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Discussion Starter #1
Maybe I am just venting.

I work in a shared workspace that is 'dog friendly'. So far there are two dogs that come to work two or three days per week - Lila, my big bernedoodle, and Charlie a silly runaround ducktoller that follows here everywhere and she considers a nuisance. He steals her toys. She goes to get water, and he follows close behind. She rests, and he tries to play but eventually gives up and snuggles up with her and they both nap. It's pretty cute. They appear to understand each other.

Well, today a new company moved into the space and one of their employees brought in her dog. A big tall doberman cross. I thought I would check him out - beautiful dog. I approached from a good distance (maybe 25 feet) very slowly. As soon as he noticed me, the tail went down, and the growl started and he backed away. Total classic reactive dog. Okay, that's that then. Back to work.

Next thing I know I hear a loud bark, growl and snarl. Somebody did not notice the dog and walked by totally triggering the beast. It's not just me. This is no dog to have at work.

I spoke with the owner - she was giggling about it, patting the dog, and calling him silly - 50 pounds of lean and scary silly if you ask me. I asked her about the dog (who was keeping a very very careful eye on me) - she explained that he is only 9 mos. old and was 'sensitive'. I asked if he had bitten anyone, and she acted as if it was a crazy question - 'he would never do that'. The woman is clueless - not only WOULD he, but he WILL. I really feel it's only a matter of time. I asked her if the dog gets along well with other dogs, and she assured me he does. I wonder if that's true, but at any rate I expect Lila will read him in a minute and not go anywhere near him - she is good that way. Charlie on the other hand... we'll see.

If this continues, I will have to say something to management, because this is not a safe dog to have at work. I just hope it does not spoil it for Lila and Charlie.

This dog is not being protective, like a good doberman - it is the opposite of that confident fearless dog. It is acting more like an inbred basket case and the owner has no idea what she is dealing with.

I am so annoyed.
 

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The woman is clueless
This seems to be the biggest problem here. Reactive dogs can be brought to work just fine if the owner is responsible and takes preventative measures (like adjusting the dog slowly, having a crate, not allowing it to freely interact with people, etc.). I bring my reactive dog to work almost every day (small office) without problems. He has adjusted to and even come to really like the people here, so now it's only strangers he reacts to, which is why I have a crate ready to put him in if anyone new comes in. I also always have him in my area gated off so he can never roam freely around.

But if this woman doesn't think there is any issue with her dog then yes there probably will be a problem at some point. Do you think she is maybe just trying to downplay her dog's issues by laughing them off so other people don't get nervous about her dog, which can make his reactivity worse? Is she taking any preventative actions to keep her dog away from people? Honestly if her dog is acting this way at 9 months, she needs to start working on that ASAP before it gets worse. Dogs will settle into their "personalities" around 2 years old. Sometimes at that point they will get even worse.

Maybe some gentle tips would help her out? I highly recommend this booklet. It helped so much when I was going through this with my dog. https://www.amazon.ca/Cautious-Canine-Conquer-Their-Fears/dp/1891767003/ref=asc_df_1891767003/?tag=googleshopc0c-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=293000279019&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=15686497961870264829&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9001521&hvtargid=pla-627200201992&psc=1
Maybe you could offer it as a way of helping dogs acclimate to a working environment?
 

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This dog is (fear based) defensive and that behavior (as you note) is genetic. This dog would be MUCH happier not being there (or being in a crate there where he would then make a ruckus defending his crate). Good Luck training the dog's owner. She will likely remain clueless until her puppy bites someone.

The issue with "bring your dog to work" is that it can work if all the dogs are somewhat happy-go-lucky. One dog that is not can ruin it for all.

Management would likely say, 'NO dogs at work at all" if you complain (after all, it is about the work and not about dogs). Where I work they don't even allow fish in an aquarium and a dog is a giant taboo.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes. It's a little tricky because dogs are right in my lease, but still - I am sure the 'policy' could change, and the managers of this place cannot be expected to vet people's dogs to ensure they are friendly. I hope that the dog's owner got the message today that this is not a great idea. I learned a little more about the animal today btw - he is a rescued dog from Mexico. I do not know how recently he was adopted off those mean streets.

