New Doberman owners with questions :)

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Longshanks's picture
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Joined: 2013-01-06

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Hello,
My husband and I just adopted a doberman, his name is Jake and he is about 2 years old. We both grew up with dogs and have been waiting to get one together, Jake stole our hearts at an adoption event last week and after a few days of trail adoption we decided we could not give him back. We do have a few question as neither of us is too familiar with the doberman, Jake is about 26 inches tall and around 75lbs, the foster family said that he was overweight, I think he looks good, but we are only feeding him 3 cups of food a day, should that be fine? Also I worry that he is not getting enough exercise, he gets about 1 hour of walking a day sometimes all at once and some times we have to break it up. I don't think that he is active enough, he mostly sleeps on the couch, we have a big backyard but he does not play in it, Cory and I have tried throwing balls, running around and chasing him but he just stands there. We did have a puppy come over a few times and Jake played with him, we do know that the foster family that had him had several other dogs, but we can only have one right now. I feel that he should be playing in the backyard to help expend his energy, any thoughts? I have one last question about toys, we have gotten him several different kind of toys, balls, freebees, bones, stuffed animals, a Kong weeble wobble, but he does not play with any of them, when we give him a new toy he gently takes if from us and then asks to go outside, he takes the toy out side puts its down and comes back in. If we bring the toy back in he repeats the process. I have never had a dog that does not like toys and I worry that he is not getting enough physical or mental stimulation. We really want to be the best pet parents possible for him, and I hope that this form can help us.

Mary

here is a picture of our boy Jake

WNCDobes's picture
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Joined: 2012-04-28

Welcome to the forum!  He's absolutely beautiful and from this perspective doesn't look overweight.  If he has a "waist" when looking down at him, standing, and a "tuck up" between his ribs and hind legs when looking at him from the side (also standing), he's probably not overweight.  The last rib should be just descernable.  Dobermans can vary quite a bit in weight, depending upon how much muscle they carry as well as other factors.  My female, Ziva, is just right at 65 lbs, while my older male, Harrigan, is better at 75-80 lbs.  They're the same height (27"). 

Does he know what toys are?  Some dogs have never had toys and take some time to understand what they are and what to do with them.  Did the rescue you adopted him from have any info on his previous life?  He sounds very laid back (this isn't necessarily a bad thing, believe me), but most Dobermans have a lot of energy - when was he at the vet last? 

How much food he needs depends on the food.  Again, what did they feed him at his foster home?  In general, Dobermans don't do well with sudden changes in food - it would've been better if he was changed over gradually, but if he has no tummy issues, you lucked out!

This is a great forum, and I'm sure others will chime in to welcome you and give other perspectives on your situation.  Dobermans are wonderful dogs - thank you for taking Jake in and giving him a home.

 

Longshanks's picture
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Joined: 2013-01-06

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We don't know too much about Jake, he was picked up by the rescue in 2011 he was wandering along side the road. Since then he has been in foster homes, he was adopted once but was returned because he got heart worm, then about 6 months ago he was attacked by the dogs in the foster home and had to have surgery to fix him up and was moved to a different foster home, that's the home we got him from. His foster dad said that he mostly played with the other dogs, perhaps he is not familiar with toys. He is a very laid back dog but defiantly wants to be with his people. He got his rabies and check up about two weeks ago so he is all good there. His foster family had him on a food called, Chicken soup for dogs, I have never heard of it and we switched him to Blue Buffalo Wilderness, I have been feeding my cats that food for years and I really like it, he did not have any trouble with the change.

WNCDobes's picture
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Joined: 2012-04-28

Poor guy - sounds like he's had a tough time.  Bless you again for helping him out.  Blue Buffalo is supposed to be a good food - mine get Taste of the Wild.  His coat is lovely - the black coats are so shiny.  My dobes are red/rust and blue/rust and are a challenge to keep pretty.

Dobermans are people (owner) dogs - its what Herr Dobermann bred for.  They say owning a Doberman is never having to go the bathroom alone again, and that's true.  I've had them for 28 years and virtually every one of them wanted to be with you 24/7.  In my experience, they don't like change very much, and since Jake has gone from pillar to post he may just be a little "shell shocked".  Give him some time.  Do you have another dog or just the cats?  My Ziva was a young stray and came with a good bit of baggage, but is coming around.  She no longer flattens herself on the ground when overwhelmed, but she is still scared of flies, planes, the dark, wind, heavy rain, strange big dogs, and my laundry room. 

Best of luck with him (and you could post more pics if you'd like, hint, hint).

Longshanks's picture
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Poor guy has had a rough start, I think you may be right about him being shell shocked, he has been in at least 4 homes in the last year, I hope that he relaxes a little bit. We do not have another dog, we can only afford one right now but we do have our two cats. The cats and Jake are not friends yet, but they stare at each other  through the gate and the older cat sneaks down when she thinks Jake can not see her. I am hoping that in a month or two the cats and Jake will get along. 

