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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay. This is totally not normal for Bruno. So I'm wondering if someone else went through this. I always stress how well behaved Bruno is and how I trust him no matter what.

However. Tonight after we were done Dinner. Bruno was allowed into the kitchen (he will sit at the kitchen door until we are done lol). My 6yr old went to go near him. Bruno let a little growl out. Not agressive or anything. But a low growl. So my son backed away. Then he went near him again, and Bruno did the same growl and backed away from him. So my other son (4yrs old) went near him and nothing. Bruno didn't do a thing. So we thought maybe it had something to do with the KFC my son had on his hands. So we made him wash his hands. Then go to Bruno for a kiss. Bruno gave a kiss. But then again a few minutes later gave a growl when he went near him :( Is this normal? Do they get like this sometimes? I asked my son if he did anything to Bruno and he said no. It's normally my youngest that basically pulls on Bruno. Not my oldest. So I don't think that's the case. I'm just now stressing about it. I do trust Bruno. But like any animal (or person for that matter) you can never be 100%.

Any possibility's what it might be? Or why all of a sudden he's doing this? This is the FIRST time he's EVER done something like this. Possibly having an off day??

Gosh I can't wait till we do the obedience.
 

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Luv_my_Bruno said:
Any possibility's what it might be? Or why all of a sudden he's doing this? This is the FIRST time he's EVER done something like this. Possibly having an off day??

Gosh I can't wait till we do the obedience.
Without actually seeing what happened, no one can really tell you for sure what motivated this behavior...there are too many forms of aggression with too many causes...and yes, a growl, no matter how low, is a form of aggression.

The problem now is the dog "got away with it"-there were no negative repercussions for his actions-and that kind of increases the odds it will happen again..aggression tends to escalate because it's self rewarding behavior-it feels good to the dog and makes them more confident.

Time to get started with that obedience class!
 

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This is just my opinion, but it seems to me that dogs show agression to household members "pack members" who they believe are lower in the pecking order than them, OR who they are unsure about (maybe thinking they are at the same "level"). You said that he didn't do it to your 4 yr old, but he did it to the older one. You also said that your 4 yr old is the one always pulling on him and such. Once again, this is just a guess....but it could be, that he sees your 4 yr old as a "higher up", but is still unsure of his position with the 6 yr old. He could be "testing the waters" with him.

I would watch them VERY closely, not that Bruno is not trustable, but he needs to understand his position in the pack VERY clearly. I also agree with MurrayDobe, that should he show aggression again, he should be reprimanded. As cute as he is (he is adorable :)) in my opinion, he is only doing what nature has programed into him.
 

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I don't want to sound harsh or judgmental but why did you allow your son to approach the dog again after the first growl? I mean I wasn't there but I just don't understand why you would say "hmmmmm, the dog growled, try it again and see what happens this time..." not once but a couple times with 2 different children.
No, don't trust Bruno. Don't trust any dog with any kid. I know you love him but "trusting" him could be setting yourself and him up for disaster. He established last night after dinner that for one reason or another he thinks it's okay to tell the kids (or you) what to do - It's not okay.
If I were you, I would seriously limit his freedom around the children until you get him a little more under control. This might just be a fluke but it seems to me that his "aggression" issues are escalating. He's recently began demonstrating more aggressive displays in your yard and now it's in your house. I personally think these are issues than can be dealt with but you have to be proactive in dealing with them.
Maybe I wouldn't be so quick to comment on this if I weren't dealing with aggression issues with Chi, but I know the mistakes I've made and am working out now and hate to see someone else go down that same road. If I had been more proactive in correcting the unwanted and rewarding the desired behaviors, we would be much better off than we are now. In retrospect, I can see that there were many incidents that I allowed to just slip by or didn't react to at all that taught Chi is was okay to act nutty around new people and dogs. It's taken me a long time to really realize that training is an all the time thing, not just a few 15 minute sessions in the yard every day but every waking minute. It's a lot of work but I am confident that the work will pay off with both Chi and Bruno if we stay consistent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We did punish Bruno. I don't think I said I didn't? We did. He got in trouble for it...he also was sent to a place by himself (we don't own a crate yet. But IMO putting him by himself and making him stay in one spot (my husband made him sit at his feet and not move) is like the 30 second time out in a create). He was by no means rewarded for what he did.

