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Caesarsmom's picture
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Caesar has always been very sweet and loving to myself, my husband and our 4 year old daughter.  We got him from a responsible breeder when he was 9 weeks old and have had him in our home ever since (he will be one Nov. 21)  We have never treated him with aggression or been violent to him in any way. he is a member of our family and we have shown him nothing but love.  He was in puppy class and goes to daycare 2-3 times a week, so he is very well socialized.

Recently, he has shown some very aggressive behavior when he gets something he is not supposed to have.  He loves my daughters stuffed animals and no matter how many I buy him, he still wants hers.  When he gets them, he is very stubborn and will not drop it.  when we finally get him to drop it, he guards it very closely and lately, when we go to pick it up, he growls very loudly and shows his teeth.  when we put our hand there, he will snap at it and would bite it if we did not move quick enough.  Obviously this is a problem for my husband and I, but my daughter thinks he would never hurt her and would put her hand down there without thought.  Any thoughts on why he is behaving like this so suddenly and what we can do to fix it?  He is my baby boy and I do not want to lose him, but if he were to ever bite my daughter, I know my husband would make me re-home him.
Any thoughts would be appreciated! Thanks!

Is your dog neutered?

I'm going to include a link for a great article worth reading. http://www.dpca.org/BreedEd/PDF/Dominance.pdf more later

Caesarsmom's picture
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yes, he has been neutered.  He was neutered 1 month ago.....

Thanks

What is the dogs daily routine, where does he sleep at night?

Caesarsmom's picture
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he is in his crate at night and some of the day.  Also anytime we cannot devote 100% to watching him, cause he is not totally housebroken.  My husband works from home, so he is out of his crate a lot during the day.  He gets up, goes to the potty, eats, potty and then play or chew on a bone until the afternoon and potty. Then, typically he goes back in his crate until I get home around 4.  I get him out, potty and then we go out and play fetch or something until dinner.  he eats, potty, play , potty and then bedtime around 11pm....

So what exactly is your response to him and how do you handle it when he does this with one of the toys? Do you and your husband share discipline equally with him or is more one person than the other?

Caesarsmom's picture
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my husband usually puts him on his back and we both tell him no.  he started responding to that, but now he continues to growl and try to snap at us.  Tonight, he had something that I tried to get from him and he snapped at me.  I tried to retrieve it with the broom and he attacked the broom and lunged at me.  It is continuously getting worse and I am not sure what to do.  After we get whatever he has, he returns to the sweet loving dog, but I cannot chance my daughter getting bitten by him and I am becoming afraid of him myself.

Did you read the article that I sent the link for. You need to take control now or you will have problems. Please read the article and start implementing the suggestions right away!

It is very obvious that he is ruling the house and you are afraid of him. The article will explain also why rolling him over on his back is not a good idea either. Have you taken the time to put him in training? The more you train the better dog he will be. I'm not talking about sending him away either you need to do it in a class situation where YOU are trained how to train him.

Q Tip's picture
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RND I enjoyed the article and the rationale behind it.
Ceasersmum...Gosh this doesn't sound very good for you guys at the moment.
In Ceaser Milans book (the dog whisperer) he explains how exercise puts dogs into a calm submissive state. He has a centre in LA where he takes aggressive dogs.
Is Ceaser going out for walks at all with you or your husband...I dint just mean playing in the garden it sounds like he has quite a lot of energy to use up and is channeling it into aggression.

unfortunately the Doberman is extremely smart if they do not have the proper leadership then they CAN take over. It is hard to make assumptions on very little info. I would make the dog work for everything at this point in time he needs to know what his place is in your family his (pack) This doesn't have to be done in a negative way but by following the tips outlined in the article. If you do not take measures and soon, I'm afraid you will have a serious bite on your hands. Just the fact that the dog is putting fear in you at this time is not good at all that means it has progressed to a point it shouldn't have been allowed to get to. Proper exercise as mentioned previously is very important but as equal is the leadership and TRAINING. Take the time to browse through the list of articles on the DPCA website several of them deal with temperaments, training, and kids with dogs. Keep us updated on how you progress.

rgreen4's picture
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Two observations - first at this point if he has something, ignore it until you get him under control. If you make an issue of it, it becomes a confrontation and then someone has to lose.

