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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all...I'm new to DobermanTalk, but not new to owning Dobermans. My husband and I just purchased a 16 week old Doberman pup, Hobie. We purchased her from what we thought was a reputable breeder in North Carolina. We live in North Florida, so we picked her up Saturday a week ago, and drove her home (7 hours). She has yet to bond with us. AT ALL.

A little back story...she and her sister were the only two pups left in their litter, and lived in the breeder's house for the better part of the last two months. Her sister was sold on Sunday, she had her ears cropped on Thursday (way too late, in my opinion, but that's a different story...), and we picked her up on Saturday. At that point, I assumed her lethargy was due to the surgery and medication. Extreme lethargy continued to the extent that I rushed her to our vet Tuesday morning, certain that she had some sort of infection. Nope. Clean bill of health, and a "prime specimen" to boot.

But here's the catch...she just lays around ALL THE TIME. She doesn't come when we call her (obviously she doesn't know her name yet, but I can sit in the floor and make noises and have treats and toys and she just ignores me), she absolutely REFUSES a leash (she just digs her nose into the ground and won't walk at all), and she runs and hides from my husband while shaking (who has done nothing but love and cuddle her). She does love to cuddle, and if I sit close to her she will velcro to me in true Dobe fashion, but otherwise nothing. She doesn't run or jump or play in any way. She's eating normally and going to the bathroom normally.

My vet said to give her a few days and he guaranteed she would be a new dog and her personality would come out (she needs time to recover from surgery and adjust to a new home with no other dogs)...so I am, but she just keeps becoming more cat like! :) This is what we have lovingly decided she is...a catdobe.

The two other dobes I have raised were so different...highly energetic and just your textbook Dobe puppie. Is this behavior all really due to cropping and moving? Are we doing something wrong?! Has anyone else ever experienced anything similar? Please help....

Just a side note, we have two sons, 5 and 19 months..and they are both super gentle and sweet with her, but even they can't get her to play.
 

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Holier Than Now
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Do you mind saying who the breeder is?

If you are certain all medical issues are ruled out, then the most likely cause that comes to my mind is that the breeder did a very poor job indeed of preparing this puppy for the world.

I feel so sad, reading your post--both for you guys and for that poor pup.

You are right in that this is not how a normal healthy Doberman puppy, who has been properly socialized, will act. It's just not.

Has she had all her vaccines yet? I think it will be extra important for you guys to get her out and about and try to catch up some on her socialization, when she's had a bit more of a chance to bond with you guys.
 

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Have you spoken to her breeder about your concerns?

Did you receive any pain medication post-crop? Pain will make a puppy act subdued, and she was VERY old to have the crop just done. Most reputable breeders crop around 8 weeks.

Lastly, she is VERY new to you, and at an age where she is likely in a fear stage. That can make a puppy shut down quite easily (which is what it sounds like is happening). Or she may be a pup with a very shy temperament.

Our first Dobe was a pup who failed to sell, and was between 14-16 weeks when we got him. He too was fearful and quiet. That lasted for 2-3 weeks until he felt comfortable enough to warm up to us and really start engaging. During that time we worked at giving him positive associations with us- treats for approaching (we did NOT force him to interact), and lots of time spent sitting quietly on the floor while he wandered around close to us. It really helped that my Rottie was still with us and helped ease his transition.

He never was a "normal" Doberman though, he was very shy and reactive (even with careful training and socialization) his entire life. We were able to manage him very well, but he was not a dog that was safe around strangers or one who dealt well with change. I would think very carefully about whether you want to keep this pup since you have young children in the home. She may eventually be fine with them, but may pose a real risk to friends/playmates that come over. If she is a reactive dog she may even pose a risk to your children. I would never have trusted my boy around small kids- they are too unpredictable for him to have felt "safe".
 

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Sirai Dobermans
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Is she reacting to the noises you make? Are you positive she can hear?
Did the breeder have any children or men in the house?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Do you mind saying who the breeder is?

...