Funny thing - the dog had excellent manners with Lila - I brought her in this afternoon to assess that situation. He approached very nicely - submissive but not too submissive. No fear - calmly and carefully approached and licked her on the nose. How do you like that.
 

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Yes. It's a little tricky because dogs are right in my lease, but still - I am sure the 'policy' could change, and the managers of this place cannot be expected to vet people's dogs to ensure they are friendly. I hope that the dog's owner got the message today that this is not a great idea. I learned a little more about the animal today btw - he is a rescued dog from Mexico. I do not know how recently he was adopted off those mean streets.

Funny thing - the dog had excellent manners with Lila - I brought her in this afternoon to assess that situation. He approached very nicely - submissive but not too submissive. No fear - calmly and carefully approached and licked her on the nose. How do you like that.
Given his history as a street dog/puppy, not too surprising. He'd have gotten killed if he didn't have good dog skills.

And he'd have gotten killed if he was friendly with the wrong human, too.

A few generations breeding with the selection being 'can survive on a street in Mexico' and, well.
 

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what are the rules of dogs in the office? do they all just run around loose at will is there any type of expected structure for everyone to follow? Is an interesting concept and have known people to bring their dogs with them, most bringing leashes and crates and often work in an individual room that can be closed.
 

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What a horrible working environment, no wonder you're annoyed! Yikes.

A few words (descriptions) in this comments (like 'Doberman-cross', 'a total classic reactive dog' and like a 'good' Doberman', and an 'inbred basket case') ... are triggering a prejudice! (Meaning from the owner's perspective) And I get it, you are creating a context here for us in order to frame this problem! But as long as that is happening people will not be listening to both sides of the conversation. Meaning, both the owner, and the owner's management, will be shutting down because assumptions are rising to the surface. And that makes people defensive!! And remember, dog situations (particularly involving conflict) are HIGHLY charged with emotion!

So let’s add some objectivity. If a co-worker was added to your work environment, and he brought in (annoying) audible music to his space, what would be the reaction of co-workers? And worse, how much would productivity suffer? So one approach is to gather the consensus of other workers, as this situation is a significant distraction to everybody. Now you’re also going to have to gage the balance of your own personal “value” to the workplace, compared to the others. So do you have the “clout” needed to make your point? If not, will (distraction) meaning the decline of the quality of your work have a significant impact on the work environment? Can you “afford” to allow this to happen? Sometimes … you HAVE to get the attention of those who can make the difference!!

There is no point wasting your time with this other owner. They are clueless. People who see no fault with their pets, are worse than parents letting their kids run wild in Target. (It becomes invisible behavior). Unfortunately, (in the meantime) you’re going to have to protect your own dog, who you can’t risk becoming “dog aggressive” in pure self-defense. But another strategy “might” be becoming this other dog’s best friend. Would you have the permission (and would it even react) to high-value (and I mean VERY high value) treats! And I mean this strategy, in order to help gain the trust of both (the dog AND the owner). Showing how much you "like" the dog, so you're winning over the owners. And that "might" lead (with a lot of time) to some constructive suggestions! But you've got to establish that trust, rather than ramp up with hostility. In which case you might try to create a rewarding space. But that would have to be done carefully and with truly expert (experienced) handling. As in, teaching the other dog, that with proper behavior, a positive experience is the result.

Otherwise I would crate my dog,(a giant wire crate) or keep it in a sturdy x-pen. Wait it out. And surely (without the owner's prevention or training remedy) this other dog is going to act-out in a situation (probably damaging) that will probably get it banned. But you sure don’t want that to be at the expense of your own dog. And you don't want to become the resident "workplace" villain which will end up pointing all the issues back at you. There is no way to force change in human behavior. People need to be HIGHLY incentivized to do so!!
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Thanks to everyone for their comments and suggestions. Luckily the dog in question has not been brought back to the office these past weeks.

If he is brought back, I might try treats to make friends, but am doubtful that would work well. As explained in my follow-up, he has good manners with other dogs, so no worries there.

Considering my characterization of Dobermans, they are wonderful dogs. The AKC describes them as "Loyal, Fearless, Alert" as a headline, and considers viciousness a fault, defined as "A dog that attacks or attempts to attack either the judge or its handler, is definitely vicious." That's all I meant by this not being a 'good doberman'. I think that's fair enough. I have little doubt how this scared guy would treat a judge!

