My girl keeps attacking my husband

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Jackie's picture
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Joined: 2010-12-11

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I am having some trouble with my female 3.5 yrs old and have had her since she was a pup. She does not like big tall men she has been that way since a pup and there has been a few times she gets aggressive with my husband. Lately it is getting worse we correct her and put her in time out. we don't know what to do he says he is just going to have nothing to do with her and I really do not want to give her up because she is great with me and our daughter but at the same time I can not allow my husband to be on his guard all the time. He really loves her to and she even sleeps with him we honestly do not know what is going on. It has happened a couple of times but last night she really went at him and would not listen to me when to stop. She also growled at me and started to try me and I went back at her and she backed off and that is the first time she has ever done it to me. If the day comes when and she does something to our child or really rips into him I will do what has to be done. We do not want that and she does love us and we love her the local trainers are not used to dogs that are not like ours and i don't think they have any knowledge on the breed. if any suggestions that would help please help we really want to work with her. She has a great home and lots of love we just don't understand and we really want to get this resolved. This is also our first dobe but we also have a Shepard that is 14 and I have also had pitbulls so I do know about bigger aggressive breeds but never have I had this issue.

Fargo'smom's picture
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Joined: 2013-10-26

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Hi Jackie,  I will jump in here and say first off, the dog does not respect your husband and now is in the beginnings of not respecting you.   Being a dog lover is not enough when you own a Doberman.   You need to be a dog trainer.   It is a constant thing, not in a bad way, but you need to be dominant all the time.   Letting the dog sleep in bed with you is giving that dog equal rights and she is feeling dominant over you both. The best way to bond with a dog is thru obedience training and long walks on leash. Your husband should make time every day to walk her and put her thru her paces while he is out with her.   He needs to gain back his leadership.   If he doesn't, I can see an unhappy ending.    Go back to the basics and get back in control.   I know you love her, but you also need to be a strong leader.   I hope one of the other members will also give you some advice.   Good luck!   Keep trying.  

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

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I could not have stated it better. YOU and YOUR HUSBAND have got to be the pack leaders as well as your children.

Good luck and remember consistency is paramount.. don't give in .. not even for a second.

exercise, discipline THEN affection.. It's actually what all dogs want..

Get yourself in a calm state ( if you're up tight Fargo will be as well.) and don't expect her react immediately.. sometimes it takes a second or two to filter through to their brains.. just maintain your control and body language..

Please let us know how you're doing.. worst case scenario, she will need a behaviorist...but I have a hunch you'll be able to correct this issue yourselves.

KevinK's picture
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Joined: 2010-07-15

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What kind of daily training do you do?

Ronan's picture
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Joined: 2011-12-24

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 I agree with Fargo here on everything except letting them on the bed or furniture does not give them equal rights. I have perfect control over my 2 full grown Dobermans and they share the couch with me for a nap and share the bed at night.

Exercise seems to help mine; especially walks. It really does help establish a pack leader mentality.

3sacrowd's picture
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Joined: 2013-08-23

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The dog needs to be at the bottom of the order of things, no where in the middle. 

This is what I would do, if this were happening to me (I'm not a dog trainer but I'm regurgitating what I've read and seen other dog trainers say to do).  The dog would not be allowed in the bed until your husband establishes authority over the dog (Ronan, that works for you because you are the leader, but if the husband is not, the dog needs to be put in her place, so to speak).  Imho, this could be a long time (6 mos).

Basically start at the beginning with your husband showing her who's the boss.  And it sounds like the sooner the better...  The rest of your family needs to still remain in control (if you are) when you are home, but your husband should be a main trainer for the big stuff when he comes home. 

Like someone posted above, don't give in, ever (I correct with a "uh", but just make sure to correct behaviors that make you glance at them sideways), and always train, throughout the day.  Insert training into your normal daily routine to keep the dog's mind active and keep you (your husband) in charge.

For instance, the three of my dogs are not allowed to roam my house.  They are expected to stay in the room I am in.  If I know they may be going to their water bowl, I give them enough time to do that, and get back to where I am, or I call them to come and stay (play, whatever).  Also, when going outside, my dogs sit at the door until I go unlock the back, back door about 7 feet away (and out of their sight) and then they come only when I call them.  If they jump the gun, we go back in and do it again.  If one continues to come before called, she goes to her cage and goes out last, after she has listened.

Let your husband take her in and out of the house on a leash held at his left side, close to his leg.  He should hold the collar at the base (top) of the dogs neck at first, so the dog doesn't jut out in front.  As time goes on, the loose leash can be done, but for now it's all about letting her know she is not going to run the show.

If your yard is fenced, ler her off leash and use treats to bait her to come to him after she's done her doody, and then put the leash back on at that time once you've given the snack (unless she's also being food aggressive, and then you have to handle issues one at a time).

Let only him feed (when he's home), but not until after she has either exercised, or done something to earn her food (after a walk, or obeying certain commands, etc...).  some owners make the dog look  in the eye, before giving the food.   I make my dogs do various things like sit, speak, come, back up, and various things I've learned from watching videos. 

Make time in the morning or evenings to either take the dog for walks, or go outside for a little while and play with them (15 minutes minimum).  All the sites say more, but for some families it isn't practical.  So sometimes you make due in a pinch.  And keep things consistant as possible. 