Has she had all her vaccines yet? I think it will be extra important for you guys to get her out and about and try to catch up some on her socialization, when she's had a bit more of a chance to bond with you guys.
Well, I'm probably going to be bashed here...but Lucky Puppy Kennel in NC. Just a defense, though...we had no idea the type of place this was. It was our first breeder experience. My husband purchased her, but we have no intentions of showing her, so we weren't concerned about the CKC vs. AKC...but in a quick search on this forum, I am HORRIFIED at some of the things people are saying about this "greeder" as they call the breeder. I am beginning to regret this decision more and more. I am a photographer and shoot a lot of weddings in Charlotte (close to where the kennel is), so it was easy to be able to pick her up, which my husband did for me as a surprise for my birthday. I'm the researcher, so on his own he just went with probably a quick google search or something for breeders with available puppies. I was reading some posts to him just a minute ago and he was so sad that he hadn't done more research before buying her. :/

And yes, she is currently up to date on her vaccines. My vet, who has himself only ever owned Dobermans and no other breed, said she is very healthy. She did have a case of roundworms, but we are treated with three days of Panacur (I think that's what it was called). And she is still on her antibiotic from surgery, but not her pain medication. The dosing said to only give it to her for 4-5 days. There is still plenty remaining in the bottle- should we continue giving it to her? She doesn't seem to be in pain.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Have you spoken to her breeder about your concerns?

Did you receive any pain medication post-crop? Pain will make a puppy act subdued, and she was VERY old to have the crop just done. Most reputable breeders crop around 8 weeks.

Lastly, she is VERY new to you, and at an age where she is likely in a fear stage. That can make a puppy shut down quite easily (which is what it sounds like is happening). Or she may be a pup with a very shy temperament.

Our first Dobe was a pup who failed to sell, and was between 14-16 weeks when we got him. He too was fearful and quiet. That lasted for 2-3 weeks until he felt comfortable enough to warm up to us and really start engaging. During that time we worked at giving him positive associations with us- treats for approaching (we did NOT force him to interact), and lots of time spent sitting quietly on the floor while he wandered around close to us. It really helped that my Rottie was still with us and helped ease his transition.

He never was a "normal" Doberman though, he was very shy and reactive (even with careful training and socialization) his entire life. We were able to manage him very well, but he was not a dog that was safe around strangers or one who dealt well with change. I would think very carefully about whether you want to keep this pup since you have young children in the home. She may eventually be fine with them, but may pose a real risk to friends/playmates that come over. If she is a reactive dog she may even pose a risk to your children. I would never have trusted my boy around small kids- they are too unpredictable for him to have felt "safe".
Hm. That is so concerning. My husband did speak with the breeder, twice now, actually, and she keeps assuring us the pup was never like that before we picked her up. She said she even lived in her house with her.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Is she reacting to the noises you make? Are you positive she can hear?
Did the breeder have any children or men in the house?
Actually, that was our first thought- that she was deaf. But we are certain now that she can hear. She will look to a noise, but often won't even lift her head.

The breeder had older children and a husband, all around her frequently.

Also, dobiewan...I like your name! We call her "Hobie Wan Kenobi" :)
 

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Holier Than Now
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Actually, that was our first thought- that she was deaf. But we are certain now that she can hear. She will look to a noise, but often won't even lift her head.

The breeder had older children and a husband, all around her frequently.

Also, dobiewan...I like your name! We call her "Hobie Wan Kenobi" :)
It's really concerning, the level of lethargy you're describing.

Did your vet do blood work on this pup?

If not, I'd want this done right away.

At worst, it will give you peace of mind, and a baseline--and perhaps it will identify something that can't be caught just on exam, you know?
 

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If your puppy is acting the way you are describing, I cant see why a vet would think 'Yep, this puppy is healthy' unless they did full diagnostics.

I agree with RFR, if you havnt done it already, get blood work done, have her fecal tested and go from there. If it all possible try and get her in this weekend.
 

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if health issues have been ruled out........

could be because she was already very bonded with her family and she misses them.

could be her temperament, very sensitive to changes......

hopefully if you give her some time and space, she will 'come around'.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It's really concerning, the level of lethargy you're describing.

Did your vet do blood work on this pup?

If not, I'd want this done right away.

