Agression - need advice!

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laith's picture
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A few of you know I have been on this forum since I got Laith a year ago. So when I explain this, I really want good, pure advice -- 

This weekend Laith's 'dad' left on a deployment for a year. Today I woke up at 5am to find him throwing up beside my bed (something he hasn't done in months!). 

Then after 4 walks (plenty of activity) we go to the dog park. He snaps on a male dog. We leave and go walking for awhile longer. Then go back to the dog park to have some frisbee time. No dogs were there until our neighbor came with his. Laith plays with this dog frequently and has rough played with him and gotten into a couple snarls. But nothing major. He had played frisbee for a good 20 minutes with me so he had even more energy out. But then the dog put his paw on Laith and Laith snapped again. I had to have the guy pull them off and I punished Laith on the spot, left and apologized.

It is unacceptable. He has gotten in a few fights before (all male dogs). I understand the risk and the concept of having trouble with males. I understand me not having Laith neutered is also a big factor. But at this point- at 16 months I am going to wait until 2 years like our breeder recommended. And neutering him now isn't going to magically fix this problem.

So I am asking you guys for suggestions or advice if you have run into this. Socialization is a huge thing for us- and we want him to be able to play with other dogs. We have socialized him since day 1 ... put him in classes, daycares, agility etc ... and still continuing. Most of you know everything we have done.

I have tried to be the alpha has much as I can. But when he is home, Laith automatically turns to him and thinks of him as the alpha over me. No matter how much we try and train for it not to be. 

Thanks from a very exhausted and frustrated dobie owner!!!

 

 

KevinK's picture
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You are now seeing the unfortunate side effects of male/male aggression.  No level of training, or socializing will help.  This is one of the reasons why I often say Dobermans, especially males, are not good dog park candidates, with other experienced members agreeing.  This is not a training issue, unfortunately...

Same sex aggression tends to come out as your dog matures, and laith is right at that age.  I would stop going to the dog park, unless it's empty, and you're going to have to start being very careful around males.  Neutering MAY help, slightly, but it's not going to be a huge change.  He won't get neutered, and it will stop.  It may have no effect at all.

I wouldn't punish him for it, it's not going to help at all.  It's like yelling at someone for breathing...   Many dobermans are simply not cut out to play with other males, it's an unfortunate breed trait, and again, nothing can really be done about it except to be very careful in these types of situations so that nothing happens.

HarleyBear's picture
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It sounds like you and I have a very similar situations.  We have always been good on socialization, dog parks, doggy day care, puppy play dates, etc.  But since I have joined this forum I have kept a close eye on Harley when he plays with other dogs.  At first, when I learned about male/male aggression I was really sad.  I wanted Harley to have puppy friends, but when I talked to my trainer about it, she said something that struck me.

"Not all dogs are going to have other doggy friends and that is okay.  That doesn't mean they won't have a full and wonderful life being your companion.  Cause as much as dogs seem to like other dogs, their true devotion is you." 

If and when Harley starts to have problems, we'll just accomodate and move on.  No biggie.

Please let me know any updates on you and Laith while your husband is away.  My husband is looking to join the marines and be a JAG offficer.  So it will just be me and the dogs when he is away. 

laith's picture
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Thank you. I hate this is going this way for us, already. He LOVES other dogs. He will play for awhile and the male dogs seem fine - then Laith will snap. And there is a max 5 second time frame before he has the dog pinned. We all know the power a doberman has if put in hot water...I have read that is a trait. So I keep on top of him. Most male dogs will show aggression to him before anything happens and I am able to just walk away with him (because I can see the tension). But this is a new thing - and I want to start on the right page. 

 

I was afraid after reading about it- the only option is to avoid that type of situation. We try to have a line between him acting out of place vs. showing his traits of being a doberman. But it is a very thin line, so that is why I was asking about possible training or suggestions. Plus I am taking over as the alpha- so I didn't know this -- along with the vomitting was stress/anxiety driven on top of his natural instincts. 

