Aggressive attacks within our home.

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mikeandken's picture
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Mike and Ken here...  Our home is full of fur babies. We have Zeus is a Dobie mix breed. He is 2 years nutured. Cezar a cocker mix, 14 yrs nutured. Ms.P a Boston Terrier 5 yrs, spayed and Shaggy a Dashound, 8 years, nutured. 

Zeus has been to obeidence training Camp. for 30 days just letting you all know and he is very protective over Ken. Jealous, really wants all the attention. We have had some fights , but nothing like what occured last night. This is from my post I put on Facebook asking if others have had experinced events like this. 

Rough nights last..... sitting there in peace and quiet watching TV. As usual Ken has the dogs all around him. Zeus and Cezar occasionally get in the floor and play together. Ms. P is in her chair. Shaggy is on the back of Ken's chair because this is where he like to lay. At times Cezar with his age (14) will just pace back and forth and all he really wants to do is sit at Kens feet and lick him. Zeus gets very jealous and at will jump down and get in the way of Cezar. Setting in place: Not sure what happened it all happened to quickly, all of sudden Zeus was on Cezar in a rage. I jumped up and grabbed his choke chain, to get him off of Cezar, the other dogs began to bark and it was a mad house. He got away from from for a moment and tried to jump on Shaggy, well this time when I went in to grab his Choke collar again He got my arm in his mouth.. OMG did it hurt. I twisted his chain to stop his aggression, and had a good hold on his choke chain and got him to his cage. All they while dripping blood all through the house. It was everywhere. It was mine by the way. I made it to the kitchen, Ken was checking on our other babies to make sure they were alright. He then came running into the kitchen because that is when his noticed all the blood. I was leaning over the sink holding my arm under water trying to stop the bleeding. Do we need to go to the hospital. I said No, because we cannot afford that. Then I thought I was going to pass out. He got me a stool and held my arm and squeezed it, finally got it under control. Once I was in a better state, he began to clean up the blood that was from the Living room all the way to the Office. After some real good cleaning with peroxide and Neosporin of he wound. He taped me up best he could. I took some pain medication . Zeus slept in the cage all night. It was scary, the worse Zeus had ever been......

I have contacted out vet, waiting to hear back from them, but thought I would ask those of you who own Dobies. 

Lady Kate's picture
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How terrifying and I hope you will be okay.. Sounds like a classic case of same sex aggression to me..  and although I would love to say something different..... barring that you keep the boys separated AT ALL TIMES... or choose to rehome one of them.. It WILL happen again..each time it will escalate and the injuries you sustained will be worse ... more than likely the 'little' will end up terribly maimed and/or killed.

So so sorry to "welcome" you to the Forum this way.. and am so sorry you're going to have to make a very difficult decision and soon.

Katie

 

Sandee's picture
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Very, very sad.  So sorry.   There are a ton of things people may want to say about it and advice.  But as said by Lady Kate.  It will only get worse. Drastic measures will have to be taken.  Sounds like a total RED zone rage.  I'm sure you were not his intended victim.  I will just say how disappointing it is when all the fur babies don't get along.

Again.  sad to hear.

Sandee

&Ember

This is pretty classic and sad to say not that uncommon. Separating fighting dogs is very dangerous and grabbing collars is waaayyy too close to teeth as you unfortunately found out  :-(

The best way to pull two dogs apart (takes 2 people) is to grab around the waist from behind - lift rear end off ground and walk backwards. If you have a dog with a thick tail, you can lift from the base of the tail.  I have done this with two bitches that were intent of killing each other - nothing else (including a hose full blast) worked.  They both loved me, but I knew I would get bit by one or the other of them if I tried to grab a collar.

It seems that your Dobe mix is guarding resources and your husband IS a valuable resource.  It may be same sex aggression, but really did not sound like it to me.

talisin's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-25

oh my so sorry to hear about this, hope you are going to be ok.....to me regardless of what caused it, your little dogs are at risk of death....no easy way to put that....what sex are your other dogs??? everything I have read here seems that around 2 the male doberdogs will show this type of aggression towards other dogs, especially of the same sex....and as others have said it continues to escalate until someone gets seriously injured or killed......

consider your options and go from there..... rotate dogs or rehome... any other option is putting everybody at risk and as you saw first hand it happens in the blink of an eye so there is no preparing for it or protecting the little dogs

just my two cents worth

mikeandken's picture
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Joined: 2014-09-02