Patricia - thanks for responding. This is a shared workspace with a few different companies. Most of us keep our dogs on leash all day, and tied up at or near our desks. It's not a free-for-all.

At any rate, I think that the new lady saw the writing on the wall at least and I have not seen her dog since that day. Maybe somebody said something or maybe she was more aware of the nature of the situation than she let on.

I will keep the community posted and thanks again.
 

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that is good that there is rules and cooperation with everyone to for safety for everyone. I was going to say that my all of my previous gsd's, not just my one gsd that didn't like people.. they would of treated you the same way approaching into their space uninvited and especially on their first day.. none of them would of been end of lead pulling to greet you wagging their tail... Being aloof, and alert breed paying attention silently sizing you up approaching them, they would be making you feel just as uncomfortable to rethink being so forward to approach.

I would just ask why bother some one else's dog, that dog could have a great training opportunity if left alone and able to sit back in their own space gain learned confidence being in a very active environment. by you approaching because you were so excited to meet them, takes that opportunity away. by teaching the dog the very thing they may be worried about will happen in the first place, that they not safe. ??? If it had been me, I may not of brought my dog back because I couldn't trust the people to have respect and consideration.

not trying to be harsh... but give a different perspective on how we can support and help other dog owners and their dogs be the best they can be ...
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
The primary reason I approached the animal was to assess if it was safe around people, or a new hazard had been introduced into a collective workspace. That's why I approached slowly and from a distance and then backed off completely. I was not trying to play with him. As stated, someone did get snapped at for walking by, which is unavoidable in this place.
 

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Reply to #10. From the standpoint of training a service dog, I can understand where the workplace is a learning situation. I think those dogs usually wear a vest with "please don't pet me." Otherwise an owner has the responsibility of insuring that their dog is socially acceptable in public. Meeting & greeting another dog, might not love me upon approach, but he better not growl at me! Sorry, otherwise he’s a hazard (being in close proximity with others). And if I couldn’t trust my dog in public (which has nothing to do with not trusting the people around the dog!) then he shouldn’t be in that situation. In this State dogs are property, and as such, the liability falls on me. Just the same as leaving something hazardous in my work cubicle, which somebody could trip over, and be seriously injured. I think we learn to support and help one another, by (first) offering consideration. Maybe an introduction about the new dog? Leashed, allowing the dog to meet one person at a time (no touching). Or a comment like "he's in training." Or if necessary "he'll be leashed in my workspace." Then the dog can observe and learn. But it's that worker's chore to integrate properly in the environment, and she probably just didn't have time.
 

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Ill let my post stand as is. We live in a society that humans are rewarded for poor behavior without having to own their behaviors and learn from them. All they have to say is there is something wrong with the dog and that's the answer.

(which has nothing to do with not trusting the people around the dog!)

this has everything to do with the trusting the people around the dog

you can take the same owner and same dog, place them in the same environment,, at different times with different groups of people and get different outcomes.. not because of the dog or the owner or the environment,, but because of the people around the dog.

I love Dobermans. Neighbor had a pair Dutches and Duke.. As a little kid, Use to stop at the gate when the neighbor was out in the front yard, and talk to the neighbor and yes I was in aw to be in his dogs presence developed my skills lol of looking paying attention enjoying them,, but not directly looking having a conversation with the neighbor. I never touched them, never tried to because the way we were raised that they are not ours and not to get dogs in trouble. My neighbor was able to work with them about not getting on top of the gate.

One night I was breaking the rules and didn't leave my friends house until well after dark, (may parents were not home for me to think I get away with breaking the rules) Had several open fields, and several houses before I got to my yard. A car load of drunks raced passed me and you could hear them yelling turn around turn around.. I started running and was not going to make it to my yard. So I jumped into the neighbors for being the first house i could get to. Ran up to the front door and was banging on it, but they were not home. The car pulled up to the gate with me standing on the porch, I turned around and sat down on the porch. The guy said that's not your house , is it little girl laughing. He walked to the gate and just as he put his hands on that latch to lift it open .. Dutches and Duke, crawled out from under the house and raced toward the gate with teeth bared . The entire care was all @#$%^&$$#@#@## Holly ##$$%%^& And the guy fell backwards on to the ground, worming his way back to his car. Got in and they sped off.

