Two males, one household

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Rednailz's picture
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I had some follow up questions to this posting from the Puppy Training section (Moderator, if it belongs in that thread, please move it):
http://www.gentledoberman.com/forum

In short, the posting referred to raising 2 male Doberman puppies together.  The answer was that it is a very bad idea to do this.  So the follow up question is:  What next? Would you advise someone in this situation to rehome one dog before anything happens? 

How are things so far with your males?

If it were me personally I would try and place one of the dogs BEFORE a  problem arises. Probably not a popular decision but the truth. It would be extremely rare if problems didn't start. Just in case someone is reading this and doesn't go back to the other thread I again want to give the link for the experienced Doberman breeder and her story of owning 2 males, it is very worth reading. http://www.kinetic-unity.com/males.html

rgreen4's picture
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RND and I had differing opinion on this, but I have come to find out that I am wrong. As long as I had the two male Schnauzers and the male Dobe and a spayed female Schnauzer, there was peace in the house. They were not all loose at the same time, however. Then I bring in a female Dobe puppy, and Princess has upset the apple cart. As long as Red is in his domain, his crate in my office and the Schnauzers are in theirs, in their crates in the spare bedroom, it was quiet.

Then I let the Schnauzers back in from outside and Red was not as contained as I though he was. He went for one of the male Schnauzers as they were coming in through the utility room. They have been together before, and in fact all five were outside together in Feb in a peaceful manner, but Princess was only three months old. Now that she's six months old she's sending out different signals. I got them apart and the Schnauzers made a beeline for their crates. I discovered how difficult it is to control a full grown (oversized) excited male Doberman who is not wearing a collar. Nothing to grab! I finally just wrapped my arms around his neck and called him down. Even though he is now a svelte 115 pounds, he was a handful.

No blood, no injuries, just a close call.

All three are scheduled for alteration, not because of this, but the fact is they will not be breeding. I do not intend to breed Schnauzers, and Red is not breeding quality. A very good companion and I have never regretted one minute with him, and in fact as far as in the house behaviour, he is the best I have ever had. I have not made up my mind about Princess, but do not want to close that door yet.

Never will I have more than one intact male at a time again.

loungepup's picture
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Joined: 2008-09-29

i have had no problems with two males....though they are fixed...they take turns being the secondary alpha....have a few rumbles...i am on my second bottle of hydrogen peroxide....now mine are brothers from the same litter so maybe that helps

AlphaAdmin's picture
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Pet Profiles

How old are your dogs Rednailz?

I've found the only problem with multiple males is around puberty. And the problem has only appeared for my during play. As you likely know, the Doberman loves exuberant play. But males during their change seem to lose control and escalate the play into an actual argument.

Drayko, our stud, he has never hurt another dog - and he is whole. We had a rescue a few years ago. When this rescue came into puberty I started to see this escalation when he and Drayko would play. Eventually a bad one happened. Drayko refused to escalate and just held the puppy (1.2 years old 80 pound) off. After I broke it up I had to take Drayko for stitches.

Regardless, the main thing to remember is that you, the alpha, need to keep the rules. No one fights. Alphas don't let their pack members fight or hurt each other.

As another example: Drayko and our 2.5 pound Chihuahua Juan, they get along great. Juan doesn't like Drayko all that much but Drayko loves Juan. He likes playing with that little dog much more than the Doberman females. Odd isn't it.

Having littermate brothers is actually harder! They will tend to fight more.

I will say it once again, it is RARE that problems do not exist between males when a Doberman is in the mix. I think those of you that do not have problems are the minority. I don't know of any reputable breeder that would even sell a male Doberman into a house with a male already in place. These are not labs or golden retrievers, if you read the standard it has a comment on temperament it is under viciousness.

