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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I have a little girl doberman named Remi who is a little over a year old now. She also only has one eye which I feel might be relevant. She has had it since birth, her breeder told me it was a defect and she couldn't breed her because of it.
Shes a very shy and sweet little girl, and only recently has she been coming out of her shell to try to play with other dogs and to approach humans. Shes always friendly but she doesn't ever seem to want anything to do with people, shes pretty much at my hip at all points. I was ecstatic to see at the dog park she was finally venturing out and trying to engage in play. And with some dogs she actually seems to really enjoy herself.
The problem comes if shes by my hip or if another dog comes over to me. If shes next to me or inbetween my legs (her usual spot weirdly) she will growl and snap with her jaws (shes always done that, never bitten anything. For whatever reason she just snaps her jaws, even when she tries to give a kiss.). If another dog approaches me she will stop what shes doing, run over, and get inbetween us. If the other dog keeps trying to get my attention she does the same thing.
I want to state again shes never bitten anything, she just seems to assert her dominance. This is even more apparent when only a couple days ago I was asked to puppy sit a 5 month old pit. I was nervous as inside the house Remi can get territorial. She of course did her normal growling and snapping, but after a half hour she began to play and even play rough in a good way.
However at night when its bedtime she is alert and growling at the door. She doesn't normally sleep on top of me but the last two nights she has had her entire body weight on me, wont move, and growls at my bedroom door when she hears the puppy outside. She was perfectly find during the day minus some instances when the puppy jumped on her, but for whatever reason at night she is being hyper defensive. If I try to move her she goes right back to laying on top of me.
Is there anything I can do to curb the behavior? I dont think she would ever intentionally hurt the dog, or any other dog by trying to assert herself. However with her one eye I worry that with her lack of depth perception she might do so accidentally. Shes very sweet but very skittish and I just want her to feel comfortable. Plus, someday I want to get her a baby sister to play with so she wont be so bored at the house (the only other dogs I have are all geriatric and they dont play).
 

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Sounds like she's resource guarding--and instead of food or a toy, you are her prized resource.

I know other people here have more experience with that than I do, and I imagine someone will chime in here...but in the meantime, you could take a look at this--from Patricia McConnell's blog "The Other End of the Leash"

"Resource Guarding, Dog to Dog"
https://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theotherendoftheleash/resource-guarding-dog-to-dog-repost

You might try to get a copy of the book Mine! A practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs, by Jean Donaldson--it is more aimed toward dogs guarding resources from people instead of other dogs, but there is some applicable stuff in there.
 

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Others will chime in soon but my first thought is something called “Resource Guarding”.
Read up on this and see if it fits your situation.
Resources can be many things ....food, toys, etc......but sometimes the resource its guarding can be “humans”.
Check out this subject and check back in........
 

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In addition to what others have said....personally, I wouldn't continue to take this dog to a dog park or to put her in situations with other dogs. Many adult dogs don't have "doggie friends" and that's PERFECTLY normal. It's a human idea that dogs need friends, and it's not really a normal adult dog thing....it's especially common for adult Dobermans to be very selective about playing with strange dogs. I'm worried you're setting her up for a big failure by placing her in situations where she's growling and snapping. She's communicating that she doesn't like what's happening, and it doesn't take much for that to escalate. While she's sometimes enjoyed play, she's often clearly NOT enjoying it, so why continue taking her to the park? It's obviously not something that she needs or wants.

Most adult dogs are "dog selective" about who they play with - very few are "dog social" - enjoying every dog they meet. Some are dog aggressive. It doesn't make them bad dogs, it's a normal side of the scale. We just need to know who they are and put them in situations appropriate to them (or, not put them in those situations). It's possible her reduced vision plays into it - hard to say.

This is a really good read on dog sociability: https://badrap.org/training-resources/dogdog-tolerance
 

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Hi Heather and welcome to DT , btw -- From Indiana :grin2:

I have read your post several times , there are many things that catch my eye , first I will start with Rem's eye problem , We farm here in Indiana and have had one eyed cattle before , most from pink eye , so to make this simple , cover one of your eyes and try to look around , there is a big blind spot isn't there ? With our cattle , when trying to move them to a different pasture , we always had to keep on the side of there good eye , when we didn't it would spook them , we appeared out of nowhere to them , this may be what is happening to sweet girl , blind sided and spooked some .

