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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I decided to go home this past weekend to see my fiance and for my sister's superbowl party. Usually, I stay at my sister's house and I bring the puppies along as well. This weekend, I decided to stay with my parents because I haven't stayed with them in a long time (not since summer before classes started). Unfortunately, I can't take Apollo with me to their house because they don't like large dogs running around the house. So for this weekend, I decided to leave both Big and Apollo under the supervision of a couple of my friends so I could go stay with my parents. I didn't think it would be a problem because they love dogs and they live just down the street. I would've left the puppies at their apartment, but they aren't allowed to have dogs. They were going to stop by every few hours to check on them/walk them, play with them and feed them. Since I was only going to be gone Saturday evening and Sunday, I didn't think it'd be a problem.

Well, I left Saturday around 5ish and I got a frantic phone call from my friend around 8ish that night. She said she had come by to walk the puppies, but was afraid to let Apollo out of the crate. She said he was growling,and showing his teeth, with his ears back and his head low. She thought maybe he didn't remember her so she kept saying his name and telling him it was ok, but he wasn't responding. She then tried giving him some treats but he just ignored them. Her boyfriend tried talking to him and letting him smell his hand through the bars (Apollo has always liked him better) and he calmed down a little but he still seemed very nervous so they were cautious about letting him out. I didn't want to tell her to just let him out because I wouldn't want anything to happen, so I told her to just leave him in his crate, and I would be back to pick him up in a few hours.

So I had my fiance drive me back up to school a few hours later, and when we arrived Apollo was barking like the world was ending. He didn't calm down until I walked over to the crate. We ended up bringing both of them home with me and leaving them with my sister as usual (I just really didn't want to leave her with three dogs to deal with since she was setting up for the party and there would be so many people over).

We're baffled as to why he was behaving this way towards my friends! He knows both of them (although he hasn't seen them in about a month since I'm always over there), and has never had any problems with them being over before. I wanted them to come over today because I was thinking maybe he doesn't remember them and see how he reacts, but they're a little hesitant to come by. I guess it's understandable. I can imagine he was a bit intimidating, but I've never seen him behave that way first hand so I can only go by what they described. Was this justified behavior?
 

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Apollo was just doing his job. His job is to make sure your house stays intact while you're away. Until he gets the word from you, he's on duty. Until he hears otherwise, it's a real emergency to him.

It is good to know he can't be bribed with treats.

As long as he's civil around strangers while he's with you, I wouldn't worry.
 

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A good friend of mine asked me to watch her Rottie for the weekend many years ago. I had known Rastas since the day she brought him home and saw him several times a week for the better part of a year. The minute I opened the front door, he hit it and was nothing but teeth. I have no doubt in my mind that he would have shredded me. Unfortunately, they were camping and we had no way to get ahold of them. So, for the whole weekend, I cracked the door and slid in bowls of food and water. I knew he was alive and healthy because every time I opened the door, it was the same thing! We even tried throwing hotdogs in to keep him distracted so Mark could sneak in and get his leash. That really didn't work LOL. For what it's worth, I was there waiting when she got home. She opened the door and I walked in with her, he greated me like I was his long lost, best friend.
My take on this behavior is....
We go to extremes to socialize our dogs to every circumstance but rarely if ever give them the opportunity to do this on their own. Although Rastas and Apollo are social dogs when we're around, when we're gone, they go into protection mode. That's their job - or it is in their mind anyway. How many times has Apollo been in a situation where he was in "his" apartment alone and was expected to tell the difference between friend and foe?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
TracyJo said:
A good friend of mine asked me to watch her Rottie for the weekend many years ago. I had known Rastas since the day she brought him home and saw him several times a week for the better part of a year. The minute I opened the front door, he hit it and was nothing but teeth. I have no doubt in my mind that he would have shredded me. Unfortunately, they were camping and we had no way to get ahold of them. So, for the whole weekend, I cracked the door and slid in bowls of food and water. I knew he was alive and healthy because every time I opened the door, it was the same thing! We even tried throwing hotdogs in to keep him distracted so Mark could sneak in and get his leash. That really didn't work LOL. For what it's worth, I was there waiting when she got home. She opened the door and I walked in with her, he greated me like I was his long lost, best friend.
My take on this behavior is....
We go to extremes to socialize our dogs to every circumstance but rarely if ever give them the opportunity to do this on their own. Although Rastas and Apollo are social dogs when we're around, when we're gone, they go into protection mode. That's their job - or it is in their mind anyway. How many times has Apollo been in a situation where he was in "his" apartment alone and was expected to tell the difference between friend and foe?
Omg, that's crazy! Lol, throwing hotdogs in...