I just know if I don't socialize --- it will get much worse. :/ 

Happydance's picture
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HarleyBear said it about right.  As you all know, I've been taking Fancy to the dog park, but under the conditions that I deem ok (energy of the dogs there, etc. yadayada....) I know this post is about male on male aggression, but it's about dog interaction in general.  She has been getting much more confident there and playing more with other dogs, but if I get up and start walking around the park, she'll run full speed to be by me and leave her playmates behind.  I take her there more for the exercise than anything else, and I love it when we're the only ones there.  Bottom line is, they'd rather be with you than the other dogs.  I do have other dogs here at home obviously and they play spendly, but I'm her focus.  I really think they're more of an annoyance to her (and her to them LOL).

A year's deployment? wow, I don't know how you military men and women do it.  God Bless You.

KevinK's picture
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There's no problem with socializing, but try to do it in a more controlled environment as much as possible.  Alot of is will have to do with the other dog as well, he MAY be better with more submissive dogs.  From what you've said already, I would never let him run free with a dog with a more dominant personality.  The thing that makes this so scary as well, is dogs can be playing together like they're best friends, then BAM, something happens.  So you have to be extra dilligent from here on out.

I have to totally agree with Kevin and his advice on this.

Dobermans and especially intact males have no place in a dog park. I hate to say this and I'm sure you know but you are just asking for problems. What might have been easier to manipulate and handle when he was younger will not be as he matures which is exactly what you are experiencing right now. I think it is just pure coincidence that he had an upset stomach earlier it doesn't have anything to do with his acting up later in the day.

You mentioned that socialization was very important to you and it should be, but socialization doesn't mean that your dog has to get along with other dogs running loose. There is actually a statement in our breed standard that addresses this saying that it shall not be deemed viciousness for a belligerent attitude towards another dog.  Please keep in mind you didn't purchase a Golden Retriever you purchased a Doberman and it is perfectly acceptable to be belligerent to other dogs. I'm a firm believer in as much socialization as possible and on a continual basis but I do know that even with all good intentions that some Dobermans and especially a male will not tolerate other males or the behaviors at dog parks. Out of my 3 Dobermans right now there is only 1 that I would trust in a dog park.

I think your dog will accept you as alpha rather quickly with your husband away right now. You will be the one in charge of his eating, feeding, sleeping and playing. Just remember all of your training in training him and I'm sure you will be fine.

God bless, protect you and give you strength as you work through this deployment and being apart, I cant imagine having to go through that. My daughters husband is getting ready to deploy right after Thanksgiving, she doesn't know what she will do with him being gone for so long.

lingsguest's picture
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Hi

I have brought Sunny home last Saturday (9 weeks old) my in-laws have a Yorkshire Terrier, 8yrs old, not neuted, everytime Sunny goes to him the Yorkie bears his teeth and snarls, he hasn't attacked him, but I am really scared that he will, also as Sunny gets older I don't want him to end up going for the Yorkie either as they are both males.

The Yorkie has once or twice had a sniff of Sunny when he has been asleep and then quickly ran away, is this a glimmer of hope or a false dawn. Any suggestions would be a great help.

Also, is the Yorkie jealous, he use to spend a lot of time with me, now he won't go near me, he is OK with the rest of the family who spend time with Sunny, just me.

DJ's Dad's picture
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I know your Sunny is only 9 weeks old, but I'm wondering if you are planning on having him neutered when he gets a little older?  That might have some bearing on the two males getting along a little bit better, since you say the Yorkie is not neutered.

My suggestion (and I'm speaking from experience here....mine are females, but still, one doberman puppy growing up with older terriers, it got a little rough at times in the very beginning) is to NEVER leave Sunny and the Yorkie in a room together unsupervised.  If the Yorkie does soften up a little and start to pay attention to Sunny, dont allow them to play-fight, no matter how cute it seems at first.  Sunny will be 5 X the size of the Yorkie soon enough, and will be able to overpower him and even hurt him, even when playing.  Dobermans are great dogs, but you really need to be aware and super cautious to prevent anything from happening, just in case. Better safe than sorry.


Oh, and when I brought Ziva home as a puppy, my oldest terrier was jealous, as well. She eventually got over it, and she and Z are the best of friends now....eat together, sleep across each other, lick each other's faces....but it didnt happen overnight.  Be patient, and be aware of the possibilities that Sunny and the Yorkie might never be buddies.  One of my terriers tolerates Ziva but it's obvious he doesn't love her.   He's very tiny and is afraid of being hurt by her even if she lays down close to him.

lingsguest's picture
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Hi Ziva's Dad

I seriously don't know what I would of done without your advice over the last week, so I just want to say thank you.

