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:help_up_2 Hello all! I am new to this site and thought I would check it out to see if I coudl get some help or suggestions. I have a male, nuetered, doberman almost 4 years old. We have only had him for about a year and are the 3rd owners. I highly suspect he was abused very badly in his past and as a result of that, is a mean dog! He loves us and follows commands, but only when he wants to. Whenever it comes to doing somthing he doesn't want to do he bites! This last bite was the worst and sent my boyfriend to the emergency room for stitches in his hand. I am in North Texas and asked around as to what to do. Naturally I felt the best place to go was the doberman rescue of north texas...nope! Before even hearing to whole story or asking any questions they told me to "put him down". Now I love Alfa VERY much and do not want to have to do this. So I spent a lot of money and took him to a lady who specializes in doberman training.

He is at a boarding and training school. The lady has now had him a week and says he is not progressising very well. She says that in all the years she has trained, she has rarely been scared of dogs...but is scared of him. He still has one more week there to go. She said if she had to make a descion right now her advice would be to put him to sleep. That he will never be 100% trustable. I said I woudl see where he is in a week then make a decision.

I REALLY REALLY REALLY do not want to have to put him to sleep. But ripping people up is obviously not accepatable either. Does anyone have any suggestions or know of anyone near by that would be willing to have and love a dog like this? please help!! thanks so much and I hope I get some good feedback :):help_up_2
 

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Sorry I meant that merely as a joke to lighten up the mood. I am sad to hear about Alfa, I would not give up just yet. I would suggest getting leerburgs dvd on domiant dogs.
 

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What is the lady attempting to do to him? What are her training methods? What is she trying on your dog? If she's afraid of him, I doubt she's the right trainer for your dog or for your problems. Not all trainers are equal and not every trainer is capable of dealing with aggression. I'm not a big fan of board + train get-ups. I think good trainers train owners how to train their dogs.

You need to find a highly qualified trainer and/or behaviorist ASAP that CAN help you and your dog. Contact veterinarians in your area and ask if they know of any animal behaviorists that they can refer you to. Ask if they know of any trainers qualified in working with highly aggressive dogs. Call pet stores, boarding kennels, groomers, anyone who works with animals and see if they can refer you to someone. Contact any other trainers (even if they are not qualified to help you) you can find and get a hold of in the area and ask them if *they* know of any trainers that are capable of helping you. Most trainers will refer you to someone else that is more qualified if they don't feel comfortable dealing with your dog.

Make sure a trainer you deal with is capable of dealing with aggression, has dealt with it successfully before, and has references. Any trainer can say "Yes I can fix your dog!" but some might not be honest. Ask for references and make sure any trainer or behaviorist who's services you hire have actually dealt with dogs with similar problems successfully.

I would get started on NILIF as soon as possible. Here is a website describing it: http://k9deb.com/nilif.htm

NILIF will not fix your dog, but it is a decent way to start until you find a trainer that can help you.

Other people on the forum may be able to help you more, but I think you really need to find a more qualified trainer.

Make sure you try out positive methods first. Obviously he becomes aggressive when he doesn't get his way, I doubt he'd react at all well to correction based training or to a Cesar Millan-esque alpha roll filled training schedule.
 

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He loves us and follows commands, but only when he wants to. I highly suspect he was abused very badly in his past and as a result of that, is a mean dog! He loves us and follows commands, but only when he wants to. Whenever it comes to doing somthing he doesn't want to do he bites!
sounds exactly like my lab mix coco except he never does it with us or people he knows well he loves us and is the happiest, friendliest cutest dog with us...but with strangers...he doesnt bite...but he will snap...and so therefore we just have to take every precaution we can...
not let people pet him...
make sure he is at a comfortable distance away
if you can't trust him or the people he is around...put him in his crate
Buy a muzzle...so if maybe you can allow him to be where people are instead of his crate...
on walks make sure he is secure and cant lunge and get away...when he sees someone.
Coco likes his harness for walks...I think it makes him feel secure...but I wouldnt ever use a harness for IF someone is petting him...cause you don't have control of his head very well..so if he bites you really have to pull his whole body away

