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To keep or rehome?

Discussion in 'Training & Behavior' started by sweetpea’s momma, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. sweetpea’s momma

    sweetpea’s momma New Member

    Would like some feedback to help make a decision about our new adopted Dobe. Two weeks ago we adopted a 1&1/2 year old. He was with a family with a variety of aged children (from 2 to teenage) for about a year. They were looking to rehome him because they had serveral other animals and the husband of the family (whose dog this was) had been promoted and wasn’t around enough to give him the time he needed.
    We took our whole family (kids aged 7months to 8 years old) and Yorkie to meet him. He seemed to be the kindest dog and perfect fit for our family. We were missing our previous Doberman and were looking for another one to add to the family.
    The first week, he was great. He seemed to adjust well to his new life and was very social to the new people he met (my sister and dogs and children, my brother in law).
    Fast forward a week.... and he attacked the neighbor kid. He bit him, not hard enough to leave a bite mark, but a scratch and bruise. The kid, along with my kids “snuck” into garage without me noticing (I say snuck because I didn’t see them, but Major did) and he ran up to the kid- barking very aggressively and nipped him. Major was not on a leash because he was on the e-fence, which he was on at his old house and was great with here too, but the whole thing happened so fast I didn’t realize what was happening.
    He is currently on a 10 day watch, but again today my other neighbor came to drop something off, and Major tried to attack her. This time we were inside and he was crated, but he was very aggressive and tried to get out.
    I called his previous owner and she said he was always great when people came over and never tried to bite or attack anyone.
    He is still learning here, but he absolutely does not think that he runs the house. I feel like he is afraid because he had a family and was taken away, for some reason this makes him territorial? My concerns are
    1) we have 5 kids, and even though Dobermans are protective of their family, I don’t trust him with my family now.
    2) I am no longer comfortable with people coming over.
    3) I don’t know if his behavior can be modified around others now because of his age/ I’m afraid that had he not moved with us, he wouldn’t be like this- this makes me afraid if we rehome again he will become more aggressive.


    I would please like some advice, having a hard time thinking outside of the box on this one. Our previous Doberman was no way near as protective/territorial or what he may be feeling.
     
  2. Kaiser2016

    Kaiser2016 Active Member

    Wow, lots of changes going on! I think it’s too early to tell. I’m sure he is feeling insecure with the loss of his last family too.

    Prevention comes to my mind first. Let neighbors know you’ve got a new dog and everyone is adjusting, so no unannounced visits until things have settled down. Get your kids on board with the program too so that their friends aren’t at risk.

    What do you mean by 10 day watch? Is that your personal timeline for seeing progress with Major? Or is he under ‘house arrest’ because of the bite?

    Since you’re looking for opinions, I’ll just throw this out there: Such a big family must keep everyone pretty busy, right? Do you realistically think there is time to mentally and physically wear out this dog? He’ll need more than just a daily walk. I say this as a child free couple and no joke that Kaiser takes up a lot of our time everyday! A tired Doberman is the best kind of Doberman so if you can manage that aspect, then I’d definitely give him time to settle in with the family.
     
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  3. Lizbeli

    Lizbeli $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber

    My biggest question is: What does his daily routine look like? I feel like that is important information that will help understand what may be happening.

    I believe the 10 day house arrest is actually a 10 day quarantine placed by the authorities? At least that is how it works in my town if there is ever an animal bite. Has something to do with rabies I think?
     
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  4. sweetpea’s momma

    sweetpea’s momma New Member

    Yes, he is on a 10 day watch because of the bite, our neighbors filed a report with animal control. We are a homeschooling a family, so we are always home and can provide him with our time and play, and we have a huge yard with an electric fence, but don’t feel comfortable with him outside not on a leash with his current aggression and being on “house arrest”, he can’t go outside now anyway except to potty. I have been trying to provide stimulation with tricks, bones and fetch in doors.... but the two attempts to bite are worrisome. (Although neither the vet nor animal control seemed to be bothered by this behavior)
     
  5. Lizbeli

    Lizbeli $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber

    Before the house arrest though, did he have a schedule? Its great that you are home since these dobies crave to be with their humans. I do believe any dog, especially higher energy/intelligent dogs thrive on schedules.

    What was his daily physical activity like before house arrest? Is he crated any point during the day? Its just hard to say for sure what might be happening here without knowing more daily life details. Hopefully others will chime in soon!
     
  6. sweetpea’s momma

    sweetpea’s momma New Member

    It was one whole week before the bite on the neighbor, but he sleeps on a bed on the floor next to our bed, we wake in the morning (7am) go outside, the dogs eat in the crates and then they are free to roam the house while we did school, but he pretty much stayed in the room with us. After morning work (around 1030-11ish) we went outside (a couple days we went for walks, a couple days we played in the yard) the afternoon is the same (nap time for smaller kids, school for bigger kids so quiet time for dogs, again in the afternoon go outside (weather permitting of course it’s been really rainy to so we didn’t make it outside every afternoon). Late afternoon, evening we have activities or run errands ( which he went for car rides with a couple of those times). Late evening, my husband and I usually camp out in front of TV for an hour or so, the dogs lay with us sleeping then bedtime. The weekend before the incident, which happened Monday, my brother in law came over so we were playing outside much of the day with him and Sunday we went to my sisters where Major played with her 2 dogs and 2 little kids for the whole afternoon. The day the incident happened, around 3:30, we were playing outside (although we had only been outside for a few minutes)
    We are not on a “set schedule” but we are pretty routine.
     