"A dog that attacks or attempts to attack either the judge or its handler, is definitely vicious. An aggressive or belligerent attitude towards other dogs shall not be deemed viciousness"

The DPCA has a book titled The Doberman Pinscher illustrated standard, that they put out which goes on to explain a little further about this exert from the standard it says:
" Viciousness, like shyness, is a significant deviation from the standard. The standard distinguishes between aggression toward people  and aggression or belligerence toward other dogs, which is not included in the definition of viciousness."

Although this covers males and females, it is a well known fact that males have more problems. Especially when not neutered.

Loungepup, how old are your males?

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

Horseatingweeds - good to hear from you again. You have been quiet a while. Drayko may think Juan is a puppy!  8)

Rednailz's picture
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My boys are 13 months old.  We haven't seen any change in behavior between the two of them.  They are still playing the same way they always have, but "exuberance" takes on new meaning with dogs that are now 65-75 lbs!  They do respond to me and my husband if they are playing and are told to stop.  Also, if play gets rough and someone says "ouch," the other respects it and backs off.

The only serious growls have been from my red male when he hasn't been feeling well and wanted to be alone.  For example, one day last week he didn't have an appetite and went off by himself during breakfast.  After breakfast, his brother found him and sat on his hind legs, which resulted in a growl.  Then they shifted a little and both fell asleep.  I remember a similar situation when they were younger, too, so I can't say it has been a behavior change with age.

That is good to hear, RARE but good. Usually littermates are the worst to have together. They are still young however and haven't really gone through the teenage stages yet. I hope it continues on this path for you.

rgreen4's picture
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All it will take to change the attitude is a sniff of an active female. Stay vigilant.

With my first two, a black female and red male (2 years younger than the female) they were always tussling and snapping at each other in play. I had to take the male to the vet more than once to get a fang mark in his side stitched up.

And that was in play! They do seem to have more than their fair share of teeth. I swear when the are displaying them for someone to count, there are at least 64 sharp white fangy things in there!  :D

AlphaAdmin's picture
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Pet Profiles

Thanks Rgreen. I'm not sure what Drayko thinks Juan is. He's careful very careful with him though, unlike how he plays with the other Dobermans. At most he nips Juan on the behind to keep him playing.

Rednailz - I'd feel free to be very hard on the two boys for the next year or so, until after they're altered. If you make totally certain that you are the top top alpha - the boys will be much more calm. Keeping them away from ovulating females will also keep them sane. lol

Rednailz's picture
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The boys have already been altered, so that helps.  We do stay vigilant about training and behavior because they are an intelligent breed, and I know that bright dogs will test the rules.  ("Yes, I know I must wait on the landing until you get to the top of the stairs...but I'll just put my front paws on this step, ok?"    "Jumping up is ok if I land in a 'sit', right?")

I take each dog to his own training class while my husband spends time with the other one.  Right now I have no plans to compete in obedience, rally, agility, etc. but they really seem to like it and it gives them time alone.

Soleil's picture
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I'm just curious...... Two male dobies in house is the problem, or two male dogs in general (fixed or unfixed) is a bad idea? ...Is this also true for two females, or are they ok?  I don't know but I have seen many a mix breed mixed gender dog families around. Some of the worse fights I have seen are between two female dogs, they don't mess around.  When they fight, they fight.  ... I'm just curious if this is same gender thing or just a male vs male thing. 

Speaking for Dobermans only, it is not advised to have a male Doberman with any other male regardless of breed. That does not speak for all breeds. Example of Border Collies it would be totally acceptable to have 2 males together. Dobermans are a well known breed that the males SHOULD not be kept with other males. If you speak to any reputable breeder they will not sell a male Doberman into a house that has a male regardless the other dogs breed, neutered or not.

Soleil's picture
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Ok, so it is Doberman only thing.  Let’s say I decided to get another dobie, I already have a female Doberman and male golden retriever, so it would be ok for me to get another female Doberman but not a male since I already have a male dog in the house.  Sorry to ask so many questions… I have heard this before but it was never really clear.  ???

