The Doberman is a highly intelligent breed. He is, by virtue of his physical prowess and mental excellence, one of the most formidable of all the working guard breeds. He is a finely tuned protection “weapon”, capable of doing considerable harm and damage to his foes. Because of his temperament and physical superiority, the Doberman must be “managed” properly from puppyhood. This means kindly and patiently and respectfully nurtured along—issuing appropriate discipline when necessary to make the point or correct undesirable behavior.
Because many people don’t research and study the Doberman breed and the characteristics of his temperament, problems with behavior can occur.
Be aware that **THE DOBERMAN IS NOT FOR EVERY PERSON OR FAMILY**. This is just the reality of the breed. It is a demanding breed and requires constant attention and guidance from the family. With the mobile society we live in, where often two people are working and out of the home for long periods of time everyday, the possibility that the Doberman will not be nurtured properly is a distinct possibility. This sets the scenario for trouble to follow.
The first year is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL to the proper development of correct behavior patterns and the establishment of the *ORDER* that must be present in the family—which is the *people* call all the shots—the Doberman must comply and follow their lead. The family CANNOT be held hostage by an improperly raised and trained Doberman who thinks he is the ALPHA and is running “the show.” Poor behavior, lack of discipline and even dangerous displays of aggression toward family members and other acceptable people is the consequence of mismanagement of the Doberman in some manner.
Of course, there are exceptions, where the Doberman has a physical cause for behavior problems. But typically BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS follow improper training attempts or inappropriate or too severe discipline—or lack of bonding to the family because the Doberman is locked away and has not integrated itself within the family—and also the total lack of available time to spend with this Doberman that demands quality efforts to train.
BEFORE you purchase a Doberman—do your *HOMEWORK.* Study the breed—read everything available on Dobermans. Study and read about training methods and how Dobermans are different than the great majority of breeds. TALK to reputable breeders—go to AKC Dog Shows and establish contacts, so you can spend some time around Dobermans to observe and see how they act and react. Observe Obedience classes and how they’re taught.
Get all the details worked out on how you are going to handle a Doberman puppy coming into your home, including the proper usage of a portable wire crate/kennel to use in the training process. Do all of this BEFORE you go look for a puppy.
If you have very small children—babies, toddlers and young school age children—getting a tiny Doberman puppy is NOT GOOD!!! BABIES AND DOBERMAN PUPPY BABIES ARE NOT A GOOD MIX!!! Doberman puppies are high energy, bundles of **SHARP TOENAILS AND NEEDLE TEETH**!! Young children can be absolutely terrified by nipping puppies and the puppy can be absolutely terrified by running, screaming children that cause their mom’s and dad’s to harshly discipline the puppy for normal puppy behavior. This sets the scene for a very bad experience for both toddler/child as well as the young Doberman puppy and is frequently the start of major BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS that will follow.
The puppy gets locked up more because the kids are afraid and pretty soon the puppy is in the basement or garage or even worse—outside—and the puppy grows up with no family socialization–no house time–fear of children and possibly adults. MAJOR PROBLEMS start and are magnified once the puppy becomes an adult and the critical “imprinting” period of puppyhood is passed.
Many older puppies (6 months to 12 months) and young adolescent adults end up in Shelters, Humane Societies and Rescues across the Country because people cannot handle their Doberman. Or their Doberman is aggressive—or they are using the wrong training methods and they are afraid of their Doberman. Any number of scenario’s can cause behavior problems in the Doberman.
Make sure you seek the advice and counsel of a Professional Behaviorist, a Professional Trainer who has experience with Dobermans, and seek advice from experienced breeders who can point you in the right direction for help.
Dobermans are formidable guard dogs that have the potential to do harm. Do not wait to seek Counsel to correct offensive/dangerous behavior.
DPCA Public Education Committee