If he is fear aggressive...and he doesnt like when new people are around outside...as long as he is secure take him for a walk...somewhere not crowded but you'll see people once and awhile...but make sure you are far away enough that he is comfortable with the people and they don't cause him to act weird...my coco from a distance will see people and stare and insist on keeping an eye on them...as long as he isnt barking or lunging...we will feed him treats. once he is comfortable in the environment...we try to do a fun positive training...or bring a toy or bone that can keep their interest...when coco is doing something...he will even keep his eyes on whoever is in the distance.

that is all I have for you for now...coco wasnt always like this...when we adopted him...knowing he was abused, he would just crawl into his shell if he was scared...but now he is more comfortable and confident...except when he gets scared he snaps...
 

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Pippinislove said:
What is the lady attempting to do to him? What are her training methods? What is she trying on your dog? If she's afraid of him, I doubt she's the right trainer for your dog or for your problems. Not all trainers are equal and not every trainer is capable of dealing with aggression. I'm not a big fan of board + train get-ups. I think good trainers train owners how to train their dogs.

You need to find a highly qualified trainer and/or behaviorist ASAP that CAN help you and your dog. Contact veterinarians in your area and ask if they know of any animal behaviorists that they can refer you to. Ask if they know of any trainers qualified in working with highly aggressive dogs. Call pet stores, boarding kennels, groomers, anyone who works with animals and see if they can refer you to someone. Contact any other trainers (even if they are not qualified to help you) you can find and get a hold of in the area and ask them if *they* know of any trainers that are capable of helping you. Most trainers will refer you to someone else that is more qualified if they don't feel comfortable dealing with your dog.

Make sure a trainer you deal with is capable of dealing with aggression, has dealt with it successfully before, and has references. Any trainer can say "Yes I can fix your dog!" but some might not be honest. Ask for references and make sure any trainer or behaviorist who's services you hire have actually dealt with dogs with similar problems successfully.

I would get started on NILIF as soon as possible. Here is a website describing it: http://k9deb.com/nilif.htm

NILIF will not fix your dog, but it is a decent way to start until you find a trainer that can help you.

Other people on the forum may be able to help you more, but I think you really need to find a more qualified trainer.

Make sure you try out positive methods first. Obviously he becomes aggressive when he doesn't get his way, I doubt he'd react at all well to correction based training or to a Cesar Millan-esque alpha roll filled training schedule.
I agree with this, I think you need to find someone who has alot of experience in dealing with dominent/aggressive dogs. I also think that anyone who wants to take him and not make you a part of it, is doing nothing but taking your money. I would think they would want to watch you interact with the dog, and see what actions can be taken to immediatley help the situation, and then go from there. There is no overnight fix, and I would imagine you have a long road ahead of you.

I would go get the dog from her ASAP before she does any more damage to the dog. GOOD FOR YOU for wanting to HELP this doberman rather than just put him to sleep. The lady may be right, he may never be 100%, but my guess is that with proper training and guidance he can be alot better than he is now.

Find a trainer who deals with aggressive dogs ALOT! There has to be someone in DFW. But before you bring your dog to them, check them out.....ask for references, maybe they have helped someone who was in your same situation.

Good Luck, Keep us updated on progress. Glad to have you on the board. Dont give up!
 

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ema79 said:
:Does anyone have any suggestions or know of anyone near by that would be willing to have and love a dog like this? please help!! thanks so much and I hope I get some good feedback :):help_up_2
Taking in a doberman, esp. an aggressive one, is a huge responsibility. I think you owe it to this dobie not to just pass him along to someone else who can't handle him and may also get bitten (or worse). So first off, if you decide to rehome him, I would ONLY turn him over to a dobie rescue and fill them in honestly on Alfa's aggression issues.

