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eileennellie's picture
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Joined: 2008-04-21

I have adopted a male approx. 4-5 months old to join Paris, my 4 year old female. He was found in Washington state wandering around all alone, VERY thin & scared. We don't know how long he spent like that, but he was rescued early in May & came to live w/us about 2 weeks later. He has been here 1 week now, & he is an absolute angel! Smart, sweet, just a happy, goofy puppy w/us. He just adored our 2 female dogs immediately, & just wants to play w/our 2 cats. But he is aggressive towards other dogs, people, cats, everything he sees, basically. It is beyond normal barking, he actually attacked a fence trying to get at a dog that was not even responding to him. And my neighbors female Aust. cattle dog came charging towards us while on a walk today, which resulted in me having to wrestle Dobie onto his side & hold him down w/my body as best I could while the neighbor captured her dog. I had Paris as well, & she was getting all riled up, which has never happened before. I ended up tired, sweaty, scraped & bruised up after I managed to get Dobie home. (& we were only 5 houses away!) The cattle dog is not a stranger to Paris, either, & has always been a very submissive & friendly to her. My little boy seems to be bringing out the worst in dogs around him! I can't take him to the dog park, or even near it, since he just goes crazy & I can't distract him AT ALL. He also does this when he sees people, but not to such an extreme. He will let me introduce him to people & will be friendly to them after that point. But I could barely control him physically when we had encounters of the canine kind. This is an urgent situation, as he is growing quickly & we have had a late start on training as it is. I have never seen behavior like this before. What is the best method to use here?

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

What organization did you adopt him from?

This is something that will have to be worked out and will take some of your time. He is reacting out of fear. This is not uncommon in dogs that have been abandoned as they look at strange dogs and people as threats, not a friend. Once he gets to know the people and dogs, this changes.

For hints, try watching "It's me or the Dog" on Animal Planet and "Dog Town" on National Geographic channels. Dog Town works with dogs that no one else will take and gives a few hints. Victoria Stilwell on "It's Me or The Dog" shows the techniques and how to work with the dogs. She had a dog like that a few weeks ago, but I don't remember the details.

you pointed out you did not know how long he was on the streets. This is not your typical puppy that was well bred, socialized and handled well from birth. The first thing you should do is get him into puppy classes, he needs training ASAP. This may never be a dog that you will be able to take to the dog parks. This is a prime example of why Dobermans should be properly bred, socialized, trained and placed into capable hands that will nurture the dog and train them. This is what irresponsible breeding produces,backyard puppy breeders that don't care where they place there puppies as long as the people have the money to buy them. This is NO FAULT OF YOUR OWN, you should be commended for taking in a rescue and taking a chance on a dog with an unknown past. Proper training and socializing will help. Keep in mind males are more dog aggressive then females. Read the breed standard, this is not a golden retriever.

I would also suggest that you take your dogs out SEPARATELY until the matter resolves. It sounds as if Paris is a great girl and you don't want her in the midst of something like that again. You mentioned that you can not distract him at all. What kind of collar are you using? Because of the urgency of this as you stated, you need to take immediate actions and work him by himself. I would suggest a prong collar in this case, as it sounds as if you have NO CONTROL of him. He needs to know that you are in charge and are perfectly capable of handling whatever situation arises. I would be using treats as well as the prong. He shouldn't be taken on walks until you have the basics down in your own yard. After that you need to purposefully go out and work on what he needs working on.

Good luck with him it sounds as if you have a project on your hands, i hope it will be well worth it in the end and he will be the best dog in the world for you. There are many rescues that come from the worst of worst situations and overcome their past, I hope that he will be one of them.

eileennellie's picture
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Joined: 2008-04-21

He is 100% the victim of those kind of horrible breeders/horrible PEOPLE. His tail was cropped way too short, & the skin split because it stretched so tightly over the bone! It is healing up well, but how could someone be so ignorant!? Thank god they left his ears alone. Even his dewclaws have scarring where they were removed!
I was hesitant to use a prong collar on him because he is pretty young, but that is how I trained Paris to walk on a leash, so we tried it on Dobie today. He quit barking & lunging right away, & only tried pulling  me once or twice before giving up. I had my boyfriend go w/us so he could walk Paris near us, & it seems to help him a bit when he can see her safe & sound.  It is a start. I find it so puzzling that he is so anti-other dogs, when it was pretty much love at first sight when he saw Paris & our 8 year old Boxer, Ruby. That's how he was w/me, as well. And my friend Wendy has never failed to thrill him by just being there. Also, he seems very protective.  Could his behavior have anything to do w/me, since he didn't show aggression to anybody until after he settled in (to our house, & to being with Paris & myself)? But I will get into a puppy class ASAP. Thank you very much for the help w/our problems. Dobie is a great dog. Honestly, I think he is the sweetest puppy I have ever met. I am determined to have other people get to see this side of him, too!

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

There is an old phrase that unfortunately fits dogs that are left on the street - Dog Eat Dog. They are in competition for whatever they can forage. Fortunately, he is still young so with work he can be turned around. I will agree, that it probably did not come out until he got in your house.

He recognizes what he has, a loving savior. He is not about to let some other dog come in and take it away from him. I agree with Rnd, if you walk him and you have help, walking Paris with him but separately will help. Walking two Dobes together unless you have them under very good control is not a good idea if both are adults or close to it.

I took two adults to the vet's once in Virginia and that is a mistake I have not and will not repeat. Even today when I take the dogs to board, I take Red in first, then Princess and finally the Schnauzers. The incident in Virginia was that I was in the reception area with Windy and Hans (my first two, Windy is my avatar) and the door opened an a lady was coming in with another female. Her dog and Windy at one point were standing on two legs comparing denture! Fortunately no one got hurt and no contact was made. Just a close call, but we had all we could do to hold the dogs back. Fortunately, Hans never reacted or I probably would not have been able to hold them back.

When you are walking Dobie and he reacts like that to another dog, turn immediately and walk the other way. When you have calmed him down, in a quiet steady voice, let him know that he was a bad dog. Carry some treats with you so that when he does something that pleases you, you can praise him and reward him. As you are working with him, not that you ever would, never ever strike him. While a gentle tap on the muzzle is good for working with most dogs, I would be hesitant to  recommend it with Dobie because of his background. He will never forget his trip though hell, but why remind him of it. (The tap I refer to is done with two fingers on the muzzle in a reproving way, it how Mama Doberman disciplines her puppies).

eileennellie's picture
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Joined: 2008-04-21

Great news! Dobie has actualy made it through an entire walk w/me & Paris w/out barking @ the other dogs we see AT ALL! Even when a neighbors Great Dane ran along their fence line giving US the kind of frenzied, loud & wild behavior that Dobie typically exhibits when he sees another dog. I just kept talking to him, ignoring the Dane completely. Dobie was watching him the whole time, but he is becoming surprisingly attentive to what I am doing.He still barks @ some dogs, but not like he was preparing to kill 'em as he did before; it seems more like a statement, he makes it, & that's all there is! We can now sit @ the end of our neighbors driveway & chat peacefully while Dobie & the neighbors Heeler remain leashed & seated only 20 feet apart. We are slowly making headway to his having a dog friend! It is still so, so far to go from here to the Dog Park, but I don't think it's a matter of "Can he ever go?". More like someday, we will be able to go. Dobie's not in a hurry, he's happy wherever we are lately!

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

That is great news and I know that you are the one most relieved. I also know it has been work, but from you tone, I know you are wonderfully enthused. That is such an accomplishment, and I salute you for it.

I have recently been watching Dog Town on National Geographic channel and sometimes its all I can do to watch. Those people are truly saints.