Very Agressive Doberman

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xFIREDOGx's picture
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Joined: 2010-08-16

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Hopefully someone on here can give me some tips on my doberman. I will list as much information as possible.

She is about a year old now. Very smart and very obedient inside the house. During the day while I am at work I take her to my mothers house (in the country) so she can play outside. Very rarely do I put her in a situation for her to be on a leash. Pretty much only when we go for walks. She is a picture perfect dog, although she has very bad agression issues towards other dogs and strangers. When I first got her I took her to my dads house for a visit. Her and a 4 year old female Husky got into a fight. When I say fight I mean at each other throats. Since that happened I can't take her back over there, because they start trying to go at each other. At my mothers house recently with the Tornado that hit Alabama she has had a few stray dogs (that no one has claimed) come to her house. My mother is very pet friendly and takes care of them. Yesterday I took her over there to play and she was doing fine. The next thing you know she had one of the dogs pinned down biting its ear and nose. I yelled, screamed, and did anything I could think of, but she would not quit. Finally the only way she stopped was the dog got loose and ran up under a car. The next thing I know my dobie runs half way across the yard and jumps another dog and does the same thing.

I feel helpless, because when I try to take her around dogs to show her its ok she just gets agressive. I tell her to leave it and I am stern with her, but nothing works.

The second agression issue is with strangers. This started when I first got her as well. She would corner my roommate at the front door when he would try to come in from work. I got him to give her treats and now she is ok with him. My friend recently moved in next to me and he has dobermans at his parents house. She was agressive with him until I tried the same thing and then it seemed like she didn't have a problem with him. Although if she is outside (on a leash) and someone is around she doesn't know she flips out. She wont charge them or anything, but she barks and growls. I have had a few people come up and she act perfectly fine. Although, when they try to pet her she sniffs their hand and trys to bite it off. I have had one major event that happened. I was cooking dinner one night and she was in the kitchen with me. I heard the door chime and I thought it may be my girlfriend. Of course she ran to the door to great the person. I heard her start growling at whoever came in the door. Before I could make it to the living room I heard he bark and a loud noise. A guy walked in that nor I or she had ever met and when he continued to walk inside she knocked him in the corner and ripped his shirt in half. When I got there I yelled Alix leave it! and she ran upstairs and pee'd on the way up. I had mixed feelings on this, because the guy didn't knock or ring the doorbell. He just walked right in the house and she did what I would want her to do. Turns out it was some guy my roommate knew from work, but my roommate was not at home.

I've spoke with various people about these issues. Ranging from people who train guard dogs, police K-9's, drug dogs, and just obedience trainers. I've heard everyting from use a shock collar to get a choke collar.

I guess there are alot of opinions and different advice out there. It puts me in a very confused state. Any help would be very appreciated. I want to fix this problem, before something really bad happens.

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

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Two words : PROFESSIONAL BEHAVIORIST. 

Wow, I wouldn't even know where to begin to give advice on such a serious issue.

Livelaughlove1's picture
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Joined: 2009-01-16

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I iwsh I could offer advice but as I have never had any issue with my dobies I really cant offer anything but support.

Im sure someone else will chime in soon..

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

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That sounds very disturbing, and I'm sure you're really concerned. I wish I could add something, but so far, Ziva's dad has the best suggestion

You both need professional assistance to curb this tendancy and I wouldn't hesitate another day to get some..

KevinK's picture
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Joined: 2010-07-15

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How was your dog socialized, and what training methods do you use?  What exactly do you do when something like this happens, in as much detail as possible?

This sounds liek something you definitely need a behaviorist for with some 1 on 1 time.  Most of the time, it's a matter of teaching your dog to be less reactive.  Also, when you get nervous, your dog feeds off that energy, so it's IMPERITIVE that you stay calm at all times.

Best bet is a trip to the vet to rule out any medical issues, then I would start working with a good behaviorist that has doberman experience.

sweetpea's picture
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Joined: 2010-10-25

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Agreed!  See a behaviourist.  It is important that you deal with these issues as soon as possible; every time that you have another encounter like this it will reinforce in your dog's mind that this is the way she should behave in these situations, making the damage that much harder to undo.  Try to keep her away from strangers and other animals until a behaviourist has done an evaluation, and do NOT put it off - get help right away.  You could easily be looking at a lawsuit and have to put her down if she injures someone.

Happydance's picture
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I wonder, is it only female dogs that she goes after?  Is Alix spayed?  You also mentioned that she's been cornering people since you got her---how old was she when you got her?  If she was a pup, then this behavior has been going on for quite some time.  Are you alpha over her?  I'm thinking that she's feeling that she needs to dominate her world.  Sometimes this comes from insecurity.  Until you see a trainer or behaviorist, be sure to use the "Nothing in Life is Free" attitude.  She doesn't eat unless you tell her, she doesn't get affection until she sits nice, doesn't get on the bed etc. etc.  She may need to know that YOU have the world handled, she doesn't need to.  Frankly tho, an unknown person just walking into your house without being welcomed in was just stupid on his part.  I really can't blame her for reacting, but she went to the red zone.  She needs to learn boundaries and proper reactions.  (Sorry, I sound like Ceasar here, sorry).  As Kevin asked, how was she socialized?  How much do you get her out on walks and strange situations?  Everything is a learning experience for them.  When my girl gets a little too interested in something on a walk, (a stranger or another dog behind a fence etc.) I distract her and get her to focus on me.  Usually all it takes is a change of direction, then when she calms and I have her attention she gets treated.  We walk away as if the object of her attention doesn't even exist.  It is ME that is her focus, and we continue on.  I admit, it's not always easy! She is allowed to explore the world and learn about new things like kids on skateboards and such, but she's not allowed to get crazy about it.  As was mentioned, it's imperative that you stay calm.  Be sure to reward proper behavior.  I agree with all said above, you need to get some professional help with this ASAP.  Good luck and keep us posted.

xFIREDOGx's picture
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Well I found one dog trainer in my area (besides petsmart lol) and she visited him this week. He does various training with dogs such as protection, obedience, and law enforcement. First thing he did was take the leash. You could tell in the way she looked at him she was very unsure of this, but I had no idea what she would do since a stranger has never taken the leash. He walked her around the vets office and did various little training things with her. To my surprise she listened to everything and was not aggressive. I told him everything thats happened thus far and he continued on doing his thing. He pointed out that when she feels insecure about a situation her pupils get really tiny like shes homing in on whatever it is. When she feels relaxed her pupils get larger again. He thinks the way she reacts is out of fear.

 

So this weekend I tried something new. A few people came over to the house and she started being aggresive with them. I took one of the people outside with her and she continued. I put a muzzle on her and told her NO. Then I sat next to the person and she came up to us. The person started petting her and she was fine. Took the muzzle off and she started wagging her nub and licking their face like they had always been friends. I'm thinking that fear is what causes her reactions.

 

Either way the trainer is going to work with her. For the first I think 2 weeks he stays with her and then the third throughout I come visit and train with her. I've heard from a few people his training works great. Although they did obedience training not dealing with aggression. I guess we will see how it turns out. He went out of town for the 4th, but training will begin when he returns.

sweetpea's picture
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Glad to hear you are getting some help from a trainer, you definitely made the right decision.  I hope all goes well!  Feel free to keep us updated on the progress. 

Dobertime's picture
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Wow.  Great job on finding a prof. trainer.  I have to admit, someone entering my home without knocking or permission would have a lot more to worry about than a dog!  That roomate's friend better learn some common sense and manners quick or he'll find himself in deep at some point!

 

As far as the training goes, please keep us all updated.  I'd be interested to see how your pup progresses!

 

:)