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Old 01-12-2013, 07:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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ok here goes...(long)

hi all,
i'm new here but, have been reading around a bit. i have a few questions and well, just looking for some general advice.

diego, is 4 about to be 5. we rescued him at 10mos. then i got pregnant. i used to take him to the dog park pretty much every other day for the first 3mos. that we had him then i got preg. and was put on a mild bed rest but was told i couldnt even walk the dog so he was just walked by my hubs and then i took him still to the dog park but only once a week.then, after the first trimester, i went back to taking him to the park at least 2-3x a week.
then baby comes...no more park less and less walks but huge yard to play in and run around at his leisure all day. he has always been leary of people but, loves other dogs. chases my poor cat. but generally a good boy.
so, the past few months, he's started growling at me when i pet him while he's resting. he's even snapped, but more like a quick snarl at me and my daughter who will be 3 in feb.
now that she's older and in preschool 2 days a week i have been taking him on bike rides and just this week twice to the dog park. he seems much happier but, i also took him to the vet to have his thyroid checked. all came back normal. he's fine, but he still growls every now and then when i pet him on his back or back leg area and has even growled at me when i just simply talk to him. like "hey diego whats up buddy?" and grrrrrr...wtf?
i love him so much, and i want my daughter to love animals like me, but at this point she just says "our dog is mean he growls" so she has no interest in him. fine by me i dont want her to bother him if he's going to growl
also, he sleeps on one part of the couch,and when he's there he will randomly growl at us if we want to pet him and i had a friend over who attempted to pet him while he was on that spot and i literally said to her "he's been acting weird don't bother trying to pet him" and as i say that she goes to pet him and he snapped at her and bit down on her hand. no skin broken or anything but, still this worries me.
any advice??
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Old 01-12-2013, 07:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diego_is_his_name_o View Post
hi all,
i'm new here but, have been reading around a bit. i have a few questions and well, just looking for some general advice.

diego, is 4 about to be 5. we rescued him at 10mos. then i got pregnant. i used to take him to the dog park pretty much every other day for the first 3mos. that we had him then i got preg. and was put on a mild bed rest but was told i couldnt even walk the dog so he was just walked by my hubs and then i took him still to the dog park but only once a week.then, after the first trimester, i went back to taking him to the park at least 2-3x a week.
then baby comes...no more park less and less walks but huge yard to play in and run around at his leisure all day. he has always been leary of people but, loves other dogs. chases my poor cat. but generally a good boy.
so, the past few months, he's started growling at me when i pet him while he's resting. he's even snapped, but more like a quick snarl at me and my daughter who will be 3 in feb.
now that she's older and in preschool 2 days a week i have been taking him on bike rides and just this week twice to the dog park. he seems much happier but, i also took him to the vet to have his thyroid checked. all came back normal. he's fine, but he still growls every now and then when i pet him on his back or back leg area and has even growled at me when i just simply talk to him. like "hey diego whats up buddy?" and grrrrrr...wtf?
i love him so much, and i want my daughter to love animals like me, but at this point she just says "our dog is mean he growls" so she has no interest in him. fine by me i dont want her to bother him if he's going to growl
also, he sleeps on one part of the couch,and when he's there he will randomly growl at us if we want to pet him and i had a friend over who attempted to pet him while he was on that spot and i literally said to her "he's been acting weird don't bother trying to pet him" and as i say that she goes to pet him and he snapped at her and bit down on her hand. no skin broken or anything but, still this worries me.
any advice??
He might need to be checked for arthritis or hip dysplasia? He could have something going on with his spine or nerves?
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Old 01-12-2013, 08:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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He might need to be checked for arthritis or hip dysplasia? He could have something going on with his spine or nerves?
I was thinking the same thing as I read the original post. I would start with getting him checked out to see if he is in pain somewhere.

The other thing that got my attention about this situation was the bit about the dog having a spot on the couch. While I have no issue with my dogs sharing my couches they need to have respect about it. My last dog started growling when in "his spot" when he got older. I started keeping a leash on him at all times when he was going through this so that every time he growled he was made to get down (and I didn't have to get within easy biting reach in case he felt the need to try). He would get a correction, and made to get down. Eventually he figured out that while he could share the couch with us he wasn't allowed to be a jerk about it (I honestly don't remember how long it took to reteach him, maybe a couple weeks). After this brief period he shared the couch with us for the remainder of his life with no issues, and this included with our son who was born when Quin was 5.
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Old 01-12-2013, 08:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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yep, take him to the vet.
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Old 01-12-2013, 10:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I was thinking the same thing as I read the original post. I would start with getting him checked out to see if he is in pain somewhere.

