Help dobie with aggression - Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-27-2020, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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Help dobie with aggression

Hi guys, I have a 10 month old doberman, and he's absolutely perfect. He is a very well trained dog, knows all the commands, and is off leash trained, but he has started lashing out. It started with our other dog who is the most laid back golden doodle I know. Then he started going after people and even me. I have brought him to the vet and they cant find anything that would cause his aggression. It has started happening more and more to the point I can't even bring him out of my room without a muzzle. I cant seem to find the root of this problem it is completely random. I have reached out to his breeder and she hasn't replied. I am feeling completely hopeless, is it because he is not cut? I don't want to cut him because he is still a puppy. If anyone has any advice please please please let me know.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-27-2020, 02:26 PM
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Give us more details.....whats the average day like at your place. What’s your dogs routine like on an average day.
Is your pup on any medications? Is anyone else ( dogs or humans) spending time with your dog when you are not around.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-27-2020, 02:33 PM
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Probably the best thing you can do at this point is to hook up with a qualified animal behaviorist—diagnosis of this kind of thing over the internet is impossible (and probably irresponsible of the advice giver.)

You are describing serious and dangerous behavior; many different things could be contributing to it. A behaviorist can look at the behavior in person, get an idea of what could be going on around you, assess whether the reaction is fear-based or true aggression, and also watch your reaction (and that of the people and animals around you guys) to see what ideas and corrective measures he can recommend. Sometimes a trigger can be quite subtle, and if you are busy trying to deal with your dog's behavior, you might not be picking up on something that is going on around you—an outside observer who knows what to look for can be very helpful.

For example, is the dog same-sex reactive (is your other dog a male?), and redirecting his aggression to the people around him? Is he reacting to the restraint a leash imposes on him (I'm not saying go without the leash as a cure, obviously.) You say he's been checked out by the vet—did that include a full thyroid panel to see if any of those values are out of whack, or did the vet simply feel around for sore spots (pain is another thing which can cause defensive aggression) and general health problems? That's just the tip of the iceberg—there can be a number of other reasons for his behavior, including the poor temperament which can come with bad breeding.

Simply neutering the dog, without directing specific attention to the cause of his behavior and putting into place individually designed treatment and training to correct it, is unlikely to stop the behavior. Even if the behavior has some kind of root in hormones (which may be far down the list in terms of possibilities), it has likely now become a reinforced way for the dog to respond under certain conditions—simply removing the source of those hormones won't necessarily stop the behavior.

You are right to go with a muzzle in the meantime, however. If you have a dog who is reactive or responding irregularly with aggressive behavior, you need to take all precautions you can to keep everyone safe (including the dog).
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Last edited by melbrod; 07-27-2020 at 02:38 PM.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-28-2020, 01:35 AM
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I'm not one to jump on the "animal behaviorist" bandwagon, personally I think a lot of them are a joke.. I would like to know what do you do when the dog is behaving badly? What type of training methods have you used to get the puppy to where he is at? Positive Reward? Corrections? What kind of corrections has the dog experienced? What lines does the puppy come from? Who is the breeder?

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-28-2020, 10:23 AM
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Pretty expensive joke. From the ACVB website:

Veterinary Behaviorists are licensed veterinarians who have graduated from a recognized college of veterinary medicine and completed at least one year of internship or primary care practice. They have also undergone additional behavior-specific training which includes at least 3 years of case supervision by an established Diplomate, conducting original behavior research which earns publication in a peer reviewed journal, authored 3 formal case reports that were approved by a review committee of Diplomates, and passed a rigorous 2-day Board Examination.

As part of this program they have studied topics including: sociobiology, psychology of learning, behavioral genetics, behavioral physiology, psychopharmacology, ethology, and behavioral endocrinology.

All standards and procedures of ACVB are approved by the American Board of Veterinary Specialties (ABVS) which is an organization within the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Professional conduct standards are set by both the AVMA and the ABVS, as are requirements for training programs. Specialists in veterinary behavioral medicine are also held accountable to local and state laws of veterinary practice.


