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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi every one, we have been lurking on here for weeks but now I have to post. Our new dog (Koda) needs help. He is a shelter dog and has been here for three weeks. Our other dobe (Apache) was a rescue also and he was AWESOME. Anyway, Koda has shown some signs of fear aggression (growls and stuff) but we worked through it. Well last night my wife cooked him up a big soup bone and he was eating it out of her hand fine, then she let him have it by himself but he kept dropping it on the hardwood floor so I would pick it up and put it on the rug. I guess taking it and giving it back freaked him out because he wouldn't eat it. So she picked it up to let him eat it but he wouldn't. I was kinda hovering over him trying to encorage him to eat it when he growled and bit my hand, ouch. Well now we don't trust him but, bringing him back to the shelter is a death sentence which he doesn't deserve. We don't want him to die but we don't have enough experience to know how to proceed. I guess what I am asking is, is any one in Jersey willing to give him a try? He really has a great personality but issues as well. It would be a shame to see this dog go to waste. PLEASE HELP!!!!!!
 

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airbrush dude said:
Hi every one, we have been lurking on here for weeks but now I have to post. Our new dog (Koda) needs help. He is a shelter dog and has been here for three weeks. Our other dobe (Apache) was a rescue also and he was AWESOME. Anyway, Koda has shown some signs of fear aggression (growls and stuff) but we worked through it. Well last night my wife cooked him up a big soup bone and he was eating it out of her hand fine, then she let him have it by himself but he kept dropping it on the hardwood floor so I would pick it up and put it on the rug. I guess taking it and giving it back freaked him out because he wouldn't eat it. So she picked it up to let him eat it but he wouldn't. I was kinda hovering over him trying to encorage him to eat it when he growled and bit my hand, ouch. Well now we don't trust him but, bringing him back to the shelter is a death sentence which he doesn't deserve. We don't want him to die but we don't have enough experience to know how to proceed. I guess what I am asking is, is any one in Jersey willing to give him a try? He really has a great personality but issues as well. It would be a shame to see this dog go to waste. PLEASE HELP!!!!!!
I'm going to ask the obvious here..if you don't trust him, why should anyone else?

I'd be *extremely* careful about placing this dog. Since you know the dog bites, you could be taking on some pretty big liability if there's another bite in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I know, but it breaks my heart to think this poor dog is goin to die because he bit me. If I had more experience I would continue to work with him. While we both have a lot of dog experience it is with Shepards and huskies. And needless to say my wife is a lttle freaked out.
 

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The biting is of concern, but are these your first dobes? if I read your email correctly both are male. Dobes can have male/male agression issues and our rescue will NEVER place a male dobe in the house with another male dog. no ifs, ands, or buts.

I think you may well have caused a bit of panic by hovering over him, many dogs don't like that. did you get any information about him from the pound? there is a Del Valley dobe rescue, their address and phone are: 357 Third Avenue, Phoenixville, PA 19460 · (610) 935-0896 and their website is www.dvdpa.org

good luck
cc
 

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airbrush dude said:
I know, but it breaks my heart to think this poor dog is goin to die because he bit me.
Wouldn't it break your heart MORE if this dog seriously injured (or killed)someone in the future?

I don't mean to sound hard hearted, and it's never an easy decision to make. But if an owner isn't willing/able to work with a known biter themselves, then I think they have a moral obligation to put the dog down.
It's just not right to pass this kind of problem along to someone else..and to be honest, dogs like this frequently wind up getting passed from home to home to home to home, eventually winding up being abused.

Nor is it particularly smart to try to place a dog thats a known biter from position of potential liability, as I mentioned. Personally, I'm not willing to risk everything I have to re-home a dog with this kind of problem. Not when there are thousands of homeless dobermans across the country who have never made the choice to use their teeth on a human.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
this is our second dobe, our first one Apache died in sept three days before my birthday, it was crushing. No I don't want to see any one else hurt by this dog, that is why I am looking for some one with the knowledge and willingness to work with him. We wouldn't dare trying to pass him off as a great dog with no issues. I do appreciate all the responses, I just wish we had a better answer than "kill him".
 