Fitzman... and everyone else,  please bare with me, I am long winded , but this might help.....I think I should have put some more info about our home life. All of our dogs are rescues in some way. Zeus was left on out back porch when he was 9 weeks old. They all grew up together. When we got Zeus we crate trained him. While we were both at work he was always in his crate. Early this year Ken lost his job, during this time Zeus was not put in his cage, and was allowed to roam free with the other 3 dogs in the house. We believe that during this time Ken and Zeus bonded even further. Ken would allow Zeus to do what he wanted, rarely ever scolded him. He would let him climb all over him as if Ken was his play thing. Now Ken has found a job. When we both leave for work, we have not crated Zeus, he has been allowed to roam with the other 3. There have been no sign of any fights when we get home. We think it's when we get home is when the aggression starts. The aggression happens when Zeus is around Ken. When we got home last night we talked , and decided to go back to our obedience training, and put a lead back on Zeus that way if he tried to go after one of them we could at least have something to grab onto rather than his collar. Zeus seem to respond better to commands when he is on his lead, perhaps it's because he was trained with lead on rather than off. Plus it will keep me from going in with my hands and getting accidently bitten again. Ken realizes that his presense will cause problems. We have decided to set boundaries for each dog. Last night after all the dogs were feed and let out to potty, they came in and The only one to was near Ken last night as we watch TV and ate supper was Shaggy, because he has always laid on the back of the chair. Zeus was with me, Ms. P on her chair and Cezar on his matt. All was great and peaceful. When we went to get ready for bed, Zeus was on the bed, he and Ken had some affection time. Then Cezar came to that side of the bed and Zeus went after him. Ken grabbed the lead, and jerked him back into submission and we put him back in his cage for the night.  That brings us to where we are right now. Does this sound like a jealousy/protecting issue or the male on male issue that some of you have mentioned? 

Oh, by the way, I'm Mike

To me (and I do not consider myself an expert), it sounds like resource guarding. Ken is the resource in this instance. With the two bitches I mentioned before, the resouce was generally a toy or bone. I removed all toys and bones until the death of one of the girls. They could only have stuff while in their crate.... it was the only way to keep the peace. 

I would talk to a behaviorist - ask your vet for a reference to a good one.

talisin's picture
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I have to agree it does sound like a resource guard issue BUT that could happen very easily while you are away; you don't know what item will be next that Zeus will want to guard or claim, you may be there you may not.....that's my problem with this....if you are away and he claims something and the others seem to share they may not pay attention to his claiming behavior, then one of them may die, and you could come home to a little dog that is dead......that's what I was trying to get across - to me it doesn't matter if it's resource guarding or male/male aggression it comes down to Zeus is attacking the other dogs when HE feels like it for whatever reason HE determines and that can be an escalating problem for any dog. So while you try to work on this crate him when you cannot watch him or leash him to you.....gates across doorways are only as good as the respect the dog has for the gate, most big dogs can if they choose push them out of the way unless they are screwed into the door casings....or they can easily chew through the plastic, vinyl and even the weaker metal mesh.....so crates are to me the best answer. He definitely needs work now.....

I would crate Zeus while I was away for the safety of everyone.....that's my two cents worth....

mikeandken's picture
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Joined: 2014-09-02

talisin.... I understand, what your saying and the others. Like I said we use to keep Zeus crated before, Ken lost his job. I guess it does make sense that something could cause him to find another object to guard. He has never had an issue in the past, what would be causing it now. Could it be him growing into an adult?  We have been keeping him on his lead, when we are home. Perhaps putting him back in his cage while away from the homes is the best solution. 

Last night was peaceful,no attacks or growls other then when Zeus and Cezar were playing together. Ken has been working on his own self as far as letting Zeus know he is the Alpha. We keep Zeus away from Ken while the other babies are around him. We still allow Zeus to have his buddy time Ken, but they are by themselves outside playing.

Someone at work suggested we take Zeus and Cezar for walks together,  they told me the the 2 of them would form a closer bond. We may try that as well. 

Most of my friends on FB all tell me to find a new home for him, but that is a difficult choice to make, but if comes down to safety for our home we will have to find a rescue shelter for Dobies. We feel like it is us giving up on him,  so we are going to work on his guard issues first and go from there.

