Q & A For New Doberman Owners

Question : Can my children get worms from our puppy/dog ? I heard that all puppies have worms.

Answer : That is a good question. Zoonotic (from animal to human) transmission of worms can be a very serious problem, especially for children, however the good news is that you can prevent it by taking a few simple precautions.

First, you should understand that humans are not part of the normal life cycle of the worms that affect dogs and cats. The eggs of the roundworms and hookworms can enter our bodies. They cannot however, grow into adult worms but their  larval stages can damage certain organs in our bodies, such as our eyes.

Roundworms usually are taken in through the mouth by children playing in contaminated soil or grass. Hookworm larvae can enter the body directly through the skin and while this may sound alarming, a few simple measures can keep the situation from occurring.

Puppies may start passing roundworms as early as three weeks of age. It is important to understand that if you obtained your puppy from a reputable breeder, that breeder will most likely have already dewormed your puppy. You should talk with your breeder to see if the puppy has been dewormed. You can then have your puppy/dog checked from time to time to ensure it is worm free.

Keep your children away from areas that are contaminated with feces. Do not let them eat dirt and encourage them to wash their hands after playing outside and before eating. Cover your sandbox when it is not being used to prevent cats from eliminating in it. It is also highly advisable to pick up all feces after the dog and keep your yard free from feces.


Question : My puppy/dog is always scratching and has flaky skin. What can I do about it?

Answer : Treatment depends on the cause of the itching and flaking skin. Winter is a prime time for dry skin because the cold air and gas heat cause low humidity which dries out the skin in some animals – just like in people – and itching results. The danger is that the itching can cause an infection which will lead to a whole series of other problems.

Bathing, for example, can dry out the skin, especially if bathed frequently and if you haven´t sufficiently rinsed all the shampoo out. Human shampoo will definitely cause your puppy/dog to itch as it strips your dogs coat of its natural oils.

Diet can also be a factor in causing dry, flaky, itchy skin. If you are feeding a food of poor quality that is low in fatty acids, you may need to change foods or supplement to ensure a sufficient diet of fatty acid to keep the skin healthy. It could also mean that the food you are feeding is too rich for the dog/puppy.

Other skin irritations may cause itching and scratching which also lead to increased skin cell production and the characteristic flaking. These problems might be fleas, mites, or allergies. While they may look like dry skin, they are usually much more complex problems.

If dryness is secondary to one of these problems, your vet should be able to help. If simple dry skin is the culprit, you can use the following formula to moisturize your dog´s skin :

Mix – 1 1/3 cup of water with 1/3 cup of listerine (to kill any bacteria), and 1/3 cup of Alpha Keri bath lotion (some places call it Keri bath lotion)(to moisturize) in a spritz bottle and spritz your dog daily and rub it into the
coat. This mixture of spritzing the dog should clear up the dry, flaking skin in short order. Stop bathing the dog and just spritz instead.

Don´t use powders on the carpet as some dogs are allergic to the powder and it can cause your dog to scratch and dry out the skin.


Question : I am pregnant and have been told to get rid of my Dobermans . What should I do ?

Answer : Ultimately what you do is up to you but I have to say this first. A Doberman is not a commodity on a shelf !! Your Doberman will be your baby´s best guardian, beyond your wildest dreams and she/he will nurture your baby in ways that will truly amaze you. A pet is a lifetime commitment, just like having and raising a child is. Being organized is your to your best advantage. Once you go back to work you can arrange for a doggie daycare if you choose just as you would a sitter for your child.

Would you get rid of your child if you had to have surgery ? Of course not. You simply learn how to organize your time and incorporate and set aside time for your Dobe as well, just as you would if this was your second child and needed to spend quality time with your first born.


Question : What kind of collar do I use for training ?

Answer : Check with your trainer. One thing to keep in mind is to use a different kind of collar for show training than you´d use for obedience training. Your dog will learn the difference between the two. Your trainer is your best source of guidance depending on the type of training you are doing.


Question: How long does it take to train a dog ?

Answer: Training is an ongoing learning experience . Learning goes on for life, every day of every week of every year. Once you have trained your dog to the level you want it trained, then you must continue to practice all the things you´ve learned every day so the dog remembers. This is called consistency. It is just like if you took training to be a nurse and worked for 2 years and then quit. If you never practiced what you learned, you will lose a lot of the skills you learned simply because you no longer keep practising. Your dog is no different.

A good Guide realizes that learning is taking place at all times. A dog, especially a puppy, is a learning machine!!! Dogs are always experimenting and discovering what is pleasurable, how to get it, how to keep it, and how people fit into this picture. Only sleep turns off the mental machinery .