I do not have too many pictures yet but here is one of Jake taking my spot on the couch. 

 

Lady Kate's picture
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Joined: 2009-10-28

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what a handsome guy and congratulations! A huge welcome to this Forum and many blessings for your rescue work.

I've been studying rescues since we got Sofia.. She has never been taught to play, and really has no interest in learning. The stuffies she got three years ago are still intact and rarely played with. She is as mellow as any dog I've ever seen.. I wonder if it's a rescue thing???

Jake will take a while to learn that he's not going anywhere but straight to your hearts.. Of course he's wary.. I would be too.. but in time and a LOT of patience, you both will settle in and it will be like he's always been with you.

The love you're giving him will be returned 100 fold and I can't wait to hear of your progress.. Yes, it can be a little disappointing when they don't really want to play.. the best we've ever gotten from our DoberDiva is a few minutes with a flirt pole. She does have a strong prey drive and managed to chase a cat right up a tree. ( I didn't know Dobermans could climb trees.. did you?) But the look in her eyes that tell us that she knows she's loved above and beyond reason is all we need.

Thank you for posting and once again, welcome to Gentle Doberman.

Kate and Sofia

Kar-jinx's picture
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Joined: 2012-04-15

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I don't think he's overweight either.  Hard to tell when they're sitting.  Best picture to determine this is a picture from above, and one from the side standing.  I think I see a little rib in your first picture even though he's sitting.  Since he's been in so many homes, and especially the one where he was attacked, he may be fearful of toys.  Maybe that was what started the fight, a dominant dog though he got too close to his toy and a fight was started.  We keep a toy box near our dogs sleeping area and another near their crates.  He may feel more comfortable when he's been there a while.  I've had a couple dogs who had no interest in any toys.  For them, I bought the wooden puzzles for dogs where they have to slide a door to get a treat.   You could try just hiding strong smelling treats around your house and getting him to use his nose to find them.  (Under a throw rug, behind a chair leg, along the baseboard, beside or behind his dish, under a news paper, a window sill, etc.) we ask our dogs if they want to play a game.  As soon as you say game, the hunt for their game pieces is on.  It might help build some confidence in him too.

He seems very mellow and subdued at such a young age.  They're usually full of energy at this age and going through the Doberteens which can be wild.  
Congratulations on your addition, and welcome.  Thank you for taking in a rescue!
talisin's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-25

Welcome and thanks for adopting!!!  He is a great looking fella! Sounds like he thinks all toys belong outside hahahahaa, my collies never knew what to do with a toy, ever, if we tossed a toy they ran the other way terrified.....be thankful that he is low key and not the energizer bunny as some people have here, :)) he sounds like a sweetie. Enjoy him the way he is if he's not worried about toys and stuff that's ok you don't have to worry for him......could you walk him more than once?? if he likes walks then I would walk him as much as possible and maybe later he will show some interest in something else......does he seem to be bored or destructive?? pacing or anxious? if not I would be happy to have a mellow dog in the house personally......

Joined: 2011-08-29

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My mom rescued a wiener dog from her local sheltar and she bought her all these fluffy toys, nyla bones, etc and she NEVER played with them.  The second she would receive said toys, she would run through the doggy doors and bury them in the backyard.  Even though we aren't a huge fan of them, she tried rawhide bones hoping that it would taste good and she would at least chew on something...ANYTHING.  She would either run outside and bury it OR carry it around and fall asleep with it in her mouth.  It was soo pitiful.  It wasn't until my husband and I had to leave our dobe @ my parents house for nearly a year that upon seeing our dobe chew on toys, she begin to play with them. My logic was that this poor dog lived "on the streets" for however long and anything she found to eat or call her own she would have to protect or hide from other various animals.  Once she saw that the dobe wasn't going to take her toys/food/bones from her, she has begun to really enjoy the toys. For almost two years she never played with a toy, it has just been within the last year. While our dobe loves to chew on toys, she will not play ball/fetch. She loves to run run run and play with other dogs, but ball playing/frisbee/etc is not her forte.  My doberman when I was a little girl LOVED to play ball and catch them, each dog is different.

As for not being "active" enough..Georgia was a little madwoman up until this past December 2012. She turned two @ the end of December and I feel like she has matured so much from September 2012 to her second birthday. I'm sure it sounds crazy, but where else can I let my doberman-freak-flag fly?! I digress, I find her laying on her bed or just in random places sleeping, when before it seemed like she was ALWAYS in my face or running around outside. So maybe he is already mature. I also agree with what everyone else said, there are a multitude of reasons why he is so mellow and trust me, from living through dober-teens, be grateful ;-D

Caitlin (the human) Georgia (the dobe)

HarleyBear's picture
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Joined: 2011-08-16

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Welcome!  What a wonderful addition to your family!  I was also going to mention a flirt pole, but Kate beat me to it.  It's a great way to exercise and play with your dog.  