The other thing that got my attention about this situation was the bit about the dog having a spot on the couch. While I have no issue with my dogs sharing my couches they need to have respect about it. My last dog started growling when in "his spot" when he got older. I started keeping a leash on him at all times when he was going through this so that every time he growled he was made to get down (and I didn't have to get within easy biting reach in case he felt the need to try). He would get a correction, and made to get down. Eventually he figured out that while he could share the couch with us he wasn't allowed to be a jerk about it (I honestly don't remember how long it took to reteach him, maybe a couple weeks). After this brief period he shared the couch with us for the remainder of his life with no issues, and this included with our son who was born when Quin was 5.
i feel like this might be what i need to do. i just took him to the vet on friday. they did all the tests and checked him out. said he was fine. blood work and stuff came back normal. they gave me the name of a behavioral specialist. and said he shouldnt be on the furniture. and i said you obviously don't know anything about dobermans! haha i really think as much as i like this vet place. the actual vet was not a fan of dobermans so i honestly dont think she cared. sad to say.

i have been making him get off the furniture after he growls. i will keep doing that.
thank you so much for responding!
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Old 01-12-2013, 11:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm thinking you should stop any interaction between him and your daughter until you find out what is going on. You may also want to stop the dog park, especially if its possibly a arthritic/pain issue. The sudden increase in non structured exercise (running around at a dog park) might have exacerbated a chronic unknown pain issue or caused an acute pain issue.


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Old 01-12-2013, 11:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Dogs that cannot be nice do not need to have privileges like being on the couch that is a privilege they earn by having manners.
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Old 01-13-2013, 12:53 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm thinking you should stop any interaction between him and your daughter until you find out what is going on. You may also want to stop the dog park, especially if its possibly a arthritic/pain issue. The sudden increase in non structured exercise (running around at a dog park) might have exacerbated a chronic unknown pain issue or caused an acute pain issue.


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so, what do i do? i just took him to the vet on friday-yesterday. and they said he was fine he checked out fine. ask for an x-ray?
he also isn't growling in a super mean way. its like a low leave me alone way.no teeth showing or anything. i know, i know that's no excuse. and like i said my daughter doesn't want anything to do w/ him she ignores him, doesn't even try to pet him or anything she really couldn't care less.
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Old 01-13-2013, 02:27 AM   #9 (permalink)
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so, what do i do? i just took him to the vet on friday-yesterday. and they said he was fine he checked out fine. ask for an x-ray?
he also isn't growling in a super mean way. its like a low leave me alone way.no teeth showing or anything. i know, i know that's no excuse. and like i said my daughter doesn't want anything to do w/ him she ignores him, doesn't even try to pet him or anything she really couldn't care less.
Barring some health issue this dog would lose all privileges in our house for 6 month periods of "probation".
Our rescue girl did similar growling but never ever snapped at anyone, altho she was super "mouthy" as a youngster. She lost all furniture & toy time in the house. When the probation periods were up for about a year 1/2 she would flunk, but then got the clue that all good things come from us and are a privilege, not a right.


Since he's put teeth on someone I would NOT wait these 6 month probation periods -- I'd try to find a qualified behaviorist asap to help you thru this, especially with a little one in the house, who will eventually be having friends over.... and I would separate him from your daughter and never leave the two alone, ever, for both their sakes.

Hope you keep us posted. These are important topics for others to learn from.
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Old 01-13-2013, 02:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
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If the vet is insistant he is fine, no health issues then it would appear to be behavioural.

Now to me it sounds a bit like resource gaurding (with regards the furniture) and grumpiness with regards not wishing to be bothered by humans who wish to pet him.

Now I personally have a rule, if my dog is on down time, I do not pet him. He has to come to me to be petted, I do not go to him. Either way, be it health, be it temperament or whatever it is sometimes helpful to actually see what is triggering him, how he is reacting so with this in mind can you post a video of him, doing his stuff so to speak? I think if you could it might help us, help you, with regards insight as to what is going on.

