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SaanSaan's picture
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Joined: 2012-01-23

Hi Everyone.

I'm looking for advice about whether a Doberman is a suitable dog for me. From everything I read it seems like a great fit, but I'd like some input from owners and breeders. If not any other dog breed seem like a better fit?

About me
Currently and for the foreseeable future, I live in a sub tropical climate. At home for the most part full-time and have the time and energy to raise a puppy. Living in a house isn't an option in hong kong, so we'd be living in a two bedroom apartment. I have about two and a half hours a day to invest in execising him or her not including weekend outings. We also have two cats and no kids. Financially we are more then capable of adding a dog to the family. I've never owned my own dog before. Growing up, my father had a dog and I actively took care of neighborhood dogs as well as volunteered at a humane society.

My personality is one where I don't think having a challenging dog is an issue. I don't have a misconception that a dog is a child and I would not allow a dog in my bed or on the furniture for sanitary reasons. Having worked with young children, some of which were mentally delayed, I don't believe patience will be a problem either.

I'm looking at a Doberman because they do alright in heat, they're moderately active, and their personality seems a bit more serious then some of the other dogs which I believe well suits mine. I'm also interested in doing obedience training. Furthermore, the Doberman is a larger dog which would act as a deterrent when walking and hiking in quiet areas.

Concerns

Having two cats, my first priority is any addition to the household wouldn't hurt them. I also do not want an aggressive dog that is difficult to socialize as the city has a lot of people. However, from what I've read it shouldn't be a problem. Lastly, this dog would be the first I've personally owned. Even if I'm willing to spend the time and money training the dog, would any reputable breeders sell to me? Please don't suggest a starter dog. I'm not willing to get a dog, just to get another as it's not fair to the dog . Any dog I get will be the only dog for as long as it lives. Please feel free to suggest other breeds or any ideas. I'm not however interested in small dogs, labradors, golden retrievers and the like. A bit too easy going:)

SaanSaan's picture
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Joined: 2012-01-23

Any comments at all would be appreciated.

Ronan's picture
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Joined: 2011-12-24

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Welcome to the forums and I know you will get a lot of feedback from the members here!

The topic which I can talk about is your cats. If you get the puppy at 8-10 weeks it should be no problem socializing them with the cats. I have a cat and was cat sitting 3 other cats when I brought my pups home! At first they did not know what to think but honestly none of the cats had any major issues with the pups. There was some hissing and raised fur when the pups would try the patience of the cats… by say chewing on a tail ;) but all in all they get along just fine! Sometimes when the pups are out for play time my cat Joey will plop down next to them like there is no issue whatsoever, he has more of a problem with other cats! I remember the first night I had them home my boy Dexter fell asleep with one of the cats we were watching named beau. The irony is that beau was the MOST skittish of all the cats in the house and had no qualms cuddling with the little heater that is Dex.

 

I love the Doberman breed dearly, and in myw orld they are the very best dogs to own in the world. treat them with respect, praise them and reward them and they will flourish! Live an active lifestyle with your dobie and know that they will be better for it and more relaxed, plus it is healthy for you to be more active as well.

 

I am glad you have patience because you will need every bit of it! They go from a prefect saint to hell on wheels when they are puppies at the drop of a dime.

Ronan's picture
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Joined: 2011-12-24

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 As far as socializing with people, we try to take the pups to 3 new places every week that are safe for them and where they can meet new people. The hard part is pre-planning on where to take them.

By places I mean friends homes, I dont walk the pups anywhere still as they are still getting all of their shots.

SaanSaan's picture
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Joined: 2012-01-23

Hi Ronan,

Thank you for your reply. It's nice to know that Dobermans can be raised along side cats. I'm a also a bit worried about finding a reputable breeder as they all seem to have forms which would disqualify me even before I speak to them. Any advice in finding a breeder that's willing to talk? I'm really far away from good breeders. of course I'm willing to travel to pick up the puppy, but not to just meet breeders.

KevinK's picture
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Alot of how a dog will interact with your cats depends on the dogs, and the cats lol.  They may be best buds, they may hate each other.  I have 3 cats, and one of them is best buds with Dakota, and we do lots of stuff together.  Fenny is more like a puppy than a cat, and he's real cool.  The other 2 hate my dog, and don't want anything to do with her.  As far as the climate, I think it depends on more specifically what it is like by you.  Dobermans typically don't do the best in very hot weather.  I would call them very active, especially as pups, they need a tremendous amount of exercise to tire them out.  At about a year and a half my dog will wear out any dog she plays with, and then she's just getting warmed up.  I'm yet to find another dog that can keep up with her, most of the time the other dog just lays down eventually because they don't have the same energy.  So that's something that will need to be factored in, do you have areas where your dog will be able to flat out run, and really stretch his legs?

