4 years old
Axel is a compact, black and rust four year old Doberguy with cropped ears and a docked tail who came to DRU from New York. He was originally found in a vacant apartment with a dog believed to be his sister and with whom he had apparently been fighting with over resources almost continuously. Reportedly thirty pounds underweight when first discovered, Axel initially showed behaviors indicative of a dog who had to protect himself from others. Luckily, the first person who took him on behalf of another rescue was able to work through much of his resource guarding issues and gained his trust. According to her, Axel had many very positive qualities, including tolerance of cats, smaller dogs and visiting older children. He was reportedly reactive around larger dogs and initially showed mild resource guarding behavior that never manifested in more than a growl: possibly fallout from his rough times with his sister fighting over food and territory. Over time, these incidents stopped and his NY foster home was ready to show him to potential adopters. His only issue with a human occurred when one of these potential new owners refused to respect Axel’s space and instead thought it would be a smart idea to get on the ground and grab a strange Doberman’s face with both hands to pull him in for a kiss. We’ll just pause here so you can try to name some other really dumb things to do when you meet a dog for the first time and see if any of them top that. Due to his foster’s awareness and good timing, this incident did not lead to any sort of injury (except, hopefully, to the visitor’s ego so that he doesn’t presume to meet any future dogs that way), but it did tell her that she could use some more specialized help in finding Axel a permanent home. That’s where DRU came in.
Axel spent a few months at our shelter where he eventually came out of his shell and spent many hours working with our training staff. When he was chosen for adoption, his training continued until his new owners were ready to bring him home with the understanding that he would likely try out a few of his old behaviors in the new setting. Although he did well for quite awhile, when Axel took backwards steps in his progress and started showing guarding behavior his new owners were unable to pursue training with him and he found himself returned to DRU on Christmas Eve due to their being overwhelmed. Since his return, we have not seen the behavior that got him in trouble but we will expect that he may try it again if his next adopters are not proactive about management and training. Axel is cheerful, affectionate and obedient with his human family here but he absolutely requires structure and consistency in his handling. Like so many of the Dobes in our system, Axel would do best with people who understand the importance of solid obedience training and boundaries. We will revisit Axel’s cat-tolerance in the near future to see if he’s still a good candidate for a home with a feline friend or two, so please keep checking back. Due to his more recent reported behavior, we can’t recommend Axel for a home with children at this time. For someone who shows him consistent leadership, Axel will be a loyal and loving sidekick.