It was my first moment to realize the dogs were loose and I was in their area without the owner. I froze my mind racing for a plan and all I came up with was don't move... don't look don't move. Dutches and Duke standing taller then I was sitting, circled me tightly, sniffing me, I wasn't frightened I was focusing on being still and not looking, (animals follow rules) then both lay'd down like bookends pressed up against me. I loved how they leaned their paws over the edge of the porch and crossed them. And I sat with out moving without looking at them and said thank you for saving me.. Planing my exit for awhile, I said I gotta go home now, thank you. and got up walked across the front yard to the gate opened it and stepped out. They never moved from the porch. And I turned to them and looked at them and said thank you and waved and walked home..

even as an 11 year old child, I knew they were Dobermans, my parents told us what Dobermans were about and what jobs they were for because they were Dobermans. I grew up with no leash laws, I grew up in a wide open area were there wasn't always fences or closed gates. And you grew up not being stupid around animals and you grow up gaining acquiring instinct that animals have very simple rules and when they tell you , your wrong, you own it and learn from it. And adjust accordingly.

like it was said ,, they animals, mere property, always 100% unpredictable to unpredictable variables. Mentioned several times on this forum.. That the majority of animals live in a public environment, they can't get away from it. And that is the environment they have to learn in.. Humans should make it safe for the dogs to have the best environment to learn in to be good in public that they have no choice to have to live in..

Own it and move on..... by doing so you teach the dog that they are safe and can be tolerant.. This dog was a young pup just starting to learn...
 

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In reply to #13

This is merely to expand the discussion, not argue. You communicate a story very well! I can feel the fear, even desperation of your plight. But I can feel the empathy of the dogs too. Because dogs are smarter than people. I am not surprised. What you point out in that story, is the ability (your ability) to assess a dog in a natural, instinctive manner. No labels are involved, no judgement, no “humanization” of emotion. You had established a primal connection. Interestingly, there was a (now notorious) “celebrity trainer” who also viewed dogs from that instinctual, primal perspective. For what it was worth, that individual tried communicating to people on that level as well. But what was actually meant, is that dogs use behaviors (straight & simple) for survival. Very black & white. (Of course how the individual attempted to correct those deviant behaviors is highly debatable – do NOT throw knuckle-bones at me!).

Unfortunately, the opposite of growing up (as you did) as a student of country ways and living in a non-urban area, is the city life. In fact, is quite an unnatural setting for many dogs, which (as another person on this thread pointed out) conflicts with the genetic makeup (or deficiencies) that some dogs have (fear, defensiveness, anticipation, nervousness). These dogs (perhaps) would not be the best candidates for surviving in the wild. Nevertheless, owners take responsibility for them, within complicated situations. Which doubles their task to either integrate them successfully OR to control them absolutely. In terms of offering our support and consideration, that means respecting both the owner and the dog. So in the OP, the author (actually) should’ve connected with the Doberman’s owner first (asking her the questions), instead of “gathering” assumptions about the dog. But not as a “duty” to provide that dog space for adjustment – but as a functional courtesy within a shared office space. It's only because of the person I happen to be, that I wouldn’t expect anything from the other party in the least. But would secure my own dog at all costs.

I have a different example in contrast to your very interesting experience, which I think illustrates the same point. As a performance dog handler, you already know that many, many dogs congregate within the proximity of each other, in large areas awaiting rounds of competition. True, some are crated, but not always either. We see a little bit of it going on at the fairgrounds. I can’t speak to “ Exclusive Sporting” events (as you participate in) because we only do Conformation (20 yrs.), but for that purpose, I watch all breeds of dogs, sizes, energy levels, attitudes, moving with different kinds of handlers, as they travel the aisles and grounds, going from the grooming areas, and in and out of the buildings with show rings. This includes sharing space with spectators (strangers), who are roaming around too. They are not always as "polite" as they should be, approaching dogs, which "can" interfere with their concentration/preparation. Many dogs wait on table tops, until their round is called. On the ground they walk past each other, within inches, then stand around waiting some more. The dogs know their role in the ring within that confined space. This type of dog (usually) does not receive formal obedience training because it "can" conflict with how the dog is shown. But I will tell you the SECRET to basic manners, is how the handlers (instinctively) communicate with those dogs! (First) by using incredibly minimal “body language” and even less conversation. (Second) by using a specific routine. And (three) by having a confident expectation! Sometimes we think the most successful handlers are telepathic (but it's actually experience). The result is, those dogs absolutely KNOW who’s in charge!

