Ex-husband's dobi pup bit and drew blood

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csm
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Hello, all.

I am not a dobi owner, I have 2 other pups, a 5 year old yellow lab (backyard breeder giveaway) and a 6 year old rescue/foster setter/chocolate lab mix that came and stayed. My concern is with my ex-husband's 7 month old dobi pup.  A few weeks back, I was at his house to pick up my daughter and sons, and was rubbing the dogs face (he had nuzzled myhand for attention).  I rubbed the top of his nose, he was fine, rubbedunderhis chin, he was fine. When I rubbed the two together (note, gently, I wasn't applying pressure to his nose or mouth), he growled a little.  I wasn't sure if he was growling out of play or upset, so I immediately stopped, and started talking to him.  He approached for affection again, I sat down, pet his nose again, and chin, allthewhile talking to him.  When I tried tuching his nose and chin at the same time again, he snapped and drew blood.  I know to  some it maysound foolish to have tried it again, but the point was to show him that I was not threatening, and he wouldn'tbe hurt. I have a nestedinterest since my daughter spends time with her dad every week, and I need to know that she is safe.  Everydog we have ever had, including our most recent adoptee has been workedwith so that they can be touched all over without reacting aggressively, and it's always been sort of a rule in our house that you can take food out of our dogs' mouths without a reaction.  Perhaps this doesn't work the same with dobermans, I'll admit I've had rather little contact with the breed, other than the dog park. I suggested to my ex that he spend some more time working with the dog and touching his face, as kids will sometimes do (my daughter is 8), and his answer sees to be to crate the dog when I am there. 

 

Suggestions?

 

~C

jeshykai's picture
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C,

When he growled, what sort of growl did you think it was?  Was it a warning - "knock it off" - or was it an unsure, didn't like what you were doing sort of growl?  How much blood did the dog draw?  Were you gushing blood or did his puppy teeth knick you enough to make it bleed a little?

I just feel like we need a little more detail than you were rubbing the dogs face and he told you, as a dog will, to knock it off.  Yes, it was inappropriate.  But the whole situation is out of your hands in that its your ex's responsibility to have a well-trained dog.  From day one of any of my dog's lives with me its test and test and push and push.. but before I can even think of a stranger doing this with them, it has to come from the owner first.  It's not his fault he didn't trust you.

Hopefully after a bit more detail.. we can all help you figure out how to proceed.  I can't imagine how nervous the whole thing must have made you feel.

I to would like to hear more about the touching or rubbing that was done. It may be that it was to heavy, something is hurting the dog, or that it hasn't been properly socialized and trained.

I as a breeder touch my dogs all over. They have food taken out of their mouth and food out of their bowl. They have to be used to the unexpected, ears pulled, mouth opened.  Because I've always had children in the house I want the dog to be used to everything and anything. This continues heavily in my home. I personally don't want a dog that will react like this AT ALL. I'm not saying that it cant be worked with. What gets me is the bad owner that will say well you shouldn't have touched him like that or make excuses for the behavior. Most of the time it is the OWNERS FAULT for falling short in time and training! It is the owners responsibility to make sure that the dog is proofed for the unexpected...ESPECIALLY WHERE CHILDREN ARE PRESENT!

I totally agree with Jes that if your Ex has not trained and socialized properly that this is an appropriate response from ANY dog.

You dont mention in your post where he got the dog if he has had it since 8 weeks old or was it someone elses bad raising.

I would definitely be talking to your daughter about proper ways to act around dogs in general just in case your Ex will not work with the dog. Things such as never looking the dog in the eyes, not petting over the top of the head but offering your hand for them to smell. Never running from the dog.

 The Doberman is not a breed to buy and forget about. To make the very best dog it takes lots of training and socializing.

Lori's picture
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Sounds like an accident waiting to happen to me but then again, the dog doesn't know you...he does know your daughter and your ex-husband.  I'm not saying what he did was right but some dogs have much larger boundries with strangers than they do with their own 'pack'.   They shouldn't but unless trained they often do.