I am going to get him neutered when he is old enough, and I never leave them together without at lease two of us in the room, and thanks for the tip on play fighting, I keep telling my wife when Sunny is bigger it becomes a different ball game.

I have also taken advice from another comment, that both dogs need family time, so I ensure that they both feel loved and never left alone.

Just one more question about food, I read on this forum that he shouldn't be fed after 6pm, but our breeder told us to feed him at 7am, 12pm, 5pm and 9pm, he didn't even touch his food last night which concerened me, can puppies get full? or bored from the food, I am feeding him the same as the breeder did.

laith's picture
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Thanks everyone. I guess it's just the way it will be. 

Lori's picture
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Kevin and RND have said it perfectly!   That is the honest truth of the matter and many have disagreed on this in other threads.  You are probably correct in that he will get along better with less agressive dogs.  Rocky is the same as long as the dog is submissive there is no issue.  Female are never an issue so far.   Due to that he does not go to Dog Parks and never will.   It's not worth the risk to him or to other dogs.

 

It's not something you can train out of them - or neuter to fix. 

D and Evie's picture
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Oh, you all just knew I had to chime in once again here:)

 

Before rehashing the last disagreement we had on parks I will say that in my experience unaltered dogs seem to draw the most unpredictable behavior from other male dogs that they encounter(regardles of breed). If I would've chosen a male he would've been neutered at an early age(but that's me).

 

Yes, there are risks involved taking your dog to a park, and if you choose to do so(as I do, and I accept those risks), I believe it's important to go with confidence -- if you go with anxiety and hold your breath every time a dog comes to sniff your's... well, I believe there's a good chance that your dog will pick up on your mental state and, regretfully, become anxious himself(bad, very bad).

 

I try to make sure that I'm calm and collected before we enter a park. And when we're in I stay 100% engaged in what Evie is doing and whom she is in contact with. I call her a lot, I command and use training methods a lot and I'm always ready to redirect her attention to me should I deem it appropiate. It's work. But it's rewarding for both of us. 

 

  

KevinK's picture
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You also clearly don't have a same sex aggressive dog.

D and Evie's picture
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Many other Doberman caretakers also don't have a same-sex aggressive dogs(if my experience is any indication). Which is why I find the statement "Dobermans don't belong in dog parks" so troubling...

KevinK's picture
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The more real experience you get, the less you will find it to be troubling.  Dobermans may be fine in a dog park, especially while they are young.  As they mature, it can be a very different experience.  If and when the time comes where your dog gets torn to pieces, and dies in your arms, maybe you'll think differently.  Or when you watch the owner of the dog that yours attacked, or if you see someone else's dog get attacked like this, maybe you'll take it more seriously.

This is very, very common knowledge among doberman enthusiasts.  Your average pet owner has probably never heard of same sex aggression in the breed, and probably isn't as aware as some of the more serious owners.  Go on some of the bigger sites, you can read about all of the people who had the same ideas and opinions as you, and then one day, dead dog.  If you're ok taking that risk, then so be it.  But you absolutely should not be coming into a post where someone has a same sex aggressive dog, which is a common breed trait, and downplaying what is a very serious issue.  If you want to risk the life of your dog, and the dogs around him, that's your decision.  But don't let other people think that it's ok to do the same.

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Well Kevin,
Firstly, I've downplayed nothing --  not to the OP, not to you or anyone else. Ever. I'd appreciate it if you did not fabricate your illusions to help make your claims(toward me or anyone else). I seen your rips on others here plently of times -- I'm neither impressed nor intimidated. Frankly, I find your tantrum tactics childish at best.

 

Secondly, you speak of experience -- at least I have some within the context -- you, yourself claimed none. If you want to scare the crap out of owners so that if they see another dog they go running the other direction in fear? Fine, you do that. You want to make an oft-surrendered breed virtually unadoptable? Go for it, their blood is on your hands. You want to petition AlphaAdmin to change the site from 'Gentle' to 'CertainToFightDoberman' .com, why not?

 

Go ahead, spread all the anxiety you can. Use your 'factual' terms like 'plenty of', 'some of' and my favorite: 'some lady on another site' to make your claims. What could it hurt?

 

 

 

 

KevinK's picture
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Well, I think most would disagree with you and your statement that I "rip on people plenty of times".  At any rate, your dog is still young, and I hope you never experience same sex aggression with her at a dog park, or anywhere else.  

