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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 09:44 PM Thread Starter
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2yr analysis of blue dobe

My boy Kiko is now 2 years and a couple of months old. So far he's been doing great. He is my true companion. His outlook is positive, full of energy, loves people, a big goof, and loves to mingle with all the puppers out there. Yes, he has dealt with a couple of small skin issues due to his blue coat color but never affects his attitude. You can say he's a very good boy. However, it's occurred to me that he may be TOO good of a boy. Let me explain.

He is currently intact. I want to give him a chance to fully develop. Because he still has his goods there are moments out in the field where other male dogs see him as a challenge and have attacked him full on. He can look intimidating to strangers. However what worries me is that he doesn't defend himself. He is so good natured he chooses to allow it to happen to him rather than defend himself. I've never taught him to be a "guard" dog but I do wish to see him as a protector that he was born to be. My question to the community is, does this trait come at a later age as they become wiser to the world or is that something you strictly train them to do?

Today a pit mix had his scruff completely in his grips. It could of gotten a lot worse. He could of killed him if it continued. I love pits. They too are amazing dogs but the owner had it off leash and had zero control over it and could not get the dog to release. Luckily a bystander threw water and it let go of my dog. But apart of me wanted to see him at least try to defend himself. Would like to hear the doberman community comment on this. Thanks!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 09:50 PM
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Are you allowing him to run free with these unknown dogs? Or are they coming up to you on walks well he's on leash? Dobermans are not really a breed that gets along with strange dogs. You are lucky that he has not 'stood up for himself' because that would likely mean he will be dog reactive and or aggressive for the rest of his life, as so many male Dobermans are. If you are taking him to dog parks this would be a great time to end that.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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Hi greenkouki

I take him to on and off leash parks. He has proven himself to me 100% and everyone around him that he can be trusted off leash in a public setting. He is definitely not aggressive towards other dogs. He loves running around with them. If an unknown dog is in the vicinity off leash I keep my distance until the dog shows kindness I will then introduce. But today we were simply walking in the park together on leash and the pit came straight up to him, ignored me, and instantly attacked him to show his dominance. He took the beating though. After it was all done and they separated he was acting like nothing happened but me and the pit owner were very shaken up. Tough dog. But as he gets older I just want to be sure that if he's ever in danger like he was that sometimes he will need to hold his ground on these loose cannons. I would never put him in that kind of situation but today the situation came to us.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 10:21 PM
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Thank you for clarifying.

A couple things I think are worth mentioning that I sort of started getting into but I wasn't really sure of the details of the unprovoked attacks.

A large intact male dog is going to be a target so keep this in mind at all times. While he may have gotten along great in his puppyhood and now into adolescence, It's unrealistic to expect things to continue on the same path. With continued attacks and scuffles, and him entering adulthood, I do expect him to fight back and/or shut down, become aggressive or dog reactive, or leash reactive, and I expect you do not want that for the rest of his life.

Instead of expecting him to stand up for himself, you need to be an advocate for his safety and well being. That could mean a combination of carrying something to protect him from other dogs coming up off leash (spray, walking stick, etc.), not taking him places where you expect there to be careless owners who walk their dogs off leash, and probably the most important would be to discontinue off leash interaction with unfamiliar dogs. The doberman was bred as a personal protector. He was not bred to work alongside other dogs, and therefore you should not expect him to continue being a happy go lucky puppy. Now that he's an adult, breed characteristics will start to come through more.

I'm sorry if this is a reality check of sorts and I hope you will see the situation from a different perspective moving forward.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
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Spot on. I called my cousin immediately after it all happened because he's always been knowledgable about dogs and he said the same exact thing you just stated. I have to be even more aware of his safety because he is becoming a 'target' for dominance. And also advised me carrying spray and a break stick from now on. It sucks because it happened at the first park I ever took him to. So it's like our default park. Never been a problem till today.

