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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 5 month old male Dobie. He is about 52 pounds and he has grown up with 2 small pugs in my family since we got him. About 2 months ago we went over my father-n-laws house and the black lab came out and he started to make a sound that I was later told is the sound they make when there in pain.

This was about a week after he spent the day at the vet (where i have seen many big labs).

I thought, wow I wonder if something happened at the vets? I didnt think much more of it.

Once he got a little older we started to go for runs and walks. No dog bothers him, but when he sees a lab he tries to get off the path and tries to pull me (which he doesnt normally do).

Last night I was at the park with my friend and his lab mix (smaller then my 5 month old Max) and they were playing ball. This is the one lab he likes, but she is much smaller and he has known her since i got him. They were chasing the ball in the park when another person came with a bigger lab.

Max loves everyone, he needs to say hi to everyone, so he is usually on a leash. Well of course he jolted from the ball to the dog about 15 feet away to say hi. The dog barked and Max realized it was a lab and ran screeching. We all introduced ourselves and started to let the 3 dogs investigate each other without a leash. When they started to play, the lab went after max in a playing fashion and max ran about 400 yards screeching and yelping (scared to death). I was hoping this wouldnt happen but it did. I didnt want to reinforce the fear so i allowed him to come back on his own accord and continue to work back into the mix. This happened a couple more times.

Eventually Max came and sat by me. My friend told me to just have him be submissive and let the lab smell him. We did just that, and then out of nowhere Max started to scream and the dog started play biting him. Max bit my hand in terror and soiled himself as he yelped for about 30 seconds in terror. He was petrified. It broke my heart, and something about it didnt seem right. I felt like I let him down by allowing him to get so scared, but everyone says not to reinforce the fear. I felt horrible the rest of the night.

After talking to another owner they suggested I find some good lab owners who will put there labs in a submissive position and allow max to sniff them, not the other way around. She also said a well trained dog should not attack a puppy when it screams, but many will, so that i need to be selective right now about who I allow him to have that interaction with.

I am going to enroll him in group classes right away, and I will continue to go to the park with the new information as a handler in mind so that i can create a better environment for him to get rid of the fear. He is a big loving goon. He thinks everyone wants to kiss and pet him. I want to do sport activities with him and maybe even shutzhund activities if possible, but I will be much more limited if he carries these fears into adult hood.

Has anyone else experienced this with there Dobie?

Does anyone have any additional suggestions besides increased socialization?

The last thing I want is for him to carry fear.
 

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I wouldn't be concerned at all. He is still very much a puppy and hardly secure at all in unfamiliar situations. If you continue introducing him and socializing him with other dogs and people in the positive way that you are doing I'm sure he will become more confident as he grows older. It might be a good idea to sign up in a puppy class also
 

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I have a 5 month old male Dobie. He is about 52 pounds and he has grown up with 2 small pugs in my family since we got him. About 2 months ago we went over my father-n-laws house and the black lab came out and he started to make a sound that I was later told is the sound they make when there in pain.

This was about a week after he spent the day at the vet (where i have seen many big labs).

I thought, wow I wonder if something happened at the vets? I didnt think much more of it.

Once he got a little older we started to go for runs and walks. No dog bothers him, but when he sees a lab he tries to get off the path and tries to pull me (which he doesnt normally do).

Last night I was at the park with my friend and his lab mix (smaller then my 5 month old Max) and they were playing ball. This is the one lab he likes, but she is much smaller and he has known her since i got him. They were chasing the ball in the park when another person came with a bigger lab.

Max loves everyone, he needs to say hi to everyone, so he is usually on a leash. Well of course he jolted from the ball to the dog about 15 feet away to say hi. The dog barked and Max realized it was a lab and ran screeching. We all introduced ourselves and started to let the 3 dogs investigate each other without a leash. When they started to play, the lab went after max in a playing fashion and max ran about 400 yards screeching and yelping (scared to death). I was hoping this wouldnt happen but it did. I didnt want to reinforce the fear so i allowed him to come back on his own accord and continue to work back into the mix. This happened a couple more times.