We didn't tell my son to go up to Bruno. My son WALKED by Bruno...Bruno backed off while he growled. I would NEVER put my son in front of Bruno while he was acting this way. Like I said after my son had washed his hands. Bruno walked up to him like he normally would and gave him kisses. But then AFTER that my son walked by and he let out a low growl again. It's not like I said "Okay Isaiah. He growled at you. Now go back in his face. I wanna see if he'll do it again." It wasn't like that AT ALL. We told Bruno NO when he did it the first time. Then we just continued on what we were doing and my son walked by and it happened again. Like I said.
 

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It's a touchy subject, I understand - I'm sorry I couldn't think of a more tactful way to say what I did. You didn't say that Bruno went unpunished/undisciplined but you also didn't say that he was - I was under the impression that what you originally wrote was all that happened in chronological order. What concerned me the most was: So we thought maybe it had something to do with the KFC my son had on his hands. So we made him wash his hands. Then go to Bruno for a kiss. Bruno gave a kiss. But then again a few minutes later gave a growl when he went near him It sounded to me like you had your son approach Bruno not the other way around.
Again, I do not doubt your love for the kids or Bruno - I also do not doubt that you want what is best. It stinks because you get this pup, love him, practically worship him and then one day he does something (like growl at one of the kids) and you're like "Whoa, where the heck did that come from??" and causes you to second guess all the work that you've done so far. I know this only because I'm can honestly say, been there, doing that...
 

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A growl is a warning. It is better for the dog to give a warning, such as a growl than go straight to a bite.
As I am sure you know it is not appropriate behavior and growling always has a reason, so don’t underestimate what he is trying to tell you.

I also agree with TracyJo. Some people think raising kids and dogs together is a wonderful & natural thing, but it requires lots of work and supervision to make it work.
Do not trust Bruno no matter what. Never ever trust a dog, regardless of breed, 100% around your children or any other children. Better safe than sorry. Too many things can happen. Sometimes kids will just be kids (like you said about one of yours) and dogs will react accordingly or sometimes dogs do act in ways that are uncharacteristic of them.

Especially knowing Bruno is having some issues with the young kid don’t leave them unsupervised. I am not saying you do or ever would, and you probably know all of this anyway, I am just approaching all avenues for others that are reading this with issues. I am not in any way saying you do or don’t do these things, just making suggestions.

Bruno is young but his aggression /confidence issues are escalating; it doesn’t get better without intervention. I know you are going to take him to training classes, so it will be helpful to have a person that can work with you and the dog and is available for any questions that you have.
But obedience classes once per week or so isn’t enough, he is going to need more of a constant consistent structure and leadership at home, like the nothing in life is for free approach combined with lots of daily exercise. For instance, long walk/runs per day, fetch, laser light, swimming, etc. There is a saying, a tired dog is a good dog, and that is just so very true. I find I really look forward to our daily dose of exercise too=)

It would be helpful to start doing a NILIF (nothing in life is for free) type training approach for Bruno. Have you tried a nothing in life is for free type plan? Here are some examples http://k9deb.com/nilif.htm ,
http://www.samoyedrescue.com/nilif.htm, http://www.k9station.com/NILIF.htm, http://www.idahohumanesociety.com/ca...n/notfree.html
The dog does not get free fed, he has to do something before food/treats, before going out the door and there are other helpful rules. When you say a command, the dog obeys on the first time every time, a command is not a suggestion or optional, and it is required that the dog obey. There are other rules too. Anyway, it will help remind him that he is at the bottom of the pack. It is a way of life for the dog, not a quick fix though. We do a modified approach around here, after awhile it becomes second nature and you will find that dog really likes the security it brings, since he always knows what is expected.

The book Tracy recommended you read is such a great book and helps us understand more about dog behavior. Also, as she suggested, the flying dog press (http://www.flyingdogpress.com/artlibreg.htm) is a good place to read up on these types of issues too.
One more thing, sometimes dogs in pain will act different. You might want to take him for a check up to rule out any possible infections or to test his thyroid just to be safe.
But with the being said, I think you will find the training classes, help of the instructor, the Nothing in Life is for Free approach, consistent leadership, and more daily exercise will help. =) It is not easy, but is worth it because without serious intervention, the older Bruno becomes, the more likely these incidents will occur.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
When I said that. I meant we made him go wash his hands. Then after he washed his hands. He went to Bruno to pet him. Bruno was in the living room with the rest of us, actually with my youngest son. When Isaiah went to pet him, Bruno let him. Then gave him a kiss. After that, my son walked by him and he did it again. We didn't make him go to Bruno. I wouldn't do that, like I said above.