I don't know if the rescue mentioned this to you, but give the guy at least 6 months to settle in.

You can also think about doing a class together to help bond.  Is he food motivated?  Maybe agility?  Maybe Nosework?  I have experience with both, so if you have questions about either, please feel free to ask!

DJ's Dad's picture
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Awww, Jake looks like a real keeper.  As mentioned above, rescues come with baggage, and certain things about their little quirks will always remain a mystery. 

Who knows why he doesnt play with toys?  Could be that nobody ever gave him a toy before and he just doesnt know what is expected.  Could be that when he was a puppy, he was reprimanded for taking toys that may have belonged to a child in the family, and now he wants nothing to do with them. Could be that he once lived with an aggressive dog that took toys away from him, and he figures "no fun in THIS thing".  Whatever the reason is, he'll do just fine being your big old snuggle bunny if he never plays with a tennis ball or carries a teddy bear around in his mouth.  Then again, after he's been with you for a while longer and begins to feel more comfortable and realizes that he's not moving on somewhere else, he may just surprise you and start playing with something.

tess's picture
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Joined: 2012-01-28

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Welcome to the forum and thanks for rescueing Jake. He is a great looking boy.  He looks just like my Axel and he is 70lbs and 25 inches and hes not overweight.  Enjoy your new addition and just give him what he needs the most....time and you. I promise if you give him these two things unconditionally then the rewards will be great. Keep the pics coming. Again Welcome.

 

Tess

Longshanks's picture
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Thank you all for your responses, it is really good to know that there are other dogs that are not as interested in toys, I will stop worrying about it and will try to take him on more/longer walks. We are starting a training class this weekend, the his really good with other dogs and likes people so hopefully he will love the class. At the very least Cory and I need to learn how to train a dog. I am hoping that Jake and the cats will start to get along in a month or so, Jake would really like the companionship. This morning, our younger cat, Dante, snuck past Jake and into the kitchen, Jake heard him and quickly followed. I was able to have them close together, giving them both tons of treats, Dante growled a little bit but didn't run away and was more interested in the treats than the dog. After a few minutes Dante jumped up on top of the fridge but I am happy with the positive interaction.

Lady Kate's picture
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Don't' worry too much about Jake needed 'playmates'. Dobermans are more people oriented than to other dogs. He needs YOU!! And yes. Sweet Lil ( HarleyBear) is right.. it's usually about six months or so before they're really comfortable. I tried the 'find it game' with Sofia... got three bright red Solo cups ( not that it mattered to her what color they were.. but nothing says 'party' to me like bright red Solo cups) and hid a treat under one of them.. it didn't take long before she figured that game out.. Jake will love the attention and you can really make a great big to- do over the fact that he finds that treat.

You are so wise in not worrying.. One thing that I learned ( and very quickly) is that Dobermans are scary psychic. They will know what you're thinking and feeling almost before you do. If you're concerned or worried about something, they will be too.. If you're happy and at ease.. guess what?

Not too much baby-ing, he'll think something is wrong.. Establish your pack leadership immediately and just have fun!! It's an adventure you'll treasure all your life!

Cpak240's picture
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Joined: 2012-12-31

Wow, what a happy, handsome pair of men you have there! Jealous and congrats! Anyway, have you tried introducing toys stuffed with small pieces of cheese or lunch meat. Search "stuffable dog toys" on Amazon for some ideas. Something like the "Holee Roller" may get your handsome boy interested in toys. Good luck and post more pics!

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Hello and welcome, I too am new to the forum.  There is some great advice in the above posts, and I concur based on height of 26 and weight of 77 lbs that he does not sound overweight at all.  If you can see his ribs when he turns the other way then he is fine weight wise.

A suggestion I can make about exercise is, if you have a tree in your yard, is to throw a rope about 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter over one of the heavier branches and afix a round tug-of-war toy to the end of the rope.  Teach the dog how to play with it and soon he will start jumping up to bite it and pull on it.  The natural springiness from the branch offers good resistance, will build solid muscle growth and burn off extra calories.  I introduced that to my puppy and she loves fighting with it, I'll try to get a picture of her with it, whenever it stops raining and post it to the gallery.  Good luck and may you and your new friend enjoy a long, healthy and happy life together.

Again welcome aboard and enjoy your Dobe, they are the best dogs a family can have.

missdoglover's picture
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Welcome to the Forum! I about cried reading these posts. Thank you so much for adopting Jake, He couldn't be in a better home and you definitely came to the right website, here we have a lot of dobe owners and dobe soon to be owners, to shorten it up, DOG LOVERS in general. Right now, I'm trying to help a client of mine, rehome her doberman. I want to buy from breeders myself but I also want to adopt and rescue as well. As far as the food, I love Blue Buffalo, I feed my pomeranian puppy that and he does well, his coat is very shiny and soft. Anywho, I probably can't give ya any new info or tips because everyone here as already gave you wonderful advice. Congradulations on your new addition and I wish you the very best.

Karissa