Dominance or Agression

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Wilsonp770's picture
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Joined: 2014-02-02

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We took Shadow to meet his "cousins" this Fourth of July. Things started off a little rough between Shadow and Maximus a six-year-old Siberian Husky with lots of growling and posturing. But this was to be expected as it was Maxs' house.  Eventually things settled down and they got along fine.  Things went much better between Shadow and Sebastian a four month old St. Bernard. They both immediately started running around the yard and playing. About an hour after they met, for no apparent reason Shadow started growling at Sebastian.  We immediately went to separate the dogs.  My daughter grabbed Shadows collar and he immediately sat while my sister picked up Sebastian and carried him into the pool with her.  When my daughter released Shadow he immediately ran to the pool and it looked like he was trying to bite Sebastian, but he wasn't growling nor were the hairs raised on the back of his neck.  He just opened his mouth really wide and looked like he was trying to bite him.  I grabbed his collar again and put him on his leash.  For the remainder of the day Shadow and Sebastian were kept separate. Whenever Sebastian came outside to go to the bathroom, we had to secure Shadow.  Sebastian did not appear to be afraid of Shadow and quite frequently would try to run up to him and play. We go to the dog park a lot as we do not have a fenced yard and Shadow has shown no signs of aggression against any dog ever so I'm not sure whether this was aggression or dominance.  

Joined: 2012-10-28

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He may be getting to the age or comfortableness with his new environment that he is showing male to male actions that could lead to aggression or dominance issues. It sounds like you have a good handle on him, be sure to read him well at the dog park.

I hope others with more or similar experience will write into this thread as I think there are alot of young male dobies and their owners in this group.

Woofs from PB

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

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Good eyes and wonderful body language observance.. YOU ARE WONDERFUL.

Not having two males. .I can't really say with any experience, can only speculate.. and I think Jewels is spot on. might be his way of saying.." hey.. BOYS RULE and even though your name is Maximus... doesn't mean you are the ruler.. so I"m going to "shadow' you til you get it.. "

Okay.. maybe not exactly in those words..but it does sound as if Shadow is starting to feel his oats...( read: hormones) Are you planning on neutering? This will help quite a bit if you are, and unless you have plans to show him.. I hope you are.. ( another touchy subject here on the Forum)

Thanks for posting .. I love it when well informed observant members share their experiences,, we all learn.

Wilsonp770's picture
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Joined: 2014-02-02

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Thanks for the feedback PB and Lady Kate.  We actually had him neutered last month before we went on vacation.  We couldn't find a boarding facility that would allow him to play with other dogs if we was intact and I wanted him to play and interact.  I was also concerned about a pet sitter coming to the house as we just don't know enough about him.  I'm not sure if everything we were told about him was actually true.  The person we got him from was not the original owner.

I do believe he is becoming more comfortable in his new environment as he roams the house a little more, but there are still rooms he will not enter and he still will not bark.  In the almost 5 months he's been with us, he has barked 1 time when he was in the yard with my son and one of my sons friends came into the back yard.  Other than that, nothing. 

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

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Sometimes a dog will growl if it feels uncomfortable (for any reason) in a new environment or around a new dog.  Growling is often a 'warning sign' that may or may not go any farther than a growl, but I personally wouldnt take the chance.  You did a good thing by removing the dogs from each other when you noticed that they no longer were playing and happy.  Hope things work out for you.

Katedjoy's picture
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Joined: 2012-11-10

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I have a question about aggressive behavior. I have a 2 year old female who has always been extremely passive. We also have a male pekinese. She has always acted like a scaredy cat around dogs she doesn't know. We have taken her to grandmas house, where there are several other pekinese, as she breeds them. Lexi will literally hide behind me or stick close to me. Never messed with them. Well grandma got a new puppy a few months ago that is a border collie/Heeler mix. Every time we have visited , Lexi runs from this puppy too. Until today. She actually approached him outside today and then sniffed at him then when he turned wanting to play she started nipping at him. Her entire stance and expression was totally different and I somehow knew he wasn't playing. What would make her do this all of a sudden? We have plans to get a second doberman in November and were getting a male puppy so that she has a playmate and someone to rough house with besides the poor cat. Should I be worried she is now changing and won't accept a new puppy into house and may start acting more aggressive now? 

talisin's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-25

From what I have learned here on the forum the age of 2 is usually a time when your dog may show their "true" colors, and be settling into "who" they are; at those times you will realize whether or not your dog may like other dogs or not etc. As has been stated alot here dobermans are more interested in people not dogs so they are not dog social dogs for the most part.....if she doesn't like this dog take that seriously, it's her viewpoint and to her that's what matters and you paying attention to that will keep the other dogs safe as well as her.....so my answer is she is showing her age.....