Really confused about Chico's behavior!!!

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Michellej's picture
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So, I wrote a thread recently about how Chico blindsided me with his behavior at the Vet's clinic just the other day...well, I had to go to Petsmart to drop off his shot records for his upcoming classes and I thought "what the heck...I'll bring Chico with me". I figured if he misbehaved we'd scoot on out of there and no harm done.

Well, he behaved like my little angel again!!! VERY CONFUSING! Where was the devil dog that I witnessed at the Vet Clinic?!?! He wasn't exactly perfect...he did do some dragging on his leash and he did let out a couple of barks (but not the constand non-stop barking he was doing at the Vet's). I turned in his records and then we took him to find a prong collar for him and a new leash. The prong collar is AMAZING! He still pulled, but not as badly as before...What a difference. Once he had it on he was more interested in shopping and admiring all the toys on display!

So, since he did so well at the pet store I made the decision to give it a go at the dog park in Evans. Still in the back of my mind I thought maybe he'd turn into the "jerk" dog I had witnessed at the Vet's, but NOooooOOOO! He was AMAZING! I even received a comment about how well behaved he was :o) He was so happy running around and he was able to make some new friends. He was so well mannered that I thought my heart would burst from pride.

Soooo...I guess I need to ask....is this normal??? I thought that the way he acted in the Vet's office was just the way he was going to be (ROTTEN!!!) until he received his training.

He will begin his obedience classes on Monday. I'll keep you up to date. I didn't have my camera with me, but I did take some pictures on my cell phone of him at the dog park. Is it possible to put pictures from my iPhone in a thread?

Abigail's picture
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Maybe something put him off at the Vet's? Was he a brat from the start of that day to when he got to the Vet's, or did it start there? 

My advice to you would be reinforce the good kind of behavior like heck, and, since he has shown you that he "can" be a wellish-mannered dog, start that training and keep this wave flowing. Get him out and socialize! Definitely start your har-core training with him. You've seen his better side, so you know it's "there"!

Lady Kate's picture
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I agree with Michele. Rarely does Sofia react in an aggressive manner. I have discovered that there IS a reason why she does this and I pay attention.

From your report of the vet visit, I have to think the tech who manhandled him and gave off such negative energy might have been the reason, but yes, keep up with his training. No dog should ever be aggressive unless there's imminent danger.

Michellej's picture
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Abigail, no he didn't show any problems before we entered into the vet clinic. That was the first time he had ever acted that way. However, once we were inside the door he began misbehaving with his constant barking, pulling on his leash and bullying. Not to mention when he snipped at my little boy's hand.

I don't understand him. He was really well behaved in PetSmart when I really expected to only be able to walk in to only turn back around if he misbehaved and he was a model dog at the Dog Park.

Maybe he just really doesn't like the Vet's office> I can't blame him, really. They've made him retake his shots 3 times already because of the screw ups with his vaccinations. I am afraid it will only get worse if I take him there again. Especially since the way the Vet treated him once we got into the examination room. I only thought of it after I got home, but when she said that he needed obedience training I should have told her that he would have been able to attend classes already had they not made all those mistakes with his immunizations.

Luke_Sian's picture
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Hi Michelle :)

So glad to hear he has been behaving himself!

You asked if this sort of behaviour is normal. Well from my experience, and it's not much, I would say yes. Like Kate said, usually there is a reason. I too pay attention to what Harley is trying to tell me when he has displayed this behaviour in the past. He has only done it twice.

Once was when we were out for our walk and there was a dodgy looking guy with a VERY large dog on lead. Straight away I could tell Harley's body language was tense, so we turned away and walked in the opposite direction. When we got home Harley was still acting unsettled and kept going to the front window. Then all of a sudden he started barking madly and trying with all his might to get through the window! I looked out and saw the same man and dog stopped looking down our driveway. He eventually left and I phoned police. But I had never seen Harley like this before. Teeth bared and all. He ment business and I was proud of him for defending his family and home. 

The other time was only last week and my daughter had a new friend over. Harley had never met her. I will add that he LOVES kids! Well not this one. She screamed the minute she saw him (I had him on lead for the first meet and greet). Harley flipped out and didn't know what was going on so became very aggressive very quickly and bared his teeth at her and barking non stop. I settled him down and gave his 'leave it' command. followed by 'It's ok' (which is his command to let him know I am ok with this person or object) And by the end of the day they were best friends.

