4 replies [Last post]
LeanOnMeDobie's picture
Joined: 2014-07-12

My 18 month Dobie is out of control. She is loving with me & husband, but will snap & growl at all others.It is his 6th Doberman & my 3rd, so we love the breed, long time.  The Vet says she is not like normal Dobermans but she is young so there is hope. My Dad says to get rid of her before she bites someone but we don't give up dogs, she is a member of our crazy family, forever. (Dad doesn't live with us or pay the bills so he doesn't make the rules.) We love her. I walk her everyday but know that isn't enough. Tried to take her to dog park but it was a nightmare as she snapped & was SUPER AGGRESSIVE with all, humans & dogs. Happy to board her for last 2 days b/c she has whole fenced yard to herself for 6 hours/day, but can't afford to do that all the time.

talisin's picture
Joined: 2011-02-25

this will be for experienced dobermans people to work on, I feel for you it's not easy to want to be with your dog and know that she can't go out or socialize like you wanted....I hope you can get some help that will make this easier for you both

Sgourle's picture
Joined: 2014-07-18

Pet Profiles

My grandmother had a conformation ring doberman from Brazil who had a temperment very similar to what you are describing. Her and my grandfather lived in Brazil at the time and did not have many safe opportunities to socialize the dog, so it didn't really show until they moved back to the states. My grandmother loved her and kept her, but could never trust her around strangers or out of the house without a muzzle =(

I sincerely hope that you are able to work this out of her since you have caught it at a good young age. Have you tried an obedience class where it is a controlled setting? Do you notice if she has any triggers that set it off?

Oz Dobe's picture
Joined: 2014-03-25

Hi LOMD. It sounds like you have some experience of the breed, which will help.

It would be helpful if you could tell us about your Dobes history.

Personally, I would start by finding out where the threshold is with other dogs and strangers, in terms of distance.

Find an open field, where you can control the approach of another dog or a stranger (ie a friend who's willing to help). Have a whole heap of treats. Get the helper to approach as you feed your dog treats. You will know the distance she feels safe from strangers, when she stops taking treats from you. Gradually work toward getting the helper closer with the help of classical conditioning ie feeding her high value treats. Hopefully, the helper will be able to approach very slowly after many sessions and they can start offering treats.

I would do exactly the same thing with another dog. Just keep your Dobe happy and calm, and at the point she starts to show anxiety, ie licking lips, yawning, etc. finish training for that session. No yelling, leash jerking, or frustion on your part, as this will only make things worse. Try not to show your anxiety also. Everyone needs to be calm.

As she improves you could bring her to a park, where theres a nice calm atmosphere and you can sit far from passing dog walkers. Let the world go by and feed her treats and praise her for her calmness.

Yet another way of doing it would be to put her in a car with you and drive her some where quiet, but where she will see some people or dogs from a distance. As they pass at a distance she is comfortable with and she remains calm, praise and treat. Gradually take the car to slightly busier areas, praise and treat.

This kind of conditioning takes a long long long time, if it works at all. 18mo is not that young in terms of dog development, but its worth finding out what the parameters of her anxiety are. What distance does she need to feel safe from strangers and other dogs? What noises/smells/sights set her off etc etc. Once thats established you at least know how to keep her less anxious.

The good news is that while she's scared the pants off people, she hasnt actually done any damage yet. Thats a good start.

Not knowing the dog or its history, thats where I would start. I would strongly suggest you engage a professional to work with you to keep everyone safe.

Your girl sounds like shes terrified right now, I really hope you are able to bring some calmness and a feeling of safety into her world at the nearest possible opportunity.

I hope this is of some help to you. All the best.

I would first go the vet for a full exam with bloodwork and full thyroid panel - it is good to rule out health issues first. 

It sounds like most of her issues are fear driven - and it will take time to fix.  Find a good obedience trainer that is willing to be patient with a large breed dog - some are terrible with them!