Old dog doesn't like new dobe

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Jammie's picture
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Hi, first let me say that I've been reading at this site for a few days and I absolutely love it.  I've learned so much already and I combed through tons of threads hoping to find my answer but haven't yet.  My name is Jammie and my husband and I have a new 9mo male neutered doberman.  We got him from an older couple three days ago that were at their wits end and couldn't control him although they said he has had lots of training.  They were going to take him to the pound and after we met him (Jersey) we fell in love with him right away, he's very sweet natured, had been around children and other animals.  I really felt like these older people couldn't give him the exercise and leadership he needed.     

Here's where I think I made a mistake.  We have a 4yo lab/shepherd spayed female (Queenie) who is our only pet.  She's a great dog, never been to obedience classes but listens well and has good manners.  In my mind I didn't think there would be an issue bringing Jersey home and was actually excited Queenie would have someone to run and play with.  We brought him home, had him on a leash and since I wasn't exactly sure how he would act I had my husband put Queenie on her leash as well while they met.  Needless to say this did not go as planned at all, after about 5-8 seconds of sniffing each other Queenie snarled and next thing you know we were both pulling the dogs back they were snarling and biting and it was quite disturbing, it was chaos.  I immediately took Jersey into the house to get the situation under control I was still shocked.  My husband put Queenie in her outside pen and we wondered what happened. 

Since then, and it has been three days now I cannot for anything get these dogs around each other.  We have tried multiple things, like walking them together in a neutral place and they are alright walking 5 feet apart or so but as soon as we stop walking and my husband and I face each other still about 5 feet apart to talk the dogs lock eyes and it's all out war again.  I have given treats for sitting quietly by each other while leashed of course.  I have spent a few hours on different occasions doing this to no avail.

We could really use some advice on what went wrong and where to go from here, thank you all for reading my crazy long post.

Jammie

Lady Kate's picture
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Wow Jammie.. I am so sorry. It sounded like you had a wonderful idea and a great heart to give Jersey a good home, a gal pal to play with and Queenie a new freind..

I am sure Queenie is feeling put out and angry that she has to share her people, and I wish I had a solution for you.. I do not.. But I am sure you will get some suggestions and support on this forum.

Your dogs become OUR dogs and we love them with all our hearts..Let's hope that someone on line has had this problem in the past and has resolved it without bloodshed.

Hang in there.. Help is on it's way!

P.S. Your pet profile says Jersey is 9 weeks.. but your post says 9 months.. I'm confused.. It would make more sense that Queenie is jealous of a nine month old rather than a baby

Jammie's picture
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Thank you so much Lady Kate, I have been going crazy in my mind thinking of what to do next or how this went wrong.  I really want to make this work and I have faith that it can and will I just am not sure how to go about it yet.  I was all excited thinking of taking the two to obedience classes together but now I would really just like them to co-exist.

And yes Jersey is 9 mo, I'll fix that thanks.

Lady Kate's picture
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well good luck.. I too am waiting for an answer as my DoberDiva is an only child as well.. We've tried having other dogs around and though she's gracious out side. letting them sniff around HER yard.. if they want to come in the house, she gets possesive and territorial.. We would like to rescue another just to give her some company.. ( why do I think she wants company????)

I'll keep checking this thread to see if someone can help with your dilemma.

Lori's picture
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Sounds dumb but do you ever watch the Dog Whisperer?  I saw an episode with this same things happening with 2 smaller dogs and they basically had to start from scratch in their meeting.   They said to assocaite positive things with being together.  So walks are good - don't give them the opportunity to stop and stare each other down.  Keep them busy and when they do  well with each other you priase and treat them.  You need to watch closely though and as soon as any agression is shown a quick pull to the collar or a clap and loud NO, anything to get their attention off each other and onto YOU.   After a while of walking well together in neutral places successfully, keep them on a leash in the house and get them in the same room playing seperately, then work on getting that play closer to each other and again if they show agression get their attention off each other immediately. 