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Why don't you work with him and an experienced trainer? If you really don't want to euthanize him why not give it a try? Keep in mind he has only been with you for 3 weeks.
 

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where in NJ are you?
 

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you probably shouldnt be hovering over a dog with fear issues. if he was shy about eating it he acted out because of it, and while he may be food aggressive, its almost as though you pushed him to defend himself. Get him a good trainer and take your time with him. let him open up to you. I would not advise placing this dog with anyone else though for reasons others have already posted.

our first dog- a rottie from a shelter, had horrible food aggression she would never ever bit but growl like the devil and eat everything really fast. we just left her alone to eat in peace and we never had a problem.
 

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I make it a rule that once I give food to Ajax (my dog) I do not take it back. I make him earn the food with some simple obedience but once he gets it, it is his till he is done.

In this scenario I would start with teaching the dog to "out" the bone/toy. once outted you can safely remove the bone/toy from his grasp. The out command is a great command and one that EVERYONE should use with their dogs. You can teach it by giving the dog a bone/toy then then offering the dog a really tastey treat and when the dog spits out the original bone or toy you pop the treat in his mouth and say "out" then praise like he just cured cancer. This does two things it teaches the dog that you are a fair leader and that when he complies with a command that might conflict with his desire he gets a really great reward. Eventually with lots of praise and practice no treat will be needed and your command +praise will be more than enough.

Also to make him feel better about keeping his food, feed him in his kennel/crate, this removes the potential for guarding while also helping him bond with his crate.
 

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Jason said:
I make it a rule that once I give food to Ajax (my dog) I do not take it back. I make him earn the food with some simple obedience but once he gets it, it is his till he is done.

In this scenario I would start with teaching the dog to "out" the bone/toy. once outted you can safely remove the bone/toy from his grasp. The out command is a great command and one that EVERYONE should use with their dogs. You can teach it by giving the dog a bone/toy then then offering the dog a really tastey treat and when the dog spits out the original bone or toy you pop the treat in his mouth and say "out" then praise like he just cured cancer. This does two things it teaches the dog that you are a fair leader and that when he complies with a command that might conflict with his desire he gets a really great reward. Eventually with lots of praise and practice no treat will be needed and your command +praise will be more than enough.

Also to make him feel better about keeping his food, feed him in his kennel/crate, this removes the potential for guarding while also helping him bond with his crate.

This is not a food guarding issue. The dog was repeatedly dropping the bone. He was more preocupied with the fussing the two persons were doing over him, to the point the bone was of absolutely no priority. Again, not a posessiveness issue. Sounds more like an insecure dog with issues of fear and mistrust.

Airbrush, you've only had him for 3 weeks. That's nothing. He is just barely beginning to settle in. Especially if he is not a socially well adjusted dog, you have to give him extra time.

I understand how you feel about the bite, but if you trully feel this dog has a great personality give him another chance. From the sounds of it, you have put him in a situation (even if unknowingly) where he felt cornered and reacted out of fear. This doesn't mean you can't trust him. It means he doesn't trust you. Do consider working with a professional behaviourist. This might just be a rocky start to a wonderful bond. The shy ones like this can be hard to get through to but once you do they will bond with you like no other.
 

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These situations are very difficult, but they may still be recoverable to a point with a good trainer. I know this is not really close by but St Hubert's Animal Welfare Center. in Madison, deals with what they call Feisty Fidos. http://www.sthuberts.org/ I would contact them and talk it over with someone to see what they can do. Since it has only been 3 weeks, the adjustment period is still going on and it will take time to develop a harmony between all. Not knowing what his previous life was like, its a big change for him right now and for you. This place is also a rescue, so they can help with this transition period.

I have observed many of their Feisty Fidos classes and it was amazing what they can accomplish with them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I agree we may have unknowingly put him in a weird situation. he is fine with his food to the point that you can take food out of his bowl while he is eating. He learned the LOOK while "I" am eating that means "your begging" in two days. Now we just make eye contact if we are eating and he goes and lays down, so he knows some stuff but he doesn't know stuff. He is just learning how to play which is really funny. so I guess he is smart and dumb at the same time.
 

