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Fergal

Dobermanns and other dogs

8 posts in this topic

Fergal   

I bought my first male Dobermann from a well-known, reputable breeder in 2010.  In love with the breed, I added a second male in 2012.  I am a qualified and very experienced canine behaviourist and obedience instructor, so I did "all the right things" as far as extensive socialisation.  100% "by the book", you could say.  They attended weekly puppy school right through to advanced obedience classes, performed obedience demos with other dogs, worked alongside me instructing classes, competed in obedience, socialised with friends' dogs regularly... the works.  Each was desexed at around 6-7 months.  They had no "bad experiences" with other dogs.

 

Despite all this, both Dobes became highly dog aggressive.  The first at 7 months, the second at 2 years.  Any dog they had met before those dates: fine. Any dog after that: they wanted dead.  Now, as a behaviourist, I was able to train both to suppress this desire when working - they could still accompany me on an oval of 40 dogs, do off-leash stays, compete, etc.  But the urge to attack remained just beneath the surface.

 

My question is - are all Dobermanns like this?  I've read articles (can't remember where now) from American breeders which freely say most Dobes become dog aggressive upon reaching maturity ... but Aussie breeders say no such thing.  People have told me about dog-friendly Dobes, but I haven't met them personally.

 

I'd love to own more Dobes throughout my life... but dread the thought of this problem re-occuring and envy those folk with dog-friendly dogs who can just let them play without a care in the world.

 

Any feedback on others' firsthand experiences with Dobes would be terrific.

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moosmum   

Hi Fergal,

 

This thread doesn't seem to get much traffic. You 'might' have better luck in general. 

I've had many Dobes  fine with other dogs, One being out standing in that she could read and seem to take charge of any situation, calming fearful and reactive dogs. A Very stable and  supremely confident bitch.

I have also had a couple with more need to assert status. 

 

Hope you get some more experienced  replies from breeders more familiar with the lines being used today. Hope thats not a problem creeping in to the lines because its certainly not what I hope to find either.

Edited by moosmum

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hippo   

I'm surprised you added a second male. Same sex aggression is noted in the breed, particularly male/male pairings. Excellent training and socialisation unfortunately do not determine whether or not SSA occurs. This can help explain why your guys are showing aggression with other dogs.

 

Most dobes I've met in the dog park are young. I'm guessing as they grow older, their tolerance for other dogs' shenanigans decreases. However they wouldn't be the breed of choice for most dog park people, who usually have easier dogs (in terms of requiring mental and physical stimulation), so that also explains why dobes aren't very common in dog park type situations where there can be little supervision and ability to separate your own dogs from strange ones who may not have the best manners.

 

I think if you're after a dog that loves playing with other dogs and is very forgiving and tolerant of them, a Dobe wouldn't be right. 

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Dogsfevr   

If you haven't meet a dog friendly Dobe then you must live under a rock .

Helped show Dobes for many years and board them and never had any issues .

Sure like any breed the boys can get Toey  especially if a bitch in heat but certainly not feral or dog aggressive.

 

 

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I lived downstairs from a lady with a mature male dobe when I had my first Lab (young female).  We shared the yard.  There were a few problems sorting things out at first, and one torn ear (not a serious tear, but quite bloody).  But after that, they became good mates, and played together a lot.

Edited by sandgrubber
Fixed wording mistake

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All Dobes are definitely not like this. Difficult to say what went wrong, but more often than not (regardless of our experience and qualifications) unless we highly socialise them (guarding breeds) to other dogs and continually right through the first 3-4 years this can happen, particularly if it is stamped on them with their parents genetics.

Neutralization is ideal, but tricky to getting the balance right unless you are prepared to work on it almost full time. Getting that perfect level of confidence and relxation being around novel dogs without our dogs becoming overly stimulated or valuing the other dogs too much can be hard or almost impossible for some people, again regardless of experience.

 

Since neither of your dogs hit the fully finished dog by the time they became DA, it is likely as you say you did everything right. There is most definitely a genetic predisposition in DA and this may be your answer.

Also it has been documented that early desexing of dogs can predispose them towards becoming DA. Personally I think the reason for this is more about the reactions from other dogs towards neutered dogs, rather than it being about the lack of sex hormones in your own dogs...but who knows?

Such a shame though really. You must be highly disappointed.

Was your 2nd boy from the same breeder? I'm sure your breeder is ethical and breeds lovely dogs. But if it is dog social dogs you want, next time you will have to research breeders who put a lot of emphasis on ensuring the genetics behind all their breedings are ticking this box.

We have very much the same thing going on in our breed.

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Trishm   

Many years ago I had dobes, , 1 lived to 14, and the other 11, and  neither were dog aggressive, both were spayed females.

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blackas   

Hi Fergal - I have had 8 Dobes over the past 30 years but NEVER run 2 together of the same sex, particularly males. I personally think this is a bad idea with Dobes. All my males (and females) regardless of age have been fine in parks and around other dogs HOWEVER I very carefully pick where they will be allowed off lead. If there is ONE thing I will say, based on my own experience, is that Dobes like to 'play' by THEIR rules particularly as they get older. None have liked 'in your face' behaviour or being challenged, and all would walk away if that type of behaviour presented, and it happens in dog parks! - a warning it was time to clip the lead on and go home or walk elsewhere. Trouble with dog parks is people tend to stand around and talk. A responsible dog owner (of any breed) should watch their dog like a hawk in a park.  None of mine were ever involved in a fight but not sure that would not have happened if provocation had been persistent. Whilst not involved in fights, they (both sexes) would quickly let another know if their attention wasn't wanted. I guess fortunately for me they were never challenged by a more dominant dog.

Are your dogs aggressive toward each other or only with other dogs (males?). Competition - top dog stuff?

I do hope it works out well for you and your boys. I love Dobes like no other and they are a magnificent animal. Never had a problem with temperament but heaps with health issues. Next one will see LOTS more research into the health problems currently afflicting the breed.

Good luck!

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