Personally , I think the dog park is a bad idea , but that's just me . Dogs are like people , we don't always get along with each other , I don't trust what the other dog may do or how it was raised .

This part of your post does bother me and I quote : I dont think she would ever intentionally hurt the dog, or any other dog by trying to assert herself.

Dogs are dogs ! Even the best trained can be tripped up , they may feel threatened , by dog or people , For the most part with Remi , being edgy , I would be more proactive with her and keep some distance until she settles down some

By chance - is it only you and Remi ? when she gets between you and or what ever , she is just protecting her love , that's her job to her , she is glued to your side , Yep , you got a true to the bone Doberman ! lol

Snapping at the air , I have no idea about that , other than its her way to talk to yeah , Mr. Business sometimes gives me a kiss on the chin and he has started to sort of lick and snip at the same time , lol im guessing some kind his way of saying dad I love yeah , lol

sorry about that , had to post early , lol just about lost everything here , my token must have run out .

Anyway , I do have a few questions , Have you took Remi to any OB classes ? And do you ever socialize her , other than the dog parks , like is there any family that stops by ? I thinking probably not , my reason is that may be why she is so nervous around others . Now Mr. B has been a challenge for me . He has been to 2 OB classes and that really helped , but its the other dog , the one that is on one of them dang retract leads and its all the way out on it and runs at him , or they start barking at him , either is not good . but were still working on this .

Lots of what your wrote sounds like a Doberman , glued to your side , sleeps on top of you , in-between your legs , so really don't think she is that abnormal , lol

But like all the others have stated , I won't be taking her to places that trip her trigger , not yet anyways . She is still a pup , as they mature , they do chance . Hang in there and best of luck

Doc
 

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Hi Heather and welcome to DT , btw -- From Indiana :grin2:

I have read your post several times , there are many things that catch my eye , first I will start with Rem's eye problem , We farm here in Indiana and have had one eyed cattle before , most from pink eye , so to make this simple , cover one of your eyes and try to look around , there is a big blind spot isn't there ? With our cattle , when trying to move them to a different pasture , we always had to keep on the side of there good eye , when we didn't it would spook them , we appeared out of nowhere to them , this may be what is happening to sweet girl , blind sided and spooked some .

Personally , I think the dog park is a bad idea , but that's just me . Dogs are like people , we don't always get along with each other , I don't trust what the other dog may do or how it was raised .

This part of your post does bother me and I quote : I dont think she would ever intentionally hurt the dog, or any other dog by trying to assert herself.

Dogs are dogs ! Even the best trained can be tripped up , they may feel threatened , by dog or people , For the most part with Remi , being edgy , I would be more proactive with her and keep some distance until she settles down some

By chance - is it only you and Remi ? when she gets between you and or what ever , she is just protecting her love , that's her job to her , she is glued to your side , Yep , you got a true to the bone Doberman ! lol

Snapping at the air , I have no idea about that , other than its her way to talk to yeah , Mr. Business sometimes gives me a kiss on the chin and he has started to sort of lick and snip at the same time , lol im guessing some kind his way of saying dad I love yeah , lol

sorry about that , had to post early , lol just about lost everything here , my token must have run out .

Anyway , I do have a few questions , Have you took Remi to any OB classes ? And do you ever socialize her , other than the dog parks , like is there any family that stops by ? I thinking probably not , my reason is that may be why she is so nervous around others . Now Mr. B has been a challenge for me . He has been to 2 OB classes and that really helped , but its the other dog , the one that is on one of them dang retract leads and its all the way out on it and runs at him , or they start barking at him , either is not good . but were still working on this .

