Doberman Discrimination Outrage!

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Dragonfli's picture
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This past weekend I was working long shifts. My husband was injured at work, and then laid off. He has severe back problems, can barely get out of bed let alone drive or lift 5lbs.
I recieved his phone call at work around 11am, stating to me that he had gone to let the dogs out to go to the bathroom (we have a 1year old Dobie and a 4 year old black lab) and they escaped. We live in the country surrounded by haying fields and farms. I was noticable upset (close to anxiety attack). It would have been no problem if I could have been there. My labhas ran before and I find her easily or neighbors take her in to play with her and return her shortly after. I have that type of rapore with them. Well according to my husband one of our neighbors a few houses down comes to the house stating that "our dogs are causing panic especially that ugly doberman and people are freaking out!" Now this is a lady that has like 10 dogs, everything from grey hounds, to GDS, to Irish Wolfhound. I was outraged! My doberman is the sweetest girl in the world. Awsome with my three year old daughter and everyone who has ever had the privledge to meet her. The town policeman came over and told my husband that he would have loved to just open his car door and let them jump in. My husband told him that they would do just that. The ACO (animal control Officer) said the same thing. It must be that this community is rather ill educated in regards to dobermans and its a shame that they must be so close minded.

MaddeMay's picture
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Joined: 2008-12-07

Your girl is beautiful. My girl is 9 months and is wonderfull with my small children.  The puppy stage was difficult (with some rough play) but she responded very well to just a few corrections. I know what you mean about discrimination.  To be honest, I too had a misconception about dobermans until I myself had the pleasure of raising one.  I frequently notice people walking the other way when they see us coming. When we walk in the park, it's either an inviting smile or a look of fear that I see on the faces of people who pass by. Those who smile are the ones who truly know dobermans.  I must say that this is by far, the best dog I've every owned. What amazed me the most is her willingness to please me and her desire to snuggle!  The first 6 months were the worst but I read so much in this forum about getting through the puppy stage and how it's all worth it.  Well, it was... and my 75lb teenager is as sweet as they come. 

Hang in there!

puppydude30's picture
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You should secure your puppies because you don't really know if there are other dogs that could attack them. Maybe your neighbor is right about it. Remember that they are still puppies and still can not defend themselves.

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

Dragonfli - you are correct, there are a lot of ignorant people when it comes to Dobermans. I once had an across the street neighbor try to have one of mine declared as "vicious" by a local magistrate court. Of course his chows were the cause of repeated calls by his next door neighbor after they chased him into his house.

Puppydude30 - In most rural areas, there are no leash laws because most are farm dogs. Yes, it would be best if our dogs never go out, but it does happen. Yes, life is tough on country dogs.

Lady Kate's picture
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welcome to the forum Dragonfli.. We are so happy to see you and your beautiful dobergirl. Please dont' let media hype or dober-ignorance disuede you. The doberman dogs are an incredible breed. Loving and fierce at the same time. They will protect your sweet three y.o. daughter and love her with all her great heart. Trust her instincts and stay in touch. this is a great forum in which you will meet life long friends (if you chose) and find out amazing things about your dog.
thanks for writing
Kate and Sofia

Freyja's Dad's picture
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When I first got Freyja at 7 weeks old I introduced her to all my close neighbors while she was still an uncropped puppy so they would know her before she looked like a Doberman and the media stereotype set in.  When she was about 4 months I came across a lady about 3/4 mile down the road who, upon seeing Freyja, asked, "What do you want with that vicious dog?"  I only got one other "vicious" comment but it was enough, along with the reactions of those who veer away from us, to show me that the Doberman stereotype is firmly implanted by the media.

Think about Doberman appearances in movies and on TV.  How many times has the breed been represented as a sweet, loving dog?  We all know if the script calls for a dog villain then it will most likely be a dobie.  These images, as unfounded as they are, stick in people's minds.  Stereotypes do that.  For instance think of the term "hillbilly".  What comes to mind, Jed Clampett?  How many thought of the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound or the General Manager of the LA Lakers? Yet Chuck Yeager and Jerry West were natives of West Virginia, yep true hillbillies.  I'm not defending those who subscribe to the Doberman stereotype, just trying to show why they believe it.

