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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, everyone. Found this site while looking for information on Dobermans and dog ownership, and have spent much of the weekend looking it over and getting ready for the change that's coming in our family life.

I'm a dog person, my wife is more of a cat person. I grew up with dogs - mutts and poodles, but haven't owned one in a while, other than living with someone else's in a shared house in grad school.

To make a long story short - we are getting two dogs today from the local city animal shelter. One is a Doberman - a red female, about 18 months old, and on the small side, from what I can tell (she's about 45 pounds). The other dog, a male, is listed as a Shar-Pei, but to my eye is certainly a mix of some sort. My hunch is that it's a Lab or Retriever mix. He has that look around the withers that says "Lab" to me, and doesn't have the purple/black tongue. According to the pound, he's about a year old, and also about 45 pounds.

We'd been talking about getting a dog for a while so this isn't a spur of the moment thing, yet I feel that we may be getting in over our heads. We own a house, but the yard (on a Southern California hillside) is not fenced. We do have a large paved driveway (80' x 20') that can be enclosed (already bordered by the house and fenced about 2/3 of the way around). We don't plan to leave them out during the day or unattended, etc. This would be more of a play area while we're home to let them work off some steam. The house is two stories, and we plan on getting a gate to keep the dogs downstairs (which is where the exit to the play area is). We have two children, ages 7 and 10 (and no more on the way!). We also have three cats; well, sort of - a large colony of feral cats came with the house, so to speak, and we ended up trying to take them in and make them pets. We succeeded with one; she'll actually come, enjoys being petted, seeks us out, etc. The second one is iffy - really only settles down at night in terms of letting us pet her. I really can't get near the third one, a black male. (They've all been fixed, at least, so hopefully I won't have to corral him again and deal with a shredded forearm.)

In any case, I could go on, if you all need more specifics, but I think I''ll just stop here and do a general request for help. We definitely plan on obedience classes, although I'm not sure how the logistics of doing it with two dogs will work. In terms of socializing them and spending time with them, I am currently unemployed (and looking to work from home, in any case), so I will be able to stay home with them for the foreseeable future.

I'm looking at picking up a crate from Craigslist; I'm not sure if I can pull that off before they get here, however. I'm kind of thinking that they'll sleep in our bedroom (downstairs; the kids sleep upstairs).

A little update: Both need to be fixed before they come home, and I just learned from the vet that the Doberman will not be ready to come home until tomorrow. We could bring the male home today, later this afternoon; one of my questions, however, is how we introduce them to our home. Would it be better to do both at the same time, or would it be OK to bring the Shar-Pei home first? Or, will one day not really matter? Oh, and the vet requires an e-collar for the male so that he doesn't mess with his stitches. Not sure what I make of e-collars yet.

As far as the temperament, we met each dog twice at the pound, once in a place with toys, and distractions on the other side of the glass. Neither dog seemed particularly eager to let go of the toys, but I was able to take it away gently, with no growling or threatening behavior. But, maybe that's because it wasn't really their toy, just something that was available.

Well, so much for my "short" long story. In any case, I'll be revisiting this thread often. Thanks in advance!
 

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u mad?
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First, THANK YOU for adopting!

My advice is this... Invest in two crates (it sounds like you're looking to get just one?) and I'd highly suggest taking them to separate obedience classes. Dogs raised together can become dependent on each other. Make sure they get time with just you and away from each other so that they can bond to you instead of just each other (you may want to do some reading on Littermate Syndrome). I don't think bringing one home a day early is a huge issue and there's nothing wrong with e-collars.

I can't wait to see pictures of your duo.
 

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Holier Than Now
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Welcome to the forum.

I'm curious as to why you chose to adopt two dogs at once? Did they come "as a pair" or something?

In any case, there are certainly a lot of homeless dogs out there needing good homes, so best of luck to you guys, and I'll ditto the advice to invest in two good crates.

Must have books to get ya started on the path to success:

http://www.amazon.com/Talking-Terms...=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325619368&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Power-Positiv...=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325619400&sr=1-1
 

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kopfgeschlagen
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Yes, thank you for adopting!

