First Time Doberman Owner- Help and Suggestions Wanted!

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MPazik's picture
Joined: 2013-11-05

Hello Everyone!

We have a soon to be one-year-old male doberman, named Dax. I would love some suggestions, opinions, and general information about what you all think we are doing right, or wrong, should add or change, or any other random facts. Some general information about Dax...

Dax lives in a one bedroom apartment, in Philadelphia. The space isn't too small for him because we are very consciencous of the exercise he needs. Dax has been extremely well socialized from the moment we brought him home. 

Although Dax is very well trained for an 11 month old puppy, there are certain things that I am not sure how to handle. For example, everytime he sees a dog on a walk (ESPECIALLY a small one) he becomes so fixated on that dog (he has run into street lamps, tripped, ran into buildings) that until they are out of sight he simply stares at them (and sometimes whines). We have tried treats, we have tried commands, we have tried the 'ceaser jab.' Lifting his head up only gets his eye-balls to go wild trying to search and see the dog. He doesn't pull towards them, but this intensity overcomes him that I cannot seem to break. He is the friendliest dog, so the worry is not that he wants to see other dogs, it's more that when he does see another dog, I, the owner, could be of non-existance to him. I mean nothing matters.. and neither does anything around him, but that dog (is that because of how much socialization he got when he was small?). I haven't taken him to doggy school (my fiance and I have worked our butts off with training him), but do you think that would help? Having him in an enviornment with other dogs that isn't play time? If we have him around other dogs on a leash (we usually keep him on one) he starts whining. And I mean whining to the point that your ears hurt, it is by far the most annoying thing I have ever heard. And he doesn't stop. All the other dogs on the leash around him aren't making any noise.. except for him and his constant whining. But the whining doesn't stop there... he whines inside the apartment and lately it seems to be getting worse. I work from home, so he is spoiled in the sense that I am here the majority of the time. Yes, I do spoil him with love, but I also put him the cage anytime he misbehaves (he loves his cage as we did positive reinforcement with him when he was a little pup, he falls asleep when he put him in it now). But lately, he just starts walking about the apartment and whining, as well as stares at me and whines. I do not know how to stop it. We read ignore it, but we have ignored it for 11 months and it hasn't worked, it has gotten worse. I never thought I would be this person, but I am close to resulting to the shock collar. I simply do not know what else to do. We have tried water in the face, deep 'NO's,' giving a toy and saying 'good boy..' everything. I am sure he is whining for our attention, or to play, but I refuse to live with that for the rest of my life. I need advice on how to break this habit now because it has gone on long enough. 

The last thing I wanted any opinion and suggestion on is neuturing. We have not neutured Dax yet. We do not want to breed him, but our breeder, as well as doing hours of research say to wait, at least a year-18 months, basically as long as possible. The more I read, the more I am not sure of the health benefits of neuturing besides for the owners. (We are extremely responsible and do not let him off a leash unless we are certain it is in an enclosed area with all fixed dogs). My fiance and I are on the fence of neuturing in terms of the health benefits, but I am also interested to know if neuturing him will calm him down a little? 

Dax is one of the friendlist, gentle, and overall obedient puppies I know.  I would love any suggestions on how to stop the whining and how to get him out of that intesity he has when he sees other dogs. Any other information anyone thinks is helpful I would love to hear as well. Thank you for taking the time to read my (and Dax's!) story! 

Dobes can be whiney - and male Dobes are the worst!  I have one that will be 7 in December and he is a whiner... mostly just with me.  Being that he is a Grand Champion, he is not neutered yet, but will be soon - it is time. He has this high pitched nasal whine that I don't even think he is aware that he is doing 1/2 the time. Drives us all nuts - ha ha. 

I agree that 18-24 months is ideal for neutering, but would not hesitate to tell someone to neuter earlier if behavior issues call for it. I would try to hold out for at least 12 months of age and then neuter him. It may help the whining, but there are no guarantees. 

I do have a shock collar for various reasons, it is rarely used.... but sometimes I do use it. I keep the shock low and mostly use the buzz (sound) setting.  If you are going to get one, have a good trainer show you how to use it... misuse of one can really screw up your dog.

I do recommend a training class so that he learns how to be around other dogs in a working environment. He is really just still a baby - so you have time to work through his issues. 

Anyway, good luck - I'm in the far western Philly burbs (Montgomery County)

InSaNe's picture
Joined: 2014-08-19

Pet Profiles

My girl Whisky (8 months) (owned her for 3 weeks now) cries at me all the time too and I have no idea what she wants... I think it's because she's teething though so I always try to give her a rope / toy.


How often do you excercise / go for walks / play with Dax?


Small dogs don't like Whisky and always bark at her when we walk by so she gets really distracted by them having a stare down while slowly "following" me... Cheerios or carrots didn't seem to do the trick for me but she does ANYTHING for a liver treat so now I always tease her with that until we walk by small dogs that bark at us then I make her sit and praise her once they've passed us.

MPazik's picture
Joined: 2013-11-05

Thanks for the comments! InSaNe- we exercise Dax a lot. He usually gets an hour walk in the morning, and hour in the evening with at least one 30 min. in between. Sometimes dog parks, sometimes playing the dog run in our apartment. I wish he was still teething as I could say that's an excuse, but he has all his full teeth in. 

Small dogs don't like Dax either. But Dax definitely has a fixation with the small dogs that DO like him. I'm not sure how to break him out of that. If Dax is off leash and someone picks up their small dogs, Dax starts jumping and barking and will not stop until we grab him. We aren't sure what that is either... no treat, frisbee, tennis ball will distract him.