You may do all of this already, but I'm trying to put myself in your shoes, and this is what I would try...perhaps your family has slacked off because you've had your dog for awhile now.   Sometimes having a Doberman is like, if the dog so smart, why do they have to be entertained all the time?  But it is what it is; it's the nature of the beast. :)  Once you have them, they require the same amount of dedication as another family member.

As a very after thought, you may want to take the dog to the vet, to make sure she isn't sick and doesn't have an infection of some sort?

You can get better advise on Youtube and Google if you search. 

Best Wishes to you and your family.

3sacrowd's picture
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Joined: 2013-08-23

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http://dobermandubai.webs.com/dobermantemperment.htm

I'm attaching this link because I fell in love with the way the writer describes the Doberman Pinscher, and it has some general, but helpful information. 

Ronan's picture
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Joined: 2011-12-24

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                   I guess I should have been clearer earlier. It is very important to establish dominance and the earlier the better. I really should have put more thought into my reply and asked some questions like was your husband around when you first got your dog?

                  I guess I was expecting a similar situation to my own for whatever reason ( I blame being tired ) I started training young as soon as they were home, this included puppy classes, obedience, walks and a whole lot of adventures outside of the home even camping in state parks (Shawnee forest) and trips out of state to visit family. I took Dexter with me when I was away for 6 months before also. I have done a whole lot of hiking and climbing with him as well. So I take my bond and experience with my own dogs for granted and didn’t take into consideration that her husband may not have been there for all of those things.  

                 I know for sure that he needs to earn you dogs trust and respect for it to come to a happy ending. I would suggest starting them on a daily schedule/routine everything from walks, to getting up and being the one to do the feeding. In all things he has to stay confident and firm and in time it will get better. My dogs have managed to adapt to new people coming into our lives and that is saying something because my girl hazel is very wary around strangers at first and has an alpha personality mixed with keen intelligence and a very muscular frame so she can be quite intimidating to new people and she will push the limits unless she is checked.  During training it is important to be strict with the regiment, if your pup is like mine they are creatures of habit and that helps the bond grow.

               

              I know I am not as strict now as I was when they were training; they have free roam of the house and free choice of any furniture not in use. They don’t rummage in trash or destroy the bathroom and closing doors are useless because I accidently taught them to open doors when they were young -_-  So just stick in there and don’t give up on your girl! Just remember to train your husband as well haha

leslieak's picture
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Joined: 2013-06-18

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We have a female we adopted at 8 months and are having a similar problem although we have not had her for very long (and we don't know what her past experiences have been except being in a shelter from 3-8 months old). Zooey is definitely on guard around men. We have had men visitors to the house and she reacts by growling, hackles up, and barking. She relaxes once she sees that we are fine with the visitor but the bizarre part is that she acts this way sometimes with my husband. She also will often voluntarily stay in her crate all day when I'm not home and he is. She does sleep with him occasionally and will seem fine. For sure, the growling seems to be triggered more often if he is wearing a hat or a hooded sweatshirt but even when he speaks to her she will continue to growl. I have been doing most of the training with her so after reading your post it spurred me to have a conversation with my husband to start creating a bond with Zooey. Zooey does not act dominant at all otherwise (I have had no problems with training her or aggressiveness and we do all the activities mentioned by the posters) but I think that my husband has been too passive about doing activities with her. He may be able to coast by with our other one but I think to avoid the problem from getting worse he will need to be more engaged. Unfortunately, he loves the dogs but is pretty lazy when it comes to the responsibility parts...There is a thread from awhile ago in the off topic forum that discusses some of the issues with getting on the same page as your spouse with training the dogs. This situation is very serious though because you don't want the other spouse to give up on a dog. It helped to have this topic thread to reference when I discussed it with my husband so I hope it will help you as well

Also, my husband said that he has noticed that her avoidance of him will be worse after we have had an argument. Her Dobermanness seems to have picked up on my emotional state perhaps. We are pretty calm arguers and rarely raise our voices but he thinks she is sensitive to it. 

first and foremost, if this is new behavior, your first stop should be at the vets. Do a full blood panel including a FULL thyroid panel.  Low thyroid is common in Dobermans and can affect their behavior quite a bit.

They look at other options if that all comes back normal. I would look for a qualified (ask your vet for a reference) behaviorist to evaluate your dog.

3sacrowd's picture
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Leslieak, I'm not a dog trainer so this is only a suggestion:  you could try pairing your husband wearing a hat / hoodie with something positive (my dog barks at unfamiliar objects the first time around; second time though, no issues).  Have your dog's favorite treat, and the moment she stops barking at your husband, give her the treat and verbal praise several times a day, over several days.  Be quick, so you as to not reward if she's growling / barking.  I would not want my dog barking / growling aggressively towards any member of my family or my friends for that matter, so it's something I would work on if I were experiencing it.    Maybe if you all have a disagreement, your dog should be crated with music on in the room she's in, so she won't have to hear it.  I would say she's probably fearful of him.

I know you weren't asking for advice, so I hope my suggestion is well received. :) 

leslieak's picture
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I appreciate any suggestions. Just after a week (and our talk) my husband has been doing some training and playing with Zooey in the yard and we haven't had another incident. It is a good idea to condition her with the hat/hood trigger though. I think that part of the issue was my husband was more nervous around Zooey than Argo because she is a little fearful in her reactions to new things- their increased interaction probably has relaxed him a bit as well as he gets to know her better. I hope the original poster has had some improvement too...