And you think the things I do make dobermans un-adoptable??  lol...  I'm not going to bother to touch that, but I think it's quite amusing.

I think the only disagreements I have had on this site have been with rookie members, or those spreading bad information based on limited experience.  The newer the member, the more the tend to "know" about the breed in many cases.

At any rate, again, I hope this is something that you never have to experience, whether or not we have the same viewpoint on things.

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Well, I'll say it again, hopefully for the last time, that I claim no expertise other than my own experiences and discussions with other Doberman owners with first-hand experience concerning parks. I'm new to this breed but not to working breeds(akita, pit). And I completely agree that not every dog has the skills to be off leash amongst other dogs.

 

Are the 9 and 6y.o. Dobe males I see at the park anomalies or the norm? Truthfully, I can't say, and neither can you because the data is not available...

 
You deserve kudos for alerting owners of same-sex aggression, it's something to be aware of and yet another excellent reason to be 100% dilligent in protecting your dog's wellbeing. That said, and I believe this, scaring people with horrifying hypothectical scenarios could actually contribute to the issue(ironic, I know). Allow me to explain -- it's commonly thought that your dog will pick up on your mood and if you're transferring fear and anxiety every time your dog encounters another well... we all know what happens when a dog is anxious or fearful.
 
Food for thought...  
D and Evie's picture
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Oh, and as far as my 'un-adoptable' comment goes... there's a new thread just now titled "Intro!' wrtten by a seemingly great potential dog owner, he's even thinking of possibly getting an adult(rescue). I see he wants to go running, hiking and biking with his dog once he has one. So, that means there's risks of altercations with other dogs. I'm curious what will be said to him... I'll wait.

laith's picture
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I didn't start a post to have an argument. And/or to be insulted the way I do or do not treat my doberman. I am an average doberman owner. Anyone who has read my posts know that. It has come to a time where Laith is mature and I am dealing with what comes with that. If it means he can not go to a dog park - fine. We will work with it. We are willing to do anything to keep him healthy and happy. As a "average" owner I have put him through CGC, obeidence courses, agility, daycare socialization, dog parks DAILY since he was able to go outside with shots. We did two schutz classes and decided to trust our gut that the trainer did not have the best interest in training as well as practicing beginning stages of tracking. 

I would NEVER want him to hurt another dog. I myself saw Laith pinned very young by an aggressive male. But in the same respect- I don't hate that dog. If I take Laith anywhere I never let him off leash until I see he is ok. It is the snapping that I can not control and was asking about. 

Laith did very well even after a year and we have seen and heard stories of dobermans being PERFECT with all dogs- aggressive, submissive etc. I was simply asking if there was training to ease the trait. I see dogs who the owners have no socialization with other dogs. They are so aggressive in passing. Laith enjoys other dogs. Yes, maybe females,submissive, puppies etc. it seems now... but he enjoys the interaction. So that is why I was asking about possibilities.

As far as the male being neutered. Our breeder asked us to wait until 2 years. We waited and maybe that was right or wrong but it is where we are at 16 months.

I know many of you have the best intentions and thank you for your advice but most of us are "average owners". And you can't always know what the dog you chose is going to be like. We were told Laith would be stubborn, not that high of a drive compared to others in the litter and HUGE. Laith is stubborn, has a very high drive and is 68 pounds. And I do enjoy doing "average" things with him. So it was just a question and most of all a concern that I was trying to address as a responsible owner. I do take to heart the suggestions and will be aware of his behavior while trying them all.

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Laith, I hope you were not insulted in any way. I noticed your pictures are down and I hope it is not because of the disagreements regarding dog parks. It really has nothing to do with your specific situation. I for one enjoy your comments and posts. You have a good sense of humor and Laith seems to fit your personality. I also want to support you and Laith while your hubby is away. I am looking forward to hearing from you and your updates on agility.

I didn't see the other post regarding a heated discussion about dog parks that D and Evie referred to. I only commented wanting to help Laiths owner. So if it was my post that you took such offense to than I apologize that was not the intention behind it. I would hate to see you off of this list because of it. I didn't post again on this subject because I didn't want to go back and forth on the subject as the discussion was turning. This is probably the time you could use the most support from everyone and I sure hate to see you leave the list or feel offended.

