Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums banner

1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Using the suggestions from DT we have been working with Alex with his food aggression over the past few weeks and he is getting better slowly but surely, so thank you.

Now I need more advice. He is the sweetest little boy on the planet and then last night he turned into a complete A-hole. I thought originally he had regressed a little with his food aggression as I gave him his dinner outside and he looked at me sideways and growled. I followed our plan and just left him to his business, came inside, and 10 minutes later opened the door to let him in. Strangely he had not eaten, but he was happy as can be, looking for some love and a belly rub. He then sat with my wife and I while we worked in the office. He just laid on the floor and looked at me and growled. I ignored him for a bit and when he cooled down, got up and let him out as I figured he was interested in eating. Well he grabbed his dinner and just carried it around with him... everywhere...without eating. This is strange for Alex as he typically inhales anything edible. Into the office he came and this time he peed (marked?) right in the middle of the office. He hasn't had an accident in several months.

I gave him a firm "NO" mid-stream and he gave me puppy dog eyes. I told him to "get out" which he understands especially if I am displeased, yet this time he wouldn't even budge. :busted_red: I had to work so I just continued and sure enough, 30 seconds later, looked at me funny and growled. At this point I wish I spoke dobie. He curls his nose a bit if I pet him while he's growling so I don't do it anymore. He just laid there for the next hour, food right next to him, and occasionally giving a little growl. Then it was time for the family to go to bed. My wife and I got up, Alex followed, meal in mouth.

Now is when it gets strange. When Alex is in trouble he gets a time-out under the pool table. He knows when he makes mistakes and underneath the pool table is where he punishes himself until he comes out begging for forgiveness. He went under there with his food and my wife and I got ready for bed. While in the bedroom, here comes Alex, drops his meal in the doorway of the room and walks back to his spot under the pool table ... like an offering of some sort. WEIRD. It was like he was telling me, "dad I'm not mad because of the food." Why can't I understand him?!?

Again today he is acting weirder than normal. His crate was wet when I got him up this morning... it didn't smell like urine, it was almost odorless though is little mistake last night stunk to high heaven. He was happier than usual to see me and immediately went into his circle zoomies. He did eat this morning like normal. My wife is home and called me to let me know that Alex is again laying in the office while she is working and just growling at her.

I apologize for the above novel. I don't know what his problem is. My initial assumption is that a dog somewhere in the neighborhood is in heat. We had a window in the office open last night where he peed... maybe he is smelling this dog? Is it time to go to the chop shop? I spoke to the vet and I can get him in tomorrow morning to have those pesky things removed. Is this the doberteens I've been scared of? Or is this a much more serious behavioral problem? If anyone has input it would be greatly apreciated. Thanks again DT.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,008 Posts
Hmm.. maybe a trip to the vet to make sure everything is ok health wise... then maybe a behavirolist(sp) (on my phone doing this forgive me.)
Good luck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,449 Posts
Just my two cents, but to me dog growling is serious at any age. The younger they growl, the more serious I usually take it. That's NOT to say it isn't workable. But something is making him unhappy and he's clearly protesting and at least warning with a growl.

If he is food aggressive, there's no way on earth I'd let him carry his food around and give him something to growl/worry about.

Growling isn't typical doberteens at all. And again, it may very well be workable. I'd see a vet and get into a trainer/behaviorist ASAP. If feasible, try to remove the things he seems to growl about.

Neutering is not a bad thing but remember it's NOT a cure all. It won't fix any and all issues.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I agree about the behavioralist and we've already got a jump on things from when we addressed his food aggression. His trainer believes he is guarding his space now and it’s simply an issue of Alex believing that his growling is working. His suggestion, which has been working to this point, is to gradually get closer every day while Alex eats and when he stops growling to toss him a treat. That is his recommended MO for this as well, not to ignore his growling but to not make eye contact but also not leave or appease him – and once he has stopped growling, such as with the food aggression, to toss him a treat so he knows that his growling is not going to change anything, and in fact if he doesn’t he can be happy because he has love, attention, and treats being sent in his direction.