This is the first time he's been in the apartment with other people when I wasn't there. I honestly didn't believe them when they told me he was behaving that way. But they absolutely adore him so I know they wouldn't exaggerate, and they were honestly afraid to let him out. I'm glad I crated him instead of leaving him out as I had planned, which I only did because he tends to jump up on her when he sees her.

Can I work on this without getting to the point where he thinks it's ok for ANYONE to come in when I'm not there?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Chaz said:
Apollo was just doing his job. His job is to make sure your house stays intact while you're away. Until he gets the word from you, he's on duty. Until he hears otherwise, it's a real emergency to him.

It is good to know he can't be bribed with treats.

As long as he's civil around strangers while he's with you, I wouldn't worry.
Thanks for the advice! Lol, we were really worried when she said he refused the treats...it's not like him AT ALL.
 

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Yes, this is kinda the natural behavior of this breed....They know exactly who is supposed to be in the pack and who is not. Even though he knows them, they are not supposed to be in the house without you letting them in....So I am not surprised by this behavior. If you are planning on having them do this for you in the future, I would practice this over and over with them and you in the house and then try it with only them and see if you can incorporate this into a routine. I'm not sure it will work, but you can try.....

I saw the same thing in my delicate flower. She knows a friend of mine really well. The whole kissy face, wiggly butt action when he is over....But one day, he came into the house without me letting him in. Well, Nikita woke up and stopped him dead in his tracks as he approached. The whole barking, snarling thing. It wasn't until I made him go back outside and I let him in, that she accepted him and it was the whole kissy face, wiggly butt thing again.

Wow, what a breed.....
 

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Kratty made a great point. Practice this a lot. I would start out by having the friends back over for a play session - this is to build their confidence as much as his LOL. Then maybe have them feed him a few meals and even put him in and take him out of his crate. Start doing this with your right there and then move to another room and so on until you're completely out of the apartment.
 

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IloveMyDobie31, as I started reading your post, my mind was wondering how on earth were your friends going to enter your apartment without Apollo tearing them apart. Then I got to the crate part........

They were probably very lucky that you crated, or they would have experienced the same thing as TracyJo with the Rotti !!!

Isn't she a fantastic girl, she did her job, I'm home here alone, and no one is taking the tv/stereo/dvd player/mum's jewellery !!! :)
 

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Great advice you have gotten in getting him used to those friends coming in. But everyone is right, Apollo did his job, they may have been friends and fine when you were there, but he didn't see it as right for them to be there when you were not. Good boy Apollo, a little misguided, but good dog anyway :)
 

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I always make sure that the people watching my animals are in the house when I leave so the dogs have accepted them and know they are allowed in while I am away. They can then leave and come back in with no problems.
 

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Gracie will not allow a "new" person to enter the house without us letting them in first. Some one tried to walk in (father in laws then girlfriend) Gracie jumped up right for her neck area. Hubby got to the door before anyone got hurt. Hubby slammed the door shut and and put Gracie in a sit and let them in. We told them to not walk into our home until Gracie has met them. Grace loves my father in law but his girlfriend Gracie still isn't so sure of.

My brother walks in all the time, he sends his dog in first. Lol. As soon as Gracie hers Ginger (brothers rott) she goes crazy. She knows it will be a non stop play time. Sean has had to come by to pick up some things that he forgot here, he will not do it unless we are home. Gracie knows him and knows that we have an open door to him. We just don't know what she would do if we weren't home.

Apollo did his job which is to protect his home and family. His family wasn't there so he had to protect his home. He was in charge at that point. I hope you can get him to the point where he can trust your friends without you being there. :)
 
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