Dog Pack Behavior – Why is my Doberman Aggressive Towards Strangers!?

Dog Pack Behavior – Why is my Doberman Aggressive Towards Strangers!?

by jodie smallman
(isle of wight, uk)

I am a woman of 24, and have a male Doberman who is just over 2 yrs of age. I got him when he was nearly 5 months old, and it took him 3 days to settle in and he was pining by the door the whole time and would not eat. Obviously he has now totally become one of us, and a loving family pet/friend. he is amazing with my son and boyfriend. However, he never has liked strangers either out on a walk, or when people come into our home. he is extremely possessive and protective and has lunged at people out walking “if he decides” they are too close to me or my son…and or other family members that might be with us. He barks at strangers, head butts them etc… its all very distressing, and makes me feel like I have no control over him. When people come into out home, his hackles go up, and he won’t take his eyes off of them, and usually mainly when its males, continuously barks. If they get up to use the loo or leave he goes mental! I have to resort to his crate until they have visited quite a few more times, and he knows they are not a threat. However…saying all this, with my family and especially my 6 yr old son, he is a total dream. He dotes on us all, is very playful, even follows me to the loo. He wont leave my side, and often rests his head upon my knee for as long as I will allow him to. Towards me he is obedient, and does what I ask of him (to a degree considering he is only 2, it sometimes take more than one “ask” of me, but we always gets there). I really desperately need some kind of advice from a person who understands Dobermans. I love my dog to bits… hes so different around us, people after getting to know him hardly believe he is the same dog! Please, any advise on how to stop his aggression/over-protectiveness would be greatly appreciated. I am willing to work hard with him, as he is totally worth it to us all. It would be so nice to feel at ease on our walks, and for him not to have to be muzzled on every outing, even outings to the shop. Many thanks, lex’s mummy.

Thanks so much for your question I can tell that you really love your dog and really want the best for him. You have almost answered your question at one point (although we will cover some more training methods later) you said ‘

‘I love my dog to bits… hes so different around us, people after getting to know him hardly believe he is the same dog!’

This is such an important statement and means that your dog needs to be socialized more often and on a very regular basis with other people. The more your dog gets to socialize with other people the more relaxed your dog will become with people. Try taking your dog to dog training classes they are a fantastic way for your dog to socialize with other dogs and of course people. It will also give you the opportunity to have one on one contact with a professional dog trainer and also ask other owners questions on how they cured similar problems.

If your dog starts barking at a friend or neighbor correct him by saying ‘No’ and when he is quiet give him a treat.

You can also use Focus Attention Dog Obedience Training as this is a great way to divert your dog’s attention from the person that he is becoming aggressive with.

1. Start by attaching a leash to your dog and then call his name.
2. As soon as you have called his name move to the right or left.
3. When your dog moves with you – look straight into his eyes and hold a treat at eye level between yours and your dogs.
4. Now give lots of praise and the treat – this dog training method will teach your dog to focus on you and will redirect any negative behavior straight away before he starts barking.

Not sure if you have had your dog neutered but this might be worth discussing with your vet as it can decrease aggressive behavior in some dogs.

Hope this helps.