Lots of what your wrote sounds like a Doberman , glued to your side , sleeps on top of you , in-between your legs , so really don't think she is that abnormal , lol

But like all the others have stated , I won't be taking her to places that trip her trigger , not yet anyways . She is still a pup , as they mature , they do chance . Hang in there and best of luck

Doc
Hi Heather and welcome to DT , btw -- From Indiana :grin2:

I have read your post several times , there are many things that catch my eye , first I will start with Rem's eye problem , We farm here in Indiana and have had one eyed cattle before , most from pink eye , so to make this simple , cover one of your eyes and try to look around , there is a big blind spot isn't there ? With our cattle , when trying to move them to a different pasture , we always had to keep on the side of there good eye , when we didn't it would spook them , we appeared out of nowhere to them , this may be what is happening to sweet girl , blind sided and spooked some .

Personally , I think the dog park is a bad idea , but that's just me . Dogs are like people , we don't always get along with each other , I don't trust what the other dog may do or how it was raised .

This part of your post does bother me and I quote : I dont think she would ever intentionally hurt the dog, or any other dog by trying to assert herself.

Dogs are dogs ! Even the best trained can be tripped up , they may feel threatened , by dog or people , For the most part with Remi , being edgy , I would be more proactive with her and keep some distance until she settles down some

By chance - is it only you and Remi ? when she gets between you and or what ever , she is just protecting her love , that's her job to her , she is glued to your side , Yep , you got a true to the bone Doberman ! lol

Snapping at the air , I have no idea about that , other than its her way to talk to yeah , Mr. Business sometimes gives me a kiss on the chin and he has started to sort of lick and snip at the same time , lol im guessing some kind his way of saying dad I love yeah , lol

sorry about that , had to post early , lol just about lost everything here , my token must have run out .

Anyway , I do have a few questions , Have you took Remi to any OB classes ? And do you ever socialize her , other than the dog parks , like is there any family that stops by ? I thinking probably not , my reason is that may be why she is so nervous around others . Now Mr. B has been a challenge for me . He has been to 2 OB classes and that really helped , but its the other dog , the one that is on one of them dang retract leads and its all the way out on it and runs at him , or they start barking at him , either is not good . but were still working on this .

Lots of what your wrote sounds like a Doberman , glued to your side , sleeps on top of you , in-between your legs , so really don't think she is that abnormal , lol

But like all the others have stated , I won't be taking her to places that trip her trigger , not yet anyways . She is still a pup , as they mature , they do chance . Hang in there and best of luck

Doc
Oh yeah, shes very well socialized now. However I wouldnt say that when I got her.
When I first got her I was told she was already socialized however she was incredibly afraid of almost everything. She would huddle and cry when I tried to take her out. Its taken months but now she just strolls around, walks up to people and sniffs, is very excited to meet new dogs and just generally enjoys being outside. She backs up if someone extends a hand too quickly or a dog lunges at her but she never gets aggressive about it, she just backs behind me. Its only when she sees im giving too much attention to another dog (not person) that she gets territorial.
And no, its not just me. its my fiance too although to a lesser extent. We also have tons of people in and out of the house and yard, and I also own multiple other dogs that shes fine with. She even loves kittens and becomes very motherly with them. We took extensive training and shes very well mannered in any other situation.

In regards to the dog park I understand what people are saying but Id hate to deny her what she enjoys. She loves being there and playing with most of the other dogs. Besides the situation I mentioned when I dog gets too close and she feels she needs to get between us she adores being there. The only time she gets testy is if a male dog mounts her, then she'll go back to the snapping motion. When I mentioned the park she starts circling and getting excited. I get there and as soon as her leash is undone she is off running around and instigating other dogs to play. Im not sure if Id be doing any good denying her that as it did seem to help her get out of her shell in the first place.

I used to raise and breed mastiffs but none of them were ever this scared or shy, which is why I was wondering if anyone had any knowledge. That being said I was with them since their birth. I bought this dog from a breeder who said she "accidentally" bred her two dobermans and after lying to me about her injury initially she eventually handed Remi to me at a super low price to "get her out of here". So I cant even say what happened in that home.

Ill keep working with her. At the moment she seems to be getting along better with the pup. Shes playing and apparently last night kept my fiance up all night with their running around. She still growls when the puppy jumps on her back but so far thats the worst of it. Maybe with more work I'll get her to be more confident with me being around other dogs.
 