There are Four “P´s” of Training :

  1. Praise : Everyone learns faster with encouragement – use toys, treats, and/or scratches
  2. Practice: Incorporate it into a daily routine. Try a few exercises at feed time. Bring along treats on daily walks and practice sit, heel, and come; teach the meaning of a positive word like “ok” by saying it when it´s time for a break.
  3. Prevention: Give the dog a chance to something RIGHT before he does something wrong.Be CONSISTENT and PAY ATTENTION! Don´t expect the puppy to “hold it” for 10 hours. Watch for the dog to start eyeing the neighbours cat and call him to you for a scratch behind the ears to distract him from going after the cat.
  4. Patience: It is unreasonable to expect Rover to turn into a gentleman overnight, so be patient. Keep training sessions short, interesting and positive. If Rover is getting bored and distracted after 10 minutes or you start to lose your temper, it´s time for a break or recess.

The P That DOESN´T belong is Punishment : If Rover misbehaves, it is YOUR fault for failing to supervise him or communicate with him clearly. NEVER hit him.


Question : How do I get my puppy/dog to go into the crate voluntarily?

Answer : Whatever you do, don´t use the crate as a punishment or he/she will never go in.

  1. Put a bit of peanut butter (or other yummy morsel) in the back of the puppy/dog crate when it is not looking. Leave the door open.
  2. Go to the puppy or dog and show her a handful of treats (small tidbits).
  3. Entice the puppy or dog to follow your hand to her crate. Be sure to SAY NOTHING.

  4. Walk to the crate, and without hesitation, throw all the treats into the crate.
  5. Puppy or dog will hop into her crate and eat the goodies. Do not shut the crate.
  6. It is even more effective when puppy/dog discovers the bonus of peanut butter in the back of the crate.
  7. Leave the crate door open. Puppy/dog should be able to eat the food and come out when she wants. Say “ok” as she is exiting the crate.
  8. Once she comes out, rehearse the sequence again. Remember to toss the treats into the crate without any hesitation.
  9. Do not wait even a split second to see what the puppy/dog is going to do ! She will notice your balance change and stop. If that happens, you will turn crate training into the game of puppy stopping at the crate to see whether or not you are going to toss in the food.

Once the puppy/dog gets to her crate first and hops inside VOLUNTARILY

  1. puppy will eventually begin to reach the crate first and hop inside to wait for you to toss the food in. Always walk up and throw it in to her.
  2. once puppy /dog has consistently been first to reach the crate, walk slower and have her wait in the crate a little longer for her treats.
  3. puppy is now aware that running into her crate results in getting positive reinforcement.

Once your puppy/dog runs into her crate when someone is walking toward it, you can now introduce a verbal “cue”.

  1. You will know that the puppy understands what is happening when the “cue” of someone walking towards her crate, results in her “response” of running to the crate and she receives the food “consequence”.
  2. Say the cue word “crate” and then start to walk towards the crate. When she takes off towards the crate, say “yes” or click and go to the crate and give her a food “consequence” or treat.
  3. Say the release word “ok” as she is coming out. The door is still left open at this point. Rehearse this sequence.
  4. The next step is to walk into the area where the crate is located. Say the word “crate” and see if the puppy/dog does into the crate before anyone has to walk towards it.
  5. Once the puppy/dog is inside, walk over and give the food.
  6. Rehearse sending the puppy/dog to her crate from different places in the house. Do this until puppy/dog is in the habit of bouncing happily into her crate whenever you say “crate”.
  7. Periodically to keep the response keen, surprise the puppy with a bonus of something especially delicious waiting for her in the back of the crate. This must be solid before you can proceed to the next step of staying in the crate even though the door is open, until you give the release command.

How To Teach the Puppy/Dog To Remain In Her Crate When The Door Is Open :

