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Always Faithful
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think this thread is probably going to get a lot of attention, and I'm going to get quite a bit of opinion interspersed with information in your replies, but I've prepared myself, so here goes...

First, the backstory (synopsis):

I am pretty new to the breed. I fell in love with Dobermans before I had ever actually lived with one. In 2010, I was living well in Texas, had a great job, and just moved my family into the house on which we were about to close escrow. I had my heart set on finding a cropped/docked black/rust male Doberman for adoption, and I did. We went through the application process, home visit, met him and brought him home after he was neutered. He was a beautiful, wonderful dog (although young and in need of training) and I had every intention of offering him the best home possible...

Three weeks later, I lost my job. Consequently, I was unable to close escrow on the house and we were forced to move everything we owned into a storage unit, and drive back to California (where our extended family is located) with just the clothes on our backs and whatever I had in my account.

Without knowing what the future held, the best decision I could've made (IMO) was to return him to the rescue in hopes that they'd find another home for him quickly. Also, it's their policy, as it is of most rescues and I adhered to the contract I signed when I adopted him.

Fast forward one year...

We were finally back on our feet, although not as well off as we were in Texas. I had found another full-time job and we had a (rented) roof over our heads.

Anyone who has ever lived with, and loved a dog, knows how empty their life can feel without the company of one. I deeply missed the companionship, and felt it was time to look for another dog.

I spent some time reading through your opinions on breeders in the U.S. and found a Breeder of Merit with several multi-titled dogs, and a beautiful line. On the off-chance that there might be an older dog available, I sent the breeder an e-mail.

We met, and brought home, a stunning 15 month old black/rust cropped/docked male. I was instantly smitten with him. He already had basic obedience training, was house-trained and crate-trained, and well-behaved.

I started noticing behavioral issues after having him for a few months. It began with object guarding. Then it increased to male-on-male aggression which escalated to initiating full-blown fights. He then started displaying dominance aggression towards my 75 year old mother (who lives with me).

At the first display of aggression, I enrolled him in training with a CPDT. She breeds, raises and works Belgian Malinois, and is familiar with working breeds. She also ran a daycare at her facility, and would have dogs of all breeds, size, sex, intact, fixed, dominant, submissive, etc, who he would interact with for 8+ hours/day without incident.

Fast forward seven months...

We adopted a red/rust female Doberman from the Humane Society 6.5 hours south of our home. My mom, Levi and I made the round trip to meet her and brought her home that very day. They became inseparable.

Sidenote: she's a terrific dog who has never shown a sign of aggression or other behavioral issue. Who knows what line she comes from. I imagine she was from a BYB judging by her poor conformation. But her temperament is exceptional. And so far, her health is excellent (knock on wood).

It seemed we had made progress with him regarding his aggression and helping my mom establish pack leadership.

Then, we moved. Two months later, I accepted a job offer back in Texas, and within two weeks, we left that life behind and set off for a better one. This time, WITH our dogs.

We moved into a lovely home on a large lot with a beautiful, fenced backyard and the dogs seemed so content, despite having to adjust to new surroundings.

He continued to show aggression towards my mom. After researching behaviorists and trainers in the new area, I settled on one who spoke with me at length over the phone regarding Levi and how to "fix" the problems in our pack structure. We scheduled an appointment for a consultation the following weekend.

The evening before we were to meet with the behaviorist, Levi bit my mom in the face three times. I drove her to the ER, and while she received stitches, I contacted several people for advice. Here's how it went:

Call #1: local Doberman rescue volunteer
Call #2: behaviorist in the area we had the appt with the following day
Call #3: former trainer in California
Call #4: breeder
Call #5: vet

The volunteer warned me that the ER was required by law to report the dog bite incident, which meant the County would come knocking at our door to take him away from me within 48 hours. They would hold him at the pound for 10-14 days to confirm he did not have rabies, and then he would be returned to me (if requested), but also be deemed a "vicious dog" in the state of Texas, which meant he would never be able to leave the confines of our home and yard. Needless to say, the volunteer scared the crap out of me.

The behaviorist was unreachable until the following day. He advised that Levi be pts.

The trainer advised Levi be pts.

The breeder was unreachable until the following day, who did not want him back and asked that he be pts.

The vet advised Levi be pts.

