Teaching a friendly Doberman to be protective

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OldAdmin's picture
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I recently received this question from someone:

I have a very intelligent doberman who is about 1 and a half years old.  He responds well to training.  I have had other<br /> dobermans who were protective of me but this one is very timid and friendly around people and gets aggressive around other<br /> animals.  I would like him to be more protective over me.  I received him when he was about 6 months old so I am not sure how he<br /> was treated by his first family.  Is there anything I can do.

Any good ideas?

AlphaAdmin's picture
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I think we need a bit more information. It's tough when you don't know how a puppy was raised, but is sounds to me like this fellow wasn't socialized to other animals. As for being friendly and not protective, this is where I need more info. How do you know he's not protective? He may have been corrected for showing aggression when he was young and has learned to approach everyone like a goof-ball.

Normally a Doberman will meet anyone new with an aggressive show, without his owner having assured his it's a friend. If the owner, for example, is taking him for a walk, and they pass someone that makes the owner feel uncomfortable, and the Doberman keeps reacting goofy, this is odd. Give us some more information of the Doberman and owner's situation.

Soleil's picture
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I can understand people thinking that their dobie will not protect them because they act either friendly or goofy to people but how can you know unless put into a situation in which your dog feels the need to protect you?  Dobermans are known for being stable and being able to discriminate a real threat from an imagined spook.  I have two dogs one dobie and one golden retriever.  They are both wonderful with people and dogs alike and are complete love bugs. The Golden will notice something and reacts to things that the dobie does not think twice about because she knows it is not a threat.    So far I am lucky enough to say the protection ability has never been tested against a person but they have protected me and my honey from vicious dogs. My sweet lil girl jumps in front of me and shows her scary face.... and most everyone realizes she means business.  What I am trying to say is don't underestimate your dog... they protect out of love/instinct  not necessary just because of training.  And also note that some dogs are not cut out for protection work/training... and that is ok too. It is not fair to think that all Dobermans will make excellent guard dogs each dog has it own personality/attitude. 

FIFISMOM's picture
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My response to the original questioner is to "love your dog"  Any dog that is loved by his human pack members will be protective.  God help the poor fool who tries to attacK!  Not that the dog will be vicious - just protective. 

AlphaAdmin's picture
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Those are both good points. Another thing to keep in mind is that a happy dog who is with superior strong pack members will not feel a responsibility to be suspicious and act protective. Like if they are with an alpha dog or with a person how has the alpha role who they also feel is strong. This doesn't mean they won't protect, it just means they aren't thinking about it all the time.

I know with our Dobermans, I myself have never actually even seen one of them really act protective. But then, i only see them when I'm around and as far as they are concerned I tell everyone what to do and can beat anyone up. I know they're protective though because, according to my wife, they are different dogs when I'm not around and meet strangers with quite a bit of aggression. Our male has even protected my wife twice from strange men who have approached her, once making contact and knocking the fool on his but.

The most protective I've seen them is when they're outside alone and people come around who they don't know. All they do then though is bark. Their type of barking then is the warning type that is used to chase off the stranger and alert other members that their is an intruder. The main member they're trying to warn is me. I tell them to cut it out and they go back to their little dog things.

FIFISMOM's picture
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As a dog owner of 50 years - and having been owned by dobermans for the past 20 years - I would suggest that all a person needs to do to have a protective doberman is love the dog!  They are very intelligent - and also very social - so if you love them - they will love you back. 
Any dog that loves you will be protective - God help the poor fool who tries to do physical harm to me or anyone in my family.
I am reminded of the late night about 18 yrs ago when our 1st dobie - who was a lover of all creatures, great and small - awoke at 2 AM for the garage door closing.  He was crouched in the middle ofthe kitchen, teeth bared, ready to spring - when my husband, who's flight was delayed, walked into the house.  Poor dog was VERY embarressed that he almost went after "daddy".  And Daddy woke the entire house praising the dog and giving doggy treats.
So if your dog is friendly - all the better.  Just remember - pack heirarchy matters to dogs - and they WILL protect their pack members