So two different situations and a very similar reaction. I'm so glad you are following up on training. To be honest, If Harley wasn't as trained as he is and I hadn't learnt what his body language was telling me it may have been a very different outcome.

Bottom line is, our dobermans are bred to protect the ones they love which means standing up to anything they see as a potential threat...that's their job. Our job is to learn to communicate with them and read their body language so we can help them to better determine what is and isn't a real threat and the correct way to respond to that.

Sorry for the essay! lol. I guess I had alot to say :) Keep us updated on Chico...would love to see those pics if you work out how to do that!

Sian and Harley

Michellej's picture
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Lady Kate, you have to be right. I can't think of what else it could be. I think maybe he's had his fill of that place.

Any other time he's wonderful. Ever so michievious, but never as rotten as his was that day.

He starts his training tomorrow evening. I'm really looking forward to it. I was really anxious before because I thought maybe he'd get kicked out for being a disruption, but I feel much better since I took him to PetSmart and the Dog Park yesterday. I'm confident that he'll do well.

Luke_Sian's picture
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I just had a thought, Are you able to change vet? It sounds like he has a bad experience with this vet so maybe changing might help? 

Michellej's picture
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Luke_Sian,

Yes. I am going to have to find a new Vet at this point. That last visit was the final straw. I just don't know where to begin. I have always used the military Vet Clinics since I was in the Army and it was most convenient just to have my records transfer with me from base to base. I've never had an issue with any of them like I have here at Fort Gordon.

Michellej's picture
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Luke_Sian,

I don't know how I missed your first post, but I just now noticed it. Chico is 6 months and his behavior has changed dramatically only twice and both times it was at the Vet's office. The first time was when this very tiny lady was walking her 2 dogs towards us. One was a Mastiff and the other was a Pitbull. As we were walking towards the clinic door they were walking toward us to their car. Chico stopped dead in his tracks and then began barking and growling at them. I was pulling on his leash trying to get him back but he stood his ground. His collar broke and he still just stood there. I was scared to death for his safety because the two larger dogs were easily pulling their owner our way trying to get at him. I quickly ran to my car and got my little boy in (he was three at the time) and only then did Chico break his stand, stopped barking and growling and listened to me when I told him to get into the car. That was one of the times that I had realized just how much Chico loved us and wanted to protect us even if it meant putting himself in harm. This past time he began acting out as soon as we entered the clinic door. I really don't think there was any danger this time. The other dogs in the clinic were harmless and well behaved. One even turned his back on Chico as if to say that Chico was so annoying. The owners of that particular dog were very sympathetic and even told me that their dog acted the same way until he went through training. Any other time other than those two visits he has been fine there.

Happydance's picture
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I have a bumper sticker that says "If my doberman doesn't like you, neither will I". It's clear to me that it goes both ways.  You obviously have issues with your vet, and of course he picked up on that. Personally, I think that there is something wrong with their vaccination protocol, but that's just me.  I'm not big on the lepto part of the vaccine combo and frankly I would have gotten him out and socialized provided that he was covered with the parvo part.  Having said that, to the vet it was clear that you had no control over him and he did not respect you enough to knock it off when you told him too. Vets see rampunctious dogs all day long (most of them are not on their best behavior) and I wasn't there to see what came down, but she had to do an exam or procedure on him and made it clear that he needed to stop being unreasonable.  If she hit him of course that's unacceptable. Go ahead and change vets if you feel it necessary, or you can get him trained and go back and show them that he can be a good boy.

I'm so glad you took the advice and got him a collar and into training!  You'll have a good time and so will he.  Dobermans LOVE to learn.  I don't think that they'll let you use the prong at class, so be sure to have another collar with you.  I know they won't let you use it for "graduation", but it's a training tool and sure gives you a leg up with the control with a rowdy puppy.  We've all had the rowdy puppy syndrome for sure!   Good luck.

Michellej's picture
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Thank you, Happydance...my issue with her is that he was behaving fine in the examination room once we left the waiting room and that is when she mistreated him.

Yes, the prong collar is an amazing contraption indeed. I cannot thank everyone enough for the wonderful advice regarding the use of the prong collar. He will not be able to use it in class, but that's OK because he has his regular collar, too.