At worst, it will give you peace of mind, and a baseline--and perhaps it will identify something that can't be caught just on exam, you know?
No bloodwork, but he did do a fecal sample. He said bloodwork wasn't necessary yet as she had no fever and nothing else "indicated a problem"...

She has an appointment Monday morning to have her ear stitches removed. Should I have her seen before then?
 

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If your puppy is acting the way you are describing, I cant see why a vet would think 'Yep, this puppy is healthy' unless they did full diagnostics.

I agree with RFR, if you havnt done it already, get blood work done, have her fecal tested and go from there. If it all possible try and get her in this weekend.
He did do fecal, and said nothing else indicated a problem. She has an appointment on Monday for stitches removal...is that too long to wait?
 

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if health issues have been ruled out........

could be because she was already very bonded with her family and she misses them.

could be her temperament, very sensitive to changes......

hopefully if you give her some time and space, she will 'come around'.
That is essentially exactly what the vet said. But now I'm concerned about her future based on the above poster's experience with a similar situation.
 

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You say the breeder "said" she lived in the house and that she lived with children and her husband, but do you have independent proof of that? And that she is four months old and lived in the breeder's house for most of the last 2 months? Where was she before that?

I would assume she has had no socialization at all and treat her as if she is younger than she is and newer to your household than she is. She may just be a very slow to warm up puppy. Is there any possibility she is missing her sister badly (look up littermate syndrome)?
 

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He never was a "normal" Doberman though, he was very shy and reactive (even with careful training and socialization) his entire life. We were able to manage him very well, but he was not a dog that was safe around strangers or one who dealt well with change. I would think very carefully about whether you want to keep this pup since you have young children in the home. She may eventually be fine with them, but may pose a real risk to friends/playmates that come over. If she is a reactive dog she may even pose a risk to your children. I would never have trusted my boy around small kids- they are too unpredictable for him to have felt "safe".
This makes me so sad....could rehoming her really be the best option? Or do we try to return her to the breeder? I doubt she would take her since there is medically nothing wrong. We have people over all the time, though, and especially lots of children. We really want her to be a part of our family, but I won't risk the safety of my children. :confused:
 

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You say the breeder "said" she lived in the house and that she lived with children and her husband, but do you have indeendent proof of that? And that she is four months old and lived in the breeder's house for most of the last 2 months? Where was she before that?

I would assume she has had no socialization at all and treat her as if she is younger than she is and newer to your household than she is. She may just be a very slow to warm up puppy. Is there any possibility she is missing her sister badly (look up littermate syndrome)?
Good point. No proof at all. :(

I will look that up.
 

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Actually, that was our first thought- that she was deaf. But we are certain now that she can hear. She will look to a noise, but often won't even lift her head.

The breeder had older children and a husband, all around her frequently.

Also, dobiewan...I like your name! We call her "Hobie Wan Kenobi" :)
How much older were her children? In general, younger (like 5 and 19months) are quite a bit louder/rambunctious. I could see how this would be overwhelming.

Does she never raise her head towards sound? The reason I'm asking this is because in a former life my ex husband brought home a shelter pup that was bilaterally deaf. We didn't know it at first. So say I dropped a pan on the kitchen floor, he'd have a reaction as if he could hear it...but it wasn't the typical reaction I'd expect. He was feeling the vibration of the noise. It took a few weeks for us to figure out that he was "hearing" based on those vibrations or hand signals we were inadvertently giving him. And really, in the end it wasn't an issue. He adapted incredibly well to hand signals.
 

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I would assume she has had no socialization at all and treat her as if she is younger than she is and newer to your household than she is. She may just be a very slow to warm up puppy. Is there any possibility she is missing her sister badly (look up littermate syndrome)?
So I looked up littermate syndrome...the breeder also "said" that this puppy was the more outgoing of the two...but I surely questioning her honesty.:confused:

Is there any reversing of littermate syndrome?
 

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Wow, I would take my girl to a different vet if they cited not having a fever as a reason to not do a blood test?

I'd also have her heart tested. That much lethargy could be any number of things. I had a lab growing up that developed a horrid heartworm infection - we found her on the side of the road when she was around 5 months old.

I assume she is eating and drinking fine otherwise?
 
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