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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi folks!!! I am searching out as much help as possible! I just adopted my first Doberman from a shelter about five days ago. We are just getting to know each other. What his papers said was that he is 1 year and 7 months old. He lived on a farm and they got rid of him because he chased the horses. He was an outside dog. (That seemed weird given that he is a short hair). He isn't potty trained, but I haven't had an issue. I guess I really don't know much for sure. Except one thing, he loves my 11 year old daughter, and he is glued to my side. I can't complain. He is a sweetie when it is just the three of us. (well five) We have two cats, however, I am not so worried about those relationships, I am sure they will grow. He is afraid of the cats, but the fear is diminishing as he realized they don't have claws. My main concern is that he is extremely aggressive with other people. My neighbors are on the other side of a six foot privacy fence, but they fear him because he barks sooooo loudly and growls. I had a guest over today that was very fearful because Harley wouldn't stop barking and growling at him. He even started pumping his back legs like a bull. The thing is, he listens to me only to a point. If I hold his collar or put a leash on him, he will stay by me, but continue this behavior. I can crate him even though he is barking, but I suspect he doesn't appreciate that and I didn't feel right about it. I would like to learn how to handle the issue. I have to be honest, I was scared and I know he could feel that. I need help with how to calm my own fears and how to help him feel safe around people other than my daughter and I. Any ideas are welcome!!! Thank you!!
 

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This is not the kind of issue which can be properly addressed on a forum. You need a trainer who seriously knows stuff, and you need one now. I would suggest that you see if there is someone close to you listed here: IACP Home. Membership in any organization is not automatically to be taken as endorsement. If you post your location, possibly a recommendation can be made. I also might suggest that if you have a good Doberman rescue in your area, perhaps they can advise you with regard to local trainers.
 

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terriorist entertainer
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My rspca dobe was very similar in many respects. I agree with getting a good experienced trainer to work with you. This is a (psychological) rehab situation and understanding the behaviour/concepts is a necessary tool to avoid inadvetantly escalating the problems. He needs reassurance that everything is ok now....but he needs it in the right way with sensitive timing. A good trainer can teach you that.

Thanks for rescuing him....please don't get discouraged...because with the right environment and training he could turn out to be an amazing dog. (my boy did eventually...but it takes time, patience and consistency)
 

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Thank you for rescuing. My advice is to see a trainer sooner rather than later since you don't want this behavior to become a habit.

Also, oftentimes any tension on the collar will actually make them feel there is danger.

But a trainer can give you good advice on what to do and, like Australdi says, correct timing is very important.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for all your help! I spoke with a trainer that was able to give me some things to try until our first class on Feb 28th. That seems so far away! Today I had another guest come over to try out some new things I learned. The guest was male and Harley had the same initial reaction, but since this male stayed in the doorway and I had him on a leash, Harley didn't continue with his huffiness. Instead, he did exactly what I told him to do. He sat next to me, quieted and eventually even laid down. He kept one eye on my neighbor the whole time, but something strange happened. When the neighbor walked to the door, Harley hid behind me. Twice he even walked to the stairs or a wall and hid and stuck his head out to peek at my neighbor. I am having a female friend and her daughter come over tomorrow to see if they get a similar reaction. If not, I think I may have found his trigger. MEN!! I guess I go from there. Thanks again everyone for your thoughts. If you have any more, I would be happy to hear them. Thanks again!!!
 

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terriorist entertainer
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he's definitely showing fear reactions...so be really really careful not to push him over his threshold or hold him in that state of fear too long. ...Honestly, I wouldn't start working him on it yet....let him settle in and feel safe first so you can build a good bond of trust.
The first six months I had Zil was spent building that bond and conveying he was completely safe now by keeping him well under threshold....once that bond is there and you can work closely with a trainer, then you can start the baby steps of getting him more confident. The whole process is a very individual thing and set at a pace the dog can handle without falling to pieces.

A fearful dog under stress is one of the highest risks of biting. ...and none of us want to see this boy fail.
 

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I had the same experience with my first Male Rescue a friend of mind came over he was going to check something out for me. I put my Male in the crate he became the Devil Dog from Hell and my friend asked if the crate would hold him

The next week someone came out from the Village to do a quality check on the water I decided to put a collar and lead on him and he stayed by me, When he was leaving he told me he was the best behaved dog he had ever seen.

We started training a couple of weeks later I did keep him on a colllar and lead when someone came over I'm not sure for how long but until I felt confident and he had settled in I know it was past the training.

He sounds like he loves you and your daughter and he will want to please you. Have your trainer give you tips on what to look for his suggestion of putting him on a collar and lead is exactly what worked for me.

My Males trigger was trucks he absolutely hated trucks
 

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Just my two cents, but until a trainer can come in and evaluate, I would simply NOT allow him to interact with strangers. If he does by chance bite, then what? I'd rather be safe than sorry.
 

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joie de vivre
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I agree completely with getting a trainer and not trying any experiments using friends, family, or neighbors.

What would you do if he were to attack someone? You need a professional helping you every step of the way. I would never just try things out and see what happens with a dog like that.

Find a trainer, pronto.
 
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