My cause for concern is really this peculiar accident in the office last night, his wet crate, and why on earth he dropped off his meal at our bedroom doorway and put himself in a timeout.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,618 Posts
Honestly, I would be pretty concerned over this. Growling is NOT acceptable in my opinion and is a clear indication that things could get out of control very quickly. It sounds like he doesn't respect you or his place in your family. I hope you can consult with a good trainer and get this resolved. The malinois we fostered last year had severe food aggression issues when we got him, and it's not something I would ever want to deal with again. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
537 Posts
Plain and simple you're not being the dominant figure here. Stop giving affection when the dog is excited and happy and you think he wants belly rubs. He gets that stuff when he is calm. Everything is always calm. Don;t do anything that will reinforce an excited state.

I can't friggin stand it when my wifes parents stop by or my parents stop by and let my little girl dog stand up and put her paws on them to greet them. She is extremely friendly, but I will never ever be able to break this trend because those folks give her love when they see her. They think it's cute.

Same with the growling. You have to nip that in the bud asap, as soon as it happens. You need to raise your voice, a loud "HEEEEY" works for me when I needed it. Also, corrections are to be given by you, not your dog.

You need to enforce the corrections and acknowledge as such by immediately walking away when your dog has achieved a relaxed state (sitting down, laying down, etc).

I think pawning your dog off on a trainer is a bad idea because perhaps the trainer knows what to do, but if you don't follow through with the lead, you will gain nothing but a bill.

I have always been calm, and assertive/aggressive with any of my dogs, letting them know by using my big boy voice, that I am in charge. It won't happen in a day, but it will happen if you follow through.

With the food, if he won't eat it and is still giving growling fits, take it away. Don't leave it around for him to choose when he wants it. Remember, you are the boss.
 

·
Holier Than Now
Joined
·
22,475 Posts
I would go to Amazon and get the book with good exercises on resource guarding Mine! and make sure you're working with an excellent trainer on-the-ground on those.

I'd also see if you can find a Control Unleashed class in your area, and enroll him.

Before I do any of that, though, I'd have him screened for a possible UTI, a thyroid disorder (he's not too young for that, unfortunately, even if your vet says he is), or any other medical issue, esp. since some of this is a sudden CHANGE in, or escalation of, his behavior issues.

Good luck, and stay safe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,449 Posts
I agree about the behavioralist and we've already got a jump on things from when we addressed his food aggression. His trainer believes he is guarding his space now and it’s simply an issue of Alex believing that his growling is working. His suggestion, which has been working to this point, is to gradually get closer every day while Alex eats and when he stops growling to toss him a treat. That is his recommended MO for this as well, not to ignore his growling but to not make eye contact but also not leave or appease him – and once he has stopped growling, such as with the food aggression, to toss him a treat so he knows that his growling is not going to change anything, and in fact if he doesn’t he can be happy because he has love, attention, and treats being sent in his direction.

My cause for concern is really this peculiar accident in the office last night, his wet crate, and why on earth he dropped off his meal at our bedroom doorway and put himself in a timeout.
I'd work on his food aggression totally different myself. I would start by having a bowl on the ground and his FOOD in my hand or in another bowl I was holding. I'd drop kibble into the bowl and let him eat. When he is done and looks up, do it again. Do NOT keep your hand in the bowl, do not interfere with him. A local BC was pulled from a shelter recently that was goig to PTS for her food aggression. The trainer who pulled her with the help of a foste rhome and me while I boarded her were able to reduce the guarding to people in just a few weeks with this method.

This assumes he'll let you do that without growling. YOu want to work UNDER threshold. Might be something to ask your trainer about.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
420 Posts
I would go to Amazon and get the book with good exercises on resource guarding Mine! and make sure you're working with an excellent trainer on-the-ground on those.

I'd also see if you can find a Control Unleashed class in your area, and enroll him.

Before I do any of that, though, I'd have him screened for a possible UTI, a thyroid disorder (he's not too young for that, unfortunately, even if your vet says he is), or any other medical issue, esp. since some of this is a sudden CHANGE in, or escalation of, his behavior issues.