Add to this, if at all possible might it be possible for you to get a behaviourist take a look at him? If so then I would recommend you try to get an appointment as soon as possible.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:24 AM   #11 (permalink)
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It is more so when he's resting.and he sleeps a lot. I know the saying "let sleeping dogs lie" and I'm a needy dobermom :/ and even tho that is just a phrase I believe it's true. I guess it's because my last Doberman was such a cuddle bug. she loved more than anything just being pet/hugged/loved/cuddled.Diego is too not like her but, lately it's when he wants it. I could try and post a video. It's going to be hard since it's random. I also feel like it could be pent up energy and resentment towards me for having a baby and not going out like we used too. And we moved into a neighborhood w TONS of squirrels and he's constantly wanting to chase them. I close the curtains so he doesn't flip out all day! I do let him out to chase and bark a little bit but, because of the neighbors I try to keep it minimal.


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Old 01-13-2013, 05:14 AM   #12 (permalink)
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It is more so when he's resting.and he sleeps a lot. I know the saying "let sleeping dogs lie" and I'm a needy dobermom :/ and even tho that is just a phrase I believe it's true. I guess it's because my last Doberman was such a cuddle bug. she loved more than anything just being pet/hugged/loved/cuddled.Diego is too not like her but, lately it's when he wants it. I could try and post a video. It's going to be hard since it's random. I also feel like it could be pent up energy and resentment towards me for having a baby and not going out like we used too. And we moved into a neighborhood w TONS of squirrels and he's constantly wanting to chase them. I close the curtains so he doesn't flip out all day! I do let him out to chase and bark a little bit but, because of the neighbors I try to keep it minimal.


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I too do not have a cuddle bug, Toby likes what he likes, when he likes and nothing I say or do changes his take on life. No, he doesnt growl at me, but boy do I get stink eye along with EPAD looks that could curl the wallpaper back into rolls. So I leave him be.

No two dogs are ever going to be alike and I am sure you understand this, just accept your boy doesnt want bothering with your needy ways.

You are his, he is yours, why do you need to touch him constantly, sheesh mum, come on, give the boy some space. lol!
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:17 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Welcome to DT from Kansas. I certainly hope everything works out for your whole family & fur baby.
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Old 01-13-2013, 06:07 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Put a leash on him like someone suggested and don't allow him on any furniture...none!!! He is laying claim to the couch and his behaviour is escalating. He is going to be biting very soon to get his way. Someone has to be the top dog and if it's not you he's going to claim that position.

Is he neutered? If not, I would do it right away.

Look up Nothing in Life is Free dog training on the net and start it immediately. He must earn everything he gets. This training will put him back into the subordinate position where he belongs.

I do think he is probably very frustrated with the squirrels keeping him wound up. Give him more exercise. The bike riding would be great for burning off pent up energy. I wouldn't cut out the park either, but you need to tire him out every day.

Refresher training would be important as it puts him in a subordinate position plus works his mind which is tiring. Do keep it reward based and positive. Purchase "The Other End of the Leash" by Patricia McConnell, "The Power of Positive Dog Training" by Pat Miller and "Calming Signals" by Turid Rugaas. All will help you with different aspects of knowing your dog and what he might be thinking.

After you get him well on the way back to normal, a couple of months or more, start your girl having him to sit and lay for treats so he learns a little more respect for her AND that she can be the source of "good things". If he doesn't take treats gently she can still drop them for him.

I don't think its physical, but did the vet do any checks for arthritis of his spine, hips or legs? It would be better to check that out before any heavy exercise. Also, did they send the thyroid test out and not do it in-house?

By the way, he is not mad at you over not exercising him or having the baby or not taking him to the park. Dogs don't hold grudges against their owners if they have been treated right. If treated cruelly, you can debate whether their attitudes are grudges or reactions to how they have been treated.

Please keep us updated.
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Old 01-13-2013, 07:02 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diego_is_his_name_o View Post
It is more so when he's resting.and he sleeps a lot. I know the saying "let sleeping dogs lie" and I'm a needy dobermom :/ and even tho that is just a phrase I believe it's true. I guess it's because my last Doberman was such a cuddle bug. she loved more than anything just being pet/hugged/loved/cuddled.Diego is too not like her but, lately it's when he wants it. I could try and post a video. It's going to be hard since it's random. I also feel like it could be pent up energy and resentment towards me for having a baby and not going out like we used too. And we moved into a neighborhood w TONS of squirrels and he's constantly wanting to chase them. I close the curtains so he doesn't flip out all day! I do let him out to chase and bark a little bit but, because of the neighbors I try to keep it minimal.
^^^^ Shouldn't have to / and things I practice to avoid a future problem...and I will layout my fun time checklist, that I follow.
- I know this doesn't help your boy Diego today, but has worked here & my last two dogs never growls or snaps, at its people
(except my first 1977 dobe, tried to exercise her powers, a few times...that was nipped in the butt ASAP)

So when I get a new dog, I will daily - play tug-of-war (and encourage play growls), rub dogs belly or pat it when its getting ready to sleep in bed, always wake up my dog if it dreaming & shaking in its sleep, play ball fetch (in the house) and hold a marrow bone in my hand, for the dog to chew on.