Other than that I think it just takes time and possibly it just won't ever work.  You may even consider getting a trainer to come to your house and help out.  Or taking them to one...

 

Good luck, sounds like you have your work cut out for you though.  it's not going to be a quick nor easy road...

jeshykai's picture
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I think Lori has some really good pointers here.  One mistake people make is to think that all dogs will get along with other dogs and unfortunately this isn't the case.  I have a smaller scale issue here with the little dogs not liking Steve, if they were bigger I'd have more fighting on my hands than I could handle.  Even still, with time, Miles (the main aggressor) has calmed down and lets the puppy near him.


When they lock eyes what do you do?  They are sending signals to each other through eye contact and posture.  How do they approach each other on the leash?  It's all these signals that are very important.  It could be that Jersey is walking in and even intends to dominate you - he probably did with the older couple.  Try asserting your dominance in front of Queenie to Jersey so she can see that you are in control.

I went to a 4 day seminar on dog-dog communication and it was the most fascinating experience of my life.  One thing that the woman said is do not let them greet each other face on.  If they stand in perfect stance towards each other they are posturing "I'm in charge" and the other dog will feel threatened and respond.  Likely Jersey had no socialization and he doesn't know how to back down to Queenie who, in her mind, is top dog.

I'm sure people on here have better ideas than I do.  I do think if you don't feel confident on how best to handle it to call a trainer and have them evaluate the situation.  Dog fights don't always end in bloodshed but they can and I know how scary that can be as I've experienced them.


Keep us posted!

Jammie's picture
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Thanks everyone for the great advice and support, and I have some great news to report.  Yesterday after I faithfully watched the Dog Whisperer because I really do love that show I decided this is it, today is the day!  Although I had been showing my dominance with Jersey in front of and not in front of Queenie I think they could both sense my tension since that first bad fight.  I started to think of what could make me feel more calm when they meet and finally it came to me.....the garden hose, I know it sounds funny but dogs don't care for water in their faces even in the midst of a fight I'm sure.  When my husband got home we leashed the dogs in the yard I had the hose in one hand and Jersey in the other and I was trying to catch the behavior before they got to the fight, so I would just give a short spray of water off to the side and they both became instantly distracted by it.  They did have one short snarling, standing off match and they both got a little water with that and honestly that was all it took.  I am just amazed, they then began to sniff and get to know each other.  I actually think a tear came to my eye from relief, I had made a commitment when I took Jersey in and I intend to see it through, and Queenie well she's been my baby for four years.

So now I have another question, they went through a lot of alpha dog posturing and the like and I know it's normal but how much is normal?  In my mind I don't care which dog "ranks" (if that's the right word) higher than the other as long as they get along.  Jersey definitely had Queenie submit to him but is it normal that he continues to do this with everything?  After we let them off their leashes they ran and played together and it was rough but I could tell it was just play but if Queenie grabbed a stick from the ground Jersey would come right over and stand over her or back her up until she dropped it.  I let all this go and just watched in amazement but it really made me wonder is he always going to be like this with her now?  It almost seemed like bullying but I wasn't sure so I didn't say a word, just in case this was something normal that needed to occur after they met.  I wondered should I be stepping in and taking the stick since I am the alpha dog?  But I ended up letting it go until I could figure out more, so any advice would be greatly appreciated. 

I will be going through more threads here and reading even more to hopefully ensure a happy pack here.  I already feel so much relief, and they played for so long yesterday they both literally passed out from exhaustion last night and it was so cute them laying so close to each other sleeping.

Thanks again everyone.