That's where our responsibility comes in.  As responsible Doberman owners we must raise and train good ambassadors of the breed.  If we take our dogs in public they must be well behaved.  Freyja is with me most of the time and while I enjoy the "beautiful dog" comments, the "well behaved" type comments bring the most joy to me because we are doing our part to change the image of the Doberman.  Will we win over everyone?  Of course not, but we all have to do our part.  Unfortunately it only takes one irresponsible owner who has a Doberman for the wrong reasons to undo our work. But I know the next time Freyja lays patiently in the floor of the barber shop waiting for me to get my hair cut, acts like a lady when we are in the bank, library, or town hall, or accompanies me to an amateur radio show, that someone will take note of her (everyone seems to notice a Doberman) and realize that maybe their stereotypical conception of the breed doesn't line up with what they are experiencing with Freyja.  I'm a firm believer that allowing our well behaved adult dobies to socialize our communities is just as important as getting our puppies out to be socialized.   

rgreen4's picture
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I think it's the ears. The only other breed that has cropped ears as long as a Dobe is a Great Dane, and most people think they are actually ponies in disguise.  :o Of course, we must all be aware of the term "Devil Dog" that was applied to War Dogs. Ironically, the first use of that term was in the trenches of WWI and applied to the dogs by the Germans because the dogs were trained to root out the German soldiers hiding around corners of the trenches.

The Marines proudly used the Dobies during WWII in the Pacific and applied the term to all their dogs, but since the vast majority of the dogs they had were Dobermans, the term stuck to them and not the Labs, mixed breeds and GSDs they also used.

In 1985 I was visiting the Boy Scout National Jamboree in Virgina and on the main thoroughfare was a young lady with a nice looking red male Doberman, docked but not cropped. As I passed near her, I stopped and commented how beautiful her dog was, and she thanked me. The crowd was milling around the area because of the food vendors there, totally ignoring her and the dog. I commented that I must be the only one who recognized that it was a Doberman, as I scratched behind his ears. She laughed and commented that not many did. Of course this was before any country outlawed the cropping or docking procedures.

Freyja's Dad's picture
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It's funny how things happen.  Today Freyja and I were on our normal walk, along the same route we have literally walked a hundred times before.  About half way though the walk I heard a small child make a comment about the dog, meaning Freyja.  I stopped, looked, and could tell there was an adult with the child.  I told the adult, who I figured out was his grandmother, that the child was welcome to pet Freyja if he wanted to.  Without hesitation the grandmother said, "I don't think so, that's one of them mean dogs".  I told her that Freyja was a really nice, friendly dog but I understood if she didn't want her grandson to pet her  I made sure to mention Freyja by name, putting a name with a dog seems to make it much less threatening. I then wished them a good afternoon and continued on up the road. 

We're not going to win everyone.  Sometimes part of being a responsible Doberman owner is to realize this and be nice to a public that believes the media stereotype.  The only way to slowly break the stereotype is by showing it not to be true, not of the dogs nor their owners.   

Freyja's Dad wrote:

It's funny how things happen.  Today Freyja and I were on our normal walk, along the same route we have literally walked a hundred times before.  About half way though the walk I heard a small child make a comment about the dog, meaning Freyja.  I stopped, looked, and could tell there was an adult with the child.  I told the adult, who I figured out was his grandmother, that the child was welcome to pet Freyja if he wanted to.  Without hesitation the grandmother said, "I don't think so, that's one of them mean dogs".  I told her that Freyja was a really nice, friendly dog but I understood if she didn't want her grandson to pet her  I made sure to mention Freyja by name, putting a name with a dog seems to make it much less threatening. I then wished them a good afternoon and continued on up the road. 

We're not going to win everyone.  Sometimes part of being a responsible Doberman owner is to realize this and be nice to a public that believes the media stereotype.  The only way to slowly break the stereotype is by showing it not to be true, not of the dogs nor their owners.   