Overall, if you have the patience and time, dobermans are for the most part easy.  Yes, they can be stubborn, but they are quite easy to train, if you have the know how.

Joined: 2011-02-21

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My Doberman, Maximus, is now one year old and he is absolutely great! We live in a built up area in an apartment in Frankfurt, Germany so your situation should not be a problem. Plus our boy is a bit of a softie - wouldn't hurt anything/one and when he, for example, sees a cat, he just wants to play. We also have a 10 week baby girl (human) - he just licks her hand sometimes...

Not sure about the heat thing though - although he's short-haired, it is black hair and I read/heard that he can suffer from the heat. In the short summer in Frankfurt, he just kind of "flopped" during the day. And Hong Kong is pretty much hot 24/7. You seen other Dobes in HK? Maybe ask them how their dogs get on with the heat. That would be valuable advice. I think most dogs are pretty adaptable. We brought our other little dog (dachshund) over from Florida (similar to HK temperature maybe) and it at first was way too cold for him and he never wanted to go out (awww) but now, six months later in mid-winter, he is pretty resiliant, always likes to go out (but maybe ends up shivering a little if he stands around while we chat with other dog-owners for example).

One thing I would add, if your doberman is anything like ours (and I hope for you he is because he is not at all aggressive and very people- and other dog-social, which would be suitable in the city), he is definitely not "moderately active" but extremely active! Mine thrives on at least two hour runs and walks each day but ideally 4 or 5 hours (in a couple of sessions). After an hour run in the woods (i do about 12 KM in an hour), he kinda looks at me, with an "is that it?" expression and my jog is his walk... So you'll need more than just a couple of brisk walks each day with him. Can't remember from my visits, how easy it is to find good environments in HK where the dog can get some off-leash time each day (at least one hour) plus at least 2 30-min brisk walks...

 

Well there's my two cents worth. Good luck with your decision. I as long as you don't get the biggest/most dominant Doberman in the litter, don't believe anyone who says a Doberman is too big/demanding for a "first dog" cos we get along just fine. Maybe that's because I'm really dominant with him and his clear pack leader though... but that's a whole other forum...

If you want to pick up your Doberman in Germany, I certainly know an excellent breeder (but I assume you'll not want to get him from so far away...

SXavierK's picture
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Joined: 2011-08-25

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SaanSaan,

   Welcome to the forum! It seems like you have been doing quite a bit of research yourself, which is awesome. I would recommend reading everything on this site, AlphaAdmin has pretty much written a book worth of valuable information. 

 

   I am getting my first dobie in a few weeks so I know how hard it can be to find a good breeder. I advise you to become extremely educated about the breed, and about raising a puppy. This is what I did and I didn't encounter any problems. If you decide the doberman is right for you, don't tell a breeder you are "thinking" about getting one, tell them you "want" one, and be prepared to tell them why you want a doberman. I think that if you are sure-footed and educated you won't have a problem.

   I recommend reading the book "The Art of Raising a Puppy" and another on the doberman breed. You can find link to these books on this site under "book list"

 

   Good luck and I am looking forward to reading updates about your progress!

Legend of Zelda's picture
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Joined: 2010-12-23

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Welcome to the Forum! Just keep looking and posting the site links here on GD, they'll tell you whether or not the breeder is amazing or just smoke and mirrors! I also suggest you look at the parents' titles and see if they have CGC (Canine Good Citizen award), Obedience and the like so you can have a gentler dog while still having the amazing Doberman as a companion :D

SaanSaan's picture
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Joined: 2012-01-23

Thank you to all of you who have taken time to answer. To answer wld.. question, hong kong has several parks where dogs can run off leash. Heat may be an issue, but I've seen other dogs adapt to the heat here. I think being cautious will be important.

This is some advanced planning as I'm not planning to get a dog until I find a few apartments that are located in ideal locations and we are very settled. Perhaps a bit over a year. During which period I look forward to reading this website from top to bottom.

finding Jackson's picture
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Joined: 2011-11-29

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This is mock application process that is similar to what I went through in my dobie application. Pretend I'm a breeder interviewing you (btw, you should be interviewing them too). Obviously, you should not take this personally - reputable breeders do not want to become shelter feeders. I hope it's constructive.

What do you mean by you actively took care of neighborhood dogs? (Are you stretching the truth?)

What was your responsibilities at the humane society?

Dobies absolutely detest the rain. What will you do during the monsoon season?

Dobermans are not just simply challenging dogs, they will challenge and test you? What is your strategy in dealing with a dog who will challenge your authority?