Eventually Max came and sat by me. My friend told me to just have him be submissive and let the lab smell him. We did just that, and then out of nowhere Max started to scream and the dog started play biting him. Max bit my hand in terror and soiled himself as he yelped for about 30 seconds in terror. He was petrified. It broke my heart, and something about it didnt seem right. I felt like I let him down by allowing him to get so scared, but everyone says not to reinforce the fear. I felt horrible the rest of the night.

After talking to another owner they suggested I find some good lab owners who will put there labs in a submissive position and allow max to sniff them, not the other way around. She also said a well trained dog should not attack a puppy when it screams, but many will, so that i need to be selective right now about who I allow him to have that interaction with.

I am going to enroll him in group classes right away, and I will continue to go to the park with the new information as a handler in mind so that i can create a better environment for him to get rid of the fear. He is a big loving goon. He thinks everyone wants to kiss and pet him. I want to do sport activities with him and maybe even shutzhund activities if possible, but I will be much more limited if he carries these fears into adult hood.

Has anyone else experienced this with there Dobie?

Does anyone have any additional suggestions besides increased socialization?

The last thing I want is for him to carry fear.
I have not experienced fear to that level with any of mine. I would suggest talking to a good trainer for the best way to proceed. I agree with letting your pup go up to the lab, not the other way around. And then only if you are confident that the lab will tolerate the pup in a friendly manner. Also never coddle the fear. Act as normal as possible if you do have another incident. I don't want to start any arguments re dog parks but if the park you refer to is a dog park, I would not be taking a pup with fear issues to one. With that said, I'd just never do dog parks period, too much risk for my dogs in my opinion. Best of luck with your guy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It was not a dog park, he has never been to a dog park. I think i will do structured classes first. I am weary of a dog park because I was told not all dogs will leave him alone if he gets scared, some will go after him when he shows the fear (like this one did)..

I am still feeling in the dumps about it. I have never seen a dog so scared and its not his personality to act like that. He usually is playful and happy all the time.
 

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Aww the poor little guy... he was so scared. I agree that you should not reinforce a puppy's fear behaviour but I think your puppy should still feel protected by you. I have never had a puppy react as badly as your pup has and I am no expert so I am really not in a position to give any advice. I hope you can find a trainer qualified with this sort of issue to help you. Best wishes and good luck! Please let us know what the trainer says.
 

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It was not a dog park, he has never been to a dog park. I think i will do structured classes first. I am weary of a dog park because I was told not all dogs will leave him alone if he gets scared, some will go after him when he shows the fear (like this one did)..

I am still feeling in the dumps about it. I have never seen a dog so scared and its not his personality to act like that. He usually is playful and happy all the time.
You need to get out of the dumps about it as that can come right down the leash. Your pup will get over it.:biggrin55: Structured classes should help. Here are a couple of articles from the DPCA that might help you. Take a deep breath and things will work out.

Ctitical Behaviour Periods - DPCA Breeders Education


Suspicion In A Doberman - Good or Bad??? - DPCA Breeders Education
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well we had a good day yesterday. I signed him up for some group puppy classes starting this saturday, mostly for the interaction. His obedience is actually pretty good so he could of been in the beginner but I would like to have him around lots of dogs that wont scare him so much at first.

We went back to the park to play ball with my dogs friend and he had a blast. He seems in much better spirits. Now I feel its just a matter of keeping him busy and putting him in situations where he can eliminate his fear of these dogs.

I really hope to find somewhere to do agility activities, maybe flyball and also schutzhund stuff for sport in the future. I live in Arizona (Phoenix). If anyone has information, please pass it along. Thanks.

All comments and advice on his fear is appreciated very much. :)
 

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hi i live in england, and always look on this site for training tips, and look on today because my dog does exactly the same, he is so scared when a dog comes up to him, first he aggresively barks and then if the dog comes up to him he starts screaming and i get away as quickly as possible, its starting to get to the point that i dread going out,
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
ant0774 -
How old is he?

It sounds like he has had a bad experience with a dog, which I guess is the case with mine. Luckily mine only gets scared of some dogs (big labs).