My boys do come before anyone. So if the case turns out that Bruno does turn agressive towards either of my boys. He is gone. As sad as it would be and as much as it would crush my heart (and even thinking of it right now is making me tear up). I would do it in a heart beat. I'd never make my kids get in a situation like that.

The best I can do right now is keep my eye on him. Hope that obedience helps and pray that it stops and it was a one time thing. But again, like I said. Bruno would be gone in a second if I ever felt he was harmful to my children. Being a Mother I'm sure you totally know where I'm coming from :eek:)
 

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I absolutely know where you're coming from - Jordan is my life and I am so very thankful that Chi has never even come close to showing aggression toward her or anyone in this family. There would be no question on who would come first if I was ever forced to choose - Her safety and well being trumps everything in this house.
I've seen many times on different forums -and even occassionally here - where it becomes almost popular to kick a person when they're down. Please do not think that is what I'm trying to do. I'm not. What we're trying to say is that:
Luv_my_Bruno said:
The best I can do right now is keep my eye on him. Hope that obedience helps and pray that it stops and it was a one time thing.
won't work and is not the best or only thing you can do. Obedience will certainly help, but like D&D said, the classes will only give you the tools to teach him and a bit of socialization- OB is much more than an hour or so a week. Yes, keep and eye on him, but take it a step further and keep a leash on him. Invest in a kennel and when you can not have him right there with you, put him in the kennel. This is the biggest pain in the butt ever, but it's worth it to teach him what is expected and to keep the kids safe. Chi has been leashed for almost 2 weeks now and is slowly earning freedoms back. Since she has virtually no freedom in the house, I have been forced to increase her exercise and it's a pain, 3 walks a day and frisbee at least every other day - it takes time and that's something we are all short of. But I think she's worth the sacrifice... The difference between her now and 2 weeks ago is pretty drastic. I was so concerned about breaking her spirit or hurting her feelings that I created so many problems with her. Once I finally realized that this is my house, the couch is mine and yes, even Chi is mine (I own her, not she owns me) and started acting as such, things got a lot better. Chi has certainly been a ton more work than I ever expected - much of that is because of mistakes that I made early on and truth be told, I could be making mistakes right now with what we're doing - but it does seem to be working quite well so far. 2 weeks on a leash and having to work for EVERYTHING has taught her to look to me for direction, not to take things into her own hands. I noticed today actually that her little nub wags much more now than it ever did before - but she has direction, she doesn't have to make decisions, I make them for her and she knows that. Holy cow, think of how great life would be if we had someone who was fair and loved us and provided for us and made all of our decisions for us.
Read Culture Clash - your library may have it, I know ours does and it's a tiny library. It gave me a whole new outlook on pack structure, why we have problems with our pets (normally these are human problems and the dogs are just acting like dogs act) and training philosophies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have done the leash thing inside the house. But the only thing I worry about doing that. Is when it comes time to walk him on the leash. He will think of it as a punishment. Because it would be what I'd use inside as his punishment. I don't want that. I want walks to be enjoyed.

We're certainly working with Bruno. I'm also really looking forward to the OB classes mainly so I can learn. That's why I'm so excited. Because then I can know that what I'm doing with him at home is the right thing. I will also continue what I'm taught with Bruno at home. :)

So we're working on it. But I know it will take time.
 