On the following day, I made arrangements to have the vet come to our home to lay Levi to rest. It was as peaceful as I could make it. He was sedated beforehand, and resting on his favorite blanket on our patio while I held his head in my hands and wished him peace. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

Present day:

I'd like to preface this part by reminding my readers that people grieve in different ways. Some can't imagine bringing another dog into their home so soon after one leaves. Others may feel like there's a hole in their lives and in their homes when they lose a dog and want to fill that gap soon afterward.

I am leaning more toward the latter group of people. But I'm not the only one. My mom knows the incident was a combination of poor judgment and an invariably unstable dog. She doesn't blame him or the breed. And our girl seems confused and extra "velcro-ey". She needs a companion.

So...

I've applied for other male Dobermans at local rescues, and have been turned down. I've applied for male Dobermans at rescues located further away, even out of state, and they've been unwilling to place a dog with me because I'm too far away. I understand that.

My question to all of you is:

Are these local rescues right in turning down my application based on these unfortunate experiences?

Do the positive aspects mean nothing to them?

Obviously, I cannot go back to them and convince them to place a dog with me. That's not my objective here. I'm hurt and, I suppose, insulted that they are judging my aptitude as a Doberman owner because of two experiences that were ultimately beyond my control. If they're not willing to adopt to me, and I cannot find a rescue or shelter elsewhere that will place a dog with me, is my only alternative to BUY from a breeder?

Now, for clarification, I have no problem with people who buy quality dogs from breeders. I thought that's what I had done, but I choose not to buy from that particular breeder again. I do not want to purchase a puppy and my mom has no interest in housebreaking and training a puppy while I'm at work 40 hours/week. I am proud to be a rescuer and would gladly offer my love to another Doberman in need.

And yes, a Doberman. I'm on this forum for the same reason as the rest of you. I love, honor and respect the breed. I've spent countless hours researching, discussing, training, and working with my dogs so that I can be a responsible dog owner who is worthy of living with Dobermans. It's the only breed I wish to share my life with.

I'm open to suggestions, advice, information, and even criticisms. I'm sure I'll be judged by some of you as I was by the rescue volunteers who turned me away.

I'm looking for a young-adult neutered male who is cropped/docked and healthy, playful, and stable who can be trained as a therapy dog whom I can take to the facility where I work to visit my patients. If any readers are sympathetic, and know of any dogs fitting this description who need a home, please feel free to contact me. I can promise a wonderful, active, loving, committed home to a dog who can happily co-habitate with ALL of my family members.

Thank you for reading.

Pictured below:
Levi and Tessa at the dog park (note ball in front of him)
Tessa - happy girl at the dog park
Levi - on their trampoline on our patio
Henry (my first Dobe) with his friend in his new home
 

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Eat Poo and Die
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Any chance that the rescues are turning you down because you so quickly returned a dog to the rescue? I think that a rescue would have assumed/expected you had the money saved up to ensure that you could continue to care for the dog regardless of your employment status. You may be able to adopt from a shelter.
 

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good luck
get a pup you can train and socialize-some dogs are in pounds for a reason=the owner could not or did not handle them well or train them
that sux that your 75 year old mom was put in a position to have to have "pack dominance" over a dog....good luck with the next one
 

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Have you asked why they turned you down? I would.

No one can foresee what the future holds for any of us and from what you write you did what you thought was best for the dogs, not for you. You should not be penalised for this, however, some people become a little too short sighted and there is little one can do to make them put on specs and see what really is in front of them, the chance of a dog having a wonderful home. However, there is no harm in trying.

Good luck and I am so sorry this has happened to you.
 

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Always Faithful
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for saying so. I've beaten myself up with guilt over all of this, and it's hard to believe I did the best thing in both cases.

I did ask. I was told by the volunteer of one local rescue that "it's not our policy to share that information with the applicant". I suppose that sounds better than, "because you abandoned one dog and killed the other." :(

The other volunteer listened to me share the entire story, and then insinuated that I had made him aggressive because, "ALL of (breeder's name's) dogs are so laid back. I've never heard of one doing something like this." And then the volunteer promptly ended the conversation.
 
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Have you asked why they turned you down?
Rescues generally don't get into all of that with declined applicants because if they are truly not a good home for a dog then telling them what their mistakes/red flags were would let them know how to tweak their app and answers with another organization.
 

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Are you trying to adopt from the same rescue you returned a dog to? I don't see anything in what you have said that would prevent you from adopting again if you were once approved if the dog was returned as per contact and with no drama.