Lady Kate's picture
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Phew.. so glad it's starting to resolve itself.. Proud of you for your patience and love for the furry beasties.. You're a good mom. Please keep in touch..

jeshykai's picture
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Here's my thought on dominance.  Most dogs don't want to be top dog.  They look for another dog (mostly you) to be a leader.  A dog I've mentioned before, Watson, who has aggression issues let my little chihuahua walk into his house and take full control.  Miles was in Watson's mom's lap, he was eating his food, he was taking the good toys.  Watson allowed all of this.  Actually, both he and Miles have a really good relationship and are friends despite the huge size difference (Miles is 10lbs, Watson is 80lbs).

 Here is a case where Watson didn't want to be top dog and Miles clearly did.  I'm not sure how Queenie is, she may not be willing to back down so just be on your guard.  When you have two dogs who are equal in status they are going to play rough to try and get it from the other without bloodshed.  They also might break into a fight over something trivial - like the stick - until someone clearly wins over the other.  I would never leave them alone, personally.  I'd actually crate Jersey and if Queenie has always had free rein of the house let her do this and let Jersey know he doesn't.  This is how I treat my dogs in our household.  Miles gets the freedom, the other two are crated.

Being dominant and being a bully are two different things.  If in your mind you think "bully" you probably are right.  In the stick situation, I would've taken it from Jersey and removed it from the game. That way, you win control of an item that they find valuable.  There are stealing games - Steve played these for hours just yesterday with his rottie friend.  They'd each take turns grabbing a toy and running around the yard, "taunting", the other but they were clearly taking turns and had no real passion to possess the toy from the other.  There was no posturing over the toy going "this is mine now, back off".

Keep noting their interactions with each other and watch Queenie.  She is used to being your only dog.  We worked really hard at making Miles still feel important when it was clear he hated Steve.  I dropped him off for playdates with Watson, I put Steve to bed early and let Miles hang with us without him, I'd play ball with Miles with Steve inside with Eli.  Things like that.

Keep up the good work, if you want to make it work it will.  But be prepared for the work involved.  Keep telling us how things are going - I think the water idea was a great one.  It allowed you to take control of a situation that made you nervous - awesome job!

Jammie's picture
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jeshykai thanks for the important info as I do think there is some bullying going on, I just wasn't sure if it was part of a normal process that must take place for there to be some kind of harmony here.  I have noticed since last night that Jersey does seem to block Queenie from getting to me or my husband, tries to block her from the door and shoulders her when he feels like it.  I'm keeping a very watchful eye right now and will continue to do so.  I definitely agree not a good idea to be alone together in fact I haven't even let them be in the house together yet because they are both big and like to rough house.....that training is yet to come.  Right now just wanting them to get used to each other and get along.

Lady Kate thank you so much for the support, I think I'm going to like it around here and stick around for the great community.

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How do you handle it when he blocks access to you and your husband?  That's more than just messages to Queenie that he is in charge he might be guarding you as an object, which is not good.  He could transfer those feelings to humans - this is what Watson does.  It's how he bit someone because he views his owners as "his" things and aggressively defends them.

I'd push Jersey out of the way when he does this and allow Queenie to approach.  Also, if he is getting pushy with her, go and use your body to put space between them and step towards him a few times until he backs down.  Your posturing should be enough, I wouldn't verbalize.

Keep working! Good luck!

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Whenever Jersey "blocks" Queenie I have been pushing him back and telling her to come forward because now he's got her to where she won't argue with him, if he blocks, she walks away.  So I've been pushing him back and calling her to me and giving her lots of love and attention just as I do Jersey when it's his time.  At first this didn't go well as I caught Jersey growling at her and trying to get me to pet him at the same time while shouldering her, so I would just stop petting him and focus only on her when he did this.  Now he's getting better about it he knows he won't get any attention if he does this.  But Queenie is getting to where she won't even try to come over and see me unless I call her up she just hangs back.  But I do think it's getting better and I even have now had them in the house together but more dominance from Jersey so it's a definite work in progress as of now but I have faith this is going to work out with them and I'm determined to continue working at it.  Thank goodness for you guys here giving me advice and encouragement because sometimes I'm wondering if I'm doing what's right or not.  So thank you again!  :)

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And thank YOU for showing up and asking. I don't know how I would have made it this last year with Sofia and some of the health problems we encountered when we first got her without the support and suggestions of this forum.. The fact that it all comes from the heart and the contributors  here really care about you and your dog. That just means so much.