Good luck, and stay safe.
I would like to second all of this. "Mine!" is by Jean Donaldson, I think and is very good. I think a good behaviorist is also necessary when a puppy shows this sort of resource guarding and growling.

As far as health goes, I would definatley get a urine analysis run. Also, did you notice if he had any sort of strange gaze or eye movement before he started acting strange? I have seen dogs that suffered from very small seizures act that way.

About a year ago I lost one of the sweetest most wonderful dogs, at 3 years of age, to a brain tumor. (another dog with similar breeding also died around the same time/ age) His first symptoms were growling. He would mostly just wake up from sleep and start growling. Eventually this lead to highly aggressive outbursts where he would attack the closest thing to him- human, animal, furniture, it didn't matter. My other dog would frequently throw himself in the way of the attack. It wasnt until one night when my other dogs werent home that I realized how dangerous things had gotten. I am not saying your dog has a brain tumor, but I will strongly urge you not to let this go for too long without investigating possible organic reasons as well as contacting a professional behaviorist that is skilled in rehabilitating dogs with behavioral issues, not just obedience training.



Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
420 Posts
Same with the growling. You have to nip that in the bud asap, as soon as it happens. You need to raise your voice, a loud "HEEEEY" works for me when I needed it. Also, corrections are to be given by you, not your dog.

You need to enforce the corrections and acknowledge as such by immediately walking away when your dog has achieved a relaxed state (sitting down, laying down, etc).


I have always been calm, and assertive/aggressive with any of my dogs, letting them know by using my big boy voice, that I am in charge. It won't happen in a day, but it will happen if you follow through.
I would caution anyone, especially someone who is not incredibly skilled with aggressive dogs, to never give large, overpowering corrections when a dog is in an aggressive mind set. That is a very good way to get your face ripped off and I have seen some dogs be PTS and humans put in the hospital because a correction was given when a dog was growling and resource guarding. IMO its a terrible idea.

Second, I would not be convinced that some of this isnt health related. Obviously this kiddo isnt real well adjusted, but the behavior described sounds very insecure or potentially related to pain.

For the OP, when he wouldnt eat his dinner, did he eat any? did you try giving him anything else? A very stressed or sick dog generally will not eat, anything. Also, he is only 8 months old. Have you had him since a puppy? has he always guarded things like this? How long has he been growling at you in the office?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
537 Posts
I would caution anyone, especially someone who is not incredibly skilled with aggressive dogs, to never give large, overpowering corrections when a dog is in an aggressive mind set. That is a very good way to get your face ripped off and I have seen some dogs be PTS and humans put in the hospital because a correction was given when a dog was growling and resource guarding. IMO its a terrible idea.

Second, I would not be convinced that some of this isnt health related. Obviously this kiddo isnt real well adjusted, but the behavior described sounds very insecure or potentially related to pain.

For the OP, when he wouldnt eat his dinner, did he eat any? did you try giving him anything else? A very stressed or sick dog generally will not eat, anything. Also, he is only 8 months old. Have you had him since a puppy? has he always guarded things like this? How long has he been growling at you in the office?
It's not a physical correction, it is a mental correction. it involves engaging the animals space, at a safe distance and bending their will, mentally, to become calm. Cesars techniques. I use them all because they work.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
21,988 Posts
Thorough vet visit first, and then find a new trainer/behaviorist. Preferably a board certified veterinary behaviorist and/or a Control Unleashed trainer. I think your current trainer is setting you up for failure, personally. Your dog is warning you that he is uncomfortable, and your trainer is asking you to push him further into discomfort. In my experience, that can be a recipe for disaster.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I would like to second all of this. "Mine!" is by Jean Donaldson, I think and is very good. I think a good behaviorist is also necessary when a puppy shows this sort of resource guarding and growling.

As far as health goes, I would definatley get a urine analysis run. Also, did you notice if he had any sort of strange gaze or eye movement before he started acting strange? I have seen dogs that suffered from very small seizures act that way.