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That's it though - An Oprah light bulb moment :) It's not punishment. We still play games, she still gets lovins (more so now that before probably because she's right here). Keeping her on the leash just gives me immediate access to her when teaching opportunities arise. Of course it makes corrections easier but it also provides so many opportunities for praise. It also sets her up for success by preventing her from doing naughty things. I'm not saying this is the "only" way to train a dog by all means - just that this is what we're doing now and how it's working. Your situation with Bruno is so very familiar, he's just really following in her foot steps.
ex. Right now I'm sitting at the computer desk, Jordan is on the floor playing a video game and Chi is laying between us. Petri and Yo just raced through the living room - Chi completely ignored them and earned a click/treat and luvin :) If she had not ignored them and started to chase after them, I would have gotten the leash, brought her back to "her spot" given her a down/stay and c/t'd after a second or two to reinforce in her mind how she should behave. 2 weeks ago, Jordan would not be able to sit on the floor and play games undisturbed. Chi and Petri have different rules, he gets more freedom in the house but he's 13 pounds and 4yrs ish compared to her 60+ at 10.5 months. She will earn more freedom too as she matures and learns manners better :) I also make sure I keep one or two bones or a kong within her reach when I'm sitting around at the computer or watching tv or something... I don't think this would work nearly as well if we didn't exercise her as much as we do. I think the added exercise is as much a factor in our recent success as anything else.
Since yesterday she's had her leash on but I've not been holding it. She's just dragging it around, I have it attached to her buckle collar and she's within eye sight at all times. So far so good and she's behaving quite well. Eventually the leash will be removed completely. When I went to make lunch, she followed me into the kitchen and laid down on her bean bag chair in there but didn't try to jump on the counter or get at the food (something she was notorius before). Plus having the leash on her reminds me of what I should be doing. I'm much more apt to take advantage of teaching opportunities when they arise if all I have to do is pick up the loop rather than go get it and attach it to her collar. Walks are still as much fun as ever - even more so now that she's really understanding the concept of basically "follow the leader".
Additionally, the crate gives her a spot to be when it's not possible or feasible for her to be right with me. Cleaning the bathroom is chore enough without a 60 pound dog crowded in there with me :) I also crate her when Jordan needs/wants me 100%. It's not fair for her to give up mom all the time to the pooch... She's not in it often, maybe a little more on weekends than on weekdays - I'd say she's only in the crate (other than sleeping at night) maybe 5% of the day. It's great for first thing in the morning. We get up, I take the dogs out, generally ask for a few ob commands (practice sit stay or a trick like shake) feed them and then both dogs go back to their kennels for an hour or so while I get Jordan ready for and to school - then I come back to the house and walk them. Both dogs are antsy and full of energy in the morning but with Mark gone right now, I can not walk them before I feed and get Jordan up so crating them during our morning rush really works well. When she's in her crate, she doesn't have the opportunity to be destructive, react at strangers walking past the house or any number of other things. Sure, I could let her stand at the door and bark at strangers for the while I got Jordan ready for school but if I don't correct and redirect her immediately she is reinforcing herself and taking us a step or more back in training.
 

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Tracy, everything you are doing sounds great, structure and routine is very important and does make the world of difference in training.

It is a pain in the beginning but once progress is seen it makes it all worth while and makes for a happier family and happier dog. Also once things are taught and pup is learning what is expected those things become easier. The hardest thing IMO is teaching (making) "ourselves" get into the program and sticking with it.

You need to pat yourself on the back for effort and progress!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Tracy, when explained like that. It does sound better lol. I've tried this once. When a friend was over. Bruno kept trying to play with her little boy and he wasn't having it. So I leashed him beside me and made him settle down. It worked.

I will give this a try. I'm also gonna look into getting a crate soon. Because I think it would be very useful for us/Bruno.

Thanks agian for all the info. It's totally a learning experience for me. I've printed a few things out and will have my husband (as well as myself) read them over. This way we are BOTH doing the same things with Bruno. Nothing more frustrating then trying to train a dog and your spouse doing it a totally different way LOL

Bruno is still doing this this morning. I'm starting to wonder if it is a "pack" thing like Black said. Because my oldest son is more shy, insacure (sp), and he's more the more nervous one. Although he's NEVER shown any sign of being nervous around Bruno. They always play so well together. So I'm wondering WHY all of a sudden is this happening? Does a light bulb just go on telling them to do something like this?

I will be honest. My heart is breaking at the thought of having to get rid of Bruno :( It is honestly the last thing I want to think about. But I will if I have too. I'm willing to do EVERYTHING I can before I get to that point of discussion tho. I want Bruno to be happy and I want to be happy with him. I was having such bad anxiety last nite before bed just thinking about this and how it's all going to work out. I didn't get to bed till 4:30am :| lol

Anyway thanks agian for all the advince. I'm SO glad I joined this group. I'd prolly be totally lost without it ;)
 

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I agree with Da'kari, you should pat yourself on the back for the effort you are putting forth with Chi. Yes, in a perfect world all dog owners should do whatever it takes to deal with the issues that the dog/owner is having...but lets face it, few do. You have incorporated it 100% into your lifestyle and made it part of your daily life, and that will shine through with Chi. I know that it doesn't happen overnight, but you get an "E" for effort! So....now we know what the first short story will be about! "Good Chi" :) Hahaha

Have you read "Marley & Me"?