 

 

They probably need to do some training with the dog to make sure this doesn't happen again because things like that only tend to get worse as they grow older.  And I'd spend some time educating your daughter on the issue and some do's and don'ts.  Good luck!

KevinK's picture
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Most peoiple don't propperly train their dogs, then blame the dogs for exhibiting poor behaviors and bad decisions.  It's hard to say exactly what happened here, but dog walks up, puts his head in your lap, you pet him...  In dog language, you just told the dog he's your boss... he walks away.  He comes back, tells you to pet him, you do.  You just reinforced in his mind that he is in charge of you.  When he's had enough, he reacts how dogs react, he nipped you.  Exactly what I would expect from an untrained dog.  An untrained doberman is like playing russion roullette... maybe you get lucky, but eventually, that bullet is waiting in the chamber one click back...

csm
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Thank you all for the replies,

here is a little more information:

(I do want to mention that my ex has solicited my advice and help since before he got the pup)

The growl was more of a "I don't know what's going on" kind of growl.  Teeth were not bared, and he didn't back off or lunge.  The bite was a puncture to the thumb, just past the nail bed, and I think it bled consistently more from location than severity, but I also know that it was a pretty good snap- it hurt without being touched for a full day, and was sore to the touch for a few days afterwards.  Suffice to say it was enough of a clip to cause concern, and I've been around dogs my whole life.

rnd- It was gentle touch, I would say more of a caress than a rub, and for just the reasons you stated- we have always touched our dogs all over, and I have been stressing with my ex how important this is.  Rubbed gently the top of his nose with my thumb, he was ok, rubbed under his chin with my index and middle finger, he was fine, when I rubbed both the top f his nose and under his chin simultaneously, I got the growl.  At that point, I stopped, and talked to him, stroked his back, came down to his level until he seemed to relax, and then tried again.  That's when I got the bite.  Once he bit, he jumped back out of arm's reach.

Ex has had the pup since it left it's mother at 8 weeks or so.  He is working with a trainer, but I've never been and don't know a thing about him other that what my daughter has told me, which is that you can't put your fingers into his German Shepherd's crate or he'll bite your finger because he's an attack dog (lovely).  She mentioned the other day that her dad is teaching the dog to bite.  Now, I have heard of people using a bite command to take the decision-making power away from the dog, i.e. "you only bite when I say bite", but I don't know enough about dobes to know if this is a good or bad idea.  Right now, he has 100+ pounds of 9 month old "teenager" with a mouth full of teeth and zero impulse control.  I've noticed that he doesn't stop the pup from chasing his 15 year old cat- last time I was there I noticed scabs on her head and asked if the dog had bitten the cat, he said no, but my daughter piped up and said "yes he did, daddy, remember the other night?".  Ugh.


The dog doesn't know me well, on a daily basis but I'm no stranger, he sees me at least once, if not twice a week when I'm picking up or dropping off my daughter(she spends 2 nights a week with him).  Recently, he's been crating the pup when I'm there, but that the least of my concerns.  My daughter is well versed (even at 8) in the proper way to behave around dogs, but my main concern is that the dog doesn't know how he's supposed to act, so he's more likely to REact out of fear and uncertainty.  He has not been socialized with many other dogs, he's played with mine a few times, but they don't seem to keen to interact with him much any more, they will actually shy away and avoid him.

Does this help clarify?

Happydance's picture
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In my opinion, and it were my daughter, I'd be EXTREMELY cautious.  Your mentioning the German Shepherd's "training" very much disturbed me.  I do not know anything about Schutzhund training, I readily admit that, but that does not seem like a proper behaviour for a house dog with children around.  I would make it a mission to find out who the trainer is, his philosophy, and what kind of training these dogs are receiving.  I would expect my doberman to defend me in an extreme situation when she's older, but the rule around here is NO TEETH ON HUMANS.  Good luck!