As most of you know my daughter does 4H among other things with our dobes. Last year she won top overall showman and competed in what is called round robin at the fair. This is for all the top winning kids in each category of animal 4H. They actually take turns at showing eachothers animals in a competition. Keep in mind that they are shown in the same VERY small arena with all animals together such as the pig, sheep, rabbit, chicken, stear, goat,dog and horse. As soon as everyone knew that the Doberman had won the dog category everyone including judges started to panic. At the actual show there were even people sitting behind us commenting on how the Doberman was going to attack the other animals. It was all I could do to sit there and be quiet. I'm so glad I did because our Doberman made the breed proud. She showed her little heart out and put up with all the other kids that had to try and show her to boot. Some that knew nothing were treating her like a sheep and ramming their legs into her side to get her to move while other had no clue what side of the dog to even stand on. She was as patient as could be. We had lots of people come up to us afterwards and compliment us for such a well trained and patient dog. I'm a firm believer in training our Dobermans to be the best they can be so they can show the general public just what wonderful dogs they are if raised and trained properly.

bbroyles's picture
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Applause to you all! If all those fearing dobes could just have one in their lives, they would soon know what lapdogs they are and the fuss and mistrust would end.

Lori's picture
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It is funny what people think sometimes about Dobermans.  I walk Rocky all over the neighborhood every day morning and night, usually a different route but most people without a 2-3 mile radius have seen us out.  I'm out most every weekday at 5:30-6am walking him before work and the local Kyle PD stopped the other morning to say hi and that he was amazed at how big he's gotten.  (I guess even he has seen us out before..haha)  we chatted a few minutes and off he went but it was just funny to me that he knew us but i've never spoken to him before. 


About a week ago I was walking him and a guy accross the street was starting up the lawn sprinklers and nodded a hello and started to go back in his house,  then out of nowhere a tiny little chihuahua looking pup comes running from accross the street just a barking away.  Well this guy stops to watch, (i'm sure thinking oh crap that doberman's gona eat that little dog)  meanwhile the little guy runs right up and they sniff noses then butts and then they start to play.  I look over and ask if it's his...he looks all relieved at this point and is like no...and he's just staring at them. haha We just kept walking and the little guy I guess went back home.  But people really do think they are attack dogs....

 

if only they knew...

 

KevinK's picture
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It's funny to see the initial reaction, then the new reaction after they have a chance to meet, and then it turns into "O boy, you guys have the best dog ever, you're so lucky".  A few people yesterday that were dog owners, but never dobes, were very surprised, and even more surprised when I told them that this was typical doberman behavior.   People that know dogs never flinch an eye, but the people that don't usually need a lil "convincing".  When it's friends and family, it's easy to convert them, passing someone on the street is a little tougher, because you don't really get that chance for them to interact.  When we told Steph's parents about Dakota, it was your pretty typical reaction from people that don't know about dobermans, things like "why would you get that nasty dog", "they turn on their owners", "guess we can't bring the kids over", things like that.  Boy, did that change!!  If you read my last post in "Got my Pup" they have since completely changed their tune, as have most of the friends/family that were unsure of dobes.  I've had 2 or 3 experiences so far with people that were like "wtf, omg get that beast away before it eats me, my family, and burns down the house" but most people that actually get to meet Dakota completely change their thoughts.  I think people find her much more approachable, because she looks less "vicious" with au natural ears and tail. 

I don't expect everyone to like dobermans, and I don't expect everyone to like dogs either.  But that doesn't mean that people can't be educated about them, and understand that they're not going to die simply from being in their presence.

Lady Kate's picture
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But something to be aware of.. Dobermans have incredible instincts.. If there's something not right about a person ( and sorry to have to admit, we have a few of those in Baja) your Dobe will react totally different..