Based solely on what info you provided, it seems to me proper training was never completed (not blaming you). Also understand that there is a difference between loving you and having RESPECT for you. Assuming he is otherwise healthy, obeying when he feels like it and biting shows a lack of respect for you and your bf. What was your bf doing to Alfa when he got bit? Was he forcing him to obey a command with his hand (get off the couch, lay down, etc.)? If the dog was previously abused (by a man's hand), what do you expect him to do?

You have to make a decision on whether or not YOU are willing to invest the time and effort into rehabilitating and retraining Alfa to obey because he understands his place in the family, respects you and wants to. It is a big investment of time and patience. I agree with others that sending him away and expecting them to do the job for you in 2 weeks is just kidding yourself and looking for an easy (but expensive) solution. There's nothing in your post about what Alfa does all day and what his life is like. For instance, does he get plenty of exercise and playtime and positive training and interaction from you? Did this aggression just start suddenly? Are there kids around in this picture? What is Alfa's role/job in the family? These are important factors to consider in deciding whether or not to give him up to someone more experienced. If he were my dog and I loved him, i don't think 4 years old is too old to start over from scratch retraining him in the basics, using only positive rewards. Build up his confidence in himself and his respect for you with small, small steps. There must be a solid foundation for your "commands" to rest upon and since you don't know his history, you don't really know if it was ever there or not.

Bottom line, there is a LOT of info we don't know about your situation and Alfa's, including your age and experience. You may very well be in over your head. But you took him in and in my opinion owe it to this boy to give him the opportunity for the best life he can have, whether it's with you or someone else. Mainly, be honest with yourself about whether you're up to the job and if you're not, don't make Alfa pay for it with his life. JMHO.
 

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She did mention that he is neutered.

I'll have to agree with what every one else has said so far. Excellent advice from every one all around. Especially about the boarding training. I just wanted to add a few little comments.

Don't assume this dog was abused. If he is a dominant dog, chances are he didn't get enough leadership and training. Not all dogs who turn out badly have been abused. He could have been living with people who ment well, but just couldn't handle him, and have made the decision to pass him on.

Rehoming this dog might not be an option. Majority of rescues will not rehome a dog with known history of aggression unless they believe the dog can be rehabilitated. If the rescue you had approached told you to put him down, that's not a good sign. Granted I'm assuming they're a decent organization who wouldn't put a death sentence on a dog just because it's an easier option. If you really do give this all your best and feel you can't live with this dog, unfortunetly putting him down might be an option you will have to consider.

For now, go to http://www.leerburg.com and start reading. This site is full of some excellent information and I think a lot of it will apply to your situation. If you're not already doing NILF, start! Some one already mentioned it up top, so I won't bother explaining. For your own safety, get a muzzle, it will come in handy. Not a nylon strap type muzzle, but a good quality basket muzzle. This dog should also have a crate if he doesn't already.

You need to find yourself a good trainer who specialized in dealing with aggressive dogs. It might be hard to find one, but don't settle for less then the best. A bad trainer can just as well make an even bigger mess of your dog, something you can't afford.

You can tell us more details about the whole situation and I'm sure we can offer you some advice. It would be nice to hear more details actually as what you have said so far is a little sketchy. Exactly how did you come into posession of this dog? Was it through a shelter or a rescue? A newspaper ad? How much do you know about his past, and I mean solid facts, not assumptions. How was he when you first got him? When did the aggression issues begin and how? What are some of the specific issues with him? Have you attended any training classes with him? Does your boyfriend live with you and the dog? What was he doing when he got bit? How many times has the dog bitten so far? How often does he simply growl, or does he just bite without obvious warning signs? ....
 