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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-28-2020, 10:31 AM
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You need professional involvement. Too many unknowns for anyone over the internet to help you, and, even with more information, you need someone who can see what is going on in person. Could be inherited temperament, could be early experiences and reaction to training methods and experiences, could be a combination of both. Please get qualified professional advice.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-28-2020, 02:00 PM
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I think the problem with the animal behaviorist thing is that a lot of the people who call themselves that are really just joe schmoes from off the streets, who think they know what they are doing, but haven't a clue.

When I said qualified animal behaviorist, I was referring to the kind Rosemary is talking about. There are also some folks out there who have an amazing amount of knowledge picked up the long hard way. But for the average guy, it's easy to be fooled by the charlatans.

OP, you can try calling your closest vet school to see if they can refer you to someone who can give you some hands-on help.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-28-2020, 03:26 PM
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I would say finding a qualified behaviorist is about as hard as finding a good breeder. There are a lot of imitators who are very easy to find, but the good ones are out there and can be found, too. It just takes knowing what and how to look for and find them.

flies, here's a link (below) to the ACVB site and search tool. Your primary vet might also be able to make a good recommendation of a qualified behaviorist, or, as melbrod suggested, contacting a veterinary school is a great option to get references for behaviorists (and all kinds of veterinary specialists), too.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-28-2020, 04:17 PM
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To add to brw's post, in addition to qualified veterinary behaviorists, there are also skilled behaviorists that are trained through the IAABC (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants). People like Michael Shikashio, who is a very well known aggression specialist (https://aggressivedog.com/about-michael-shikashio/). There are also highly skilled trainers who specialize in aggression and have stellar reputations (people like Trish McMillan, who are highly sought after for seminars on aggression in dogs - https://www.instinctdogtraining.com/...rish-mcmillan/).

It's just hard to evaluate if you don't have a good background in dogs, sometimes.


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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-30-2020, 02:06 PM
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Oh no! I don't have any words of advice or recommendations, but what the others above me have said seems like the advice you should be taking! Good luck with your boy.

My dobie is 2 and a half years old, and when he was about the same age as your pup, he started showing some teenage-ish, pushy behaviors. Excessively barking at other dogs. Extra excitement. More hard-headed "I don't wanna and you can't make me!" type tantrums. But it wasn't to the point that we had to muzzle him or keep him away from dogs or people. He wasn't neutered at the time either (not saying that being intact was the root of his behaviors). He grew out of that phase (I say time and continued training were what helped), but it sounds like your pup's behaviors are more severe than just the general "teenage hormones" thing. I hope you find the answers and treatment you need!
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-31-2020, 02:54 AM
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The fact is we know nothing. We know nothing of what kind of boundaries have been set for the adolescent dog. The OP put a post up and that is the one and only post. There is no mention of anything afterwards. To recommend to spend a lot of money on an "animal behaviorist" when we have no idea what has been attempted, IMO is a bit extreme. We don't know what training has been done. We know nothing about if there has been a proper operate conditioning/ balanced approach to training or corrections. With a 10 month old Doberman it is more likely a fear reaction than true aggression.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-31-2020, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Rosamburg View Post
The fact is we know nothing. We know nothing of what kind of boundaries have been set for the adolescent dog. The OP put a post up and that is the one and only post. There is no mention of anything afterwards. To recommend to spend a lot of money on an "animal behaviorist" when we have no idea what has been attempted, IMO is a bit extreme. We don't know what training has been done. We know nothing about if there has been a proper operate conditioning/ balanced approach to training or corrections. With a 10 month old Doberman it is more likely a fear reaction than true aggression.
That's exactly why I said get a professional. If the OP can't identify true aggression, fear, whatever, they do need at least a quality trainer. As I said in my post, too, impossible to know what's going on without seeing in person.

My caveat is, however, that I have seen some pretty unstable Dobermans from less than stellar breeders, and that showed up young. So it is in fact, possible, to see some real instability even at a very early age.

My original post below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by MeadowCat View Post
You need professional involvement. Too many unknowns for anyone over the internet to help you, and, even with more information, you need someone who can see what is going on in person. Could be inherited temperament, could be early experiences and reaction to training methods and experiences, could be a combination of both. Please get qualified professional advice.