Haha. Go lucky puppy..la dee dah!!..I just love watching my baby boy get to stretch his legs at full speed thru the open fields in the sunset but I completely understand that he is growing up and HE needs to be guarded even more so. Sweet irony! Thanks again for keeping it real. Not too many dobie owners around here that I can talk with.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 11:02 PM
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What gk said^^^

My baby is a 5 yo intact male.. about 87 lb. In 40+years of male Dobe ownership, he is the sweetest most socialized dog that I have ever owned.

Regardless... He is never allowed to interact with unknown dogs. Ever.

Why? He is powerful and deliberate. I am not willing to have his personality altered by a poor dog vs dog interaction.

He is generally non-reactive towards other dogs.

Still... Several years ago, while on leash, he was attacked by a large pit mix dog who got away from his handler.

I was on a cane at the time and so released him.

He did some serious damage to the large dog. He walked way unscathed.

Never again... Fortunately, there were witnesses, who corroborated the fact that my boy, under my control, was the victim of the attack.

Since then I have proactively avoided any potential conflict with other dogs.

No dog parks. No on or off leash dog interactions.

Honestly he does not miss interacting with other dogs.

His focus is on me. He is a Doberman.

JMO

John
Portlnd OR

He plays (roughly) with only one other dog. His 10yo "brother dobe".
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 11:55 PM
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My dog was intact. Totally socialized and rock solid steady in ANY situation. That said, he had been attacked 5 times at agility trials and always by dogs that were not being watched by their handlers. These always happened while we were moving through the crowd that gathered at the front of the rings. Idiot owners with aggressive dogs with their heads up their asses. You have to ALWAYS be aware of what's coming. You shouldn't expect your dog to take care of himself. That's the owner's responsibility. I would never take Bacchus to a dog park. That's just asking for trouble. If you want playmates for your dog then stick with the same ones that have formed a friendship.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-26-2019, 04:34 AM
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Yep..Hoss and I have dealt with dog attacks....and each and every time the other owners always say.....oh no worries!! My dogs friendly.
My response is...........”Mine is not”.
Walking in neighborhood, dog parks, structured classes....we have experienced issues first hand.....
In each case the owners accept no accountability.....and it IS their fault. IMO we should be in control of our dogs at all times.
I have no trust when dealing with unknown humans or their dogs.
Rule # 1 .....be a good advocate for your dog...because during times of trouble no one else will........
Sounds like your dog has a great temperament .....congrats.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-26-2019, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the insight. Kiko has been over it since it ended. But I am still here 15hrs later mulling over what had just happened. My knees are all scuffed up from trying to wrestle off that dog. My perspective is changing as we speak. Going forward things will change on how we interact with the outside world. It was very irresponsible of what that pit owner allowed but the lesson has been learned. Especially for me. In a way i'm still positive about it all because this means that our bond is only going to get stronger.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-26-2019, 09:37 AM
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Some may disagree with me but here's my take on dogs being protective and defensive.

It can happen at any age for a dog. Just like some physically mature quicker, they also mentally mature at different ages. Confidence TENDS to come with age BUT...

Most pet people unintentionally do things that squash their dogs confidence. Training and correcting a young dog for barking. Barking is part of their defense and warning. It's hard for a dog to comprehend when it's ok to bark, impossible for a puppy. Training and correcting a young dog for jumping on people. A dog doesn't jump out of aggression, it does so to say "hi friend, I'm excited to see you". If you constantly tell your puppy it's not ok to jump on someone and that people are superior, it will be nearly impossible for them to know when it is the right time to jump on someone. Not getting on the ground and playing tug with their puppies and allowing their puppies to climb all over them. I nearly always want my puppy to think he's beat me at tug or whatever game we're playing. "that's right you're the king you beat me great job!" This play thing is huge. I'd say we test temperaments at my IGP club weekly with new dogs. You can instantly see the difference in a dog's confidence between an owner who has actively played tug and interacted with their puppy and someone who just gives their puppy toys and never "rough houses/plays" with their puppy. One dog is raring to go the other dog is usually cowering and uncomfortable to even be there.