Yes, since you have a male Golden already you would want to get another female if you are planning on another Dobe. Never apologize for asking questions it is the only way to find answers.

rgreen4's picture
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Soleil - I didn't think I had a problem with a male Doberman and two male Min. Schnauzers. They never were really in much contact with each other as I never let them all outside or loose in the house at the same time. The two Min. Schnauzers are father and son, and have some disagreements, but not real bad. In fact when I take them to the vet, they are in the same crate.

Then I introduced Princess the female Doberman puppy. Up until now, there had not been an active female in the house (12 year old Min. Schnauzer female has been spayed for at least 7 years), but as Princess has been getting older, things have changed. She is now 7 months old, and while she has not come into her first cycle, Red has started taking an interest in her. About two weeks ago I made the mistake of putting him out and forgot the Schnauzers were out. They met in the utility room and Red went for one of the male Schnauzers, and not in a friendly way. All three males are going to be neutered, and while that won't change their attitude toward each other, it will make life a little easier to live around Princess when she comes in season.

loungepup's picture
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been a while since i dropped by....hope all are well....blue and hogan are 17 months now....i still have no problems with them....they do run and play big time at least twice a day in acarage behind the house....they still take turns being the secondary....one weird thing is this....their behavior got better when i let them sleep the night with me.....they love being with me...and i love having them be there...when i get up in the night they do take over the whole bed...but when i snap...they jump off...let me in and then come back and settle....its a little warm sometimes....lol....its unusaul i guess...but i have not had any issues with the two males.....i run them in the field with another red dobe...so we have black and tan...blue and red all together...he is a male....again...not one problem....and the red...jack has a mate who is a female boxer/bulldog cross....she is out in the field with us and when she is in heat...neither of my boys gave a hoot....i wondered what the would do with a female in heat...but they just ran....they do not wrassle any other dogs than themselves.....they "almost always" stop the fighting when told.....dont fight too much in the house...and spend a lot of time licking and cleaning each other....i must be lucky that i have no problems....i would not...or could not choose between them...maybe the blue has a bit more of the velcro factor....he stays closer than hogan...blue sleeps every night in the bed...hogan will many times go elsewhere to sleep....neither has ever growled or shown agression towards me my wife of andy other human including my 2 and 4 year old grand children.....of note....when in the field the dogs always greet other visitors....they run towards them and always circle and come back...that being said...when i found three teenager hanging out benhind the church that has the field....both dogs took off to the stairwell they were in....hogan is the barker...he stood at the top of the stairs barking...and blue the silent one...stood at the side of the stairs quietly...when i clalled them...they came back to me...and we approached the kids together...this was at 1:30 in the morning....and the teens left with no argument....a churches back stairwell is no place for them to hang out...and i dont think they will be back....hehe...but it gave me a taste of how they know the diffence between good and bad.....blue never barks at anything or anyone except his brother in play fighting.....hogan barks warning at everyon and everything.....its been near 18 months now...and with no problems...i am hoping it will always be that way....last year the boys destroyed my yard...this year they are soooooo much better.....i may get a chance to repair it this fall....i love having the boys....work ssometimes for 14 - 16 hours a day...and leavfe my wife and grandchildre with total confidence.....nobody is coming in to my world with da boys.....blue is now 29 inches tall...weighs75 pounds...and hogan is 32 inches tall ...weighs 85 pounds....i feed them 2 1/2 cups a day in the morning and at supper time...they are still quite slim...being of the greyhound build....

Rednailz's picture
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It's nice to hear that someone else has a pair where one barks while the other does not - I have the exact same situation and wondered if it was unusual.

They are still getting along fine, and we still watch the situation carefully.  They act very much like puppies and I haven't seen any signs of dominant behavior yet.  My husband and I are the only ones in the household, so we very conscious of being consistent.  I really try to get one-on-one time with each dog, beyond their normal walks.  Obedience class and practice at home has been a great way to do this!