Quote:
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Put a leash on him like someone suggested and don't allow him on any furniture...none!!! He is laying claim to the couch and his behaviour is escalating. He is going to be biting very soon to get his way. Someone has to be the top dog and if it's not you he's going to claim that position..........
^^^^ +1 - Completely agree.
I would put a 5-10 foot leash on him (make one longer leashes out of two)...and this dobe would be my daily shadow, until he shows a complete turn around.

diego_is_his_name_o - Please don't take this the wrong way, but it happens many times...when we add a child to a family with an adult dog.
- the human baby takes soooo much attention, that the dog soon feels his new life is nothing short of a "door mat"
- dog quality time with Mom or Dad, just flew out the window & canine jealousy sets in
They can become bored & resentful starting with the little girl...and lashing out at others.

Your dog Diego has a big yard, sometimes outside they have to learn how to have fun and chase their own tail...LOL...I don't care if the street exercise has been cut back.
IMPO - #1 problem is the daily lack of activity, inside the house...mental stimulating games, are needed & more bonding....dobe is not respecting its owners fully now.
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Old 01-13-2013, 07:03 AM   #16 (permalink)
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To late to edit, but...
Something else you could do is if he growls or snaps at anyone, take his leash and put him in his crate for five minutes. If you don't have a crate, babygate off a bedroom or hallway to use. This will teach him that growling, bad behaviour, gets him removed from his loved ones and the action going on. A lot of people don't believe in using crates this way and on a little puppy, I agree, but Parker's probably saved his life when he hit 7 or 8 months. Also, don't think it hurts an older dog at all. Just don't make the timeouts any longer than 5 minutes or he might forget why he got put in there in the first place


Has he gotten to where he doesn't like your daughter at all? Cause if it's to that point you do need a "good" behaviourist. They can be like trainers...all kinds.
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Old 01-13-2013, 11:35 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Toby lol!! Kiss, Linda,beau and everyone thank you for all of this input! I'm am not offended at all!
He doesn't dislike her, quite the contrary he lays at the foot of her bed or in the rug next to her bed when she's sleeping and since the day she was brought home, the minute she cries he runs to her room and howls/cries with her and runs back to me, pokes his nose on my leg or arm and turns towards her room. Like he's telling me to go soothe her. I know he loves her, they both kind of have the same don't mess w me attitude lol!
Now that I have more time. He will be going to the park and getting bike rides more often. We do play catch w him and we all chase him around the house and he chases us it's really cute. And when we take him outside we chant "go Diego go" and he starts running around so fast in the yard doing donuts and we all crack up! He's a good gentle boy, it makes me tear up. Geez I'm a wreck! Haha because I want him to be that gentle guy always.
The leash idea and putting a baby gate in the hall is a great idea for us in this house. He won't be able to see us. Just hear us.
He has always been leery of petting since we got him. So, I always tell everyone not to pet him. Unless he comes and puts his head under your hand otherwise he just backs away like w head down and tail between his legs like he's going to get hurt.

They said the test would take a day, in assuming they sent it out? I specifically asked for all thyroid tests to be done. They acted like I was crazy and said that t4 will cover it all and there was no need. I said, well to be safe lets just do them all and I'm not worried about the cost just go ahead and do them all.

I honestly felt like they were a bit biased towards him because of the breed

Thank you all again and please if you think of anything else reply again over and over ha!





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Old 01-13-2013, 11:39 AM   #18 (permalink)
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One more thing... He does shake a lot in his sleep. It sometimes scares me. So, it's just dreaming?
I try to wake him up but, he doesn't always wake up. He's a good sleeper!


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Old 01-13-2013, 11:50 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diego_is_his_name_o View Post
One more thing... He does shake a lot in his sleep. It sometimes scares me. So, it's just dreaming?
I try to wake him up but, he doesn't always wake up. He's a good sleeper!