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ema79 said:
:

I REALLY REALLY REALLY do not want to have to put him to sleep. But ripping people up is obviously not accepatable either. Does anyone have any suggestions or know of anyone near by that would be willing to have and love a dog like this? please help!! thanks so much and I hope I get some good feedback :):help_up_2
This dog has *at least* one recorded bite..it's pretty unlikely any rescue would take him for legal reasons. That's something you have to face as well..you'd be taking on a lot of potential liability placing this dog with anyone else. This is in addition to the moral issue-how you might feel if you placed the dog and he did some serious damage to someone else.

So I think the only choices open to you are to find someone to help YOU deal with the dog, or put him to sleep. I'd contact a schutzhund club if there's one near you-not to start doing schH training with this dog, but this kind of club will know people experienced in dealing with aggression.

First and foremost-I'd get a basic temperament test done on this dog to see if he's stable. Then I'd really search my heart to see if you're really willing and able to do what might need to be done..resolving these kind of issues usually takes a fair amount of time, there aren't any magic wands out there. And you may never have an animal that can be considered safe.

There isn't a lot of help anyone can provide you online, most especially with aggression issues. That requires someone SEEING the dog and the dynamics in the home. I'm not making any kind of judgement about you, but one thing I found to be very true when I worked for a dog trainer was you just couldn't rely on owners providing reliable information..they'll tell you lots of things that have no bearing on the issues at hand, and leave out highly relevant information..I don't think this is delibarate, more likely they just don't realize what's relevant to the problem and what isn't.

again, aggression issues demand hands on observation and advice.

If YOU'RE not willing to commit to a long term effort with no guarantee of success, then the best thing IS to put the dog down. There are far worse things than humane euthanasia. That's never an easy decision to make, especially when a dog can be so "normal" much of the time..but there are times it IS the appropriate decision. You don't want someone being seriously injured (or killed) on your conscience, nor does the breed itself need another doberman adding to the bite statistics.
 

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alienex said:
Ceaser Millan
You know if you do tell him it is an impossible situation and the dog will have to be put down, he will come. I think he sees it as a bigger challenge.

But on a serious note, I agree with the other posts. I would work on the NILF training and definately get a muzzle for the training. I won't run down and re-write and all that was already written.
 

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commit to a long term effort with no guarantee of success
yeah we adopted coco knowing he was fearful...he didnt start snaping till later when he was more comfortable with us...and less comfortable with strangers...we knew it was going to be hard and we put him in a positive beginners training...but that stressed him out so much...and he is fearful so he sometimes would refuse to do something if he was too scared.
He is the happiest around us in the home...so he basically just lives here with a good family that treats him great...playing in the yard and walks around the block are the extent of what he feels comfortable and happy with. We have accepted the fact that he will never be comfortable enough for us to trust him...there is a time when socializing is too much of a risk to take...especially these days...
I dont know how the situation is...but im saying this because some dogs don't want or need the extra stuff other than a home and a family to be happy...they dont need strangers stressing them out...and outings and training that is FUN to a "normal" dog. If he is perfectly fine with the family he is around every day and he is happy...even if you have to put him in his crate when people come over...or in a different room or section of the house...if you can provide a secure loving home for him to live in and whatever else he can handle that makes him happy...those extra precautions...of not letting anyone pet him or crating him when people are over...wont bring down his quality of life...to me he will be happier not having to deal with that kind of stress that causes him to bite.
Our old dalmatian was a untrusting dog...on walks EVERYONE wants to pet the dalmatian like the ones in the movie...but they couldn't I said no and continued my walk...it was when I was younger probably 11...she walked great..she didnt care about people out and about...didnt pull...I had full control over her and if anyone asked to pet her all I had to do is say No...and go on with my walk. When people came over Dice was in her crate...no question about it.
again I don't know the seriousness of your situation and I only have what we do with coco to share...
 

