Join Date: May 2013
Dogs Name: Sampson
Dogs Age: 2
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Sign of Aggression in Rescue Doberman
We recently rescued a two year old male Doberman from a very reputable rescue shelter. We have a 3 year old son and a baby due in September, and he was hand selected for us by the rescue owner because of his temperament. He had been crated for most of his life and showed amplified Doberman traits of willingness to please and excessive affection to all comers.
We have had him for a week now, and these traits have remained, for the most part, consistent. However, yesterday, I was mowing the grass in the backyard while my wife was inside with our son. She had him on a leash because he had become very excited by everything going on outside and was barking excessively. I opened the back door to come in, and he immediately showed signs of aggression, growling in a way that I had not heard from him and barking in a threatening way. I tried to calm him with several voice commands, but it had no effect. It was only when I stuck my hand close enough for him to smell me that he calmed and went into submissive mode.
We have owned a Doberman previously and are very familiar and comfortable with the breed. Our concern is whether this is an isolated incident brought on by him having to adjust to the increased stimuli of being in a home where he has more freedom or whether this may be a sign of an underlying aggression issue. My wife and I both lean toward the former interpretation, but we are naturally torn since such behavior is a concern with a young family.
I would appreciate any advice or suggestions that anyone here may have. We really love our new Dobe. He is really one of the sweetest dogs that I have ever met, and I have been around dogs all of my life. Additionally, he has been great with our son at all times. The only other bad habit that he has exhibited is an excessive mouthiness that most likely is a result of his not being allowed to be a true puppy due to his being crated excessively by his previous owners. He got a little mouthy with one of our neighbor's kids and gave him quite a tooth bruise on his arm, but his behavior in this instance clearly looked like playing. The kid ran up to him and then almost immediately ran away, which can certainly account for his increased excitement. The mouthiness has improved significantly in one week, but we are most concerned with the aggressive behavior described above.