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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 9 month old male had 2 aggressive encounters w/ our little female dog, the last time he picked her up and shaked her. She did nothing to provoke it. The breeder says neutering wont make a difference; we also have a show contract w/ them which isn't fulfilled yet. He has been very well socialized and also has obedience training. This is the only aggression I've seen from him.

My huge concern is that if neutering will help, will that help be diminished the longer I have to wait since he is having these aggressive feelings, will this be something learned that eventually neutering wont help??

Except for those 2 times he has been good toward her and our kids. He has nipped at the kids before but I figured he just wanted to play but nevertheless I made him stop right away. Has anyone actually seen neutering help calm the aggressive tendiences in a dog? Please help!
 

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u mad?
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I would contact a trainer/behaviorist as soon as you can. Situations like this, unless the dog is in ridiculously good hands (please don't read this as me calling you incompetent) can get very badly, very quickly. Picking up another dog and shaking her is alarming. There may have been some provocation as dog-language can be ridiculously subtle, still it could have also been something simple that was misinterpreted on Rusty's part. Who knows.

There is no guarantee that neutering will change his behavior. I've seen neutering change some dogs drastically (a ridiculously dog aggressive dog turned into a complete pussycat and awesome playmate) and for others there's been no change at all. I wouldn't rely on neutering to, basically, save your little dog.

Edit: Have these two "aggressive encounters" both been recent? If so I might question a possible medical issue.
 

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I don't see neutering fixing this, and what you describe concerns me. I would not permit him to interact with your little dog, and I am not so sure I would be satisfied with considering nips to children to be invitations to play. I think you have maybe a bigger issue here than you think, and I would be looking for professional help with him.
 

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Yikes. First thing, even BEFORE you call the trainer... Separate the dogs. Now. I know someone who recently lost a little dog in the EXACT way you are describing. She refered to it as "three seconds of hell". A grab and shake will EASILY KILL a small dog. Until you have this under complete control (and we aren't talking days or weeks here) you MUST keep them apart unless the big dog is leashed to you and you have complete confidence in your ability to read his body language. Neutering WILL NOT fix this.

Step two- a trainer. A good one.

I will leave the kid problem to someone else to post about.

Good luck!
 

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I think your breeder is being very straightforward with you. Neutering doesn't change basic behavior.

There as some things you can train out of a dog but for what you've described as two incidents of unexpected aggression toward the small dog I'd be permanently keeping them separated.
 

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Picking up and shaking is a behavior that stems from prey drive, and neutering isn't going to change that. Your little dog is not safe, and you are very lucky that she wasn't killed. I would also be quite concerned about the nipping with your kids.

If you have a show contract, perhaps it's time to consider returning him to the breeder? He does not sound like he has the temperament that is a good fit for your household. If you are committed to keeping him, I would get a certified veterinary behaviorist involved right away. You can find one here: Find a Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist ACVB. You will need a full vet workup (including full thyroid panel, etc.) and then you'll need an honest evaluation of his temperament.

In the meantime, I would keep him and your other dog completely separated in a "crate and rotate" situation. I would also not leave him unsupervised with your kids, and would be sure that he's not loose when kids are running around (which can provoke prey drive, too).
 

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Picking up and shaking is a behavior that stems from prey drive, and neutering isn't going to change that. Your little dog is not safe, and you are very lucky that she wasn't killed. I would also be quite concerned about the nipping with your kids.

If you have a show contract, perhaps it's time to consider returning him to the breeder? He does not sound like he has the temperament that is a good fit for your household. If you are committed to keeping him, I would get a certified veterinary behaviorist involved right away. You can find one here: Find a Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist ACVB. You will need a full vet workup (including full thyroid panel, etc.) and then you'll need an honest evaluation of his temperament.

In the meantime, I would keep him and your other dog completely separated in a "crate and rotate" situation. I would also not leave him unsupervised with your kids, and would be sure that he's not loose when kids are running around (which can provoke prey drive, too).
Bears repeating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thank you so much everyone for your replies. The breeders said this is just how some dobermans are and he can't be around or play w/ others from now on, I can never trust him. They said however this is only towards other dogs and he'll be fine w/ our kids. I have seperated him and our little female. Both encounters were recent so I will contact his vet. I am very attached to him and him to me but that said, my kids certainly come first and I also dont want to put my little dog in danger. In read another thread by shamrock2228 someone suggested she get a muzzle, does anyone think that would at least enable him to not have to be crated so much or would it make him frustrated?

Also, in the past he has mouthed the kids but never put pressure, each time he was told a firm 'NO". I figured he just wanted to join in on the kids playing but now I'm wondering if it was actually something else and it's really bothering me. Our kids are 2 and 6.

meadowcat- thank you for the link!
patchworkrobot- thank you for letting me know you've seen a change in a dog that was neutered, it gives me hope, even if there's a small chance it'd have even the slightest effect I can't see how I couldnt try everything I can
 

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What was done to the dog after it shook the female?
 