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  7. Lizbeli

    Lizbeli $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber

    Hm. Its hard to say due to the fact that he has been with you for such a short time. If the dog was truly aggressive then he would have done worse imo. There has to be something else going on with him. Maybe stress?

    For now I would have the dog under careful supervision and probably have a comfortable basket muzzle on him when visitors are over to be safe. Im sorry you all went through this. Dog bites are scary.
     
  8. Oh Little Oji

    Oh Little Oji Formerly Tad Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Hi.

    I'm not trying to be smart with you or play with semantics at all; but I would not characterize what you describe as "attacks." Seems to me your Doberman was being a pretty good guard dog! A stranger (or a non-family-member) comes into his territory without you around? That is the response I would love to get from my Doberman!

    The fact that his "bite" did not even leave a mark does not suggest to me he is dangerous.

    I'm glad you say he does not seem like he rules the house or however you phrased it. Seems like he is pretty well under control. ?

    I am not worried here. Just be the leader and do basic obedience training with him, getting the whole family onboard and consistent. A dog must learn that it is the lowest member of your family pack. Yes, love them and treat them humanely and with dignity but they must be on the bottom of the totem pole and be expected to obey first time every time.

    All this said, the general rule is to not leave children unattended with a dog. I'd say this is all the more important since you adopted him as a young adult rather than raising him from young puppyhood. Always be vigilant, but I bet you can have a fantastic, fun, meaningful relationship with your Dobe for his lifetime!
     
    • Agree Agree x 5
  9. sweetpea’s momma

    sweetpea’s momma New Member

    Thank you all for the replies. We will continue working on obedience, avoiding boredom and keeping an eye on him. Any advice then on how to introduce to new people, when the time comes? He seems to be good when we leave our house, but he is a much more territorial and aggressive when someone comes over. He is not this way with dogs, just people.
    He wasn’t this way when we went to meet him, is it possible in time he will become more comfortable with others coming over.
     
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  10. Mystic

    Mystic Notable member

    Does he do ok meeting them outside the house like the front? Maybe putting him on leash and stepping outside when someone comes over. Once they are comfortable then all come inside together.
     
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  11. Tropicalbri's

    Tropicalbri's $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    It sounds like a bit of confidence and fear issues in a new environment and not yet knowing what is expected of him.
     
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  12. My Gal Gretel

    My Gal Gretel Hot Topics Subscriber

    I could be completely off base, but my first thought is that it could be a territory issue brought on by the e-fence - meaning, his initial exposure to it by his original owners was too severe for his temperament. Our neighbor’s dog is extremely territorial when he’s in his own yard, and he’s on an e-fence. They had the setting on high when their dog was first exposed to the shock. However, whenever his collar battery goes dead, we know it because he happily greets people. It’s the weirdest thing.

    There’s a possibility that when yours was first exposed to the shock, it was too high and it affected him. Of course, every dog is different. We use an e-fence in our front yard, so I’m definitely not opposed to using them, but it could be that you inherited a bad initial experience with one. He obviously already knew what the e-collar means.

    Is he already familiar with where the boundaries are? Could you let people know to contact you before coming over for now, and take his e-collar off and leash him to greet visitors until he settles in more?
     
  13. Atingles10

    Atingles10 Member

    Our guy went through a phase, and still does it periodically, where he gets nervous when people come in the house. He would growl, hair would stand up, and he would back a little without taking his eyes off them or letting them in. This was probably around 10 months.

    If we were expecting people we would actually meet than outside in the driveway. Sometimes he would still growl a little but it gave him more space. We would have the people ignore him and give him his space while he "evaluated" them. As he's getting older, and more confident, we are seeing less of this. The other thing we have been doing is working on him sitting, or laying down, when people come into the house and not moving until he is released. He is good about doing this when myself or significant other get home but with the excitement of a new person is still a work in progress.

    With your guy still adjusting I am not sure how these techniques might work for you. I don't know if you already discussed it but have you tried crating him while new people came in? We find that our guy reacts less to people coming in the house when he's crated.
     
  14. WiglWerm

    WiglWerm Hot Topics Subscriber

    I would defiantly muzzle him when not in his crate until you figure out his triggers and or he settles in. Get yourself a quality basket muzzle ( they allow them to drink with it on) Dean and Tyler make some great ones. Better safe than sorry IMO.
     