The dogs we have ; Cezar is a small Cocker mix - male 

                            Ms. P is a Boston terrier- female

                            Shaggy is a Dashound- male

                             and Zeus

I have photos of them posted.

Thanks for your words of advice.

DJ's Dad's picture
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I feel badly for your situation.  I know from experience that once a dog (doberman or not) decides that it has an 'issue' with another dog in the home, it can be very stressful for everyone....human and canine. 

I had a similar situation with 2 of my dogs a couple of years ago, and the doberman simply could not/would not (?) stop attacking one of my terriers, one that belongs to my mentally disabled son. Her attacks on the smaller dog got more intense each time, and she literally tried to kill the smaller dog right in front of me on more than one occasion. Not just growling or even biting, but grabbing the little dog by the neck, locking on, shaking it, and drawing blood.  We tried keeping the dogs separated, but there is always that chance that a gate will not be locked or a door wont be totally shut....my family lived in fear every time we heard a strange noise...thinking the dogs had somehow gotten in the same room and something horrible was about to happen. We tried trainiers, dog behaviorists, separation, everything, and still, the dobie was intent on killing the other dog every time she saw it.  It came down to making the hardest decision I have ever had to face.  I ended up finding a wonderful Doberman-specific rescue group (Illinois Doberman Rescue) and driving to Chicago to re-home my dog.  She ended up being adopted by one of the rescue workers at the facility and lives with one neutered male doberman and NO small dogs.  As hard as it was to rehome her, I see now that it was the best choice for not only my family but also for my doberman.  She no longer has to share her life with a small dog that she had a problem with---for whatever reason that problem manifested. The dobie I have now has a totally mellow disposition and gets along with all my other dogs.

Good luck with your dogs, and Im not saying it cant be corrected, Im just saying watch for signs and dont deny that this is definitely a serious problem that may not rectify itself.

KevinK's picture
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This is unfortunately common, as said...  You are noticing one of the other major factors as well, this behavior commonly starts to show in the 2-3 year old range, as the dogs are maturing.  What makes it especially dangerous, is exactly like you said, there may have never been a previous incident.  This is not necessarily a "bad" thing, as it's a fairly common doberman trait.  It doesn't necessarily mean your dog is going to be attacking everything & everyone.  But, you should never leave them unsupervised together, and even supervised, if they MUST interact, I would keep it to the absolute minimum.  Often, when I try to tell people this,  they blow it off, but now we're in a situation where we are past the incident.  Most of these same sex aggressive dogs, assuming there are no other and/or medical illnesses affecting his behavior, will generally lead normal lives outside of the same sex aggression.  In other words, if you have the ability to keep him separated from the other dogs, he will most likely live a normal, happy life loving his humans and otherwise being a normal dog.

mikeandken's picture
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KevinK... I sure hope you are correct ....I know everyone keeps saying keep them apart. I understand and the reasoning, but what is the point of having a fur family, if they have to be seperated, if you know what I mean. All of you owner know about Dobies, which is why we joined this group. Several different views as to what the cause could be. 

We have contacted a dog behaviorist , waiting to hear from them on our problem.

Thanks everyone

Lady Kate's picture
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Chiming in again as I've been watching this thread and hoping for the best for you and your family.

Hoping the behaviorist will be able to pin point the issues and lend good solid professional advice.

Please stay in touch.. we can all learn something from everyone's experiences...

Katie
 

talisin's picture
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so true the point of a "family" is to be together all the time if possible.....sometimes it's just not safe for the rest of the family to have that "one" family member that is a threat, like families who have the member who is addicted to alcohol, drugs or the like, as much as you love them they are not good or healthy for the rest of the family to be around, so you keep that person somewhat isolated, and invite them in only when you are sure everyone is safe.....same with situations like these to me.....you have an unstable family member for whatever reason, and it requires a bit of extra care.....rotating dogs is not uncommon, it's a pain in the butt, works but requires alot of personal discipline and control to not get lazy and let the unthinkable happen........he is at the age where this type of thing rears it's ugly head.....who knows what transpired between the two of them that was unseen by the humans, the body language and/or any noises between the two is a conversation, who knows what one said to the other.....but it pays to be safer than sorry later......