Try to remember that the written word sometimes reads differently than how it was meant to sound. ( and if you figure THAT out.. more power to you, coz I confused myself) the intent is always for the betterment of the breed and the health and happiness of both owner and Doberman.

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I look forward to all advice given and truly appreciate it.  If it helps out in any way that I'm having problems I think it's very much worth being here and educating myself.

Ok so here's my next issue, perhaps this will be my "problems" thread lol, sorry guys if it seems like it's never ending but I believe I'm at the right place for answers so try to be patient with my non stop questions lol.

Saturday we had both dogs outside with us and I was playing catch with my seven yr old son, Jersey had been fine the whole time then my son got hit in the head with the ball.  My son started crying so I ran over and was hugging him telling him it's alright, well Jersey comes running over and starts barking non stop, so now I'm holding my son and trying to tell Jersey it's ok, reaching my hand out to him for him to come to me.  Jersey would not even come over to me, he just continued barking and like backing up when I reached for him.

So I'm trying to figure out what he was thinking, did he think I was hurting my son, do I need to worry about this?  He wasn't growling at the time, so I don't know if it was just the commotion that bothered him or what.  Well later that night my son had his friend over and they started wrestling around a bit, Jersey did the same thing inside the house.  Started barking at them, so I immediately went over had the boys stop and told Jersey no.  Since I've never had a doberman, although I've done tons of reading it's still hard to understand him.  Any comments are appreciated, thanks again :)

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I know he's new to you, but what sort of bark was it?  Was it playful or warning?  In the situation of the crying, has he reacted this way at any time you hug your son?  Or was it just because he was crying?  I wouldn't have tried to reassured Jersey in that situation, I would have been firm and told him to knock it off.  If he was nervous barking, or threatening, you wouldn't want to reinforce it with kindness.

You did right when you told Jersey no and the boys to stop - only so that you removed a potential problem.  Dogs often assert themselves equal or over children so keep an eye on that especially since Jersey has showed us he wants to be top dog very clearly.  Have your son make Jersey do things while you are there.  Make him sit (if he knows how), or maybe you can train him with your son.  That way Jersey clues in your son is in charge too.

Steve barks when he wants to play with my little dogs, thats why I asked what type it was.  He also gets frustrated when they ignore him and barks a "frustrated" bark.  You get to know what they mean over time.. trust me!

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Thanks jeshykai.  Jersey has never shown any kind of jelousy over my son, I be sure to hug and kiss my son a lot when Jersey is sitting close just to see what kind of reaction and he doesn't really have one.  Jersey is also very good with my son, he mouthed him a couple times on the arm when we first got him and I told my son to say no and turn his back to Jersey so that Jersey understand he won't play with him if he's going to play that way, and Jersey stopped doing that after a couple times. 

It's very hard for me to distinguish his barks yet, I don't think it was an angry bark but it's still hard for me to tell.  Jersey has never acted that way before in any circumstance, in fact he rarely has barked except when he was fighting with Queenie, and I definitely knew it was an angry bark then.  I don't get the feeling Jersey thinks he's equal to my son, but of course it's again not easy to tell.

I can say that Jersey is very very stubborn, he darn well does not do anything just because I ask lol, most of the time he won't sit without a treat, so I've resorted to waiting him out, I know he knows what I want from him.  For instance coming in from outside or going outside, I make him sit and wait till I get the door open and I get through it so he doesn't knock people out of the way, well he wants to go outside but won't sit, so I just wait, I might touch the door handle and ask if he wants to go out again then ask him to sit again but mostly I just have to wait for him to do it 2-3 minutes sometimes then he will finally sit.  I'm hoping he gets better about this at some point.

