Aggressive playing

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Me-n-Trixie's picture
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Joined: 2015-04-04

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We're new to the group, so in a nutshell, here's why we're here!

My girl Trixie is a super energetic "pup"! She's been raised with our older 7 yr old dog Bones, and they're great friends. Only, when she plays, she's too rough! She doesn't seem to understand that when they are both outside, it is ok to not be chewing on his head. For quite some time, he wouldn't even go outside with her because she won't even give him a minute to go potty. I'm wondering if it's because when she was little, and her whole life really, we've just let them play, and never stepped in, and now that she's getting bigger, she just doesn't know when to stop. I thought Bones would let her know when she's gone too far, or when he's done playing, but since having her, we've really discovered that he's very submissive, and doesn't assert himself with her at all, so she's completely dominated him to the point of mounting him occasionally. He's tried mounting her, but she's too tall and fast! I've tried muzzling her while outside, but she just gets the muzzle off and goes right after him anyway. And even with the muzzle on, she still pummels him and boxes with him, to the point of both of his eyes being scratched and needing vet care and meds to heal. Is there any way to fix this? 

Another issue I'm having, is when my children sit on the dog's bed with her, and lay on her side, or climb on her, she growls at them. Our other dog has never done this, and has never even looked at them when they climb on him, he either gets up, or lets them. Last time I saw it happen, she actually showed her teeth at my 5 yr old. Now that just can't happen. I didn't know one dog could be so different from another, and what my Littles do with one, they can't do with another. Is this just a behavior issue, or a Doberman personality thing? I'd love any kind of insight, tips, and criticism you all have to give, because I would really love to keep her in the family, she's such a beauty and so very smart. In advance, thanks for having me and thanks for being here!

DJ's Dad's picture
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Joined: 2010-10-04

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O H  MY.  When I read your post, all I saw was "red flag--red flag--red flag"

I am going to try my best to be as nice as possible in attempting to respond to your questions and concerns on a couple of things you pointed out.

1. I'm wondering if it's because when she was little, and her whole life really, we've just let them play, and never stepped in, and now that she's getting bigger, she just doesn't know when to stop. Answer:  Yes. Pretty much that's it.  Dogs need and want to know their boundaries, their limits, and the rules.  If there are no rules, no boundaries, and no limits, then it's just a free-for-all, and the biggest and strongest dog will often bully the other.  Your Trixie went from being a tiny little puppy to a big, energetic strong dog in a short time.  That's what happens with big breed dogs.  They are as big and strong as adults, but still have puppy-brain.  Without guidelines and rules to follow, she is just doing whatever she wants to do and doesnt see that she is doing anything wrong.  It's never been wrong before to her, so it still isnt as far as she is concerned.  Bones, on the other hand is having a miserable life.

I've tried muzzling her while outside, but she just gets the muzzle off and goes right after him anyway. And even with the muzzle on, she still pummels him and boxes with him, to the point of both of his eyes being scratched and needing vet care and meds to heal. OK...why are you using a muzzle if you arent putting it on correctly and she is able to get it off?  It's a game to her at this point.  If she is beating your other dog up this badly, you really need to make some changes right away before things get worse.

2. Another issue I'm having, is when my children sit on the dog's bed with her, and lay on her side, or climb on her, she growls at them. Our other dog has never done this, and has never even looked at them when they climb on him, he either gets up, or lets them.

Honestly I dont even know where to start with this statement.  Honestly.

I have to ask, why are your kids allowed to climb on your dogs?  The dogs are not toys nor are they furniture.  They are your pets and deserve more respect than that.  Mutual respect between children and pets is a must.  No exceptions.  Not all dogs will react the same way to any given situation or scenerio.  Not even 2 dogs of the same breed will react the same way to every situation. Your doberman is giving a warning and if that warning is not heeded, she will take it a step further.  Surely you dont think that even Bones enjoys being climbed up on?  You said he gets up and walks away.  He is trying to remove himself from an uncomfortable situation.

My advice to you (and remember, you asked for insight, tips and criticism) would be to immediately look for obedience classes for your doberman.  Those classes will not magically transform your dog into an instant perfect lady with all sorts of manners....what they will do is teach YOU to teach your dog some boundaries.  And in the meantime....please stop your kids from climbing on your dogs.  It's just not a good thing to do.  It sort of lets down the boundaries in that aspect, also.

Lady Kate's picture
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Joined: 2009-10-28

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Dear Me...

Oh my gosh.. so rarely do I get upset with requests for sincere suggestions.. so I"m going to be as "gentle' as I can.

It breaks my heart to see you allowing your children to abuse this girl.. inviting not only trouble but possible tragedy. It is NOT a Doberman thing.. nor a Pit Bull thing.. it's a dog thing and they should never be climbed on or treated like furniture.. the red flags, as DJ"s Dad stated are certainly there and I can only hope you will heed our advice.

I implore you find a good loving and responsible home for Trixie. As the one you seem to be providing is a time bomb waiting to explode

Katie

Me-n-Trixie's picture
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Joined: 2015-04-04

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Abuse, no, my children do not abuse her, they play with her, she is a family member just as much as they are. She is in a good loving responsible home, and that is why I am trying to get advice on how everyone can be happy. I do put the muzzle on properly, and I really have no idea how she is able to get it off. I watch her do it and I'm amazed.

I'm working on obedience training and have been since we got her, she's just so strong willed and smart, I'm obviously not getting it right. I did ask for tips, criticism, etc, and I appreciate your thoughts, but I did not expect to be told to give away my family member. I agree, red flags everywhere, but who just quits and abandons an animal they chose to take responsibility for? Or suggests that they do? You don't tell a mother that can't get her toddler to stop biting to give it away do you? I feel as strongly about my pets as I do my children, I will do everything I can to be the best caregiver they deserve.

I guess how people view pets difffers from family to family. We interact with our pets and we love our pets. It's not as if I sit here and watch my children climb on the dogs, when they're obviously not happy about it. They love the children, and usually Bones just lays there and loves the attention, where Trixie would sometimes growl. I have read here and on other forums, that it may have been a territorial warning, or a personal space warning. Since this post, there hasn't been a growl, and I have let the children know that we need to give them their space, and that has worked quite well. She seems to be understanding her place, as the children are. I'll be as gentle as I can in saying that your reply Lady Kate, is astonishing to me, and honestly isn't what I expected from reading so many other posts on this site. I've had dogs all my life, and children for 14 years, and I've never encountered this behavior. I'll continue to watch other's posts from now on, but I doubt I'll be making any more of my own. Thanks for your thoughts!