Taking young dogs to dog parks or to play with other dogs, that don't have experience with puppies, that are allowed to act dominant. The second I see my puppy cower or be submissive PLAY. IS. OVER. with that dog. Even if it's one of mine. I NEVER want my puppy to be submissive. I want all of my puppies to walk around with the highest amount of confidence so that they grow up into dogs with the highest amount of confidence. That doesn't mean that my puppies act like A'holes. I allow my adult dogs to give a correction when it's a deserved correction. We are a team and we work together. I put my puppies in a submissive position, like on their backs. Only I am allowed to do that and it's in a playful rubbing their belly type of way. It's never in a state of anger or to show that I'm the superior. It's more to gain trust and who doesn't want belly rubs?

I have a few friends whose dogs just lack confidence, they can't pass the WAE to save their lives. I would love to tell them what they're doing that's just KILLING their dog's confidence, but it's my opinion that it's to each their own. When I first started training my Dobermans I HATED dogs jumping on me, still do. When I met my first working Doberman I thought, "your dog is so well trained and it jumps on people?!?". That's when I started looking into that and what working people do to keep their dogs confidence at the highest level. Even now that my dogs are a bit older, they never get corrected for jumping I simply distract them or tell them to sit before they have a chance to jump.

Taking an intact male to a dog park is a HUGE mistake. It's an attack waiting to happen. Neutered males aren't seen as males. They lack the hormones, so a neutered male will likely get along with other neutered males. That same sweet Lab that has never had any issues then meets your intact male and that same sex aggression that JQP has never seen before comes out. Neutered dogs still recognize an intact male. So just because someone says their dog is friendly and has never had an issue with male dogs, don't believe them. It's likely their dog has never come in contact with an intact male.

Lastly, my dogs have never been attacked. Yes, we hike a lot and go on walks and about a month ago a Wheaton Terrier went after Kya in agility. He was met with my foot in his face as I quickly got her behind me. Yes that shoe was bit, yes it hurt and yes she was a bit shook up. But my dogs will NEVER be attacked. If they were ever attacked so help me I'd let the leash go so I could free both hands to put around the other dogs neck or pull it back by the tail. I would hope my dogs would defend themselves but I will NEVER put them in that position if I can keep from it. Not everyone's as stupid as me but I'd rather get mauled over my dog. It's not smart but it's who I am.

The good news is you still have a young male and can now change a few things to help him build that confidence. Good luck.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-26-2019, 09:39 AM
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One thing to keep in mind......NO ONE WINS A DOG FIGHT. Even if both dogs are not bloody the fight stays with them either mentally or physically. It can have impact on how the dog interacts with other dogs later on. It already has had an impact on you.....
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-26-2019, 11:17 AM
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I have always heard that neutered males tend to go after the intact ones (maybe they're jealous LOL). I don't know how true that is, but it seems like I've seen it quite a few times.

I play tug with my dogs...yes, I let them get all riled up, growling and pulling for all they are worth. And I let them win...but usually I say "OK" and "You've got it" right before I'm going to let go, like I'm giving them permission to get the toy away, sorta, and a joyful "yippee" when they dance off with it. And I use a "give" command intermittently and then start the tugging again right away after they've released the toy--a way to show them that just because they give me a toy, it doesn't mean play time is over. And they always get to take the toy away from me and keep it on the last tug in the game.

I don't know whether that hurts or helps (or is neutral) confidence really. But aside from Kip, whom we got at about 9 months, a kennel dog who apparently had never been many other places and tended to draw his confidence from my reaction instead of from himself, they've all been outgoing and willing to explore.

A funny observation of Hairy Dog...if I quit the tug game before he wants to, he tends to go over and shove the toy in the cat's face in an invitation to play. Cat is not amused.
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Last edited by melbrod; 09-26-2019 at 11:21 AM.
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