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I've never understood why some folks feel the need to wake their dogs when they are dreaming.

If we constantly had our REM sleep interrupted, we'd have some serious neuro symptoms result!

Not fussing at you specifically, or anyone else--it's just that I've heard of this a lot over the years and it just confuzzles me.

You've gotten some great advice above--I'll just reiterate that this dog would have to earn his way back to his freedoms--all of them, including the couch.

At the same time, I'd feel a responsibility to set him up for success, take him for more training, more mental and physical exercise, and really try to up my skilz in reading his stress levels--that Rugaas book will help you tons with that--and it's ten bucks of gold mine, really it is.

Keep us updated on progress, okay?
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Old 01-13-2013, 12:36 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Honestly when it's happening I don't know what to do. Ha I think my instinct is to wake him incase it's a seizure or something I feel the need to wake and be like are you ok? Even tho he couldnt say yea I'm fine! But it's like if I saw my daughter or husband shaking I'd probably do the same!
The past week alone has gotten much better from all of the things we've been doing. Parks, bike rides car rides and a little bit of retraining. He generally looks happier less depressed.
I will check out those books!
Thank you


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Old 01-13-2013, 12:41 PM   #21 (permalink)
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diego_is_his_name
- thanks for sharing, how much in LOVE your boy is to your daughter...that is great news.
Ret Quote..."I honestly felt like they were a bit biased towards him because of the breed"
- other people are likely producting a negative energy some, approaching your boy / maybe Diego feels your daughter, could be in some harms way (just something to think about)...and his over-protection, is based on these dynamics (just throwing it out there)...to think about.

P.S. - My dogs will always wake up normal, to the touch of my loving hand...because we infrequently practice it.
What bothers me is when: someone posts: "my child crawled up on our dober sleeping, and got growled at or bit in the face.
Waking up my dog, will never cause a surprised fight or threat, so shaking in their sleep, I interrupt to comfort my dobe with the touch of my caring hand and soft words.
- and it stops shaking (so great, in my opinion)
I just don't like to see a breed known for bad hearts, have to shake in their sleep (bothers me some)...spells out "stress" to my non-medical thinking.
- so right or wrong, I will always interrupt a dobes sleep, and use dreams as the excuse to intervene & teach a canine wakeup skill
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:55 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Our girl would growl while in "repose" when she was young(under a year, about 6-10 months old). She would also resource guard toys from my daughter.
I truly believe Nina did not know her place, and once she figured it out she was golden. These days I think I could get her to jump thru fire for me. She's an awesome dog- so glad we worked it out.

btw our girl was diagnosed low thyroid at a young age(under 2 yrs).

As RFR suggested the Turid Rugass calming signals book is invaluable. Honestly, I wish that book was required reading in every elementary school, with seminars and the whole nine. It would save many a lot of grief.

Good luck
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:33 AM   #23 (permalink)
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i just bought the calming signals book cant wait to start it!
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:16 AM   #24 (permalink)
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OP - I don't post here very much but have had a similar problem with my 5 yo male. I had his thyroid checked locally and my vet said it was within normal ranges. I was still concerned becuase the local labs can only test for T4. Read about the issue on Dr. Jean Dodds website at Hemopet. When we had the blood drawn and sent to her lab Jake does have low thyroid for his age and sex. He is now on medication and the issues have improved considerably. His only presenting symptom of low thyroid was behavior and most vets don't look for that. It is a little more expensive but the results are more accurate. A lot of behavior specialists will ask for a full thyroid panel first. Good luck.
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:50 AM   #25 (permalink)
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OP - I don't post here very much but have had a similar problem with my 5 yo male. I had his thyroid checked locally and my vet said it was within normal ranges. I was still concerned becuase the local labs can only test for T4. Read about the issue on Dr. Jean Dodds website at Hemopet. When we had the blood drawn and sent to her lab Jake does have low thyroid for his age and sex. He is now on medication and the issues have improved considerably. His only presenting symptom of low thyroid was behavior and most vets don't look for that. It is a little more expensive but the results are more accurate. A lot of behavior specialists will ask for a full thyroid panel first. Good luck.
Totally agree with having the test run again thru Hemopet. Dr Dodds knows dobermans.

OP, you can also order the test, have your vet draw the blood, and someone said spin it, and send it back to Hemopet for testing. Supposed to be cheaper that way. Check out the Hemopet site. I really do think you should have the test run again thru Hemopet.
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