  1. Walk up to the crate. Stand and wait until she sits, makes eye contact and is calmly waiting for you to open the door and let her out.
  2. Unlatch the door and hold it shut with your foot. If she gets up, take the door and open it about an inch, close it, open it, close it., etc. The object is to get her to back away from the door because it is a little unpleasant to be near the door when it is being moved back and forth. Do not intimidate her and do not
    smack her in the nose with the crate door. You will be able to get her to back away from the door by lightly banging it closed a few times.
  3. Once she backs away, reward her and drop her food into the back of the crate. Do not have her come forward for her reward because you are trying to get her to stay in the back of her crate. You want her in back of her crate for a number of reasons. First, you do not want to teach her this new skill by smacking her with the crate door. You want the crate door movement to be what backs her up. Second, if she is in the back of the crate and in the sit position, it will be safe for you to know when to close the door so you do not hit her, but also room enough so she does not escape. Watch her closely. You will notice her start to get up from the sit position to head for the door, her head will drop. While teaching this skill, you will close the door when her head drops.
  4. Once she has backed away from the door, you will wait for her to make eye contact with you.
  5. If she does not make eye contact, but instead comes towards the door, open it, lightly bang it open and shut a few times until she backs away again. Wait for her to make this decision.
  6. The puppy will quickly get the idea to stay in the back of the crate and sit and make eye contact.
  7. When she does this, start to open the door. If she drops her head, which she has then committed to trying to get out the door, close the door for a moment and then reopen it and see what she does next. Once she decides to stay when the door is slightly ajar, say her release word “ok”, fully open the door and step back and invite her to come out.
  8. Once she is out, play with her for a little while, then put her back in the crate and try again.
  9. It may take several training sessions before you will be able to open her crate door completely. Practice often and work on this skill by opening the door inch by inch.

Question : How long can my dog “hold” it ?

Answer : That depends on how old and how healthy your dog is. A young puppy likely will have to go potty about every 1 – 3 hours at first. After playing, put puppy out to pee. After eating, put puppy out to pee. As soon as puppy wakes up, put puppy out to pee.

Aside from this, as the puppy gets older, a 6 to 9 month old puppy should be able to hold it for a little longer. Later, the puppy should be able to hold it for up to 8 hours, provided the puppy/dog doesn´t have a bladder problem. Remember, don´t let the puppy have any water right before going to bed or it will need to go pee in the middle of the night. It takes consistency and patience to gradually build up the bladder´s sphincter muscles and its ability to hold more urine. As the puppy grows, so too will the size of the bladder grow enabling it to hold more urine and for longer periods of time.

Watch for body language and the cues your puppy will give you, such as:

  • whining
  • stopping play to start sniffing the ground or floor
  • going to the door with or without making any sounds
  • passing gas
  • watch for anus to open up while playing
  • pay attention if the puppy/dog comes and nudges you with his/her nose
  • If your puppy or dog has diarrhea or soft stools, it may have to go more often so pay attention to the stools of your dog as well. Looking at the stools will tell you if something is amiss with your dog/puppy.

Question : My vet says to keep my puppy on puppy food for a year. What should I do ?

Answer : If you acquired your puppy from a very reputable breeder, chances are that the the breeder had already started to change the puppy over to adult maintenance food. Your best bet is to check with your breeder.

My feelings are as follows:

  • get the puppy onto maintenance food as soon as possible because doing so re
    duces the high levels of protein
  • starting on adult maintenance food reduces the possibilities or chances of your puppy getting “panosteitis”, which affects the long bones. Maintenance food slows the growth of long bones. Because your puppy will still grow to its maximum height, you want to reduce any growth problems by switching it to maintenance food as soon as possible. Your puppy will be happier and so will your pocket book.

Question : How long does it take to housebreak my puppy/dog ?

Answer : Chances are that your breeder has already started that process if not already completed it for you. You need to learn to read your puppy´s body language and the “cues” he/she gives you. As a rule of thumb, as soon as it wakes from sleeping put it outside and praise it when it goes; after eating put it outside and praise it when it goes; after playing put it out and praise it when it goes.

It is much easier to house train by crate training as most dogs/puppies will not soil their own bedding or den, unless it has been left too long or unless it is sick or has a bladder infection.

Look for the cues : going to the door with or without making a noise; whining; stops playing and starts sniffing the ground or floor; anus starts to open ; passing a lot of gas ; comes and nudges you with its nose with or without making a noise.

CONSISTENCY and PAYING ATTENTION are of utmost importance in house breaking your puppy. Don´t forget to PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE.


Question : Can dogs be vegetarians ? Can I put my dog on a vegetarian diet ?

Answer : Before you do anything, research, research and research. Dogs have a higher protein requirement than humans. Dogs need protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Too much or too little of any may cause problems such as obesity, malnourishment, or even vitamin or mineral toxicity or deficiency.

Remember that dogs have a shorter digestive tract than humans, and may not cope so well with large quantities of fibrous (roughage) foods. In order for dogs to benefit from vegetables, you would need to cook the vegetables for 15 minutes which breaks down the fibres making them more digestible. However, cooking can also destroy much needed vitamins and minerals, especially thiamine (B1).

If a dog receives too little protein, calcium, or vitamin D, his or her health could be jeopardized. Additionally, some dogs need two amino acids called L-Carnitine and Taurine, which are not generally added to commercial dog foods and can be insufficient in homemade dog food as well. A deficiency of these amino acids can cause dilated cardiomyopathy, a serious illness in which the heart becomes large and flabby and can no longer function.