About a year ago I lost one of the sweetest most wonderful dogs, at 3 years of age, to a brain tumor. (another dog with similar breeding also died around the same time/ age) His first symptoms were growling. He would mostly just wake up from sleep and start growling. Eventually this lead to highly aggressive outbursts where he would attack the closest thing to him- human, animal, furniture, it didn't matter. My other dog would frequently throw himself in the way of the attack. It wasnt until one night when my other dogs werent home that I realized how dangerous things had gotten. I am not saying your dog has a brain tumor, but I will strongly urge you not to let this go for too long without investigating possible organic reasons as well as contacting a professional behaviorist that is skilled in rehabilitating dogs with behavioral issues, not just obedience training.



Good luck.
His eyes were off. His head tilted, no rapid eye movement but it was a pretty blank stare like a couple of screws came loose. He almost just leaves to his own little world.

This isn't my first rodeo with a dog, but it is with a doberman, and this is the first time I have ever seen anything like this. I can snap him out of it pretty quick and he goes back to the lovable little boy we know he is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I would caution anyone, especially someone who is not incredibly skilled with aggressive dogs, to never give large, overpowering corrections when a dog is in an aggressive mind set. That is a very good way to get your face ripped off and I have seen some dogs be PTS and humans put in the hospital because a correction was given when a dog was growling and resource guarding. IMO its a terrible idea.

Second, I would not be convinced that some of this isnt health related. Obviously this kiddo isnt real well adjusted, but the behavior described sounds very insecure or potentially related to pain.

For the OP, when he wouldnt eat his dinner, did he eat any? did you try giving him anything else? A very stressed or sick dog generally will not eat, anything. Also, he is only 8 months old. Have you had him since a puppy? has he always guarded thingsnjh like this? How long has he been growling at you in the office?
He eventually did eat it, he just dropped it off as a peace offering. I put him in his crate and he chowed down. We have had him since 8 weeks and he developed a bit of food aggression not too long ago and we have been working with him successfully (or so we thought) over the past couple of weeks to nip it. This office growling is new as of 48 hours ago. I worked with him today with both issues and he responded well. We're off to the vet tomorrow for a checkup and a neuter... may as well get it out of the way.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,030 Posts
First pups /dogs do not put them selfs in a time out never happens you maybe putting too much human emotions on to this pup.Yes i agree with others he needs a vet check up thyroid being off can make them aggressive. Have you ever looked up NILF Dog training that can help also the two books will help too. Good Luck with your baby
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
420 Posts
First pups /dogs do not put them selfs in a time out never happens you maybe putting too much human emotions on to this pup.Yes i agree with others he needs a vet check up thyroid being off can make them aggressive. Have you ever looked up NILF Dog training that can help also the two books will help too. Good Luck with your baby
I agree, Dogs dont put them selves in to timeout, but I would guess he does this because he feels insecure and feels safe under there. Before we realized my dogs issue was medical and not behavioral he had learned to go to his kennel when he started to feel "uncomfortable." I believe this is because it is where I would take him if it seemed like an episode was coming on, so that he would be safely tucked away. (of course, as the disease progressed he became more and more unpredictable)

His eyes were off. His head tilted, no rapid eye movement but it was a pretty blank stare like a couple of screws came loose. He almost just leaves to his own little world.

This isn't my first rodeo with a dog, but it is with a doberman, and this is the first time I have ever seen anything like this. I can snap him out of it pretty quick and he goes back to the lovable little boy we know he is.
Might be worth asking the vet about a seizure disorder. If nothing else helps, you could pursue this, but I would leave it to be the last thing you look into. Phenobarbital is cheap but has icky side effects, and diagnostics to test for brain problems are expensive.

You say he is from a BYB, do you know what lines he has? any well known dogs in there?

I wish you luck and would love an update with what the vet says.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thank you all for the kind words and advice. I just dropped Alex off at the vet. He is getting his thyroid tested as well as a urine test to screen for a few of the suggestions here. He's also getting neutered so we're going to get everything organic cleared today.

He'll be receiving daily training sessions in the locations where he feels the need to growl at us, and I'll keep you posted as to his results.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top