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so glad you found a way to get them together - and they sure do hate water in their face, that's exactly why I keep a squirt bottle handy.  Rocky still thinks its fun to taunght the cat....

As for Jersey being stubbon - My rules for training were you tell them once and you make them do it while telling them the 2nd time.  Repeating yourself over and over does neither of you any good.  They need to learn they must act when told, not when they choose to.  If you want him to sit, tell him one, then push his butt down and say sit again.  It's not up to him when he decided to sit to go out or come in its up to you.


Hopefully Jersey will get the courage up to stand up a bit to her but one will always clearly be the alpha.  Unless they are tearing into each other a little fighting isn't going to hurt either one...he's still a puppy too so he will tend to back down quicker than an older dog.

 

Rocky hates when Tye and I play rough too, it's a dog thing - they want to protect and they don't understand that WE are playing.  he will try to get between us and sorta bite as Tye.  He doesn't bark but he clearly doesn't love it..haha


Sound like progress is being made though - keep up the good work, it will pay off in the end.

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Thanks Lori it's such a relief to have them together now and getting along.  I like your idea of me not waiting but I was hoping to show Jersey he will not get what he wants without doing what I say.  I had always heard  you never push a dogs butt down to sit, but hey I'll try whatever works lol.  Thanks again :)

Finally posted some pics of him too, and don't giggle over his one taped up ear it hurts his feelings, I just tell him he's still the most handsome dog! :p

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It's nice to see his pictures - he has a very unique face, and you can tell him I didn't laugh at his ear.  We've still got Steve in tape so to me it looks normal, haha.

Lori beat me to a point.  My friend made a point this weekend to share with me that her dogs trainers had taught her to ask twice, then force.  She was over and annoyed that Steve didn't sit when she wanted him to so she made him.  He was like, "okay, okay, FINE"... I had been more inclined to walk away from a situation when he wasn't listening but I think both she and Lori are right, we can't reason with them.  When I'm taping his ear and I want him to hold still he certainly does and sometimes I have to correct and make him do it.  Might as well apply that to commands!  It's hard sometimes to remember they are dogs and not kids.  I just want him to speak English.. then I could explain why it's important to listen to mom.. ;)

It sounds like he is integrating into your family very well!

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I totally agree jeshykai, and I'm trying that idea out starting today to see how it goes. 

Jersey is definitely unique looking, I've never owned a dobe so he looks unique to me anyway.  I was told by the lady I got him from that he's a blue doberman, perhaps that accounts for his unique looks.  He has slanty eyes and his head seems small to me, but I've always had labs.  I don't think the pics do him justice, or maybe it's a combination of his personality and looks that I adore so much, either way...he's so sweet and I just love him!

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I'm not a dog trainer or anything but I've had my share and I think they were pretty well behaved overall.  Far from perfect but...I love'em anyway.    Even if you have to 'help' him sit a little bit, you still praise him once he's sitting.   Rocky is to the point that if he doesn't sit on the first time he will immediately when he sees me move forward to 'help' him..haha.  Most times he does it immediately and sometimes even before OI tell him anymore.  It's the positive encouragement that really helps them learn.  Even if you assisted them in doing something once they do it, it's all good boy and pats/kisses...:) Very soon you won't even need to 'help'. They truly do want to please you.

 

and they will go through phases of being unruly too as they grow - every few months they will choose some way to test your patience it seems...even though they know better.  Probably why I love them so. 

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Well I have been "helping" Jersey sit when he's feeling stubborn about it and it's kind of comical because he doesn't like that.  He tends to try and back up as soon as I reach over him to give a small push on his butt lol.  But that only took a couple times and now when he sees me reach out to do it, he just resigns it and sits.  So thanks to all for their advice and comments on this.