Dogs eating only cooked or processed food can also benefit from the addition of digestive enzymes to their food. Any raw vegetables in a dog´s diet must be grated or put through a food blender or juicer to enhance digestibility.

Yes, dogs can be vegetarians, but remember, DO YOUR RESEARCH and be prepared to be consistent and spend the money on vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure your dog gets a balanced diet; one that is not lacking in protein, fats, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, or carbohydrates.

RESEARCH BEFORE YOU START!


Question : Can I take my puppy to a dog park ?

Answer : You can, but why would you want to ? Let´s take a look at who goes to dog parks. Dogs that may have diarrhea for one reason or another go, dogs with worms go there, dogs that don´t have a SOLID RECALL go there – that means that once the dog is running free, it doesn´t come back to the owner until it is ready to, not when the owner calls it, so if that dog is dog aggressive will it come back when the owner calls it when it starts a fight with your dog ? No it won´t.

Dogs that bully other dogs go to the park. Dogs that are possessive and while chasing their frisbee or ball will likely go after your dog if your dog wants to join in on the chase game.

Dogs that have a high prey drive go there – that means that if a child is running or a smaller dog is running the dog with the high prey drive will give chase. Will your dog join in on the chase and also be accused as vicious if the kid is bitten ? Do the owners that take their dogs to the dog park clean up after their dog defecates ? Probably not and you or your dog will likely step in it, or both will.

Have all the dogs at the dog park had their vaccinations ?

If the reason you want to take your dog to the dog park is to exercise it, you can do that in your own backyard quite easily. Go outside with your dog and throw a ball or frisbee for it. Build a set of ramps for your dog to run up and down which will help build up the rear muscles on your dog. Have your dog go up and down your stairs.

Buy a tunnel and teach your dog to go through it.

Build an agility course for your dog and then spend the time to teach it go through the course. This is wonderful exercise.

Your dog doesn´t have to go to a dog park to get exercise. Spend time with your dog. That is all he/she really wants anyway. Your love, your time.


Question : Should I spay my female ?

Answer : This is a common question and an important one. It is a myth that every female should have at least one litter. Our pounds and shelters are already overcrowded with unwanted pets because people just “wanted to breed one time”. The reality is that unless there is a very specific reason or you are a breeder, the dog should be spayed.

If your bitch is not spayed, you will often see the following :

  • a major change of behaviour in her when she is “in season.” This can be moodiness through to aggressiveness, particularly if she is trying to find a male dog. She will give PMS a new meaning.
  • she will bleed for upwards to 3 weeks, although it could be longer or shorter.
  • her body will undergo hormonal changes.
  • she will often be aggressive to other dogs and may hump any other female that she finds. This behaviour could go on for quite some time.
  • other females can sometimes be very aggressive towards a female in season.

As well, in order to keep her from becoming pregnant, you will have to lock her up in the house for approximately 3 weeks or more. This can be a very harrowing and worrisome experience and endeavor for all involved. All of this can be prevented if she is spayed.

PLEASE NOTE ; bitches and dogs have been known to mate through fences if they get the chance.


Question : Should I neuter my dog ?

Answer : It is a myth that every dog should keep its testicles to maintain its “manliness”. Dogs do not need to breed. It doesn´t make a dog any better if it does breed, and it certainly doesn´t make its owner a better person either !! It CAN make that dog
much more difficult to manage if it is not neutered.

If your dog is not neutered, you will often see the following :

  • they will pee on everything and anything – including furniture, curtains, shoes, and handbags in your home, including on his owners.
  • sometimes they will try to mount children, people, and yes cats too in order to try fulfilling their sex drives.
  • sometimes the male will refuse to eat when they smell a female in season
  • sometimes the
    y will howl and whine and cry for weeks while a female is in season within smelling distance; this will drive most people crazy.
  • many dogs will actively seek out the female in season; breaking out of secure fences, jumping through glass windows, chewing through fences, etc.
  • sometimes the male will become aggressive towards other males and /or also start mounting them
  • they will exude a smell related to the sex hormones when a bitch is in season. This smell is appalling and not easily gotten rid of. When a dog is after a fertile bitch, that is the only thing on his mind. He will do anything he can think of to get at the female including scaling fences, breaking down doors, mating through fences, physically harming or even killing other dogs.

As the owner of a male dog, you are just as responsible as the owner of the bitch for any puppies that are born. This means you have an ethical responsibility for life to rescue any of those puppies if they ever end up in the pound or shelter. In the future you may also be held legally responsible.

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