I hope the trainer can help......

mikeandken's picture
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Joined: 2014-09-02

Well.... I have received an email from the behaviorist, and as I thought, and some of you as well it is the guarding resource issue. Ken being the object. That was all I could get out of her, but she did offer to help us by enrolling him into something called an Immersion program for no less than 2 weeks. At her training facility which is about 2 hours away. Which is crazy to begin with, being that Ken is the resource, not sure how she can fix this without him there too.... Sadly , it is a money issue. Ken just returned to work after being let go from his job after 19 yrs in April of this year.

I spoke with my Vet, this is what he had to say about it. We were chatting on Facebook at this time.

There are a few reasons that Zeus may have acted out in the way that he did. Most dogs tend (like people) to get established in a routine and tend to get more set in their ways as they age and may be anxious when the routine is changed. Also, in some older dogs, pain such as arthritis can trigger some aggression. However, I think that you alluded to the main reason when you mentioned that Zeus has shown some signs of jealousy in the past. Usually, when dogs attack housemates in situations like these it is over some resource (for example, Ken's attention). What you may have going on is an acute flare up of a problem that has existed previously but just has not manifested in this extreme response. The age of both dogs may be a factor, especially as Zeus views Cezar getting weaker. He may be expressing his dominance over Cezar in a way that he has not been able to before. When this happens, and owner's intervene, it is often the owner that gets bitten, sometimes worse than the two dogs. There is not enough time to assess "friend or foe". I would be careful about the two dog's interactions going forward and try to prevent a situation identical to the one the other night. It may be time to set certain boundaries for where everyone lays/sits when the family is together. Zeus may need his own bed in an area not adjacent to Cezar or one of them can sit with you and the other with Ken, etc. Hope this is of some help.

Then that day he came into our shop (I'm a stylist) we talked some more at that time. I asked him about this Doberman ageing issue with male on male aggression. He did not believe that issue, he said that can be true with any dog. He suggested we keep them away from each other but not completely away from each other. Allow them equal time with Ken, so they can see the interaction. We are allowing them time to equally play with other, that being Cezar and Zeus. Ken has stepped up to plate and is becoming the alpha now. So far, it has been okay. It is kind of stressful making sure they all stay where we put them, but we must do what needs to be done.... Giving him up is still not an option for us, he is our responsibility. 

I will keep this updated as the days move forward....

Thank You all for your advice.

talisin's picture
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I will come to the defense of the posters who speak of the male/male aggression....vets mean well, but they are not behavorists and unless they have lived and raised dobermans then they are not speaking from experience.....the breeders here and the trainers here will know more about the actual behavior and ages when certain behaviors will manifest, better than a vet......vets are medical doctors not dog whisperers so to speak......the people here are better suited to talking about the behavior......I was surprised when I joined to hear about this certain male/male trait, but after having been here for, hard to believe, 4 years I now fully believe in it; you have a house full of males and your doberman has reached that pinnacle year of 2 when it really shows up seemingly out of nowhere.....trust the people here who speak of this as it truly is a trait and is more likely and prevelant in the doberman than other breeds.....yes other dogs CAN do this, the difference being that for other breeds is unusual to have this happen making it NOT a breed trait but for the doberman it's a common behavior MAKING it a breed trait it unusual for it NOT to happen, and the doberman prefers people for company not dogs and not needing the company of other dogs makes this a very real threat and is much more serious than other breeds.....any vet that would slough it off as not being any different than other breeds should do a bit more studying........or leave the breed descriptions to those who work with the breed daily - the breeders here REALLY do know their breed the best and have decades of experience with this issue and when they discuss it it is not done lightly.......

just my two cents worth since your vet seemed to write it off as unnecessary worry, he/she is uninformed about this trait

leslieak's picture
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I recently went to an event at NC State Vet school for a presentation by the head of the Animal Behavior Department on the book Dogs Decoded. She was one of the contributors in getting the book out. Two interesting points she made that I thought of: 1) not many vets schools require vets students to take animal behavior classes and 2) she used dobermans as an example of a dog that often is misinterpreted with its body language by people and other dogs because of cropping of ears and tail docking (although it looks like yours is natural). I also believe that dobes in particular have the male-male aggression problem. If you are keeping the dog, I think a behaviorist is the way to go. My vet has given me advice on behavior that has been helpful in the past but this is really a specialty especially when faced with a severe problem. There is an American College of Veterinary Behaviorists so I would recommend seeking one of those out because I'm sure there are "animal behaviorists" who aren't necessarily credentialed (maybe check on that from the one you've contacted.)