Puppy vs Rehomed Adult

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Terra's picture
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Joined: 2020-05-24

I would appreciated feedback from those of you who have had numerous Dobermans, as my experience with them is limited to one, and I'm unsure if a puppy or older rehomed dog is the best for my situation. Backstory - pardon the length.  

Almost all my life I have had terriers, specifically Smooth Fox Terriers. They are a life breed for me. Ideal. I won't gush...but I could GUSH I love them so much. Life IS merrier with a terrier. ha! But, as I said, I have had the pleasure of living with one adult Doberman (acquired at 7 years old from an all-breed rescue). I chose a Doberman specifically because I needed a non-reactive, intelligent, composed and clean dog who would be a portable security system. In one summer, I experienced an attempted break in while I was sleeping and strange encounters with creepy neighbor I later found out was on the sex offender list--multiple counts (oh yes...delightful finding!). As you can imagine, it unnerved me. My Smooth at the time was extremely protective, but both experiences left me feeling a more visual protector wasn't a bad idea. Levi was a striking, intelligent, stubborn, dutiful, gentle dog who came from poor breeding and neglect but lived to be 13 years old. He was "velcro" as I'd read and adored but not in an anxious way. With a fair amount of reinforcement and expectation setting, he was polite and self-possessed in public, and in his 5.5 years with me, he handled three Smooths like a pro. I could take him out and put him in a down stay in a busy hardware store, and he waited like a dear. Everyone loved him. He was the kind of dog who literally stopped traffic sometimes and left my Ch. Smooths looking at me like, wait...why are we not the center of attention right now? 

While i'm not in the hunt for another dog now, I know after my senior Smooth departs, I will likely be looking for another dog as a companion for me and my younger female Smooth. Levi made a tremendous impression on me, and it's looking like a 50-50 chance I may make the next feller a Doberman.

Terrier puppies I find easy. They're bright, they're easy to train if it's all fun and games and their idea (so they think...). They mature quickly and have tremendous physical awareness and dexterity. Energy, even hyper energy, is 100% ok with me. Love it actually. BUT....a wee little ball of piss and vinegar energy is not a pony tearing through my house. 

Recently, I have been exposed to a conformation line Lab puppy. Very low energy by my standards, tremendous pattern cognition, sweet, funny, absurdly trusting, but....I'm floored with how bumbling and seemingly "dumb" he still is at 7 months old. Is this what Doberman puppies are like? Running into things for months, knocking all things over, chronic wiggle bottom syndrome? I have heard people talk about large breeds as toddlers. This Lab is a huge TODDLER. Cute, but...I walk away glad he's not my dog. I am being blunt because this may be a key factor in whether I get a puppy or a rehomed adult. I *love love love* the idea of molding a puppy, training and socialising to perfection, off leash work, and using him to help me train my future Smooths. I very much want that Doberman energy again. The lean. The focus. The determination. But, I'm questioning whether I can handle a slower maturing dog. And you may notice I am gendering this future dog. I am far more fond of males, regardless of breed.

I would love to hear your feedback from those of you who have raised a few Doberman pups and can weigh in on what it's actually like, especially in comparison to a faster developing breed and perhaps in comparison to this bumbling sweet Lab who is making me think reallly hard about puppy vs adult. 

Thank you!

CRDobe's picture
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Joined: 2014-11-06

Pet Profiles

My present Dobe is the only one I have raised from a puppy. I had asked the breeder for medium energy, and she was a breeze to raise. Until the "doberteens" - then she decided to forget all her previous training and turned into a nippy, back-talking, stubborn sassy pants. You need patience for that phase! But at 6 yrs she is perfect in all ways and everything I had hoped for. I never thought of her as slow maturing.

My other Dobes were all rescues. My previous one came to me as a 2 yr old. From a backyard breeder, he had never been in a house, didn't know what toys were, etc. But he was born a gentleman, was fun to train, and really had no bad habits. Passed just shy of 13 yrs. 

A good Doberman specific rescue can match you with a dog that matches your needs, if you go that route. Many are young adults so still plenty of time for molding. 

 

 

 

Terra's picture
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Joined: 2020-05-24

Thank you for bringing up the "teen" years too. I had not thought about that defiance. Was she particularly destructive?  I know any dog will bring challenges, and there's a lot to learn from them in those times. So much to consider... How long did her sassy-pants phase last? Your former gentleman sounds very much like Levi.

I have to say, based on a prior experience with doberman rescue, I'm concerned my Smooths will prevent me from being possible adopter. I was denied the first go around, which is why I went with all-breed rescue. This is part of why a puppy was even a consideration.

 

 

CRDobe's picture
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Joined: 2014-11-06

Pet Profiles

I have never had a destructive dog. Whether rescue or new pup, I start training manners from day one. My present girl was crate trained as a puppy, so destruction wasn't an option for her when I wasn't home. She had lots of toys to chew on. She had free run of the house when I wasn't home at about 6-7 months. 

The smarty pants phase lasted a couple of months, but I kept a sense of humor, gritted my teeth, and knew it would pass. And again, that stage was about her testing ME and didn't include destroying things. Lots of exercise and mental stimulaion helps too.

And having an adult dog in the house when raising a puppy can be really helpful - puppy will often take direction or copy the adult's behavior. IMO it can make training easier.

And just being curious, would love to see a pic of your current girl.

Terra's picture
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Joined: 2020-05-24

I would post a photo, but the image inserting option is leaving me with the little ? box. Hmmm...

This should be a photo of Levi, my dearheart 

Every dog is an individual, but with that said, Doberman puppies are generally pretty wild and very active. They do tend to not understand how big they are, and can be pretty challenging to a lot of people. As a breed they are very trainable, but be prepared for a wild hord of mini elephants..... Oh I mean one Doberman puppy - haha! 

I will say that many Dobermans that end up in rescue are untrained wild teenagers - their people failed them big time and they will take some time to turn around. 

I think that if you can handle terriers, you can probably handle a Doberman puppy as long as the size difference does not matter much to you. 

Terra's picture
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Joined: 2020-05-24

Thank you for weighing in Fitzmar. I know I *can* handle a puppy--it's just this internal conflict of do the pros outweigh the cons. 

I am not of the mind that all rescues are good rescues for my situation--I really need the exception to the norm in that regard. Levi had been tested with two very reactive, borderline neurotic dogs in foster and showed no reactivity whatsoever. The need for a stable dog is also why I considered a puppy. I know that's not the norm in rescue/rehome situations. 

Another option I am considering is a retired show or "failed" show prospect who didn't enjoy the ring. My two current smooths were former shows--my old man was successful, my girl...well, all she wants to do is kill, kill, kill. And she is a pro at it. Best I've seen since I started with smooths back in mid 90s. I keep threatening to take some long weekend getaways to commit to barn hunt and earth dog trials. :-). 

DobermanGuy's picture
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Joined: 2017-12-11

I have to say, based on a prior experience with doberman rescue, I'm concerned my Smooths will prevent me from being possible adopter. I was denied the first go around, which is why I went with all-breed rescue. This is part of why a puppy was even a consideration.

It is crazy some of the 'rules' those places have. 

One would think they would look at your other dogs as 'experience' and prefer that someone like you give one of their Dobermans a forever home...

I would personally prefer a Doberman puppy over an adult rescue if possible. You start with a clean slate that way.