Best home for a Doberman

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Kkcald's picture
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Joined: 2020-06-07

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Hi all,

Looking for some guidance. My husband and I just adopted a dog from a local shelter. He is a Doberman cross and we think about a year old - the shelter thought he was older. The shelter let us know that from what they could tell of his personality that he would be a good fit for our home but after spending a few days we're not sure if that's true.

It quickly became evident that the dog was not socialized and likely spent lots of time alone outside. We're working through lots of those issues and are happy to spend the time and effort doing so. Something we weren't prepared for (mostly since we were unsure of his breed and tendencies at time of adoption) was exactly how much mental stimulation the dog would demand put of us constantly. We've never had Doberman experience and after talking about our schedules and what our lives are like we want to be sure we're the best family for him.

Our current schedule consists of both my husband and i working from home 5 days a week. Soon though, my husband will likely return to the office a couple days a week. The dog would be able to join my husband at the office if we can train up his manners.

Even though we're home, working full time means that we can't provide the (what seems like) 4 straight hours of extremely high mental engagement that the dog needs before he becomes destructive.

For those that are familiar with the breed, is this something that will wane or regulate once we're further in the training process? Do we need to find him a home that is better suited to him in terms of keeping him actively engaged constantly or do Dobermans eventually do well in low key, relaxed households?

It will definitely get better. A one year old dog is still such a baby - even though they don't look like one.  I would definitely invest in a crate and train him to like his crate - lots of treats and high value toys.  A kong stuffed with cheese or peanut butter will keep him busy for awhile. Make a schedule that he will get used to and make sure it includes crate time. 

Also, it can take months for a rescue to get used to a new home and bond with the new owners.  Don't expect a lot within the first few weeks.  Look for a good training class to take him to, and plan on doing more than just basic obedience. 

Have faith in yourself - dogs are pretty forgiving of mistakes, and the time involved in making them a really good dog is so worth it.  A big sense of humor is helpful because there will be bumps in the road.

Joined: 2012-10-28

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We just got a one year old rescue now 13 months and it seems every week he is different, more mature and better. He bonded with us right away, but everything else is taking time. Our boy is a softie, and eager to please. It sounds like you may give him what he needs, but also physical training, play and outside instruction is essential.

 

I would love to take Loki to a training class, but he is rather dog reactive. I am taking him to people parks where he can see dogs far away for right now. He is learning tricks and manners very well.

Kkcald's picture
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Thanks for all the encouragement. We've had our good times and bad times so far. I think the hardest part for me is that Monty, our dog, was clearly under socialized and doesn't understand yet that biting is not how we play. We've tried many redirects and alternatives but when he gets even the slightest bit amped up the he resorts to snapping and biting - mostly me and sometimes my husband. And being that he's definitely not a small dog that means my arms and legs are now covered in bruises while trying to find solutions.

We're definitely willing to put in the work (and there is lots needed) but it can definitely make for a rough adjustment.

Joined: 2012-10-28

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I don't know if it is frowned upon or not, but I stick my forefinger (pointy end, short nails) or thumb, down onto the middle of their tongue if they are doing something I don't like with their mouth. Both Bella and Loki got that message pretty well.

 

Good Luck! Do you have photos?

 

anniesullivan's picture
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Joined: 2020-06-11

I can relate.  My pup escalated into barking and snapping so easily -- it was bewildering!  and exhausting.  Another perspective on the "am I/we the best home?" -- My Doberman needs activity but she is also highly sensitive -- I think a home with lots of activity (many people/animals/coming & going, etc.) would keep her in "over threshold" state.  A relaxed home could be key to your dog's becoming his 'best' self.  Training, crating, pet gates help me keep my sanity! Routines are so reassuring for my girl, and I can see her evergy level subsiding over time (she's two years).

DobermanGuy's picture
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Joined: 2017-12-11

For those that are familiar with the breed, is this something that will wane or regulate once we're further in the training process?

 

Variations in behavior within the breed happen and are not unusual. Not all Dobermans act like 'textbook' Dobermans.

Being a mix breed makes it even more likely he will not behave exactly like a textbook Doberman.

We've tried many redirects and alternatives but when he gets even the slightest bit amped up the he resorts to snapping and biting - mostly me and sometimes my husband.

Was roughousing with my girls today and one had her mouth all the way around my forearm while she was play growling. A stranger seeing that would have thought she was tearing my arm off but there was zero pressure at all applied at any time. Why no pressure?

Because she knows darn well that she would have got an immidiate and serious correction if she had...