wouldn't you tell him "we don't do that in our home"? It's just setting boundaries.

    And BTW, Welcome back Dakota! Haven't seen you around for a while! Thanks for giving this guy a chance!:goodluck:
    • Like Like x 4
  9. Deb

    Deb Notable member

    Hi Dakota

    Looks like your not new round these parts. I'm just going to chime in on the no couch thing. I know it's not fun but with a rescue you really have to be top dog from the start and stay there. It might work for you and yours but with my resuce being 3 when I got her and her not being from a great home I had to make up my mind to do it my way or have to deal with the dominant thing over and over. She's just to darn big for me to let her have any idea that's she bigger than me.
    Good luck and way to go with a rescue !
    • Like Like x 5
  10. My Mateese

    My Mateese Notable member

    I agree with all of these, especially you need to be top dog ALPHA
    don't allow it, be firm and set down the rules right from the get go.
    He has to know who is in charge here and it isn't him and who
    makes the rules. Firm and Consistent. I am sure he was stressed,
    but he still needs to know the rules. Glad you took that boy in.
    • Like Like x 3
  11. Dakota

    Dakota Member

    Thanks everyone, me and my girlfriend both agreed, we need to take action when he does it, we put him on the ground when he barks, snaps or growls at our female and it seems to work because he darn well knows he has done something he shouldn't.

    After our walk our female wanted to play with me and do the floss pulling game and our rescue boy was standing next to me looking at us and I gave him my side of the floss and he started playing with our female.

    For our second day it's going great so far.
    • Like Like x 4
  12. MyBuddy

    MyBuddy Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    Great news! Love that he engaged in the play!
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Dobs4ever

    Dobs4ever Hot Topics Subscriber

    Dakota - Bless you for rescuing the boy. Now he needs some manners. I agree completely with Shadowlands but I would add when you say NO make him get off the courch. He won't like that response at all. It will show you are in complete control and will help him decide to that sharing might be better. The female was there first - it was her territory first.

    Again thank you for saving this boy.......
    • Like Like x 4
  14. My Mateese

    My Mateese Notable member

    So happy to hear of the playing.............it will be ok, takes some
    time and a little effort, I am glad he has found a good home:love:
    He is a young boy yet so that's good.
    • Like Like x 2
  15. Dakota

    Dakota Member

    Hey Everyone,

    Here are 2 pictures, the other ones were all out of focus so expect more soon :)




    • Like Like x 6
  16. bythenight

    bythenight Member

    Congrats on the rescue! He looks like a sweetie.

    I agree with the others. If he is going to be possessive of the couch, then he should not be allowed on it. It sounds like he hasn't learned his boundaries yet. Set the structure first, and then when he understands the rules he can be invited up. Good luck!
    • Like Like x 4
  17. TrinityDobes

    TrinityDobes Novitiate

    Dakota, you have gotten good advise. After having done rescue for some time, I want to re-iterate, that you need to start out with clear rules and boundaries. Your boy is trying to find his way and wants to know just what his role and place is in his new family. This is where the rules are so very important to be clear and consistent.

    My guys are never allowed on the bed or furniture, unless invited. My couch, my rules, I decide what privileges you get and what you don't. Being allowed on the furniture or your bed is a privilege - and dogs understand this. A dog that lays on the floor has less rank in the family unity (pack) than the one that lays on the couch or is allowed on the bed. Your girl was there first, and she should not have to take lip from any new member.

    It will be normal behavior for him to want to elevate his status in your family unit, him trying to make this promotion happen usually does not happen in the "honey moon" phase - typically this settling in honeymoon phase lasts anywhere from a week to a month. You need to be watchful, and nip any bid for higher rank in the bud immediately.

    is he neutered? cause in the one photo it kind of looks like the family jewels may still be there. If they are - testosterone will play a role in his behavior.

    You are right to be worried about his displays - that is never allowed in my unit - if it hapens even once, a come to Jesus meeting usually instills the proper respect for authority, and it never happens again.

    Good luck, and thank you for rescuing him and giving him a chance. You can be understanding of the cause of behavior, but do not fall into the rescue trap of excusing it. Love alone will not determine whether he will be a good fit with your family. Please do keep in touch and let us know how you guys are getting along!
    • Like Like x 7
  18. Katja Henriksen

    Katja Henriksen Forum Sponsor Site Sponsor

    Hi Dakota and thank you for sharing the pictures of your new boy.

    Everyone else has already said what needs to be said and I totally agree. Many people feel sorry for a rescue and feel that they may be stressed out. However if he was feeling sorry for himself etc. he would certainly not have snarled at your girl. If any of my girls as much as growls at ANYONE (well apart from guarding the house) they will very quickly find out that that was a very very bad idea. I do NOT tolerate such behavior at all. If it is allowed once they will try it again and next time with more conviction.

    I also want to mention that just because he sits down when you scold him does not mean that he is submissive etc. Many dogs find out that if they just sit you will think he gets it and stop yelling. It is their mental state not their physical state that needs to change. However I do agree that he needed to be flung off that couch in a hurry after that behavior.

    I hope you are able to nip it in the butt and that it will be all harmony and bliss from hereon out. It sounds like he is a wonderful boy and a joy to deal with in all other regards. Keep us posted and make sure to share lots of pictures.
    • Like Like x 6
  19. Shadowlands

    Shadowlands Novitiate

    Love the way you put that!! :D
    And I totally agree with what you said. Even with pups, they are not allowed on furniture etc until they know the rules and have Earned the Privilege to do say when I say.

    Nip it in the bud before it becomes a habit. And I agree with if he should be allowed on the couch, any growling, raised lips etc and he is on the floor and is not allowed back up until he has learnt the rules.
    Any signs like that are a huge no-no and need to be addressed swiftly each and every time.
    • Like Like x 4
  20. Dakota

    Dakota Member

    Thanks for everyones support, it's a new situation for us and this is nothing like getting a puppy, so the advise is indeed very important to me. Thank you !

    I will keep a close eye on it and will keep you all up to date.
    • Like Like x 4

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