I second the crate suggestion - get them separate crates so they each have their own space. How are the dogs together? Do they play together now? It's good that they are opposite sexes but you'll want to supervise them together to make sure they get along.

Also second the obedience classes. Working together on training (individually with you and each family member) is a great way to help them bond.

I'd also try to get the fence going as soon as you can, it will really help to be able to allow them to play unleashed.

Good luck! Sounds like we may be neighbors.
 

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I agree with all of the above. If you really want to do this, you can make it work. Here are my pointers:
1. Two crates, one for each dog.
2. Do not let them share toys or food until you've done lots of obedience training and have a very good idea of whether there is any resource guarding issues.
3. Take them to separate classes. They need to bond with YOU more than they bond with one another.
4. I think you said this already, but do not leave them out together unsupervised, even for 5 minutes.
5. They should be crated at night until you feel that they can both be trusted not to destroy or ingest anything.
6. Lots of one-on-one time with you/your wife. They should really only be playing together a few hours out of the day. You don't want them learning bad habits from one another, or becoming their own little pack without you.

Good luck! This is do-able, you just have to set your mind to it. :) Thanks for rescuing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies, folks. I'll look into those books, RedFawnRising.

Why two? Indecisiveness, I guess - we couldn't decide between the two, and my wife suggested getting them both. I wouldn't have done it if I was working and away from the house all day, but thought I should be able to pull it off if I'm home with them.

Yeah, we have separate food bowls, and I plan on feeding them separately. Two crates it is, too, and separate toys.

SoCalGirl - neighboring counties, at least. :) We're up in LA.

Oh, and I posted a picture or two (one in the wrong category) of the Shar-Pei mix, if you're curious.
 

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Holier Than Now
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I agree with all of the above. If you really want to do this, you can make it work. Here are my pointers:
1. Two crates, one for each dog.
2. Do not let them share toys or food until you've done lots of obedience training and have a very good idea of whether there is any resource guarding issues.
3. Take them to separate classes. They need to bond with YOU more than they bond with one another.
4. I think you said this already, but do not leave them out together unsupervised, even for 5 minutes.
5. They should be crated at night until you feel that they can both be trusted not to destroy or ingest anything.
6. Lots of one-on-one time with you/your wife. They should really only be playing together a few hours out of the day. You don't want them learning bad habits from one another, or becoming their own little pack without you.

Good luck! This is do-able, you just have to set your mind to it. :) Thanks for rescuing.
Thanks for the replies, folks. I'll look into those books, RedFawnRising.

Why two? Indecisiveness, I guess - we couldn't decide between the two, and my wife suggested getting them both. I wouldn't have done it if I was working and away from the house all day, but thought I should be able to pull it off if I'm home with them.

Yeah, we have separate food bowls, and I plan on feeding them separately. Two crates it is, too, and separate toys.

SoCalGirl - neighboring counties, at least. :) We're up in LA.

Oh, and I posted a picture or two (one in the wrong category) of the Shar-Pei mix, if you're curious.

He's a cute fella. Hard to tell from that pic, but possibly a bit Chow-ish, too?

Have you decided on names?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
We've named him Satchel, RedFawn. First night went passably well. No cage yet, so we laid a wool blanket on the floor next to my side of the bed. Problem is, I tend to stay up late, and he wouldn't stay in the bedroom until I went to bed. He laid at my feet while I watched TV. Apparently, he and I have bonded.

And, I'm embarrassed to admit that the e-collar is not what I thought it was. I thought I saw a thread here that talked about using them as training aids, so I thought it was an electronic collar, like a shock collar or something. That's why I was kind of iffy. All he came home with was a plastic cone, which of course makes much more sense.

One question on cages - is it OK to use one of the plastic kennels used for transporting dogs as their cage for sleeping at night? Or does that not work well in case you have to transport them somewhere, because you're moving their den, so to speak?

Oh, and the Doberman (since this is a Dobe talk board!) will be named Lucy. We're going to pick her up this evening after my wife gets off work.
 

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u mad?
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I love the names Satchel (and Satchel is quite handsome) and Lucy!

