New owner-Need help please

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Ty
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**Sorry in advance for the long post and if this is in the wrong section**

My fiancé and I recently adopted a 3 1/2 year old, female, spayed, Doberman from a family that, as with most of the country, hit hard times and could not give her the attention she needs.....or afford any medical bills that may arise.

Her name is Athena and for the most part she seems to be a great dog. Knows basic commands and walks well on the leach. We also have a 5 year old female Miniature Pincher...Sheba.....and they have been getting along for the most part, besides Sheba being trampled on when they are playing with us. We have been looking for a Doberman for quite some time and decided against buying one.....so for the past several months we have been watching the shelters and rescues hoping to find one....then we found Athena. She has been with us about a week, I know she is probably still adjusting but these are some of the issues we are encountering.

The previous owners advised us that she may or may not have incontinence....she tends to leak pee and they have not had her examined by a vet, but they limit her water intake to try to alleviate the problem.
I have her scheduled to see the Vet today, but figured I would post on here along with her other issues. It is not a small amount of pee she is leaking......today when I came home, she was running around the house and several small streams came out......then a few small drops after she calmed down.

Also, I've noticed she barks constantly when no one is home and she seems to run around the house looking for someone....also many drops of urine around the house were left.
When someone is home she is fine and stays by our side.

She also seems to be very timid. I quietly came home today because my fiancé said that after I left Athena was barking constantly and she was unaware that she was still home. When she seen my fiancé, she stopped barking. So, my fiancé left for work and left the radio on to possible comfort her. When I came home about 3 hours later, I parked down the street and approached the house....only to hear both dogs barking, Athena more so then Sheba. (Sheba only barks when someone is at the door or when another dog is barking.) I quietly came in through the side garage door to see if I could see what Athena was up to. When I opened the door to the house, Athena seen me and ran away in fear, leaking urine all the way, until I called her back and calmed her down.

A little back story is the previous owners had her crate trained, and would lock her up when not at home because they stated she had separation anxiety and would destroy all her toys. Well one of the reasons we wanted a larger dog, primarily a Doberman, was to have the freedom of the house when no one was home and act as a deterrent, and also my fiancé feels safer at home by herself when I am not there....which isn't often but I do take business trips now and then. PLEASE DON'T THINK WE ONLY WANTED A DOBERMAN FOR PROTECTION....we are big animal lovers and love both of our dogs, always wanted a larger dog to do the things our small dog can't do like jog with us, but we would like Athena to be more sure of herself and not so timid. Is there a way to help her achieve this? She looks very sad when I have locked her in her crate and left for the day. I'm unsure if she barks while in the crate though. She does sleep in her crate at night, with the door open, next to our bed.

Thanks in advance and sorry for the novel!

I'm going to comment on a few things, kind of short on time but will try more later this weekend.

To start off with if your girl has been spayed then incontinence is a common problem. Your vet can give you some very inexpensive pills to correct this.

You didn't mention how long you had her but possibly you are moving to fast with her as far as giving her total freedom in the house when you are gone.

I would get her into a dog training club and do some classes with her. This will help the your family be able to clearly communicate with  her and she will LOVE it. Dobermans need a job to do and the more she knows what you want from her the more confident she will become. It's hard to say how she was socialized as a puppy. YOu may have some work cut out for you but it can be done.

Any time put into her will be paid back to you 10 fold. Dobermans are incredible. It will be fun to hear how she comes out of her shell and shines as you have her longer. Looking forward to many good stories from you. BTW welcome to the forum!

Ty
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^^^Thanks.  I think I was moving too fast by giving her total freedom, I just felt bad when she gave me those sad puppy dog eyes the first time I crated her....also the fact that the Min Pin has freedom of the house, I thought Athena would become jealous.  The Vet told me to take it slow and continue to crate her for now because it is a big change for her and that is her safe place.  

Also they did give me the incontinence pills and said to keep her on them for a month or two.

I know its going to take a lot of patients and time but we are looking forward to many years with her.

Keep the suggestions coming and thanks

Control_Freak's picture
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I agree with RND!  My Athena loves the classes we take her too and the day camp she goes to very much.  My only other suggestion is to change her name because there isn't possibly enough room on the forum for two doberdivas named Athena! :) jk

But in all seriousness be patient with her and continue to work on socializing her and helping her gain some confidence.  Also, for the separation anxiety....try leaving her home alone for like 5 min each day until she feels comfortable with you gone because she knows your coming right back.  Then slowly increase over time.

Lady Kate's picture
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Hi Ty and Welcome to you and Athena!!

First thank you for adopting and rescuing this lovely girl.

So far the suggestions you have already received are spot on and you couldn't have come to a better place for support and problem solving.

We rescued our Sofia at just about the same age as your girl and it was a good six months before she really felt at home with us. Rescues are a funny character and they maintain "abandonment issues" longer than we'd like. WE know it's their furever home.. but THEY don't.

Give her time and patience, and all the love you can. As RnD said, it will come back 10 fold.

Best of luck and please stay in touch.

Patriot's picture
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Welcome aboard,

 You're off to a good start finding this forum......The people and information are terrific.I've had Dobes for 17 years and I've still learned a lot here.It's also been amazing seeing just how special this breed is all over the world, and how similar they all are to the ones I have been fortunate enough to share my life with.

 I'd offer advice but I'm too late,it's already been covered.I'll just say I agree with everything said.Best of luck.

DJ's Dad's picture
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Welcome, Ty and Athena.  First off, thank you for taking in a doberman that you already knew has "issues"....they are the ones that I worry about the most in shelters, because so many people are looking for that perfect dog that comes pre-programmed, you know?  Bless you.

Secondly, the advice given above is great.  I dont think I could add a thing to it, except to agree that training classes are one of the best things you can do for your doberman.  There are so many types of fun classes you could take her to that would benefit dog and owner alike.  Obedience classes, agility classes, tracking classes....they are all fun and build a very strong bond between dog and owner and help build confidence like you wouldnt believe.  What RND said about any time you put into your doberman is returned ten-fold is absolutely true.

Congratulations on being a dobie-owner.  It's the best thing I can think of to be. 

Ty
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Thanks for all the suggestions everyone.  

A rescue volunteer told me yesterday only use positive reenforcement for a couple of weeks until she settles in, which we are doing.  She seems to be warming up to us more.....only one thing is bothering me.  She loves attention and will come up and put her head on our laps or want to be pet, which is fine and we like that, but once we stop petting her she wines and gets more forceful with her head and also does the "shake" gesture with her paw.....but her arm feels like it weighs 50 lbs hahaha  and sometimes it can be painful when she throws those massive paws on our arms or legs.

Is there a way to curb this?  I know she should come to us for attention and not us to her....which we have been practicing, but she literally wants to be pet for hours and will get forceful when we stop.

Lady Kate's picture
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Hmmm I know what you mean about the paw thing.. Sofia gets like one of the Rockettes at times..and yes, the arm is heavy and her nails caught me once..oowwwy

You might try looking her straight in the eye, touch her leg and say: " no paw"

or

" no"

or even " Yipes! Get those nails trimmed" ( LOL)

Cesar Milan has this  hissssssing sound he makes that distracts some dogs from unwanted behavior.

It's never worked for me though....