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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello fellow Doberman owners, my little Tyson has just turned 7 months old and i'm really starting to enjoy watching him grow into a beautiful looking dog. To most, this is probably a stupid question but at what age should they become protective? He is such a wuss, he's scared of anybody who walks into my house, anybody knocks on my door he runs away! He is very obediant and extremely submissive to me. I'm sure it's only because he's a puppy still, but i need some reassurance! He hasn't been neutered yet and dominates other dogs, when he does bark, does sound deep and mean so hopefully these are all good signs that he will be a good protector of me and my family. Also he's got huge clumps of white stuff comming out of his eyes after he sleeps, I know they have deep set eyes but should i be worried cleaning them 2 - 3 times a day? Much appreciated!
 

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7 months is still too soon for him to be protective mode. How it develops will be a product of many factors including his experiences, the bond that he builds with you and your family, his socialisation and exposure to other things and not least his genetics.

For now the main goal is still to build a fun loving close bond with you, lots of opportunities for experiencing new things and people to build confidence, protection from harm, and developing focus through some basic training and obedience.

Depending on his individual personality and the bloodline traits he's inherited, roughly expect that aprox 50% of his mature behaviour is up to how you develop and raise him...the rest is already 'programmed' in :)

Dobes as a breed trait do tend to develop close protective bonds with their humans...but it's a dialectical scale....and you will see outliers at both ends of the scale. The majority of well socialised and bred dobes will tend to fall somewhere around the middle ground of being generally protective...but not necessarily so under pressure. Too often fear is mistaken as aggression, and a fearful dog is not what you want (too reactive and a potential liability). ...so confidence building at this age is very important.

Perhaps work with a trainer to devise confidence building programs/strategies...but be patient...he's still just a big pup, despite his size. :)
 

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A lot of dobes do have deep-set eyes and produce grayish to white goop in the inner corner. There is probably no need to worry but certainly bring it up with your vet next visit.

If the goop turns yellowish or greenish, if you see a lot of redness or irritation in his eyes, if his eyes get crusty, if he starts squinting or closing his eyes especially in bright light, or if he is scratching or rubbing at them a lot, a vet visit would probably be a good idea.
 

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It sounds like he needs a lot more socialization. How often do you take him places, and where do you go? Socialization is vital in this breed. As far as being protective, that should not be a big concern at this point. You need to focus on making him a well-rounded, confident dog. Again, that comes through socialization and exposing him to things.
 

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He should not be scared of guests coming over and it's something I'd work on ASAP with a good trainer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thankyou all for your prompt replys, he is very well socialized, gets along with every dog and human, he's a very confident dog when we are out, just not when we are at home ? So it's not something he will grow out of, I need to get a trainer around?
 

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Eye snot. That's what I call it. I just grab a tissue and wipe Rhetts eyes, when he gets it. Seems to be seasonal/occasional. If your pup has it all the time, double check his food...ie he may have a corn alergy or something. We do no grain, high quality protein and prepare his grains ourselves, ie oats, rice etc. When he is fed beef, we make sure it is grass fed and not corn fed beef. Protection...odd that he is shying away from guests at the casa. Try giving him a sit/stay command at the door so that he must 'greet' all visitors. Leash at first if he won't stay. He gets petted by each guest, and praise by you, provided he sits like a gentleman.
 

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Re:
Depending on his individual personality and the bloodline traits he's inherited, roughly expect that aprox 50% of his mature behaviour is up to how you develop and raise him...the rest is already 'programmed' in.

Australdi - your post #2 advice, should be framed, into a sticky...so well communicated and true.
melbrod / OliviaB / Adara - ++1 on more great input, as usual

If your dobe, runs and hides, lets say if the door bell rings...something needs to change, inside the house.
Dobes will willingly protect, once their puppy confidence is built up and this is done through a loving bond & mental stimulation training.
- having a naturally protection dobe (for its loved ones), is not like opening up a can of sardines / not quite that easy...but well in your control
- once the loving bond & training foundation (through handler work) to build its smarts, kick in...the caninel package is completed / to serve & protect
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Adara: I remembered when he had his second shot, I met up with his siblings and other owners had the same problem with their dog being scared of strangers entering their house...maybe poor bloodlines...
 

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Adara: I remembered when he had his second shot, I met up with his siblings and other owners had the same problem with their dog being scared of strangers entering their house...maybe poor bloodlines...
yes it could be. Genetics play a huge role in how a dog develops, but we can also help them along as much as we can. Confidence building would probably go a long way with your Dobe. The good news is that you do recognize the issue and can get working on it.
 

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There is a member here who bred the sire of your pup kennel name of Starlaine maybe you could ask if shes seen it in any of her pups? Have you contacted Denise? what did she say?

My dogs are the opposite whereby they will let off a warning bark at somebody approaching the door and stand their ground so that seems pretty weird. Maybe start with you or a family member approaching the door and you gently holding him near the door with treats, I dont know but this isnt the best behavior. He could be in a "scare" period, my nearly 5 month old has just now starting pricking her ears up at every sound she hears so I know shes in a "stage".