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Also, in the past he has mouthed the kids but never put pressure, each time he was told a firm 'NO". I figured he just wanted to join in on the kids playing but now I'm wondering if it was actually something else and it's really bothering me. Our kids are 2 and 6.
In your first post, you used the phrase "nipped at." This, to me, is a different behavior than mouthing. Nipping (quick little bite) would concern me more than mouthing (putting mouth upon). What, exactly happened?
 

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My male was always a bit of an a$$hole when he was intact. Never outwardly aggressive, but he certainly didn't put up with anything from other dogs- especially Labs who didn't understand doggy body language. He never started fights but didn't avoid one either( he's very alpha). He has always been more tolerant around females versus any male neutered or not. I managed his issues and kept him away from dog parks where I was unsure of how the other dogs would act and stuck to play dates with dogs he and I were familiar with and could monitor closely should there be any tension. He bred a female and my stud fee was one of the pups. The day I brought home his daughter he attacked her. They had both followed me to the bathroom and I shut the door on them, and within seconds chaos ensued. I'm guessing the little girl didn't know her place and that her father was the primary guardian and had a claim on watching doors. Regardless, I would not tolerate another incident and he was neutered the following weekend. With time and training he learned tolerance and that mediation by me would relieve the situation. Whenever another dog was bothering him he would lower his head, growl and bare his teeth instead of flipping out and laying to poor offender flat. He knew that I would come and remove the other dog and do my best to keep the situation from occurring again. I don't know how I was able to get through to him and circumvent his normal, self-preserving behavior but it has been working really well. I can't say that the neuter fixed any of his issues, it may have helped give him some mental clarity and taken away unnecessary drive. In your case the dog attack was certainly a predator-prey incident which, as stated before, wouldn't be directly affected by testosterone levels. I wish you the best of luck and it's worth a shot. The poor guy shouldn't have to live crated all the time, but you and your family shouldn't have to live in fear and constant worry either.
 

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Sigh.

Not to derail thread, Lindsey I apologize, but Cody you should not have bred a male with an unstable temperament in the first place. There really are enough dobermans out there with perfectly wonderful dispositions who need homes.
 

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I totally agree with the guys on this site when they say, SEPERATE your little dog from the big guy, it really isnt worth the risk to keep them together. I know, my Dobe attacked my Terrier and he ended up needing emergency surgery and was very lucky to have survived. (in his case it was male on male aggression, however, the similarities between your case and mine is, big dog versus little dog, and we all know who is going to come off worse each and everytime). So please, either crate and rotate or section off the house and never the twain shall meet again. Now this I do not doubt will not be as easy as it sounds especially with regards how the kids will perceive the seperation, so you will have to try and educate them as well as yourself as to why it is being done, do not think everything has blown over (as I did) and relax the routine or things could get nasty in the blink of an eye because I truly wouldnt wish the sight and sound of a Dobe attacking a small dog on anyone.
As for the kids being nipped, there could be many reasons why it happened but in the end all that matters is it not happen again. I would seriously try and avoid the dog getting overexcited around the kids and vice versa, again that isn't going to be easy, but then nothing in life ever is I have found. I have read on this forum a very great deal about how the dogs Thyroid can have an effect on its temprement, with this in mind I think it might be an idea if you have it checked.

Regards neutering, well it might calm him down, reduce his aggression and then again it might not, so if I were you I wouldnt place all my eggs in this basket, a good trainer, behaviourist is I believe the key combined with lots of patience and perserverance.

I wish you all the best in your endeavours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Nubis'sDad- He was given a firm shake to the muzzle and a loud 'NO' and put outside to calm. He knew I was ticked and seemed to understand what he did was very bad. However I wont rely on that to not trigger whatever it is that made him think to do that, they are being kept seperated.

mmctaq- the nipping occured when he was about 4-5 mo. and i had forgot about it until this started and it got me thinking. It happened 2 or 3 times and then nothing since that he's actually closed his mouth down on them. The kids were running around playing each time.

toby'shuman- thanks for the advice and the comment on the thyroid, i have an appt w/ his vet and will make sure to have that checked.

has anyone used a muzzle, would that help with not having to crate so much and allow him to be in the same room w/ our female dog? or would it just make him frustrated? thanks so much for everyone's advice and comments :)
 

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I doubt neutering will help but it may be worth a try after you fulfill your contract. In the meantime crate and rotate. Don't rely on a muzzle to keep the small dog safe unless you are closely supervising...I've seen dogs work their way out of muzzles. Many intact male Dobermans I have known will not tolerate puppies or small dogs (or other males) and this cannot be disciplined or trained out of them. There is nothing wrong per se with the dog; it is just his nature. Aggressiveness towards other dogs is not a fault in the Doberman and most of the time does not indicate an unstable temperament. Watch him closely around your kids however and make sure he behaves. "Mouthing" is how a Doberman touches and is usually just play. Never allow the children to provoke or otherwise mishandle the dog and any real aggression towards the children whether provoked or not means he needs to be re-homed IMO. Of course it also requires some experience to "read" situations correctly and not mistake rough play behaviors for aggression. I knew some people that thought their young dog was vicious because of all the growling and snarling he did on the other end of a tug! He was so enthusiastic about it that it scared them into letting go...and of course that was the game!
 