You've never had a dog of your own. Make a convincing case to me why you deserve the privilege of owning this magnificent breed over an experienced owner?

Have you found an apartment complex that will allow a medium/large dog? 40kgs?

You say you don't want a starter dog. Why do you believe a doberman (not recommended for newbie) makes a suitable "starter dog" for you? I say this because you've never owned a dog, so this would be a starter dog.

 

 

 

SaanSaan's picture
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Fnding Jackson-

Experience

Actively searched out dogs to walk in the neighborhood. Also trained my neighbors dog to sit, stay, lay down and do basic agility. Have had several roommates with dogs and have been the opportunity to walk them.  Walked and fed my dad's dog on occasion.  Also, helped walk dogs in the humane society, but they tended to be fairly small as I was young at the time and they tended to give the bigger dogs to the more experienced handlers.  This is definetly an area where I could continue to gain expereince.

 

Rain in Hong Kong

 A lot of the walkways in HK are covered. Obviously this will still be a issue in a typhoon but typhoons is not an everyday occurrence. Not too different than a hurricane or snowstorm on your side of the world.

 

Dealing with Challenging Dogs

Patience goes long way. Keep firm with the rules. Rules are not an occasionally thing they are an everyday thing. If one doesn't want a dobe on their bed, it should never go in the bed. For all animals an exception once is an exception always.

I personally believe that dominance issues is often stem from owners who have don't understand dogs are dogs. Dogs need to be told what they are or are not allowed to do.  An example is not allowing resource guarding.  Practice taking toys and food away to discourage this type of behaviour.  Dogs should also be asked to sit and wait before they are fed. 

 

Finding an Apartment

For some reason hong kong apartments tend to either allow or not allow pets with few restrictions are thereafter. I wouldn't get a dog until I've found an apartment where I have resided for at least a year. This gives me an opportunity to make sure that having a dog there is compatible with my lifestyle there. The environment also needs to considered as some apartments might be to far from a place where it can run off leash. Staying awhile also let's everybody else get adjusted before bringing in a new element. 

 

Starter Dogs (Why a doberman)

Golden retriever now are in the top three of bites in the US. Any dog is a weapon if not trained and socialized properly from a young age. Unfortunately many ppl getting so called "starter" dogs believe that there isn't a need to train them because they are not dangerous. All dogs require extensive socialization. Understanding of the importance of socialization and being willing to get help is more important then the type of dog. I've seen people who have had many dogs that's still don't know how to socialize. They would "qualify" fo a dobe, but be overwhelmed with it. Having a lot of dogs does not neccessarily make someone a better dog owner. The best dog owners are one that are willing to continually learn, seek help if needed, and have the time to put into training.

On a side note, I spent the money and time to take my two cats back to Hong Kong with me after finding a place that would take them. Any animal that I take in is going to be with me for life with no exceptions.  Not many people can say that they've been in a situation in which they had to make that decision.  If there are problems, solutions can always be found.   

 

Other Breeds

As stated earlier, I'm more then willing to look at other dogs. Just not small dogs (usually too noisy and not very good exercise partners) and retrievers (whose personality doesn't suite mine). It's somewhat difficult ha the hot weather limits breeds that I can consider. The three things I want in a dog are: they will accept my cats as part of their pack, are somewhat protective, and are ok in hot weather.  Dobermans keep on coming on top or near the top of the list when I've looked into the qualities I want in a dog.

 

This is a ridiculously long post:D  Just wanted to answer as honestly as possible...

finding Jackson's picture
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Good start and good luck. If a breeder doesn't scrutinize you, it should worry you. A good breeder will spend a lot of money on health testing and pair together two dogs with socially desirable temperament. It seems like a zero-sum game to me, but I guess how can one quantify love for dogs. 

Dobies are great. I love the fact that he doesn't slobber, shed excessively, bounce around like a caffeinated chihuahua, sport a stupid grin 24/7 like a lab, look stupid like a purse dog, or just simply stupid like a basset hound. But once I form a bond with a dog, my preferences are out the window. My family took in a foster dog to see if he would get along with our cats and birds. I think it's a better guarantee than a puppy. Some may argue that raising a puppy in a certain environment (kids and animals) will improve the odds of a harmonious dwelling at a mature age. That seems like a human-contrived logic, but who knows. I wouldn't mind being proven wrong on my assumptions on this matter.

SaanSaan's picture
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Joined: 2012-01-23

Thank you for taking the time to look over my post. I will definitely take your advice into consideration.

Wolfgirl_121's picture
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@finding Jackson

Skyler doesn't sport a "stupid" grin...

 

... I think she looks rather smart. lolz

HarleyBear's picture
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It's not a stupid grin, it's a "I know how to get treats" smile!