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Hi,
I have a year and 9 month old male Doberman Pinscher. He is great around the family and people he knows however he is sooooooo anxious around strangers or people he has only met a few times. He has never bitten but whenever we go out or someone new comes in the house he makes a huge scene! Growling (not showing the teeth however), barking, hair standing on end, he will go on for about 10 minutes and then slowly warm up to them. A trainer suggested that when I have him out in public to get strangers to give him treats. I've tried this but he'll take the treat and them make a scene. He's never bitten anyone, but I find it so exhausting sometimes when people just want to pat him and he makes his big scene. Any advice?
Also he is unusually agressive towards my boyfriends 5 year old lab.He's great around our female and puppy but whenever the lab comes around he freaks out and chases him around the house, the lab will be sleeping and he will wake him up and pin him in corners growling, they've fought a few times but I always broke it up. The lab is never agressive towards him. Also when the lab comes to the house my doberman becomes agressive towards the puppy as well, and it takes him a good hour to calm down after the lab leaves, he just becomes a ball of nerves growling constantly (again, not showing the teeth) I don't understand it, the lab is the most laid back dog I know and never shows agression towards Sirius. I suppose I should mention Sirius is not Neutered yet (he will be this month) but the lab is. Any advice would be appreciated.
 

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Im glad youve come forward for help, and that you recognise he is nervous. You didnt mention if you go to a puppy socialization class or not, that could help him and you. with your boyfriends dog, have you tried to introduce them on uncommon ground ie at a park or oval where your pup isnt pressured (within himself) to instigate his hold over his territory. There is a dog in my classes that reacts simmilarly as you describe yours does, she is taken to classes twice a week and has made a huge improvement over 18 months of solid socializing in a controlled atmosphere. I gues my advice is persistance, and dont dispair, time is on your side, he is only still a pup, but start now. I dont have confidence desexing him will help, but if your not breeding it is a idea anyhow.
Keep us up to date.
be strong ;-)
 

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Is he more anzious than other dobes or just more anxious compared to a lab? They are supposed to be cautious of neighbors and other animals in their house but if its passed a certain point thats different. Maybe have someone familiar with dobes evaluate him in person. Some dobes also just don't get along weith other dogs the best. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I took him to Obdeience class when he was around a year, he did okay but it was hard to keep his attention. I've tried taking him and the lab to uncommen ground and they are fine until we start playing fetch and then they sometimes fight. I'm pretty sure he is more anxious than most Dobies, I've met quite a few and talked to a lot of owners, my vet specializes in Dobermans and even he says Sirius is very nervous. He was socialized a lot as a puppy and is still being socialized now. I'm looking into taking him to a new trainer who says he probably has low confidence and wants to do some confidence building exercises with him. I'm willing to try anything, lol. A few people suggested agality training? Do you think this would help? Thanks for all the advice guys!
 

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i would seek out a professional trainer that can work with the dog - while he has not bitten, with this behavior its only a matter of WHEN - because it could quickly progress for someone not heeding his warning.

in terms of the lab, i fear it may be hopeless. male dobermans are KNOWN to be same sex aggressive, and the best you can do at this point is make sure the dogs are never together - its the reason most responsible breeders will never sell a male dobe to a household with another male dog. the best bet would be to never leave them together again, while the fights are innocent now, they could quickly result in a very injured dog in the future as your dobe gets older and more secure.
 

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My opinion, is to keep up with the obedience work. They must have a good obedience base anyway to do agility because of the attention and such. Keep socializing and I'd recommend to keep up with OB classes and you will kind his attention and such will get better as he gets more comfortable (it may take time don't give up) another great thing- take him to the pet store if you have one nearby he can go in as often as time permits, great exposure. One more bit of advice I'd like to offer (you may already know, if so sorry for the repeat) Do not pet or comfort him when he is in distress with his confidence at a particular time. You may feel it calms him, but in all acctuality it is rewarding the behaviour at the time, and if he is anxious at that time, petting him rewards that. Don't punish him at all, just keep him moving and doing something. Carry steak around in your pocket if you have to, and every time he diverts his attention from what is upseting him to turns to you reward that. Best of luck
 

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My male is EXAXCTLY the same way. The technical term for our behavior problem is "Reactive". there are several books out to help curb this such as "Click to Calm, Healing the Aggressive Dog" by Emma Parsons, "Scaredy Dog! Understanding and Rehabilitating Your Reactive Dog" by Ali Brown(this book is out of production, but you can get it off of sitstay.com). Im wanting to purchase a copy of both but funds are pretty tight with all the allergy problems. Once that is dealt with, ill buy a copy of both.
 