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I second Kratty's recommendation of St Hubert's in Madison. Have heard nothing but good things about the facility. I took Java to Top Dog in Flanders for training because it was a closer drive. One of the trainers @ Top Dog used to show horses and Dobes, and now just shows/trains boxers.

Bottom line is that you don't know how this Dobe was treated in his last home - for all we know the former owners could have allowed their kids to gang up on him and tease him. Or worse. You just never know. My breeder had a beautiful 18-month-old returned to her - family had three teenage boys - she was horrified when she took the Dobe to the vet's for a once-over and found the poor thing had a cracked sternum and a few cracked ribs. That's enough to make any dog nervous if he feels surrounded or cornered.
 

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He's 4 years old and you only had him 3 weeks? I'm certainly no expert here, but from my "other dog" experience, you are a stranger to him at 3 weeks. I wouldn't "hover" over a 4 year old stranger with meaty dog bones. I think that's just asking to be bit.

Feed him regular food and get him on a schedule. Give him time to learn and adjust to you and your personalities.

You can't say he's a "biter" when you've only had a full grown dog for 3 weeks.

I think he's chewing on a juicy piece of meat bone when along comes a total stranger grabbing at that bone. Heck, I'd bite you too.

I wouldn't fee him that. Not yet. Don't put the cart before the horse. First, get him to know and love you and get him fixed on a strict schedule before starting to feed him raw diets and tossing meat bones all over the place.

Give the guy a few months to settle into his new home and keep him strictly on kibble and puppy schedule.

When he jumps up on the couch and starts licking your face, then I'd begin to ease up on him a bit.

But, that's just me. Some of you might disagree, but that's what I'd do.

Tom
 

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you probably shouldnt be hovering over a dog with fear issues. if he was shy about eating it he acted out because of it, and while he may be food aggressive
i guess i have to agree with this comment.... even my Boston will get nasty if i try to take her bone away.... she only gets them if she is crated...My dobe would let me take it away and would care less.....
I dont think food aggression is something alot of dogs just dont get over with... I guess if ya keep him just be sure not to bother him while there is food around and feed him in a seperate area of the house away from other dogs or people.... JMHO...
 

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Your dog is not dangerous, he barely knows you! Hovering over a dog is a dominant threat in doggy lanuage which could be what upset him. Also if he looses interest in a bone, put it away don't bother with it. Taking it away and giving it back is the same as teasing.

I adopted a very screwed up dobe more so than yours and I'll be honest with you, it took a good year to really get her solid. We did lots of obedience, exercise and trust exercises in the house. She bit me a couple of times but not due to aggression, some was fear some was really bad manners! So there is hope, please get a trainer and work with him, trying to home him is only passing along a dog that has already been dumped once.
 

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Murreydobe said:
Wouldn't it break your heart MORE if this dog seriously injured (or killed)someone in the future?

I don't mean to sound hard hearted, and it's never an easy decision to make. But if an owner isn't willing/able to work with a known biter themselves, then I think they have a moral obligation to put the dog down.
It's just not right to pass this kind of problem along to someone else..and to be honest, dogs like this frequently wind up getting passed from home to home to home to home, eventually winding up being abused.

Nor is it particularly smart to try to place a dog thats a known biter from position of potential liability, as I mentioned. Personally, I'm not willing to risk everything I have to re-home a dog with this kind of problem. Not when there are thousands of homeless dobermans across the country who have never made the choice to use their teeth on a human.
I agree, if you (an experienced dog person) aren't willing to work with him and are afraid of the aggression, then why would you feel comfortable placing him with another? If you are not willing to work with the dog yourself then I would think the ultimately responsible (and most difficult) choice would be for the dog to be PTS given what you are describing.

A few weeks is a very short period of time for a rescue to adjust to being in a new home. For him everything is still very much in the learning, experimenting stages and his senses will still be in heightened stages. I would agree that the body language from you and your wife may have been construed as threatening by him and caused a defensive reaction.

However, if you are really worried about the reaction and you really do want to make sure he gets the best chance, contact an experienced behaviorist and have him evaluated. It is time consuming and costly, yes, but well worth it in the end.
 
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