They get on high alert and there's no way they will let that person get near you. Sofia has put her body in front of mine one or two times. The seemingly benign creature who a lot of people mistake for a deer becomes a full fleged died in the wool guard dog when necessary..There are a few stories on this forum about Dobermans taking their job seriously. Guess what.. trust them. if they sense something we don't, trust them. If they see something that makes them concerned.. trust them.. If they smell something that could possibly endanger their people and react in a strange way.. trust them.

KevinK's picture
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I believe that fully.  I've wanted a dobe since I was a little kid, ever since I met my first one when I was maybe 10 or so.  Often times Dakota will be outside at night, and nose goes up and starts sniffing, and then the scary growl, that means it's time to go inside. Even at such a young age, she will not let me get in front of her when she goes into that mode.  Most of the time I don't even notice anything, it gets very dark by me, but if she starts grumbling I don't really have much desire to find out what's on the other side of the bushes lol.  I haven't had that experience with Dakota and people i've seen yet, but from spending time with dobes I have seen it more than once.  I'm always super cautious with anyone walking by, and whenever she meets new people.  I've definitely noticed the way she acts differently with dogs that are "off", and I would imagine it would be the same for people.

Lady Kate's picture
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We took a rest stop in a rather remote area yesterday on the way home from the mini-moon.

Sofia bounced out of the car and did a quick patrol around the rest area.( on leash) Two stray dogs came around, wagging their tales and looking for something to eat.

Sofia took a stance.. She was silent, no growling, no barking, no lunging or even pulling.. .. she just stood there. There was a silent energy that emanated from her. I couldn't feel it, but the strays sure did.. Off they scampered into the woods, tales now tucked. Guess she didn't want to share her potato chip.

rgreen4's picture
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Nah, she was protecting mama from those strays. All they had to do was to check her body language and after checking the DoberTeeth, decided they had pressing business elsewhere.

Lady Kate's picture
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watching their body language is one of the most amazing past times. Other dogs, she'll gracioulsy greet, sniff, dismiss.. These guys didn't have a chance to even get close

What is that wonderful old poem??? ( Jeapordy Question of the Day Rick)

She looked upon the creature with a loathing undisguised.. it wasn't disinfected, it wasn't sterilized...

PhilNCaine's picture
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There is a petition that I read. read it and you decide , it made me so angry. Before you start to read the petition read about the devil dogs of WWII in Guam, which were made up mostly of Dobes. In fact the DPC donated dogs for this purpose, now the government is labeling dobermans. The military was so thankful to those dogs that they erected a monument in their honor, one is also in Tennessee also.

 

And here is the petition.

http://www.petition2congress.com/2522/remove-dobermans-from-military-housing-aggressive-breed-list

Dobermans in Military Housing

 

 
Sign the Petition : 3,236 Letters and Emails Sent So Far

In January, the Department of the Army released a memo stating a new breed specific ban for all on base housing. The ban targets Pit Bulls (including American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers), Rottweilers, Chow Chows, Wolf-Hybrids, Dobermans and crosses of these breeds. This ban also includes other dogs that demonstrate a propensity for dominant behavior such as:

Unprovoked barking, growling, or snarling at people approaching

Aggressively running along fence lines when people are present

Biting or scratching people

Escaping confinement to chase people

Every military branch has this same policy. So far it is ONLY the Army who has decided to add Dobermans to their list. Dobermans have played a major role in our military’s history and the Army apparently couldn’t care less.

Dobermans are very loyal, gentle and docile creatures. They are excellent with children, seniors, and everyone in between. I have done my research and can’t find a single bite incident regarding a Doberman on a military installation. My grandmother (who dislikes all dogs) has even commented on how well behaved and good natured my DOBERMAN is over all the other dogs she has been around. So why is my girl banned? She is not just a pet, she is my child. Why is it that my neighbor’s German Shepherd is allowed on post? Every time I go out into my own yard, I get barked and growled at by that evil thing. Myself, and a lot of people I know, are more afraid of Chihuahuas than Dobermans. The banning of a dog should be based on individual temperaments, not a specific breed.