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I'm just curious where the 3 posters with the problem dogs got their dogs? Have the breeders been contacted for help and/or advice?
 

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We got Brenna from a newspaper ad. I did ask them since she was my first doberman if i could call if i had any questions they said yes, two weeks later I called to ask about the akc papers they had disconnected there phone. So I know I made misakes, found bad so called trainers and great trainers and she is much better and I've learned alot and still trying.
 

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Brenna's Mom said:
We got Brenna from a newspaper ad. I did ask them since she was my first doberman if i could call if i had any questions they said yes, two weeks later I called to ask about the akc papers they had disconnected there phone. So I know I made misakes, found bad so called trainers and great trainers and she is much better and I've learned alot and still trying.
Thank you for answering. I guess that the other two missed it or aren't going to respond.

The situation definitely is an illustration of one of the reasons why everyone should choose their breeder very carefully, and go with one that does temperament test. Additionally, it underscores the importance of getting references, talking to other owners of that breeder's dogs to ensure that the breeder remained in the picture after the sale and supported their owners and their puppies.

There seems to be some argument about whether buying from breeders who show their dogs has any importance. As some of us are saying, breeders should be out there proving the conformation of their dogs. However, keep in mind what show dogs deal with - they deal with the public constantly in their faces, they deal with crowds, they deal with noise, they deal with weather (sun, wind, rain, etc), they deal with being handled by different people, they deal with unexpected events (tents blowing over, kids out of control), etc. IOW, they deal with a lot of stress and a good show dog does it well. If a dog can spend time at dog shows in a comfortable manner, it IS another indication of temperament that hopefully will be passed on to their offspring. These show dogs are doing something seemingly simple that some of you can't do with your pets. There IS a connection here. If you choose breeders that CAN and DO do these things with their dogs, chances are you'll be able to, too. Maybe you don't want to go to dog shows but surely you all want to be able to take your dog into public comfortably.
 

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but show dogs arent everything and that doesnt make a good dog. that is taught into them... i mean dont get me wrong temperment is bred into them but showin is taught anyone can try and teach their dog to be as a show dog is. but it doesnt mean that their puppies are going to be the same.

but refrences are a must... and that isnt true there isnt a connection there. my hubbys shih tzus came from a show dog... and they COULD have been show dogs. but they didnt wanna do that stuff... they didnt want to prance around in a ring having everyone looking at them...

no i agree you should socialize your dog... and when buying you should ask for refrences... and iw ould say minimum five refrences (NOT FRIENDS).... my breeder offered me 7-8 refrences... i said lets start with three then ill go from there. now i am one of her refrences... and i would love to make sure she and her prospective buyers knew how well of a breeder she is.

hope that helps hun
 

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whiteandblue said:
but show dogs arent everything and that doesnt make a good dog. that is taught into them... i mean dont get me wrong temperment is bred into them but showin is taught anyone can try and teach their dog to be as a show dog is. but it doesnt mean that their puppies are going to be the same.

but refrences are a must... and that isnt true there isnt a connection there. my hubbys shih tzus came from a show dog... and they COULD have been show dogs. but they didnt wanna do that stuff... they didnt want to prance around in a ring having everyone looking at them...

no i agree you should socialize your dog... and when buying you should ask for refrences... and iw ould say minimum five refrences (NOT FRIENDS).... my breeder offered me 7-8 refrences... i said lets start with three then ill go from there. now i am one of her refrences... and i would love to make sure she and her prospective buyers knew how well of a breeder she is.

hope that helps hun

I would have to disagree that showin is taught. I have never shown dogs but have shown arabians in halter and the good show animals are born that way. Yes, you can teach an animal to get out there and go thru the motions but the winners usually have that extra spark that they were born with. JMHO
 