And I've never seen a skirmish, even when a dog has gotten loose.

Back home, they turn back into their own personalities, and you wonder how any of them ever got titled.

��
 

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dog events are so cool,, you have step back and take it all in that at some of the major shows there is over 1000 dogs at any given time under one roof that are all intact, some being in different stages of heat. walk ways between rings jammed packed with spectators that the dogs have to move through of all types of breeds. The grooming areas they on top of each other ins some events. Main thing I take away is the dogs are pretty much invisible to everyone, they have all seen dogs before, and they are solely focused on their own dogs.

I have owned it several times.. One at a dog show waiting to go into my ring I had backout of pathway traffic to stand and heard someone from behind me deeply and loudly clear their throat . Without turning around I realized I was standing next to a grooming table. I walked forward about 8ft before turning to look and apologize to the handler.. I had back up to a grooming table with a Bov of all breeds... So embarrassed for being stupid had to own it, apologize and give grace thankfulness ..

The other one was driving back to CO from having Military certifications in WA. Handler had a home emergency and flew back and I tended to his dog on the trip back. No problems.. Got back to or kennel leashed his dog up took him out to the training area to run around loose and have a good potty break. Called him in , turned my back to to reach for the kennel building door .. And BAM that dog hit me from behind , leaped up onto my back slamming full onto my shoulder area lol.. WHAT THE HAY "OUT OUT OUT" he dropped off of me. I turned around to look at him all looking at me.. cracking a smile dude what's up with that? before I realized... I had on an over stuffed down jacket on... good enough in a split instance to look like a bite suit decoy running away moment for one of these dogs. lol .. DUH lol.. no hard feelings for mistaken identity on the dogs part that he quickly recognized my voice to drop off. No loss of trust for him. brought him into the kennel got his dinner.. As a handler I owned it, laughed about it, and the whole kennel laughed about it.. and I still remember that lesson of being aware of my behaviors.. Just like wearing black leather gloves are often mistaken for being black kongs, watched that happen several times to other handlers.. Red kongs and balls are a better choice...

I didn't find anything out of character for this dog. First day in a new place, settling in, Young pup dropping confidence for someone walking slowly at them from a distance, not certain how they should react to it. The other one dog perfectly relaxed not paying attention then suddenly startled (didn't see it coming) of someone walking too close to them...


Me personally I have never petted a pure bred pit bull.. Everytime i have seen one, they are working, they in a place of business where they are expected to behave like the vet clinic. Just sit at my side of the vet clinic and admire a real one, and how well behaved the dog is being not wanting to interfere and break that perfect bubble they are in
 

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I do agility and disc - and some lure coursing and dock diving and touches of rally and... I just like dog sports and do a lot of them in small doses, but mostly agility and disc.

Quite a few of the dogs who participate (at least in disc and agility) don't do particularly well with other dogs, to be honest. Not all of them, but there is a higher than the general public percentage who do not want anything at all to do with socializing with unknown dogs and can get snarky about it. There are also more that would prefer to be left alone by people they don't know well than socializing with them.

In spite of this, close quarters, and very, very aroused dogs, I can count exactly TWO incidents in years of trialing. Those incidents absolutely did happen - one dog jumped the ring to attack a dog standing probably 50 feet away, and one went after the freaking JUDGE. Disciplinary action happened in both cases because that's Just Not Cool.

The other 99.99% of the time and dogs (seriously 2 incidents, 2 dogs, many years of many trials with many dogs) it's just not a thing. The dogs know what they're there to do, they want to do it, and people respect that. People don't come up and try to pet other people's dogs, or encourage or allow the dogs to greet each other. So even the dogs who are not fantastic with people or dogs that are outside their 'approved circle' don't worry about the dozens of people and dogs because they KNOW they're not going to be asked to interact. It builds confidence.

And as an only mildly related aside to this aside:

Kiran is pretty much my ideal temperament - Kylie, too. They're both very confident dogs who will tolerate handling and go 'say hi' if I send them to do so, but they both very much treat people like furniture or trees. They just don't really care about their presence one way or another.
 
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