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Hello! My 2year old Dobie is causing me some trouble recently and I’m wondering if this is normal or if anyone has advice for me. I’ve had my girl since she was 10 weeks old. Ive spent a lot of time training her, and she has gone with a dog walker everyday since she had her shots and had exposure to lots of dogs and people. She’s been incredibly well socialized and is a total sweet heart and usually loves everyone/other dogs. Recently, I ended a relationship (with her “father”) and we moved into a new place. I also ended the dog walking temporarily for financial reasons and since I have been working from home, I can give her the exercise she needs. Since we’ve been in our new place, ive noticed some behavior changes. Shes become much more protective of me. When my friends bring their dogs over, who she was previously very friendly towards, she snarls and growls/threatens in our home. I’m not sure if it’s protection/territorial, lack of patience with younger dogs or simply establishing dominance. I still take her to the dog park 1-2x per day so she can play with other dogs and she does well for the most part. In the past few days, ive noticed her snarl or growl at another dog if they come close to her ball she’s playing with or whatever, or if a dog gets between me and her. When this happens, I immediately put her on a leash and we leave. She’s never bitten another dog, seems more bark than anything but it concerns me. In general, she’s always been a very emotional dog and I’m sure with all the transitions we’ve both been going through, she’s feeling anxious. Plus growing into her “adult hood”. She’s just NEVER been like this before so I don’t know if it’s something normal that she’ll simply grow out of, our I need to take more corrective measures.. I take her pretty much everywhere so I don’t want to have to worry about her getting in dog fights in public with doberman’s already bad reputation. Is she just going through terrible twos? Is she being a typical protective Doberman? Help!
 

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Hairy Dog, RIP Caesar, Katana, Kip, Capri
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It's hard to say—she has had a lot of change recently. I'm just going to throw some things out there for you to consider. You've mentioned wondering about some of these, but at the risk of being repetitive:

It can take a dog a month or so to adapt to a new location, and you've got the added part of her losing her "dad". Do you feel she was more attached to you or to him? (which can be totally different from who is willing or able to take care of a dog, I know)

Is there anything about your new place that might be keeping her at an elevated level of arousal? I'm thinking of things like noisy dogs, more traffic, lots of people walking by (more than she's used to), more children outside with the noises they make? Is the area where she goes potty her own place, or is it visited by a lot of other dogs?

You've said she's reacting to other dogs she once was friendly with—is she also reacting to the people who come with them? Are there things like toys or food out that she may be protecting?

You say she seems to more protective of you than usual. Is she reacting to other dogs (or people, I guess) more when they come close to you, or ask for your attention? Or does she basically seem to be protecting her space (your home, or maybe even something like a bed from other dogs)

Another change is that she is maturing as a dobe. Dogs tend to be not as interested in playing with other dogs as they get older—sometimes that can even turn into outright hostility. And dobes can be same sex-aggressive, though more often it is the males who have problems. SSA can show up at a dog park; it is probably even more severe when another dog enters the dog's home.



I would do a few things in this situation:
1. Stop going to the dog park, or only go when it is empty, or just has one or two well behaved dogs, whose owners are watching them carefully and whom you can stay well away from.
2. Make sure there are no toys or food that she could be tempted to squabble over.
3. Meet with your friends on neutral territory (a park?) so she doesn't feel threatened in her own home (a place she may still be uncomfortable in.)
4. Keep her on a leash when she is around other dogs (or people if she is reactive to them) in your house. You need to be able to control her interactions—even a well-trained dog can lose its ability to respond to your commands when it is over-aroused or upset.
5. Is she crate trained? A crate-trained dog usually feels that the crate is its safe spot. I would make sure it is available (even if you are there all the time too) and in a place that seems to be secure to her.

You don't say how long it has been since you moved—if it has just been a month or so, I would give her a little more time to adjust. Don't expose her to a lot of new things; try to keep your schedule consistent (feeding times, walking times, play time….)
 

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It's hard to say—she has had a lot of change recently. I'm just going to throw some things out there for you to consider. You've mentioned wondering about some of these, but at the risk of being repetitive:

It can take a dog a month or so to adapt to a new location, and you've got the added part of her losing her "dad". Do you feel she was more attached to you or to him? (which can be totally different from who is willing or able to take care of a dog, I know)

Is there anything about your new place that might be keeping her at an elevated level of arousal? I'm thinking of things like noisy dogs, more traffic, lots of people walking by (more than she's used to), more children outside with the noises they make? Is the area where she goes potty her own place, or is it visited by a lot of other dogs?