KevinK's picture
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The dog with the water bowl is resource guarding, and it's something they want to stop immediately.  Sounds to me like he's in way over his head, thinks he's "training".  In reality, he's confusing his dog.

When you describe the dog growling at you, here's my take.  Dog growled, you tried to calm him down by talking soothingly, rubbing him, petting him, etc.  While a person would take this as a calming gesture, what you're telling the dog is "Good, that's what I want you to do."  By then getting down to his level, you're telling the dog that you are submitting to him.  So, if he's annoyed, and you're clearly submitting to him, why wouldn't he bite?  It would be less normal for him NOT to bite in that situation, given the scenario and his lack of training.

Long story short, your ex is sitting on a land mine, and this dog needs to be trained asap.

jeshykai's picture
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csm -- Regardless of training, some dogs have the instinct to hunt and hurt smaller animals.  The cat is a victim of this.  And if he is going after the cat and if he ever feels your daughter is equally weak, he might go for her too.

To me if the trainer's dog can't be touched the trainer is not a trainer.  Schutzhund is a discipline but no one who does the sport would tell you they do it to teach their dog to bite.  It's about more than that.  Again, a point of concern that this is the main drive in training and who is to say that is even what he's doing?

I personally think this dog has all the warning signs of a disaster.  As Kevin said, a land mine.  Proper training can take care of everything, but if your ex doesn't follow through, it is worthless.

If I were in your position, I wouldn't trust your ex to do right by the dog (he obviously isn't even able to keep this dog from tormenting his cat) and I'd request that the dog not be allowed around your daughter.  I know this isn't the right decision, I know the dog should know and interact with your daughter, but the truth is I just don't think its fair to put either in a position where someone can get hurt.

I hope things turn around for you in this situation soon.

Okay to start with CSM never said that the German Shepard was trained in Schutzhund so lets try and keep this word out of it. She said her daughter said you cant put your fingers in the crate or he will bite. This would be common sense with any dog that you don't know. This was probably told to the girl so she wouldn't be tempted to stick her fingers in the crate a scare tactic so to speak.

Schutzhund is a very controlled sport and it is not at all about ATTACKING people or things. I do train my dog in this sport and the dog has to be mentally all there to do it properly. People misunderstand what Schutzhund actually is. Training a dog for attack purposes is something totally separate! I know plenty of people that have Schutzhund dogs and are raised in a family situation. This sport was originally designed to determine which dogs should be bred, if a dog could not pass the Schutzhund test then it was deemed not worthy of breeding. 

A dog that is capable of Schutzhund training is mentally superior to other animals. They know the difference between children and the "Game" My 14mo old boy who is being trained in Schutzhund also lives in the same house with my 2mo old grand-daughter. Romeo is extremely gentle around her you can actually see his demeanor change as she comes into the room. Doesn't matter what he has been doing previously he immediately calms down and is very gentle. This is not to say that all dogs are but I don't want to give a bad impression of the sport of Schutzhund dogs that are raised with children. Like I said it is not about attacking or biting.

I think CSM should talk with the Ex and find out exactly what kind of training they are doing and mention that the daughter said the dog was being trained to bite. Communication is everything in this situation! The poster also said that the Ex solicitated her advice with this. So if this is the case then she can present her concerns to him. The ex needs to train the dog and if he asked the poster for help than maybe she can suggest proper training after finding out more of what has been done so far.

I don't see it as a situation that cant be fixed as long as the ex that owns the dog is not the maucho type that wants to have the tough ass Doberman as so many young punk males do. This dog is in need of training and proper training! The dog needs to know basic living skills and basic every day manners. Hopefully the ex is a sophisticated adult who will see that the dog has the potential to possibly harm someone meaning his daughter if the dog is not brought under control.

I look forward to more info from CSM about what has been done so far with the dog. In the meantime as I originally stated I would be teaching my daughter proper dog skills. If I can find the link I will try and post a great cartoon question and answer website that is geared to situations such as this and targets this age group of children.

Good luck with this situation and if you need help or suggestions I would be more than willing to talk with you over the phone.