I see no problem using a plastic crate as opposed to a metal one. Some dogs actually like them better due to them not being completely see-through on all sides. I would imagine (though I have no idea) that you'd want to give the insides of those crates a good scrubbing from time to time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, Patchwork. Would there be any issue to use it for both crating at night or something, and for transporting? Not sure yet how both dogs are going to do in one minivan.
 

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Holier Than Now
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You will be fine to use that crate for both purposes.

I can't believe no one has hounded you (no pun intended) for pictures yet! It's practically a forum initiation--ya gotta post pics of both of them at home, soon as possible :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hah, thanks, no hounding - didn't think to take any when we first met her, and she won't be coming home until tonight. I will post as soon as I can, I promise!

Next question will be how to introduce them. My wife won't be able to pick him up with us, but will be home shortly after, so it's just me and the dogs (and my 7-year old son).
 

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Holier Than Now
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Don't introduce them tonight--just enjoy each separately--they both have a heck of a lot on their plates, even if it's all good change, it's still a lot of stress/change.


When you are ready for them to meet, do this: On leash, walk on neutral territory, each dog handled by one of the adults. Just walk off briskly and keep them engaged in the walk, don't get super close and don't worry about encouraging interaction at this point.

Just let them see each other and get a feel for who the other dog is, a chance to relax and not be pressured.

Esp. since she's fresh from a spay, keep the walk very short, flat ground, etc, and then separate them again at home. If she gets bumped by him, even if it's just a happy greeting, and it causes her pain/injury, that's not going to be a good association. Don't want to get things off on the wrong paw :)

Over the next few days/weeks, you can increase their interaction and time together, based on how they're doing.

Do get that Turid Rugaas book right away--it will totally guide you in assessing how stressed or comfortable each dog is--short, easy read, information packed, cheap!, and worth its weight in gold, lots of pics, too, for examples of what to look for.

Is the vet sending pain meds home for your girl? If not, request them right away.
 

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Yes, pictures, please!

To echo RFR, get the Rugaas book. But, while you are waiting for it, watch Kikopup's video on calming signals: How to communicate with a dog in their own language- dog training dog communication - YouTube

I also highly recommend taking the introductions slow, and keeping them separated. If you can put a baby gate up (preferably two, so they can't actually interact), you can feed lots of small, yummy treats when they see the other dog. You want to create as many positive associations as possible so they think the presence of the other dog = super awesome!

You can often find great deals on crates on Craigslist. I always just give them a thorough disinfecting before I use it myself. Some dogs prefer metal, some prefer plastic. I personally have multiple crates for each dog, just because it's a pain to take crates down for transport. If you don't have a problem doing that you should be just fine. Also, you will absolutely want to crate both individually while they are in the car. It's very easy for uncrated dogs to step on each other and be general pains to each other, potentially causing fights. Plus, of course, crating is safer.

Good luck, and again...pictures of both, please!

Edited to add: I highly recommend all of Kikopup's training videos, in addition to the one on dog language I posted above.
 

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Congrats on your new family members. I dont know how you guys are seeing the picture. I cant find it. Hope to see some new ones too!
 

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Congrats on your new family members. I dont know how you guys are seeing the picture. I cant find it. Hope to see some new ones too!
Sometimes I see nothing in the gallery but if I click on Images I can see them..
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hey, folks! Finally got a picture of Lucy last night. I've put it in my gallery. Got another one of Satchel, too, but it's pretty hard to get a good one with the e-collar. And I hate re-threading the thing, so it's gonna stay on for a while (2-3 weeks, says the vet, yeesh).

One thing you can't see in the picture is that she has a condition on the skin around her right eye. The shelter vet tech checked it and said that it isn't the highly contagious kind, but rather one that she will need to be go on anti-biotics. The vet who did the spaying, however, didn't mention it (which means we probably won't be going back there for regular care). Might recognize what the tech called it if someone posts it, but it's not coming to mind right now.

She also seems a bit thin, and hasn't really taken to the food yet (unlike Satchel, who pretty much inhales what we give him).

Great recommendation on the Kikopup videos, Meadowcat. Much appreciated. I've already started using them to calm the dogs, especially Satchel. He was pestering me to get on the bed today, so I petted him for a bit, moved his front legs off the bed, and did a lip-licking and look away. He sighed, and lay down on the floor next to the bed.