You've said she's reacting to other dogs she once was friendly with—is she also reacting to the people who come with them? Are there things like toys or food out that she may be protecting?

You say she seems to more protective of you than usual. Is she reacting to other dogs (or people, I guess) more when they come close to you, or ask for your attention? Or does she basically seem to be protecting her space (your home, or maybe even something like a bed from other dogs)

Another change is that she is maturing as a dobe. Dogs tend to be not as interested in playing with other dogs as they get older—sometimes that can even turn into outright hostility. And dobes can be same sex-aggressive, though more often it is the males who have problems. SSA can show up at a dog park; it is probably even more severe when another dog enters the dog's home.



I would do a few things in this situation:
1. Stop going to the dog park, or only go when it is empty, or just has one or two well behaved dogs, whose owners are watching them carefully and whom you can stay well away from.
2. Make sure there are no toys or food that she could be tempted to squabble over.
3. Meet with your friends on neutral territory (a park?) so she doesn't feel threatened in her own home (a place she may still be uncomfortable in.)
4. Keep her on a leash when she is around other dogs (or people if she is reactive to them) in your house. You need to be able to control her interactions—even a well-trained dog can lose its ability to respond to your commands when it is over-aroused or upset.
5. Is she crate trained? A crate-trained dog usually feels that the crate is its safe spot. I would make sure it is available (even if you are there all the time too) and in a place that seems to be secure to her.

You don't say how long it has been since you moved—if it has just been a month or so, I would give her a little more time to adjust. Don't expose her to a lot of new things; try to keep your schedule consistent (feeding times, walking times, play time….)
I think the advice given is very good.

My take on her reactions is pretty much the same. I don't ever use dog parks for any of my Dobermans--too many people with rude dogs and your girl has reached the age where she will probably not be as interested as playing with other dogs and she used to be.

If she goes places with you--make sure she's on leash and ask people with dogs to keep their dogs on leash as well. That's the easiest way to keep peace without unhappy dog interchanges.

If she's reacting to dogs coming to your (hers and yours) house to visit with their owners I would at least for the present either ask the owners to not bring their dogs or keep a crate in a quiet location where you can put your girl to "chill" when there are non family member dogs in your house.

Obviously part of the problem is the big changes in her life--one of her "persons", new house and that she is now pretty much an adult and not a friendly puppy as she was.

Good luck...some of the behaviors should mellow with time--sounds like the big changes were fairly recent and the adjustments for a dog take time.

dobebug
 

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Thank you both for your feedback! It has been about 1.5 months since we moved into the new place (but we were temporarily in another place for 2 months), so understandably lots of changes and makes sense to give her some more time to adjust. There is more stimulation in this new place And I’ve already noticed improvements as she is getting used to the new noises (less barking/alerting). As far as the other dogs coming over, It could all be related to protection over me/food/bed/toys. It’s only other dogs she is concerned with (not people). The first time, she threatened the other dog anytime he came around, but then warmed up after a while and then wanted to play with the other dog (male doodle) but he was too afraid of her by then. The second time (with a much smaller female frenchie), We met outside and walked around the block together first And it was fine, but as soon as we got inside, she was protective of her space and growling at the other. I ended up putting her collar on and she was obedient and went to her bed and stayed there in time out. I was hoping the more exposure, the better and the more comfortable she will get with others here, but I get the sense maybe I should air on the side of caution for the meantime while she continues to adjust. I’ll take more caution at dog parks as well. I think it’s true she just doesn’t want to play with or be friendly with as many new dogs these days, especially puppies.. and that seems to be normal “adult dogs.” Again, thanks for the responses. Appreciate the other considerations!
 

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Jalyn Live in the Moment ‘Helo Agathon’ Harper x Godric DOB 3/4/2019
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Since she is two years old, it also wouldn't hurt to have a full thyroid panel done. Hypothyroidism can often affect behavior. Good luck!
 
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My first recommendation is a vet visit and full bloodwork with a full thyroid panel - not just T-4. The gold standard IMHO is Michigan State Univ for the thyroid panel. Just ask your vet.
 

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Sounds like “resource guarding“to me.
Just like us humans we have our favorite things.
Dogs do to....
And you my friend have become one of your dogs prized possessions.
‘Congrats!
Plus your dogs maturity comes into play Making a big difference in dog interactions.
‘My dog Hoss always played a lot with other dogs till about two years.
‘After 2 years things changed and I had to be more particular about dog play dates.
Age changes things....
 
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