Doberman Cross with Separation Anxiety, Territorial and becomes Aggressive.

Doberman Cross with Separation Anxiety, Territorial and becomes Aggressive.

by Julie Owen
(Wales, UK)

Hi, I have a 7 year old Doberman cross. She has always had separation anxiety but recently it has become worse. I have moved house so for the last few months she has not been alone only when I am at my mothers house (where we used to live). She follows me around the house, to the bathroom etc even if my partner is there. If she could sit on me I think she would! We left her in the house the other day to go shopping for an hour and a half and I left the tv on and a kong with chicken in it. I recorded her and when we watched it she was ok for the first 10 mins then after the chicken was gone she just barked almost constantly for 20 minutes before the recording went off.

She is also territorial (postman, visitors knocking) and she becomes aggressive, I think these stem from low self confidence (she was
attacked by two sheepdogs when she was about 18-24 months, no injuries thankfully). Some dogs she is ok with others she will lunge and bark at. She seems worse when someone is walking towards us with a dog.

When we see a dog now I try to move to the side and stop so she isn’t so stressed with the face to face meeting, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. She sleeps on the floor and I go out of the door, gate first to make her aware I am the leader.

I am going to go to obedience training classes next week so she is used to being around dogs and she knows that I can protect her. I don’t want her to be constantly anxious. Do you think her separation anxiety is linked to her aggression? In every other way she is great and so loving, with kids, our cats, house trained, walking on the lead, off the lead, but we want her to be a happier dog.

Our Response
Hi and thanks for your question as it helps to keep our site happy and healthy and enables it to keep being successful.

You are going about everything correctly and taking your dog to dog obedience training classes will probably sort this problem out. It is quite possible that your dog’s aggressive behavior is also linked to the separation anxiety that your dog is experiencing. How much exercise are you giving your dog and how confident are you as the pack leader?

Both of these attributes are really important when living with a dog that is experiencing emotional problems. It is also worth mentioning that the recent house move may have played a large role in the behavior changes as dogs that are prone to anxiety will not react well to sudden changes to their immediate environment. Try taking your dog for a long walk before you leave the property and start by getting your dog used to you going out – start by leaving for short periods and gradually build up the amount of time your dog is left alone for.

Reader Response

When our dog came to us he was very much the same as yours and we were told to “not let him hang around to watch us go out”. This has worked for us. Our dog is only 10 months old and extremely naughty – he is a rescued dog. He digs huge holes and has chewed half of our irrigation pipes up. Very destructive. We were advised to buy a crate for him – which we have done – and put him in it when we go out. 3 hours is o.k he said. We would not leave him inside the house when we are out!!!! Other than his destructiveness he is a beautiful dog, loving, gentle and well behaved inside when we are home – he sleeps inside in the laundry. Hope you can get something from this.