When my husband and I recently moved into base housing, due to money issues, I was told, not asked, to get rid of my Doberman or live off post. No exceptions. It did not matter that my husband has dedicated the last six years of his life to the Army, spending one tour in Korea and two in Iraq. It didn’t matter that he is actually employed by the Army as an explosive dog handler. It didn’t matter that he spent 800 training hours at Lackland AFB becoming the excellent dog handler that he is today… nothing mattered.

How are current military families expected to want to reenlist if they cannot even be trusted with their own animal? Until recently, we had planned to stay Army until retirement. Now, we’re giving serious thought to rejoining the civilian world. When weighing the options staying in no longer makes much sense. We can’t afford to live off post, and we certainly won’t be giving up our silent family member.

I’m writing this petition in the hopes of opening some new eyes to this subject. I am not only writing this for myself, but also for the other families that have been hit with this ridiculous policy, and for the potential future military families. I can only hope that my cause will be taken seriously by my politicians, and others. I’m asking you congress, to please help me keep my family and others together.

Pete's picture
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As I have said before on this site, I am new to the world of Dobermanns, not new to the dog world by any standard, but "Dobes " yes.

But I am starting to realise that the Dobermann is a breed of dog that is different. Our young "Dobe" is excelling at everything we ask of him and we have had dogs before at the same age as he is, but he is proving to be outstanding in his ability to learn and his general behaviour.

We are now enjoying him so much, I must admit I was a bit apprehensive at the start, but now "wow", he is fantastic, he seems to have changed overnight and really is a great young dog.

By the way I am finding this particular site "Gentle Dobermans" a brilliant place to be. Full of interest and good advice.

 

Pete

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rgreen, google "always faithful"

Dragonfli, we have all run into this type of discrimination,  when I got my 2,my husband,at that time boyfriend asked my "why I would get 2 of those big viscious dogs."  okay, that was 7 years ago.  We, dogs cats and I moved in with him 5 years ago.  He loves these dogs, he "has never had a dog that minds as well as Tony".He is always the one who wants to take the dogs with us when we go somewhere.  He is always the one who wants to let the dogs on the bed. 

But we see the same thing, people who cross the street when the see us coming.  I always just laugh, and sometimes break into a little run, with maybe a skip in there too.

  Just work with your doberpup, get her out and get her socialized as much as you can.  It sounds like you have your hands full, and not a lot of spare time.  I hope you have someone who can help you with everything.  Keep in touch and God bless you 

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i have a doberman and a lab as well! when i first got my dobe i took him and the lab to the dog park and some lady who had two chows came up to me and was all "you dont plan on bringing that thing in here do you?" i was all "um yea its a dog park duh" she said my lab could come in but she would not allow her dogs to be around a beast. of course i brought him in anyway and she went to the park cops or whatever they are lol and said that there was an aggressive doberman in the dog park. of course they came over and saw that nothing was going on and told the lady that if she had an issue to just leave and come back later. the NERVE of some people....

axl1911's picture
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I have to admit, i always thought dobies were an aggressive dog, just as the media had portrayed them. when my girlfriend at the time (now wife) mentioned we should get one I thought she was crazy! then she explained how she went through her whole childhood always having 2 dobermans at a time on her family's farm and how she used to jump on there back and ride them like a pony and all the other mischief u could imagine a kid and a dobie get up. after a bit of reading an a few heartwarming YouTube clips I was sold and we decided to buy a pup. the first few weeks I was a little cautious with him - especially with all the biting and him being my first dog. however, 3 months on and I can't imagine life without axl..doesn't matter what kind of day I've had, happy, sad, angry, or tired his always waiting for me with his tail wagging and tongue out ready to lick my hands and face! I read somewhere on this site that "once you've had a Doberman, the rest are just dogs!"...from someone who's first and only dog is a Doberman I have to say..I couldn't agree more!

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I feel the same way. Except for the time I was in the Marines (who were the "Devil Dogs" pf WWI, btw) and unmarried, I've had dogs - and none has captured my heart like Gideon. Well, maybe my first GSD, Lobo, who escorted me everywhere growing up. Having Gideon has been therapeutic for me - something I have desperately needed in the last few years.