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I have a 7 year old neutered male dobe. I have had him since he was a puppy and he has never so much as growled at a human before. He was very excitable until age 3 and has since calmed down to the point of being very chill at all times and is now very indifferent when meeting new people. He is extremely well trained and I have never had any problems with aggression towards people until today (he is also very good with other dogs but can be bossy at times). I was not home, but this is the situation as told to me by one of my two male roommates: One of my roommates was laying down with my dog, basically on top of him. My dog heard something that startled him and, while barking, tried to get up but my roommate prevented him from doing so. My dog then "pushed off my roommate with his mouth", (sorry, their words...) basically while barking and trying to get up it sounds like he bit my roommate in the face multiple times to the point where my roommate was bleeding. This does not sound at all like an accident from the way it was described to me. I am heartbroken over this situation and don't know where to go from here. Like I said before he has NEVER before shown any aggression towards people whatsoever. Any insight would be appreciated. Thank you.
 

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I have a 7 year old neutered male dobe. I have had him since he was a puppy and he has never so much as growled at a human before. He was very excitable until age 3 and has since calmed down to the point of being very chill at all times and is now very indifferent when meeting new people. He is extremely well trained and I have never had any problems with aggression towards people until today (he is also very good with other dogs but can be bossy at times). I was not home, but this is the situation as told to me by one of my two male roommates: One of my roommates was laying down with my dog, basically on top of him. My dog heard something that startled him and, while barking, tried to get up but my roommate prevented him from doing so. My dog then "pushed off my roommate with his mouth", (sorry, their words...) basically while barking and trying to get up it sounds like he bit my roommate in the face multiple times to the point where my roommate was bleeding. This does not sound at all like an accident from the way it was described to me. I am heartbroken over this situation and don't know where to go from here. Like I said before he has NEVER before shown any aggression towards people whatsoever. Any insight would be appreciated. Thank you.
Sorry, but your male roommate needs to be slapped - up one side of his head and done the other.
- sure as heck, wasn't the dobes fault...by how it sounds / male preventing the dog from getting up to investigate, by pinning him
(just sad handling, gone bad / almost couldn't expect a much different outcome)
 

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From the way you describe it, I feel your roommate was in the wrong. This doesn't sound like aggression to me.

Holding a dog down, even a well behaved, well trained one, is an invitation for a bite, especially if your dog felt there was a situation going on that he needed to investigate.

That, and I've been on the receiving end of Elka using her head as leverage against me to get up. Not barking, thankfully, but still, the way they'll thrash when they find it necessary is pretty formidable.

Edited to add: I am not, however, a behavioral professional. If you or your roommates feel your dog is unsafe, or that this is something that needs to be addressed, then find a professional to work with. Internet anecdotes do not a full "diagnosis" make.
 

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Definitly do not leave your dog with people like this again.
Pinning him down when startled is awful.. The dog was obviously stressed
Have they said that they are going to take action or anything?
He shoudnt of had his face so close either!
Definitly be blaming your housemate as how youv described it he did it
Out of panic..
Maybe see if you can take your boy to someone just to be sure he is ok and his
Behaviour wont then change... And also to show your taking it seriously and that even
Tho your mate was in the wrong, he doesnt just bite people. As someone else said
If you feel unsafe thatit could happen again then this would be your best bet.
Just a suggestion, Good luck.


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Thanks for your replies. From what I understand, my roommate didn't hold my dog down. My dog was unable to get up because my roommate was cuddling with him laying basically on top of him and simply didn't get up fast enough. I should have clarified--my apologies. However, I feel that even if my roommate had been holding my dog down it wouldn't justify a bite. Maybe I'm wrong but it seems so out of the ordinary for such a typically well-behaved dog.
 

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I'm sorry, but if I was startled by something and I was trying to get up but some yahoo was holding ME down... I think I would hit the crud out of him too. However, I understand you are saying he 'didn't get up' in time. He really shouldn't have been on top of your dog to begin with.

That said.... I would chalk this incident up to stupid behavior on your room-mates part. Your dog isn't a person, and he panicked. NOT his fault. He is still the well behaved dog you raised.

Is your roommate blaming your dog? Does he understand that if your dog was intentionally trying to hurt him, it could have been MUCH worse?
 

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Thanks for your replies. From what I understand, my roommate didn't hold my dog down. My dog was unable to get up because my roommate was cuddling with him laying basically on top of him and simply didn't get up fast enough. I should have clarified--my apologies. However, I feel that even if my roommate had been holding my dog down it wouldn't justify a bite. Maybe I'm wrong but it seems so out of the ordinary for such a typically well-behaved dog.
So basically your room mate was laying on top of him, (giving him a cuddle) when the dog became alarmed over something and because your room mate was too slow to move your dog attempted to get up whilst barking and your room mates face was bitten.
Hmmm. My first reaction to this, is, DUMB A$$ ROOMIE! What the heck was he doing laying over the dog in the first place. I have had dogs all my life and never ever have I lain on top of my dogs, beside yes, but on top, oh for the love of pete, how stupid can you be.
My second reaction to this is. If a Dobe had bitten you on the face you'd like as not look like you had been kissing a running chainsaw so unless he has puncture marks and/or his face is hanging off I would be reticent to call it a bite, perhaps a better description would be a graze, a scuff or possibly even scratches.

And the bit that I bolded.

IMHO. YOU ARE WRONG. Even the most well behaved dog can make a mistake, this to me is what this was. I don't believe he intended for this to be the outcome he was struggling to get up, your roomie was being dimwitted and the result was your roomies face came into contact with a Dobes open mouth.

If you are truly worried about it, I would advise you visit a behaviorist and have a chat with them. As well as educate your roomies, your dog is not a pillow.
 