We introduced them with a walk last night, and again this evening. That worked very well. Since we only have one cage (hopefully getting another off of Craigslist tomorrow), I've opted to let Lucy sleep in the bedroom (on the floor) with my wife, and I'm out in the family room on the couch, with Satchel on the floor. They've interacted a little bit in the same room, and there's certainly no snarling or immediately obvious tension. Satchel is a little rambunctious for her, though, I think, at least in her present condition. She seems a little more shy, too, than he is.

Finally, on our evening walk tonight, she actually barked for the first time. The occasion was a group of 3 people on the other side of the street with 2 or 3 dogs. She started growling, barking, pulling at the leash. I didn't work on the calming early enough, OK. (Satchel was alert and interested in them, but didn't get overly worked up.) Now, the funny part is that the people going the other direction could obviously see and hear that she was a bit excited, so what do they do? They reverse direction and walk the same way as us. I dunno, just didn't seem a common-sense (or at least courteous) thing to do. I mean, give us 2 minutes to get some distance and let us work with the dogs, ya know?

Anyway, thanks again for all the tips, and listening, folks.
 

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Holier Than Now
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Hey, folks! Finally got a picture of Lucy last night. I've put it in my gallery. Got another one of Satchel, too, but it's pretty hard to get a good one with the e-collar. And I hate re-threading the thing, so it's gonna stay on for a while (2-3 weeks, says the vet, yeesh).

One thing you can't see in the picture is that she has a condition on the skin around her right eye. The shelter vet tech checked it and said that it isn't the highly contagious kind, but rather one that she will need to be go on anti-biotics. The vet who did the spaying, however, didn't mention it (which means we probably won't be going back there for regular care). Might recognize what the tech called it if someone posts it, but it's not coming to mind right now.

She also seems a bit thin, and hasn't really taken to the food yet (unlike Satchel, who pretty much inhales what we give him).

Great recommendation on the Kikopup videos, Meadowcat. Much appreciated. I've already started using them to calm the dogs, especially Satchel. He was pestering me to get on the bed today, so I petted him for a bit, moved his front legs off the bed, and did a lip-licking and look away. He sighed, and lay down on the floor next to the bed.

We introduced them with a walk last night, and again this evening. That worked very well. Since we only have one cage (hopefully getting another off of Craigslist tomorrow), I've opted to let Lucy sleep in the bedroom (on the floor) with my wife, and I'm out in the family room on the couch, with Satchel on the floor. They've interacted a little bit in the same room, and there's certainly no snarling or immediately obvious tension. Satchel is a little rambunctious for her, though, I think, at least in her present condition. She seems a little more shy, too, than he is.

Finally, on our evening walk tonight, she actually barked for the first time. The occasion was a group of 3 people on the other side of the street with 2 or 3 dogs. She started growling, barking, pulling at the leash. I didn't work on the calming early enough, OK. (Satchel was alert and interested in them, but didn't get overly worked up.) Now, the funny part is that the people going the other direction could obviously see and hear that she was a bit excited, so what do they do? They reverse direction and walk the same way as us. I dunno, just didn't seem a common-sense (or at least courteous) thing to do. I mean, give us 2 minutes to get some distance and let us work with the dogs, ya know?

Anyway, thanks again for all the tips, and listening, folks.

She probably has demodectic mange, that stuff by her eye. Sound familiar?

Sounds like things are going well so far, and hurrah for you, using calming signals.

I'm dying someday to get some video clips of members using calming signals, but I fear the men-in-white might come to all our doors, were there video evidence of such craziness :1newwink:

The dogs sure get it, though, huh?

As for her reaction on leash to the other group of dogs--first, yes, that was discourteous and rather unwise of them. And, although it's a bit much too fast, I do always try to remind myself, whatever is going on...there are no distractions, just training opportunities, hehe.

One more book and/DVD for you, now, Leslie McDevitt's Control Unleashed. The "Look at That" exercise will help immensely if she's going to get rev'd up around other dogs. It's a fabulous help, overall, in training, too.
 
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