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  15. Tropicalbri's

    Tropicalbri's $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    With our home set up, no one can get to our front door without first attempting to enter our gate into the fenced yard, then ascending 17 steps to our front/side porch and main entry door. Our front yard is not fenced. The twins prevent anyone from entering the gate until I come down and allow entry. Most people do not feel comfortable coming to our gate and will stand in the driveway hollering for us. Those that know us call first.
    There are only two people that can freely come into our property without the twins objecting and that is our neighbors that have been around them since I got them and they have done the morning feeding and pet sitting for all my critters when I was gone to Roatan. The twins view them as extended family.
     
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  16. WILD ACE

    WILD ACE Member

    I know when we go out in public there has only been one or 2 people that have ever made Ace bark or growl and we would just keep walking. for the most part hes so happy to see people when they ask to see or pet him he sits very still and waits for me to tell them yes and to not bend into his face but to just offer the back of their hand. But no matter how many times a person has been to my house he is very vocal about anyone pulling into our yard . i will put him on a leash and let him walk up to you smell you and if the nub wiggles he can go off leash. i have found if your dumb enough to get out of the car before i get out to Ace and you turn away from him he will grab your back pocket of jeans and hold you there till i call him to me. ( i am not sure why he does this its almost like he gets angry you didnt offer him your hand to smell )
     
  17. sweetpea’s momma

    sweetpea’s momma New Member

    Thank you for the replies. Here’s an update ...
    We had his 10 day vet check yesterday, he did wonderfully. Showed no aggression to the other humans or pets in waiting room, no food aggression or other behaviors with the doctor. She was surprised at how well behaved Major is. He was cleared and we have been outside several times since. We went for a walk yesterday afternoon, 3 dogs on an r-fence cake running out barking at us, Major walked right on by. Another person and her dog walked by today and he barked at first, but was able to sit next to me and remain calm until they were out of sight. However, my mother and father in law came over tonight, we met them outside with a leash on, Major sniffed them and we walked in. He was immediately fine with mother in law, but was weary of my father in law. My father in law kissed my husband and then me.... that was fine, but he went on to kiss the baby and Major jumped at him barking aggressively again, he was still on leash. My husband submitted him and we all sat down. I gave my father in law the baby and a few minutes later Major walked over to father and law and apologized (he laid his head in his lap).

    From this, I still think he is protective over the house and family. Still very well behaved outside of home, but maybe unsure of where he stands in the family, if he is staying with us????

    Again, thank you for all your replies.
     
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  18. Ddski5

    Ddski5 Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Sounds like a Doberman a lot of people would love to have- protective.

    The more time he spends with you the more he will understand his role in the family heirarchy.

    This is where it’s important for you and husband to demonstrate being leaders of the family. Major should learn to take cues from y’all not initiate on his own.

    Keep doing what you are doing. Watch him closely in times of question and try to be preventative rather proactive. Let him know it’s okay to be protective but under your leadership.
     
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  19. MyBuddy

    MyBuddy Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    I agree and I disagree. :) only because I would not want to have to worry about my doberman attacking every time someone came in and hugged someone. It's wonderful that he wants to protect. But he's got to know his place. He's got to know when to hand over leadership to the owners. When it's "okay" to relax and let the Pack Leaders take over. Sometimes it's a fine line for a dog to realize. He sounds like he's doing wonderfully but in his house he needs to know who's boss. I would not want to have to worry about touching someone and getting attacked by the dog.

    I'm not quite sure how to address this problem. Except to correct the dog and let him know that it was wrong. I think you did everything right in meeting outside. Somehow you have to convey to him that this person is okay and that he needs to back off because you are in charge now. Somehow you have to project to him that you are the Pack Leaders. Not him.

    Sometimes it's a hard thing to understand. Some people think being a pack leader means being mean to a dog. It's not. It's more of a sense of being. An attitude. Like being a teacher over a classroom. If you don't have an air about you that shows you are the leader, you will have lost your class. When your dog learns that you are taking charge now, he will relax. And it should be that once someone is cleared to come into your home, that person is okay. And should not be attacked. Unless they're suddenly attacking me! :spit:
     
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  20. LifeofRubie

    LifeofRubie Notable member

    All very good advice so far. It's almost like he just needs to familiarize himself with who the locals are so they're not unusual.

    One of the best things you can do, I think, is have people in close proximity and ignore him for a little bit. When you're out walking and you see a neighbor outside, have them come talk to you but ignore Major. If he show's he's calmed and relax after a bit of conversation, have them greet him in a calm manner on his terms. Have them offer a hand to sniff and if he wants attention (pets), they can give it then. When someone comes to your house, instruct them to ignore him until he's calm and used to their presence. I've actually had our nieces (5 and 7) give our dogs commands and treats and then walk away so that our dogs know they're expected to behave but are not going to be forced to interact in an uncomfortable way.

    Do your kids understand that they can't just have their friends running into the yard or into the house until he settles in a bit more? Have you taught them doggie body language so they are aware of when he's signaling that he's uncomfortable?

    1.5yrs is still very young for a Dobe; perhaps not a clean slate but more than capable of learning the ropes as long as expectations are firm and consistent.
     
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