Depending on the age, I think you would get different advice for help.
 

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hi he is nearly 7 month old, we have a lab who is 7 years old so he knows what other dogs are, he has been doing it right from the begining, he is a very good learner at most things, you just want your dog to have the life and not be cooped up away from people, i am going to try him in the park again he has been once and was brilliant, even off the lead, does your dobie only listen to one person ours only really listens to me the ( female ).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
For the most part my Dobie will listen to most people when hes in the mood. He listens to me with everything, and my wife when he wants. He definitely listens to me much better then others. Just make sure if you go to the park that he doesnt run into a dog that will attack him (play attack ) when he screams or gets scared. Thats what happened to mine. Dogs should back away from a scared puppy but some wont, and that seems to be an awful situation for the puppy and its owner. If he is scared of all dogs, I would definitely work very hard at increased exposure, and even more importantly , the right kind of exposure. Put him in situations where he will be set up to succeed, not fail. I think this merits your judgement of the other dogs you choose to mix him with. They should be well tempered and no to give him space when hes scared. Eventually and hopefully he will understand there is nothing to fear. I was also told to find some good dog owners who will put there bigger dogs into submissive positions and allow your Dobie to sniff them and feel a little dominate. If your Dobie grows up fearing dogs, it will lead to "fear aggression", which is what Im concerned about. Good luck..
 

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You need to get out of the dumps about it as that can come right down the leash. Your pup will get over it.:biggrin55: Structured classes should help. Here are a couple of articles from the DPCA that might help you. Take a deep breath and things will work out.

Ctitical Behaviour Periods - DPCA Breeders Education


Suspicion In A Doberman - Good or Bad??? - DPCA Breeders Education
Thank you so much, robinb, for sharing these two articles with us. I can't tell you how much I learned from them. Every breeder should give a copy these articles to their new owners when they send the puppies off!
 

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Thank you so much, robinb, for sharing these two articles with us. I can't tell you how much I learned from them. Every breeder should give a copy these articles to their new owners when they send the puppies off!
You're welcome, one is written by my good friend and mentor Bonnie Wittrock. I wish I knew half of what she has forgotten!
 

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Its funny you've mentioned this as Ellie had a huge fear of labradors as well (she had a bad experience with one as a pup) she also used to 'scream' really badly when she was younger if a bigger dog was too near. Shes 10 months now and is much better but does still occasionally cry if play gets too rough or if a dog is especially dominant, the way we got round it was lots of off lead socilisation with other dogs (ones we knew) We found her fear was worse when she was on the lead (whether that was because we were nervous when a dog approached and she picked up on this or because she felt trapped) so we let her play with lots of our friends dogs (all ages and sizes) and in my opinion its better to let dogs be dogs and not interfere too much with their meetings (unless one is being aggressive obviously!) Think its worked as one of her favourite dogs to play with now is our friends black lab Bruce! Just keep socialising him and im sure he'll come round! :)
 

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I didn't read all the posts so I'm sure this has been said but pups do go thru a period when they are fearful, that is why it is very important to get them into a puppy class for positive interaction with new people and dogs. I was told many years ago by a good friend who has trained dogs for many many years that in the first 4 months of life you should introduce your pup to over 100 friendly strangers. So I take my dogs everywhere I can with a bag of treats and have people of all shapes and sizes come up one at a time to pet and give my pup a treat. It works wonders. Ignore the unwanted (scared) behavior and praise the good behavior. If you make a big deal out of your pup being afraid it will continue to happen and get worse with time. Good luck with your pup and make sure new experiences are fun and positive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks everyone.

He has puppy classes this Saturday (tommorow).

He has seemed very happy the last couple days and I keep trying to keep him active. We took a trip to 2 pet stores and Home depot the other day. He was very happy. I cant wait to take him to the class. I really think he will get over the fear with a lot of good experiences. He just turned 5 months this week so he has lots of time to grow mentally and physically still.

It is so funny that Dobermans can be so soft and sensitive despite everyones conception of them as menacing dogs.

If people have more examples or concernes, keep them coming. The more knowledge the better, especially for me with my dog at his current age.
 
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