I have 3 Dobermans right now 2 females and the one male. As much as I have socialized the male who will be 2 in a few weeks, he would never make it in a dog park AT THIS POINT. My daughter was taking him when he was younger without my knowing it and apparently he did fine. Now that he has matured more and is more into his full maleness he reacts to things much differently than my females. He is still intact because we are hopefully going to show him. Now out of the females Paris his mother would be one that I would trust to be in a dog park. I do know though even with how mellow, well trained and socialized she is that if she were to be pushed TO far that she would fight and even if she wasn't in the wrong to begin with other people would place the blame on the Doberman. Now this was my main reason for stating that Dobermans do not belong in the dog parks. I happen to live in an area that we had to FIGHT for the right for our breed not to be on a blacklist. I try so hard to have my dogs trained well and represent the breed so that as others experience them that they may change the way they feel about the breed.

I also think that in most dog parks the people that are in there are totally not aware of what their dogs are doing and the attitudes behind them. It is very easy for fights to break out and MOST owners are totally unaware that it is even about to happen because they dont know how to read the body language of the dog.

I don't want to go  back and forth with words over this with others not my intentions at all. I just want Laiths owner to know that Im sorry if I offeneded you and that we as a group are here to support you. I sure don't want to see you leave over words or difference of opinions.

Joined: 2011-07-20

I hope you come back!  I will miss Laith's smiley face and antics!

Also, I am just like you - an average pet owner with a young male trying to learn as much as she can to give her dober the best life she can.

I think in general all pet owners are learning about the kinds of things you mention as we go along.  Dog parks, doggie play dates, doggie daycares have not been around all that long, right?  I'm 31 years old, and I don't remember any of that stuff being around when I was a kid, and we always had a dog as I was growing up.  It seems to me that all this stuff started in the last 10 years, and as more and more people join in, there's a learning curve.  Personally, I love the dog park even though I'm presently freaked out about the male aggression stuff, which I didn't know about until this board.  Soon it'll be too cold to go anyway, so I'll have more time to think it over.

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Hi, I am sorry but I disagree that 'new members' pretend to know all about the breed. I don't think anyone on this website is an expert! I am a fairly new member with 2 male Dobes,both rescued, and you had warned me about male/male/agression. I have read up about it and felt very discouraged, almost sorry I adopted another Dobe from the city pound. I hope it never happens but I will definitely pay attention, however, please don't generalize new members. Have you personally experienced the agression issue? Please share.

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I have experienced same sex aggression and that is exactly why Rocky doesn't go to dog parks.  It started when he was just over 1 yr old.  He's fine with submissive males and fine with females but intact or more aggressive males and him do not work.  He's a very social dog, he is out at the MX track every weekend hanging out at the truck with us and all of our friends and their kids.  People often come over to meet him and many dogs too.  We take him to all of our friends homes who have dogs and they play fine (all females).  We meet dogs while out at the pet stores, on walks etc...it's the same no matter where.  He does not like other dominate males.   You can see it in his walk, the way he looks at them as he approaches them or them to him.  They sorta 'posture' at one another....then while sniffing usually one will attempt to put a paw over the other as a dominate move and the other says no.  At first when he was younger with a friends dog we let them go at it a bit in sort of a 'let them work it out' thing...they weren't biting just snapping and making a lot of noise but it obviously wasn't ending so we separated them and I realized at that moment he would not be allowed unleashed with other males. 

 

It's one thing to have a issue with a friends dogs it's a completely other issue for your dog to bite a strangers.   And if you have ever attempted to seperate 2 dogs fighting you would quickly realize it's not as easy as you think to pull 80lb dogs off each other.   Once it does escalate to that level it's very hard to gain control of again and it happens quickly.  I will not allow Rocky to be in that situation for his sake and for others. 

 

Some dogs just aren't going to be able to do certain things and others will.  You just have to know your dog.  I truly don't think you can 'train' that out of Laith, so I would just suggest just being careful with him if you continue to take him to the parks.

 

For everyone that says they don't have this issue - great, no is un-happy that you're dogs are able to be at parks.  That's great for you and for them but if you have a male post back up when he's over 2yrs old and I'd be curious if he's still going.  I'd venture to say any of them with fairly dominate personalities won't be...the more submissive males will probably be fine.