If you troll through dolforums.com.au you should be able to find an excellent trainer in your area, I cannot recommend one as I am in SA sorry. My first point of call would be to speak with Denise and she should be able to help you out.

Re the eye goop: My dogs get it, allergies, they have pretty visible haws and sometimes when we are at the park the next day the eyes will be more goopy than usual. My vet has given me something called Amacin. Its an eye cream you pop in for three days and eyes are clear for weeks and weeks (just in case its a mild form of conjunctivitis). Apparently using calendula or chamomile tea bags (after being soaked in warm water) to wipe the eye goop away is good (someone tell me I'm not lying) lol but yes, crusty eyes in the morning seem to be the thing around here.

Good luck with your pup.. keep us informed!

ps: he is handsome, his sister is the no.1 rising star in conformation for Dobermanns in Australia
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks nightgrace, very helpful. He recognizes that there is somebody coming to the door as he hears the gate open, ears prick up and sometimes hair on his back stands, he sits at the door silently until the door opens then runs away, haha it's quite funny. But i'm thinking as you and Rhett mentioned, i think putting him on the leash and forced to greet visitors, then saying 'good boy' with food will definately help build more confidence. Haven't contacted Denise they are very busy people and don't want to bother them with behavioural problems that I can fix myself :)
 

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Answering some more detailed questions will help others to help you.

1) How do you normally train him (what methods do you use)?

2) You say he is "submissive" to you. What do you mean by that?

3) Does he walk confidently up to greet strangers outside the house?

4) In one post you say he gets along fine with other dogs, but in another post you say he dominates other dogs - which is it?

Just trying to get more info so you can get more help. There is something that needs to be teased out about his training because most Doberman pups that age are pretty confident.
 

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Zeus is 18 months and has been a chicken up till this point. He's happy and friendly, but easily frightened. He hides from new people. Last month, he and I were in the laundry room of my apartment complex at midnight when Zeus jumped behind me barking and growling. My back was turned away from the door and windows so I turned around. Zeus was standing between me and a man staring in the window. Zeus' reaction scared him away. We had an attempted rape earlier that week and I am pretty sure Zeus saved my life that night.
Give it time and let him mature. It comes natural for them to protect those they love. Get him out in public every chance you get. You do not want a dog that reacts aggressivly out of fear. Zeus goes with me any place he can. The more life experiences he gets the more confident he gets.
 

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Our pup is 8 1/2 months old and we are just beginning to see the protective traits emerge. Excellent temperament all around but when she sees someone on our walks who doesn't look right, and I see it myself, the hackles go up and the alertness increases and it almost appears as if she is switching gears into "work mode" if that makes any sence. She gets very serious and very concentrated and doesn't let up until the person is out of eye sight. It's pretty interesting to see because every single time I have walked past an undesirable person she picked up on it before I did.
 

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Ps I agree with Zeus socialization is the key and it's lifelong not just during puppyhood, whenever possible we take her out and about with us, it's so important to expose this breed to any and all types of situations it really makes for a well balanced dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
triciakoontz: Thankyou for your post:
1: - I'm not sure what different methods are, but he knows all the basic commands, sit, drop etc. I'm teaching him 'stay' then walking or running away then 'come' seems to be picking it up fast, although when other dogs are around he becomes easily distracted! I normally don't reward with food as praise just seems to work well for him.

2: - He is submissive to me when he knows his done something wrong i'll yell his name, walk over to him, he will drop straight down on his back and look up at me.

3: - He seems very weary of people, doesn't trust them. (Unless we are at the dog beach he loves everyone!) As for his confidence, if he is in 'free' mode off the lead, at a enclosed park and a man walks through the park, he becomes very protective, hair raised and barking at them, full of confidence and will always run up to them barking. Should I be worried about this behavior or be correcting it?

4: - He gets along extremely well with other dogs! I couldn't be happier in this department, all he wants to do is play with them, very social dog. When I say he dominates them, I mean when they are playing he will ALWAYS be the one chasing them and then putting his mouth over their throat, in a completely playful manner.

Hope this help thanks Trish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
To make an example of him not feeling confident in my home:

My next door neighbors have been patting Tyson through the fence, calling his name, he knows them quite well and tries jumping up the fence to see them and gets excited. However when they are inside my house, he acts all uncomfortable while they are petting him, he just lays on his belly looking up at them, looking really awkward. Then when he stops getting pet, he runs away. He is 'slowly' getting better so i'm hoping he will grow out of it. We have tried getting the neighbors to completely ignore the dog when they enter the house (so he's not threatened) and gradually give him attention but the dog doesn't seem to warm to them unless they have been over for some time...and these people have known him since he was 10 weeks old, so they certainly aren't strangers! Maybe it's not a bad thing him not trusting people, means he'll be a good guard dog? Opinions please....Thanks!
 

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3: - He seems very weary of people, doesn't trust them. (Unless we are at the dog beach he loves everyone!) As for his confidence, if he is in 'free' mode off the lead, at a enclosed park and a man walks through the park, he becomes very protective, hair raised and barking at them, full of confidence and will always run up to them barking. Should I be worried about this behavior or be correcting it?
It's called their hackles.
They generally stand up from either fear or aggression.

I would be working on correcting that if it were my dog.
 
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