I'm so sorry for what you had to go through with Levi - I've also had to PTS a dobe for aggression issues and it still hurts
 

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Always Faithful
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Rescues generally don't get into all of that with declined applicants because if they are truly not a good home for a dog then telling them what their mistakes/red flags were would let them know how to tweak their app and answers with another organization.
That's certainly understandable. And I have been honest and open with them. I'd rather they hear it from me than some volunteer who doesn't know about the experiences firsthand.

What upset me about these people was that they were so quick to judge my ability to provide a good home based on these situations. And until the incident with Levi, he had just that.
 

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Always Faithful
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Are you trying to adopt from the same rescue you returned a dog to? I don't see anything in what you have said that would prevent you from adopting again if you were once approved if the dog was returned as per contact and with no drama.

I'm so sorry for what you had to go through with Levi - I've also had to PTS a dobe for aggression issues and it still hurts
Yes, one of the rescues I contacted is the same one from which I adopted Henry, my first dobe.
 
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It sounds like you just had bad luck with the male. Obviously your female is doing great and there have been no issues. I've had to euthanize one dog in the past and I've returned one to the rescue I adopted from. I've also been volunteering, fostering, and hold respected positions in breed rescues for 6 years now. My husky has been with me for 6 years and my Dobe and GSD for 2 years now with no issues. I feel where you are coming from but also from what you've told us, as a rescuer I would personally only be comfortable placing an older, mellow/submissive male in your home. I don't think you guys need or can handle a young male. Especially your poor mom.
 

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BenVera what about a Min Pin...they are ultra cute:D
 

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Always Faithful
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You know, I think you're right about that. It's probably best for me to avoid trying to adopt any dog younger than 3 y/o. I certainly wouldn't mind adopting an older boy as long as he can keep up with Tessa at play time, but also be calm in the house. That's how she is, and she's a gem. We are truly blessed to have found her.
 

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Always Faithful
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
BenVera what about a Min Pin...they are ultra cute:D
Haha! Tessa is actually afraid of small dogs. It's true. My friend brought his doxies for a visit, and she was terrified of them.
 

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Always Faithful
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
the worst dog bite I ever got-which bled was from a Chiujiaia
(spelling:confused:)...small dogs make me nervous...
BUT look how cute
Google Image Result for http://z.about.com/d/dogs/1/0/G/u/2/doc_minpin_1.jpg
Doc is pretty darn cute. I'd like to see him try to keep up with Tessa running circles in the backyard or swimming with her in the lake. Lol.

I have no idea why she's afraid of little dogs (I don't know her history), but she wants nothing to do with them. Maybe because they always bark at her. Her hackles go up and she hides behind me with her little nub tucked. She's very polite and appreciates slow, respectful introductions. :)
 
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You know, I think you're right about that. It's probably best for me to avoid trying to adopt any dog younger than 3 y/o. I certainly wouldn't mind adopting an older boy as long as he can keep up with Tessa at play time, but also be calm in the house. That's how she is, and she's a gem. We are truly blessed to have found her.
There are some older/senior rescue dobies on here that give the young ones a run for their money :) Dobes are a working and very athletic breed. As long as there are no health issues they should remain active throughout their life.
 

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Eat Poo and Die
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There are some older/senior rescue dobies on here that give the young ones a run for their money :) Dobes are a working and very athletic breed. As long as there are no health issues they should remain active throughout their life.
Yep. Niz probably somewhere around 4-6, but every time I take him to the dog park or on a hike, people think he's a puppy because he's just got so much energy and spunk.
 

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Always Faithful
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
There are some older/senior rescue dobies on here that give the young ones a run for their money :) Dobes are a working and very athletic breed. As long as there are no health issues they should remain active throughout their life.
When you say, "on here", are you referring to DPTalk? Or through petfinder?

I'd be willing to apply for an older boy provided he's with a rescue that's wiling to consider me. Please let me know of anyone I can contact to apply, if you know of any.

As I told the volunteers mentioned above, I'm willing to foster as well. We now have the space, the means and the time to get more involved in the rescue networks. I'd like to find out how I can help, but if they're not willing to adopt to me, they're not willing to let me volunteer to help them. Seems kind of silly.
 

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Always Faithful
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yep. Niz probably somewhere around 4-6, but every time I take him to the dog park or on a hike, people think he's a puppy because he's just got so much energy and spunk.
Is that Niz in your profile picture? He's very handsome.
 
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