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Discussion Starter #1
I have a one year old Doberman P. Yesterday when my cousin was petting him and touching him behind his ears, he had a low growl, barked and snapped at her. No more than 10 minutes later my sister was petting him and he did the same thing but jumped, to bite her. An hour later I laid down next to him (the owner) and he barked and attempted to bite me. I immediately slapped him on his snout and told him "no". Why is my bog begging to snap at people and become aggressive. He has always been playful and loveable.

What is going on with my dog? Is there something we should be doing?

He has a great home, we have tried to raise him right. He has never showed signs of this aggression.
 

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Has he been ok with his head being touched before? I know a lot of dogs that hate getting touched in that area. Maybe he has an injury on his head and you guys are touching a soft spot? I would get him checked out at the vet to see if there's anything physically wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hitting him was a natural reaction, because I was genuinely afraid.

Yea he has never exhibited this behavior before. We play with him all the time and he is a big cuddle"er".

My fiances dad said that dobermans sometimes don't like people getting in their face but both times that some else was petting him they were far from his face. My fiance is a bit stubborn and says that this is probably a faze. I strongly disagree. He doesn't think its a medical issue. That's why I came on here to get second opinions.
 

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Broadway Dobermans
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All of my dobermans have not minded and loved being touched on their faces and head....so it's not really a 'doberman' thing. But if you've HONESTLY had no prior warning signs before this, and he's never displayed any of this type of behavior before, then something is wrong. Others will chime in, but I think thyroid issues can cause sudden aggression issues, as well as other pain related problems. I would definitely be going to my vet. And if things are fine there.....I'd be calling a good trainer to help me with the issues. If there is a doberman rescue group in your area, you can call them for a good reference for a trainer, and perhaps they would have dobe knowledgeable people there that can point you in the right direction. I hope things work out.
 

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He needs a thorough vet check including a full thyroid panel. Behavior issues, including aggression can be caused by hypothyroidism.
 

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I agree with the prior advice- your dog needs to see a vet ASAP! Pain is one of the most common causes of sudden aggression, but it could be vision issues, hypo-thyroid or any of a host of medical issues. Your fiance is WRONG, and putting off the vet visit is only increasing the chance that your dog will bite someone badly enough to cause injury and/or be suffering pain & discomfort.

Please make an appointment right away- I know that my vet would fit in my TODAY if one of my pets showed sudden aggression issues.
 

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Does he have an ear infection?
Is his neck out of line - needs to be adjusted?
Does he have a bite at the back of his neck?
If the skin all clear and healthy there?
Is it only when he is lying down?
 

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joie de vivre
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I'd take him to the vet. Dogs will behave strangely when they're sick or hurt, and as suddenly as it started, that's my first thought.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
Okay I will definitely make an appointment. To add he has never snapped at anyone BUT my fiances brother tends to play with him very roughly and get him all riled up. But he did not do this last night before these incidents started to occur.

Sorry, I just want to rule out as mush as possible.
 

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#1 Stunner
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I agree with what everyone else has said. It's hard to know if there may have been any "signs" that maybe have existed and you didn't realize what they were, but if this is truly and out of the blue change, I would absolutely start with a vet check. Thyroid issues can and do absolutely cause personality changes, and since a lot of these issues have seemed to involve his head, it's possible that he could be injured or in pain, somehow. Ear infection? Broken tooth? Something somewhere else entirely that is causing general irritability? The possibilities are endless. A thorough exam and bloodwork are absolutely in order.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
vivienne00: No he does not seem to be out of line. He has had some dandruff issues in the past, and have tried correcting it by changing his diet a couple of months ago. When he snapped at my cousin and sister he was sitting up right and they were standing.

It is so strange because right before that he was being lovable and performing tricks on command.
 

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I bet it's either an ear infection or he has finally grown tired of annoying people.

What is his breeding? Where is he from? Have you consulted the breeder?
 

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Mo's Mom
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Mariano loves when I grab his head and give him kisses... all my dobes growing up did too...

But on Monday night, I found out Mariano had an ear infection when I went to grab his head like I always do to kiss him, and he freaked out.
 

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joie de vivre
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Hes also only 1 year old, can he have thyroid issues? I do not mean to be naive but don't these issues plague older dogs?
Usually thyroid issues show up when they're adults but that's not a hard and fast rule. One of my girls has tested low / borderline normal since she was 18-months old. It's not been enough of a concern to medicate for it but it does show up in younger dogs sometimes.
 

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It's not totally unheard of for a young dog to have thyroid issues. If this happened with my boy I'd be taking him to the vet ASAP.
 

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Keep everyone out of his face until you take him to the vet. Maybe an ear infection or absessed tooth. Thyroid check wouldn't hurt. Good Luck and let us know what happens.
 
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