Living with Dobermanns
Dobermanns have a fierce reputation amongst those who do not know the breed. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Despite their hard-man image the Dobe is a softy at heart, and doesn’t appreciate harsh treatment or being screamed at (and seldom forgets it). As long as you are calm and firm, letting your Dobe know their position in the pack is at the bottom (i.e. below ALL family members) then you are going to enjoy a great relationship.
Staying in control
Like all dogs, the Dobe feels more secure when it’s place in the pack is secure, even if that is at the bottom (where it should be). Be fair yet firm, respect him, and allow him a treat from time to time. Don’t be weak or indecisive as he will perceive weak leadership and will naturally try to assert his dominance over the pack – highly undesirable. Likewise, hard treatment can produce a nervous animal which is just as dangerous as an over-confident one. Patience, firmness and respect in the right balance are the keys to success, and not everyone has those qualities.
Exercise and training
Dobermanns love to work with their owners. Being intelligent, they need mental as well as physical exercise. This isn’t a Labrador. Your Dobe will probably need a good hour of free running, or hard walking every day to remain happy, and use up his energy! Remember bored dogs can get frustrated, and start eating furniture, so if you can’t manage this, the consider something smaller!
Dobes are quite easy to train because they have an inherent desire to please the pack. Dobes do well when mentally stimulated, so a dog training club is a great idea to help with exercise and keeping your dog alert and focused on you. It is also critical that you train your family! It is pointless if the main handler leaves for work and the remaining family members spoil the dog and allow him to get the wrong idea!
As most rescue Dobes aren’t puppies, we work hard with them wherever possible to ensure they are socialised, and know how to behave around other people and dogs. How many toy dogs do you pass in the street that yap yap yap and jump at your legs only to bounce back on the end of their lead? It might seem funny to the casual observer, but replace the chihuahua with nearly 40kg of Dobermann and it becomes an ugly, dangerous scene that seriously damages the reputation of the breed.
It is critical that you do all you can to introduce your Dobe to other dogs and people to boost confidence with different situations. This should always be done in a non-threatening environment, and under the advice of a trainer. Failure to socialise your Dobe will lead to a nervous or over-confident nature – which is highly undesirable and potentially dangerous.