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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-31-2020, 09:33 AM
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I kind of agree a little bit with everyone here, we don't know your experience with dogs or even dobermans. When I speak of aggression, my dog is puncturing something and someone else is going to the vet or the hospital for stiches. When I say my dog "lashed out" that usually means he lost his $#!+ on something by barking and biting but not hard enough to even cut skin really. It's more of a "I'm showing you I'm the toughest one around and don't mess with me or this will get worse". Usually this means they're in a fear period, instead of flight, they have chosen fight. I'm going to attack them before they attack me.

Is you mixed breed a male or a female?

What did you do when he went after your other dog? What did you do when he went after other people? What did you do when he went after you? I want to know the situation, was he on lead, what was your first reaction as well as what you did after that.

This is pretty typical behavior for the age. Taking his balls off at this point will only exasperate the situation so DO NOT listen to your vet. Do hormones contribute to this behavior? yes, but hormones will also help to get them out of this behavior. If you take away his hormones while he's in this state, you stand a high chance he will never leave it. My male went through a similar stage and I'll be honest it took probably 1.5 years of hard work to break him. Most of it involved positive training, bringing his focus to me with high value treats, strangers and other dogs become a good thing, especially when you're super hungry because your meals now become training sessions. I will say that the last time he broke from me while at IGP training to attack another dog, of which I, one of the few females in the club, had to break up the fight (eye roll), that was a very bad and ugly day for him. I won't say what I did but you can PM me and I will.

As far as him lashing out at you, was it due to frustration because he wanted to lash out at something else and was redirecting at you? At a very young age puppies will start testing you and that is the best time for you to let them know that you WILL NOT put up with that kind of behavior. I grab their collars and scruff hard and fast, I hover over them and give them a few firm, loud "NOs!" while I look them straight in the eye. I don't let go until they've calmed down (this advice will likely ruffle some feathers). But a 10mo. old is a whole other situation, you can get seriously hurt doing that. You need to bring in a professional. I'm not going to advise a behaviorist. I've worked with a great one but as others have said there are some not-so-great ones. Instead I will ask you where you live and I'll check around to see about some good trainers in your neck of the woods, feel free to PM me if you prefer.

Lastly, please take this as a hard lesson learned and support a reputable breeder next time. They are worth their weight in gold and they won't leave you hanging high and dry.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-31-2020, 09:44 AM
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That gets to the point. We don't know anything, in part because we're not there and can't see the dog's behavior or the owner's response. We can't see the dog's environment to even make an informed guess about the reasons for his behavior.

We don't know how accurately the owner is describing his dog's behavior. But he isn't just reporting relatively mild behavior like "the dog growls at me when I put his food down on the floor" or "he pulls too hard on the leash." He is reporting that his dog can't leave his room without a muzzle because he might attack someone.

Giving blind advice over the internet to an owner whose dog handling skills we don't know, about a dog whose behavior as described is on the extreme side, is risky.

I really do think this is a time to recommend that the owner seek in-person, hands-on advice from a professional. A one-time consult might do wonders to answer the questions about the dog's behavior and to advise what the owner might be able to do about it.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-31-2020, 10:03 AM
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I don't see where anyone's offered any sort of advice to this situation. Getting more information might be helpful.

I don't judge a dog because an owner keeps a muzzle on it. Just a couple of months ago a trainer friend when to investigate an aggressive 6mo. female doberman. The lady was ready to put her down and she also had to wear a muzzle. He gets there and the lady is constantly yelling and screaming at the poor dog. The dog was extremely fearful and not at all aggressive. The trainer took the dog, rehomed it and there hasn't been an issue since. I'm not saying that's the situation here, but we don't know. With that said, we maybe able to help if we know the sex of the other dog, or other little things that happened that can be addressed over the internet until a trainer can get there. No one's saying take the muzzle off or go out and start training your dog but a few more facts about the situation might be helpful, until a trainer comes on board. Honestly, I wouldn't trust the OP to be able to find a reputable trainer on his own, many people train dogs, few actually do it well, but the reputable dog training world is small and most of us know contacts, through competing that we can send in his direction.
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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-02-2020, 12:16 AM
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It would appear the OP has left the building.
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