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no molari... to prance around a ring... and sit pretty is taught... they are born with the look to show... ive shown... and i know what kind of crap you have to go thru to get a dog to do what is right. it isnt something they are born with!

not to say any dog can show because they cant... some dont have the temperment some dont have the look... but showing is something that is taught... having the look is soemthing you are born with.... showing isnt easy.. ive shown horses cows, dogs, rabbits... and lots of other livestock... sometimes theylook the part but dont have the to do... to do it
 

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whiteandblue said:
but show dogs arent everything and that doesnt make a good dog. that is taught into them...
You can't put in what nature left out. It's that simple. If the dog's temperament is inherently bad, all the work in the work in the world will not make enough of a difference. We can influence many behaviours but we aren't changing their temperaments.

I'd prefer to buy from people who are out there proving their dogs can deal with life rather than people who never take their dogs anywhere and the buyer never sees them anywhere but at their homes.

It's surprising to me how many people you meet at shows that are surprised at how well show dogs generally adjust to whatever is going on. Why are they surprised? Because they are too used to seeing the average person's dog freaking out about anything and everything out of the ordinary.

Meeting any breeder at their home *only* doesn't give you a good indication of what their dogs are really like. Their dogs are in their comfort zone. You have no idea if they bark and lunge at strangers or whether the dogs are in any way controllable or comfortable in a public situation. Often, if people had simply spent more time with their choice of breeder in various settings, you'd get a much better picture of what their dogs are really like and what you may expect in the offspring.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hi Everyone, Thanks for all your advice, sorry I have not responed but i have been away. It seems Sirius only needed some serious socializing. I took him up to my brothers in Ontario for a week and he was thrown into a situation he normally freaks about for a week (strange people, dogs, places) He freaked at first but once he realized nobody cared if he was barking and everyone ignored him he quickly realized if he wanted attention he had to calm down. He was great up there, and even made friends with another male dog. Even when he came home his behaviour is the same, he warms up to strangers very quickly and seems much more accepting of scary situations. I can't believe the turnaround! Thanks for all your great advice, It seems we will be doing some serious socializing from now on! Thanks everyone!!!!! :)
 

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whiteandblue said:
no molari... to prance around a ring... and sit pretty is taught... they are born with the look to show... ive shown... and i know what kind of crap you have to go thru to get a dog to do what is right. it isnt something they are born with!

not to say any dog can show because they cant... some dont have the temperment some dont have the look... but showing is something that is taught... having the look is soemthing you are born with.... showing isnt easy.. ive shown horses cows, dogs, rabbits... and lots of other livestock... sometimes theylook the part but dont have the to do... to do it

erm - you contradict yourself here from the first statements to the last part.

thats exactly what people are saying. your dog could be the most standard dog on earth - but without the actual desire, the temperament and the showmanship, its STILL going to be touch to go in the ring with.

being a natural ISNT something that is taught - being awesome, is something you are born with.

you have it, or you dont. you cant teach a dog something they dont have in them somewhere.


sure you teach a dog to stack - but that isnt all that is involved - and ANY dog can learn to do that. a dog being taught to stack in the ring has nthign to do with biddability, has nothing to do with the abillity to just accept what happens and not lose focus, not react, not be thrown off.

if youve shown dogs, you know that. there are some dogs out there scraping by to do things they really arent cut out for, and other dogs doing what they were bred and designed to do.
 

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The whole point of hoping a successful show dog passes on good temperment, is that a dog, no matter how well conformed, with a bad temperment, isn't going to keep it in check all the time, no matter how trained. And the likelyhood of that being passed to its get is great.

So a successful show dog is saying something as to comfirmation (obviously) and temperment. A nervous dog, can't hide that in a show with all the activity that Mary was describing. As Kim said you can teach a dog to stack, but that doesn't make it a "show dog", there is more to it.
 

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I got king from a back yard breeder. I heard of the guy through a friend of a friend. One of my buddies also bought a dog off of him(although i didnt find out until like 8 months after) and he found the guy through an add in the paper. He said if i had any questions to just ask, but his dog is worse than mine, so it was pointless.
 
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