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Toby was muzzled on the next to and last occasion he attacked my Terrier so in our case it didnt stop him attacking or in fact doing some damage. Obviously depending upon the type of muzzle it may well stop your Dobe from getting hold of your little dog but not always. I made the mistake of using a soft muzzle initially not a cage type which allowed him to nip if not fully bite. Upon discovering this I changed it to a cage type however, I have discovered biting or getting hold is only one part of an attack, Toby once he realised his attempts to take hold of my Terrier in his teeth were being stopped by his new cage muzzle took to using his feet and head as a weapon. This was when I had to make the decision of keeping them seperate no matter what. I freely admit I thought that removing the ability to bite would stop the problem and allow me to walk my dogs all together which in truth would have made my life a whole lot easier. Unfortunately the hatred my Terrier and Dobe have for each other, (my Terrier has always been aggressive with Toby right from the start so it was only a question of time before he reacted) is too strong so now they are kept apart.

I am sure you know this but a muzzle is not to be used for long periods, in the case of my boy he knows that a muzzle is put on him just before a walk so he accepts it readily. However, he is never left with it on and I do not think it would be a good idea to use it just so he can be in the other dogs company because as I have said a muzzle didnt stop Toby from trying and doing further damage to my Terrier.

Good luck.
 

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Lindseyjean. Thanks
I think just a firm no and being put outside sends home a thunderous message to the dog.
I want to instill in the dig, there is no second chance of agression as it could be fatal. (actually any of my previous guys/gals loved outside, so that is a treat).
Personally I have a major issue with aggressiveness within the litter be it, human or other animals. My first male had to co-habit with 3 cats and the first incident when he ran one of the cats down and clamped his jaws over his back,
I was on the dog in a second and next he was 3 feet off the ground and then inches from my face while getting a earth shaking verbal lashing. Then he spent several hours in his crate and immediately after he was back out and placed in the room with the cats and basically told to think about it, even if he nudged to take flight after any of the cats. My initial reprimand let him know, it wasn't going to be tolerated. Some things that I fear will turn me into a ahole and my dogs have learned rather quick that they do not like that side of Dad instead of his loving cuddling side. I find this an effective method, however I am aware you often get only one chance at putting the fear of god in animal., so I make it quite dramatic and there is no question I am mad.
Signs of defiance are nipped in the butt right away, even talkback although initially think it's cute, but it will escalate to lip smacking, snapping, nipping and then biting.
i also base my thinking on the adage, you do not bite the hand that feeds you.
Trust me, I tried with my mom and learned rather quick it wasn't a smart move.LOL
 

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Lindsey, you have gotten some excellent advice here. I would want to caution you that this is an Internet forum, and no one has had the opportunity to actually see your dog. I think you should definitely find a professional who can evaluate him, and get a practical useful plan in place for your specific situation. Dogs, like people, have different personalities. What works great on one dog may or may not work on another.

Also, if you decide to go the muzzle route I would suggest a basket muzzle rather than a soft. I have seen dogs slip these off without much effort unless they are tightened REALLY tight behind the ears.
 

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Sigh.

Not to derail thread, Lindsey I apologize, but Cody you should not have bred a male with an unstable temperament in the first place. There really are enough dobermans out there with perfectly wonderful dispositions who need homes.
Are you basing this on knowledge about the dog aside from what was in this one post?

There was nothing mentioned in the description of this dog prior to his having bred which would indicate to me that his temperament was unstable. I am a big fan of adult dogs who are good with puppies, but I am not sure that NOT being good with puppies would qualify as evidence of instability, either.

Just wondering...
 

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Mm- excuse my lack of computer savvy... I have to copy/paste cuz I don't know how to do the "multiple quote" thing. That said, here are the quips from the post leading me to believe the dogs temperament was less than "breeding worthy". Note: it's da Internet, i've never met the dog and made the assumption based on how his person put him out there.

1. My male was always a bit of an a$$hole (well, that's not good)
2. he certainly didn't put up with anything from other dogs- especially Labs who didn't understand doggy body language (really, it's the other dogs who don't speak dog?)
3. He attacked her...chaos ensued (most stable adult dogs are fairly tolerant of young puppies, and do not attack them cuz a door was closed)

Of course I am assuming it was a half baked breeding, perhaps this is simply a poor representation of his dogs temperament
 
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