Second - never use a stick or a broom toward a dog. It is a threatening move, not something you want to do.

Temporarily keep all the kids toys put up. It will even be good training for the kids as well (for them to keep stuff picked up).

Start working with him outside on a leash, and have you husband do so as well. Your husband needs to understand that rolling him on his back is not, repeat not a good disciplinary technique. I do it with Red in play, but never when he is being corrected.

If he has done something wrong, I catch his eyes and let him know he has done wrong. On occasion he will try to stare me down, and if Caesar ever does that to you or your husband, you must stare him down. Never look away or blink. You must maintain the stare until Caesar breaks it and thus acknowledges your dominance.

Caesarsmom's picture
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Hi.  THanks for all the feedback.  We did read the article and have since stopped putting him on his back.  We have tried to ignore it and wait to get things from him, but he just continues to walk around with it in his mouth and chew it up, while my daughter is crying cause he has her favorite bear.  We also have tried to keep everything put up, but that is extremely hard with a 4 year old.  She is not allowed to play with her toys while the dog is out, which is most of the time.  He will come and take something from her arms, so that only works to an extent.  I only used the broom once and saw that was not a good idea, but he acted the same way towards me.  I am not really afraid of him because I do not believe he would hurt me, but I feel like he gets in a trance and then snaps out of it and is good old Caesar again.  During his "trance" if I call him and pet him, he is fine and normal, but as soon as I try to get the toy again, he starts to growl and snap. 

We have begun classes this week, so hopefully this will help.  I will keep you posted!

Q Tip's picture
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:) Im really pleased to hear that and ive followed this with interest as my pup Q shares the same birthday as your boy Ceasar. Q is still un neutered at the moment but i will most probably get him done when he is a year old.
I wanted to ask you what puppy day care actually is as we dont get that over here?

rgreen4's picture
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Puppy day care or Doggie day care is sometimes available in certain areas where someone will "dog sit" during the day. You drop the pooch off at their location in the morning, many times at their home, and they take care of the dog during the day. I am not in favor of it unless you know the individual is a qualified trainer. Many times they can have a variety of dogs, and as we know when you have multiple dog personalities at once, it can be interesting.

An inexperienced person could get over their head very quickly and either a dog or the individual could be hurt.

Some boarding kennel offer this service during the week when business is fairly slack, but charge the same daily rate as if they were boarded. After all, they have pretty much the same cleaning effort as if the dog was there overnight.

I jokingly called my vets that when they would go in for something, as I would call and make an appointment, and always let them know that I would drop them off on the way to work and then pick them up on the way home. Of course they only did this for animals coming in for some other reason.

Q Tip's picture
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:) Thanks for that....I had in my mind that  all the dogs were just left together like at childcare :) I have a forces boyfriend who has been overseas for the last 3 months coming home soon. I was wondering if there are going to be any jealousy issues Q seems very mellow at the moment :)

Q Tip wrote:

:) Thanks for that....I had in my mind that  all the dogs were just left together like at childcare :) I have a forces boyfriend who has been overseas for the last 3 months coming home soon. I was wondering if there are going to be any jealousy issues Q seems very mellow at the moment :)

Well, enjoy your boyfriend and the time you have together when he gets home :) You will have to let us know if Q has any jealousy issues, hopefully everything will be just fine, should be anyway. Q sounds like a great dog whom you have socialized well he should be just fine.

My daughter and her Airforce husband are coming home this weekend after being stationed in Japan for 3 years. I wish they were moving here but at least they will be back in the states and a shorter airplane ride to visit.

Q Tip's picture
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Thank you I will...this site has just been great for me, Ive learnt so much from reading the threads :) Ive put a lot of time and energy into Q and its really nice to see how he has come along  :)
I grew up with the airforce....and have great memories of the places that we were stationed at.
I call Q my little stealth bomber :) I thought i knew a lot but never realised just how 'fast.'they are :)

rgreen4's picture
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Hopefully, he is now using the outdoor bombing range all the time. Yes they are fast when they are young. When the get older it seems they get more particular about which "target" they drop the "ordnance" on.

Q Tip's picture
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:) :) :) Any idea of the speed that i am facing when Q comes running at me the space between his feet on the sand measures 6ft or so...I think sometimes that i would rather face a charging All Black :)