He's doing so well, I'm just so darn proud of him and I love him more every day.  He's so easy to teach new things to, I taught him to speak yesterday and it only took two tries, he's so bright and I never want to take that for granted, I always want to keep him moving forward which leads me to my next issue.

Soooo when I got Jersey I kept him on a leash each time we went outside because I just wasn't sure what he would do and with him initially not getting along with Queenie I didn't want him running off.  Well after 12 hours, yes 12 full hours of not going potty and me taking him out at least hourly sometimes more I got worried.  I finally decided to take the leash of him outside and he immediately went potty, so I thought "oh ok, he won't go potty on a leash, that's fine".  My problem now is, he poops right on my walkway about two feet from my porch steps and I really don't know how to get him to stop since he won't go potty while he's on the leash.

Any creative ideas are greatly appreciated because I've got to stop this, it's quite disgusting to say the least lol

Oh and I got him a crate yesterday, he loves it already and he slept in it last night.  I couldn't believe when I got up this morning he crawled out of there!  I figured it would take longer but no complaints here, he's such a good boy.

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Jersey is just too smart for his own blue britches!! I can tell from his pictures that he's got a secret and he aint' tellin'! What a character!!

Don't get discouraged.. it's ongoing with some dobes.. Sofia STILL tests us.. she knows she has to sit to get her collar on before her walk ( she wanders around the house naked)

Most of time, she'll nose bump the collar, play dolphin tag with the running shoes when we're trying to put them on, but it's always "SIT" ( we dont' ask.. we tell her) to don the correct apparel to greet her public.

Sometimes she'll look at us with her eyes sparkling and nub wagging saying.. "Gee Mom.. I don't know that word.. wanna go over it again?" She knows we know and we know she knows we know.. ya know? But it's still a game at times with her. Mike will wait her out until she sits, and it's always with a resigned sigh.

Consistancy is the only word I can offer for suggestions.. But have fun.. it is.. you know!!

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One thing I have noticed about dogs is they find a place they like and thats where they'll keep pooping.  When you clean up his stinky mess, make sure to scrub it clean with some soap and water - or whatever you need to use - to clean up residual smell.  If you have a place you want him to poop, I don't know, maybe put some of his poop there.  You can bring him over to go potty there and he will smell it and maybe it will encourage him that this is the spot he likes.

I have a rock (we call it the "poop garden") in the backyard where I'd like all my dogs to go.  It's been a slow process.  The little men use it, Steve is about 50/50 between there and the dirt area I still have to finish.  I don't mind it in the dirt so long as he doesn't go on the lawn.

Maybe try a retractable leash?  That way you can bring him where he wants, give him freedom to move further from you, but he can't leave the area you want him to go in.

Even if you don't leash him you can still be in the yard when its time for him to go and if you notice him sniffing around the area you don't like shoo him away with a "no".

Its a hard one but if he's that smart, it shouldn't take very long for him to get what you want.

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I don't know what to tell you there other than when he goes potty do you tell him to?  like when Rocky went out as a pup I went with him and would say 'Go potty Rocky' a few times.  Then when he goes potty repeat it really excited (but not too excited that they stop ha) and add a Good boy to it as they are going.  So he knows when I say Go potty that it's bathroom time now....

 

if you want him to go on leash then teach him to - repeat go potty and when he does praise him. he may try to hold it till he's more comfy but he'll learn to go when you tell him to.  he can't hold it forever, maybe even try a longer leash for potty breaks to let him get further away.

 

I have the opposite trained - I don't want him to go potty when on a leash.  Because he's only leashed if we are out somewhere or takngg a walk.  I let him out before we go so he waits to be off leash in the back yard. 

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Yes I definitely think a retractable longer leash might help, because my other dogs got "potty" out in the taller weeds, not in the lawn so I was hoping he'd just go there.  But with a longer leash maybe that will help him. 

And teaching the word potty so he knows what I'm wanting from him would no doubt help.  You guys are great!  Thanks for the ideas everyone, I'll keep you updated lol.