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I highly suggest you consult a professional. I would recommend a board certified veterinary behaviorist: Find a Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist ACVB

Second, lying down on top of a dog is not the most pleasant thing for a lot of dogs, and I wouldn't recommend doing that. Many dogs will tolerate it, but why put them in that position?
 

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Some dogs need space, its not necessarily a bad thing. Does your roommate know what a calming signal is? Maybe your dog was uncomfortable the entire time but your roommate didn't pick up on it. Some dogs will tolerate kids jumping on them, people squishing their faces, leaning over them ect, and to be honest I have only seen a few who will truly stay very calm and indifferent with these gestures. Your dog, is just being a dog, don't bash him for wanting a bit of space. I'm sure if you cuddled a police or tracking dog (both extremely well trained) they wouldn't appreciate it.

If your uneasy with your dogs behaviour, get him checked out by a professional, and have him health checked by your vet (bloodwork, stool, holter ect).
 

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Totally roommates fault. Remember, even the most well bahaved trained dog is STILL a dog. He doesn't have the capacity to politely request that the large human laying on top of him please move. He did try to ask in the only way he could. If he wanted to hurt your roommate, he could have.

Also, he's a Doberman, not a couch. Why was someone laying on him? When my dogs cuddle, it's the other way around. They lay on me.
 

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Thanks for the responses everyone. At first I thought my dog overreacted because aggression towards humans is completely unusual for him, but now I understand that his reaction was pretty normal. It's true that my roommate doesn't know how to act around dogs (obviously) and I've spoken with him about it before. Things will be different now and he's promised to basically leave my dog alone because my dog seems to be sick of his crap. Fortunately I will be out of this apartment in may.
 

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If your dog is now acting threatening toward your roommate, you may need to work with him a bit.

Your roommate pushed him too far, I think, by getting way in his space at a time when the dog was alarmed about something else--a warn-off or even an inhibited bite (the kind that does no major damage) isn't great, but is to be expected.

But if your dog now growls or acts aggressive when the roomie enters the room in a non-threatening way (not noisily, intrusively or suddenly), you probably should address that situation. That kind of over-reaction shouldn't be allowed. If you are seeing behavior like this from your dog, even if it is only your roommate who sets him off, you should go to a behaviorist and get his assessment of whether your dog responds appropriately under various conditions.

A dog may react if it is startled and pushed into a corner, so to speak, without carrying too much blame, but an aggressive reaction when there is no real threat from a known person who is keeping his distance is a warning flag.
 

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Thanks for your replies. From what I understand, my roommate didn't hold my dog down. My dog was unable to get up because my roommate was cuddling with him laying basically on top of him and simply didn't get up fast enough. I should have clarified--my apologies. However, I feel that even if my roommate had been holding my dog down it wouldn't justify a bite. Maybe I'm wrong but it seems so out of the ordinary for such a typically well-behaved dog.
So basically your room mate was laying on top of him, (giving him a cuddle) when the dog became alarmed over something and because your room mate was too slow to move your dog attempted to get up whilst barking and your room mates face was bitten.
Hmmm. My first reaction to this, is, DUMB A$$ ROOMIE! What the heck was he doing laying over the dog in the first place. I have had dogs all my life and never ever have I lain on top of my dogs, beside yes, but on top, oh for the love of pete, how stupid can you be.
My second reaction to this is. If a Dobe had bitten you on the face you'd like as not look like you had been kissing a running chainsaw so unless he has puncture marks and/or his face is hanging off I would be reticent to call it a bite, perhaps a better description would be a graze, a scuff or possibly even scratches.

And the bit that I bolded.

IMHO. YOU ARE WRONG. Even the most well behaved dog can make a mistake, this to me is what this was. I don't believe he intended for this to be the outcome he was struggling to get up, your roomie was being dimwitted and the result was your roomies face came into contact with a Dobes open mouth.

If you are truly worried about it, I would advise you visit a behaviorist and have a chat with them. As well as educate your roomies, your dog is not a pillow.
Have to strongly agree with all the bolded parts here. A dog is not a pillow. All dogs should be afforded a certain level of respect, especially a big one. That, and seriously, laying on TOP of a senior dog? Your roommate no doubt weighs a good deal more then your dog, and I'd imagine it to be a less then comfortable position for your poor dog. I'd imagine that with him scrambling to get up, it no doubt hurt having someone's weight on top of him. I'd panic too! Educate the roommate not to 'cuddle' with your dog by squishing him..
 

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Does he understand that if your dog was intentionally trying to hurt him, it could have been MUCH worse?
My thoughts exactly. I've been on the other end of a bite and there was no mistaken that this dog wanted to hurt me. You have to realize these are dogs and there are actually very few ways for them to get their points across. He can't very well yell at the guy, "hey get off me, I'm anxious to see if this noise requires my attention". How many times have you been in a hurry, seen something getting ready to fall and break or spill or whatever it may be, where you without even thinking push somebody out of the way? You have the ability to yell, move!! The dog doesn't. It doesn't sound like a legit bite to me IMO. Without being there there is no way to know but from the description your roommate gives this is the opinion I'm getting. Trust me, if your roomate was bitten by a doberman he would not be so cool about it. I was attacked by a wolf/chow cross and I have to be honest, it leaves a lasting impression and I was in no way cool. To this day I am nothing but as painfully cordial as possible to his owner and that requires diligent effort.
 

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You need to put the roommate to sleep if he is that dumb or at least lay down the law do not cuddle or touch my dog again.As the owner it is your responsibility to keep your dog safe from stupid people.From what you wrote your room mate is really stupid feel sorry for the dog I would not trust my dog around the room mate that is for sure he may let your dog out accidentally never to be seen again.Be careful and look after your dog.
 
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