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Regarding the dog park, I've got to repeat what Meadowcat said...I'm think there is a strong possibility that she's going to enjoy it...until she really doesn't. Given she's already a bit shy with strange dogs, and her age (she's still not mature), I'm afraid that one bad experience with another dog could turn her into a real problem. Really shy and/or aggressive with other dogs, extra reactive around them...and it may be difficult to get her back to being manageable with other dogs. Dobes as adults (you've got another year or so before she reaches that point) are not necessarily that interested or even comfortable around strange dogs.

It does sound like she is full of energy and enjoys running around with some of the dogs--that's understandable. Dogs, especially dobes, can be very selective about who they decide to get along with, especially as they mature. Is there any way you can arrange play dates with dogs she knows and enjoys playing with rather than taking her to a dog park when she has to acquaint herself with a whole bunch of strange dogs and figure out how to get along with them every single time she runs out to play?

Meeting with the same set of other dogs would give you more chance to work on her difficulties with allowing other dogs to be near you, too...you can enlist their owners to help you work on some behavior modification with her.
 

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Heather: I almost sounds like you may be working on problems from her younger days at the breeder , and now its up to up to fix them , them memories to her can be hard to work out and sounds like your doing your best to .

I do understand your reason on the dog , These dogs love to run and play , they need it , Sometimes , I over look the fact that not everybody lives out in the sticks and have lots of area to run and play with fenced in areas . If me . I would probably go to them on down time , when nobody is around as much . buts that just me talking out loud :2smile:

Doc
 

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I'm going to mention something that no one else has touched on yet. (All the advice you've been given is VERY good, by the way!) You said you wanted to get her a sister at some point, and I'd advise you not to get another female. Get her a little brother instead. Two females together in the same house can live in total peace, but *most* of the time, it's not peaceful *all* of the time. Until I lost my Dobergirl in August, I had two females in the house and it required constant monitoring. The other dog is not a Dobe, but she has a dominant attitude, and my Dobergirl was not equipped with an excess of doggy manners (that's putting it nicely). She'd do something "rude," totally unintentional on her part, but the other dog would correct her. I had to watch them all the time. They were in a bad fight once, about 5 years ago, and I wasn't there when it started, but I can imagine how it happened. I did have to separate them, though, and it wasn't easy. From that day forward, my vigilance went into high gear. It's stressful, plain and simple. With your girl being so shy, it's going to be hard to find another female that's laid back enough not to take offense if she reacts out of fear or surprise. In my experience, boys are much less reactive, and I never want to have two girls in the house at the same time again, ever.

For many years, I had a male Dobe, a male Lab, and a male Shepherd mix all living in the same house and none of them ever looked crosswise at each other. I also had a male Dobe and my current mutt dog at the same time and they were the best of friends. And my two girls got along 99% of the time, but there was always tension. And that one fight where they tried to kill each other (seriously). So if I were you, I'd be looking for a little boy, not a little girl, when the time comes. Good luck.
 

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When Hoss was very young ..he really enjoyed dog parks also ........BUT....like your dog......he did not like being mounted either.
So many humans are stupied and do not monitor their own dogs on cell phones, etc. .......one day a pit bull tried numerous attempts to mount Hoss and there was a scuffle.........and just like a bar fight.......once those two got started yapping at one another .......all the other dogs came running to see the action ...........it ended OK...everyone was safe.........BUT.........
The owner came running from farther away.......she had no idea of what even went down to cause the scuffle ...........she proceeded to accuse my dog of being way to aggressive.............I shook my head a left the park.
We had quite a time undoing that reactivity via training classes ......Hoss is 3.5 years now.........but he has not forgotten that day .......he will no longer permit anyone to rush up on him.
That was a situation for Hoss of which "Once" became a habit.............so yes it is fun to watch them stretch out those legs .....but be careful........the biggest guy always gets a bigger portion of the blame in dog park situations.
If you plan to do the parks ......always have a pocket of treats ......so if something bad does go down...you just throw a ton of treats to break up the pack and get away from the park as fast as you can.....rare for any of the owners to accept any accountability for their dogs actions.
So IMO ...rule #1 be a good advocate for your dog ........because when trouble happens no one else will............
 
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