(Sorry to get OT)
 

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These are always hard to figure out what caused this. In situations like this, I would try to figure out what lead up to the growling. This might help but is not always easy to do. Retracing steps, what was happening prior, remembering all this what help narrow down why he growled. When we had accidents in the house, with Nikita, and we tried to figure out why and retracing the steps, we would find out that she tried to tell us, but we missed the signs.

It sounds alittle like a pack order thing, but not sure because of all the other unknown circumstances. We established our pack order because of the three cats we have and wanted Nikita to be at the bottom. The cats always came first before Nikita. We fed them first, they got treats first, they get petted whithout Nikita trying to get attention also. The cats gets on the furniture and Nikita can't...Yep I know, BAD DAD. But now Nikita understand and accepts the pack order. When Mrs Kratty, does the treat ritual with the cats and Nikita at night, All of them are in the pantry and Nikita will sit there and wait until the cats get theirs first. She won't even try to take the treats away from the cats. She still has to be reminded by the cats at times, but each time the 10 pound cat reprimands her with a swat, the 75 pound doberman runs away and whines....
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
LOL @ the 75 pound Doberman running and whinning hehe.

I thought all last nite what would have caused it. But honestly, we had just finished dinner. Bruno was in the living room waiting for us to finish like always. Then when we were done we were still sitting at the table and just talking. When Bruno was allowed to come in. I was showing something to my husband on the computer when my son walked by and Bruno let out his little growl and backed off. When he does it, he walks away from my son. So I'm stumped there. Because nothing was going on. It wasn't like Isaiah hit Bruno or made him upset about anything. Which is another reason why it makes me believe the pack thing.

I'm going to work with Bruno. I'm going to try to work my ass off. Becasue the last thing I want happen, is for me to fail as an owner and have to get rid of my Bruno. Or something happening that could have been prevented.
 

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Another thing that might be helpful, is to take your 6yr old to training with you. I know that it can be difficult, but allowing him to participate in training Bruno should also help solidify Brunos position as being lower than the 6yr old. It needs to be understood though, that your 6 yr old should not try to "train bruno" without supervision, as this could only make the situation worse.

Rommel has growled at a child ONE time, it was a kid who lives 3 doors down in our cul-d-sac. He came into our yard and wanted to pet Rommel, and Rommel let out a deep growl, he was VERY FIRMLY told "nine" (No) and layed down on his side. (Restrained, basically) The kid came over and petted him, Rommel layed there calmly, and we have never had another kid problem. Not to say that he is "fixed" but for now, I think he gets the picture. If there is ONE thing (outside of biting me) he will never be allowed to do, it is show aggression toward childen.

Also, you might tell your son not to pet Bruno EVERY time he wants to be petted. Don't allow Bruno on the furniture when your son is on the furniture, to Bruno this shows that your son is "higher up" than him.

I'm going to scan a copy of an excerpt from one of the books I just read, that you might be interested in. Is your e-mail add in your profile?
 

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BTW- You shouldn't have to get rid of Bruno. Bruno just needs alot of guidance right now. A crate, should be FIRST priority. Good Behavior = Freedom.

It is also really important, like you said, to have your husband enforcing the same behaviors, if he doesnt, you will only be sending mixed signals.

I know alot of people are probably going to disagree with me on this one, and I really dont have enough experience to say for sure....but with the dominant/agressive dogs that I have been around, the restraint (forced into submittal) teqnique worked well. All you do is, if Bruno growls, tell him no...force him down onto his side (he is GOING to fight you) firmly hold him just in front of the hip, and at the neck(so he doesnt have the option of picking up his head) until he lays there calmly and quiet. You are forcing him into submittal. Once he is totally calm, bring your son over, let him very calmly pet Bruno, tell him what a good boy he is...and then when YOU choose...allow him up. If he starts to fight you again when your son comes over, or tries to get up, DO NOT ALLOW HIM, and start over, until he understands that he has to lay there quietly while your son approaches and pets him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
My son just got home. Him and my husband had gone out. Now Bruno isn't doing it. Everything is back to normal (for now). That's why this is so weird to me. Bruno was just playing with my boys fine. This is so frustrating.

I'll also do the couch thing. We allow Bruno on the couch. But I think it's time to do the "only when I say it's okay" rule.
 
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