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Dice? oh that is such a great name for a Dal!!!
Thanks :)

and I think it was Murreydobe who said this is an online site and we don't know the whole situation to give advice...but it may not work or be the right advice for your situation...we can only suggest things based on our assumptions :)
 

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i have to agree with what murreydobe posted - DRNT is full of very dedicated individuals, and if a rescue got the story and suggested euthanizing the dog, it would make me suspicious that this may in fact be a case of a truly dangerous dog.

this dog has bitten multiple times, from what i gather in your post - beacuse its only the most RECENT bite that has sent someone to the hospital. how many times has he bitten, and under what circumstances?

i would never presume to give advice to anyone over the internet. what i would suggest is to go talk to your veterinarian. ask the dobe rescue if they have a trainer or a behaviorist they recommend. take the dog to texas A and M and ask their behaviorist what they think. if they all think euthanasia is the best option, perhaps it truly is something to consider. i would NEVER advocate rehoming this dog - if you cannot keep him and deal with his issues, it is unlikely his FIFTH home is going to want to.
 

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The problem probably is behavioural or temperament related, but have you had this dog's thyroid tested? Hypothyroidism can cause aggression, and it is a common problem in Dobermans.
 

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Murreydobe said:
I'd contact a schutzhund club if there's one near you-not to start doing schH training with this dog, but this kind of club will know people experienced in dealing with aggression.
I was thinking this earlier also, and I think it's a great idea. Most (not all) of these people will have at one point or another dealt with dominent/aggressive dogs, they for sure deal with dominant breeds.

Here are some links to local clubs:
http://www.dfwworkingdogs.com/
DFW Working Dogs
222 Cedar St
Duncanville, TX 75137
Randall L. Hoadley
214-766-0072


Greater Dallas Working Dog Club
P O Box 489
Little Elm, TX, 75068
Jill Harris


Greater Dallas Working Dog Club
P O Box 489
Little Elm, TX, 75068
Jill Harris
972-294-8681
972-294-8681

I might also try to call the police department and talk to a K-9 officer, maybe they could offer some guidance. Don't be embarrased to ask alot of questions, your dogs life could depend on it.
 

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I agree w/ Murreydobe and Kim

I sure hate to hear that Alfa is been switched from home to home. And he is aggressive.

I hope everbody gave some insight on things to do. Please tell us what you do . Hope it's the right decision for you.

Friend of mine had a dobe from Hoyt Dobermans and he attacked her and was very possesive when people were at her house he never changed she did different things with him and still was bad so they put him done.
Murreydobe said:
This dog has *at least* one recorded bite..it's pretty unlikely any rescue would take him for legal reasons. That's something you have to face as well..you'd be taking on a lot of potential liability placing this dog with anyone else. This is in addition to the moral issue-how you might feel if you placed the dog and he did some serious damage to someone else.

So I think the only choices open to you are to find someone to help YOU deal with the dog, or put him to sleep. I'd contact a schutzhund club if there's one near you-not to start doing schH training with this dog, but this kind of club will know people experienced in dealing with aggression.

First and foremost-I'd get a basic temperament test done on this dog to see if he's stable. Then I'd really search my heart to see if you're really willing and able to do what might need to be done..resolving these kind of issues usually takes a fair amount of time, there aren't any magic wands out there. And you may never have an animal that can be considered safe.

There isn't a lot of help anyone can provide you online, most especially with aggression issues. That requires someone SEEING the dog and the dynamics in the home. I'm not making any kind of judgement about you, but one thing I found to be very true when I worked for a dog trainer was you just couldn't rely on owners providing reliable information..they'll tell you lots of things that have no bearing on the issues at hand, and leave out highly relevant information..I don't think this is delibarate, more likely they just don't realize what's relevant to the problem and what isn't.

again, aggression issues demand hands on observation and advice.

If YOU'RE not willing to commit to a long term effort with no guarantee of success, then the best thing IS to put the dog down. There are far worse things than humane euthanasia. That's never an easy decision to make, especially when a dog can be so "normal" much of the time..but there are times it IS the appropriate decision. You don't want someone being seriously injured (or killed) on your conscience, nor does the breed itself need another doberman adding to the bite statistics.
 
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