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Old 11-12-2012, 08:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Is our family right for a Doberman?

Hello all

I am new to Doberman Talk, but have been researching breeds for awhile, as we are looking to add a dog to our family. I am interested in hearing from the experts as to whether we are good fit for a doberman.

Here are the details, we are a family of six with four children between the ages of 5 and 11. I work full time and am away from the house 10-11 hours/day. My wife is currently finishing up her degree and will be seeking employment as a music teacher soon. We don't anticipate that she will be working full time so the hope is that she will only be away from the home for 4-5 hours at a time. Our plan is to bring a puppy into our home once school is out for the summer, and I will take at least a week off during that time. I'm hoping that will allow the family, as a whole, ample time to bond with the puppy during the summer months prior to school starting up.

We own 1.6 acres and plan on installing an invisible fence. Between the kids and me, we should be able to provide 60-90 minutes/day of physical/mental exercise/training. We live in the midwest so we will experience all 4 seasons. Also, our subdivision is somewhat in the country and quite a few of our neighbors own large breed dogs i.e. labradors, great danes, etc.

I was drawn to the doberman for a number of reasons: loyalty, intelligence, protective nature.

Please let me know what your thoughts are. Are there additional considerations? Also, when you leave your dobes home alone, do you crate them or give them free run?

Thanks! I appreciate al the insight.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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As soon as you realize an invisible fence keeps things in, but not out, you will probably understand that it is not a good idea.

4-5 hours is a doable time frame to leave a pup, and yes, crate training is invaluable. It helps immensely with housetraining, and you will have a dog that is easily transported, vetted, etc.

Be sure you seek out a reputable breeder, no matter your breed choice.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Sounds like you have the time and energy for a Doberman. Definitely do your research ahead of time and find a reputable breeder who health tests. A good breeder should quiz you as much as you quiz him/her.

I crate train my Dobermans until they can be trusted outside of the crate. It comes in handy to be able to confine your dog when you need to. Griffin goes in his crate whenever we have someone over working on the house, especially if they're nervous around dogs. He also goes in his crate when he wants a safe, closed in place to sleep. I buy cheap twin comforters from Target or thrift stores to line the crate with. You can start that after puppy teething stage is over, probably.

Make sure that everyone in your family knows the dog's rules and stays consistent with them. If one person allows the dog on the couch, and the rest don't, the dog can get confused. Dobermans do well with firm, fair, consistent training. Definitely enroll in a puppy class and consider further training. Dobes are active, intelligent dogs who need a lot of exercise and time with their family. Obedience class and consistent rules will help your dog bond.

I'll also second the invisible fence. They won't keep other things out of your yard, and they won't keep a determined dog in your yard either. Some dogs will take the shock to chase something over the fence line. Dobermans can have high drives and some of them would gladly get shocked if it meant they could go after whatever caught their attention on the other side of the fence. If you have other large breed dogs in your neighborhood, an invisible fence won't keep them away from your puppy. Where I live, I have a 6 foot stockade fence. Loose dogs in the neighborhood are an issue, and some of them are aggressive.

Post lots of pics when you bring the puppy home, please!
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Another thing to worry about with invisible fences is the fact that you dog's prey drive can kick in, and they might blow right through it. Then, if they try to come back, well, they would get zapped for trying to come back home.

Have you considered adopting a rescue?
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Sorry but the way you phrase "should be able to provide 60-90 minutes/day of physical/mental exercise/training" sounds like it isnt going to happen.

IMHO 60-90 minutes of exercise is a bare minimum for a Doberman.

A Doberman thrives on exercise, training and stimulation. There are plenty of other breeds that require less attention.

Yes, there are exceptions in either direction but why chance it.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I had considered a rescue, but then I found multiple resources that indicated due to a Dobe's loyalty they are best to get as puppies especially if you have children. Thoughts?
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Sorry but the way you phrase "should be able to provide 60-90 minutes/day of physical/mental exercise/training" sounds like it isnt going to happen.

IMHO 60-90 minutes of exercise is a bare minimum for a Doberman.

A Doberman thrives on exercise, training and stimulation. There are plenty of other breeds that require less attention.

Yes, there are exceptions in either direction but why chance it.
This is the greatest concern that I see with your post, OP.
"Should be" usually means that it probably won't happen in my experience. This really is a high energy breed.

That being said, I also share the same feelings about invisible fences not being the best idea.

Edit: As for the rescue/loyalty question - that is ridiculous. There are many members here with adopted dogs that will tell you otherwise.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I had considered a rescue, but then I found multiple resources that indicated due to a Dobe's loyalty they are best to get as puppies especially if you have children. Thoughts?
Not at all, many dobes come from family situations and are abandoned for whatever reason.

A reputable doberman rescue can make the perfect match for you.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I had considered a rescue, but then I found multiple resources that indicated due to a Dobe's loyalty they are best to get as puppies especially if you have children. Thoughts?

I've fostered a few Dobes, and I have never had an issue with their "loyalty". They tend to bond with whoever is taking care of them. No matter their age.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Does anyone know of a reputable rescue in Ohio?
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:39 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I had considered a rescue, but then I found multiple resources that indicated due to a Dobe's loyalty they are best to get as puppies especially if you have children. Thoughts?
My Gin must not have gotten that memo.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:43 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Does anyone know of a reputable rescue in Ohio?
I know of ForeverDobes for one.
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Old 11-12-2012, 11:11 PM   #13 (permalink)
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My dobe is almost 3 now and she bonded with the SO and she wasn't a puppy when he came into the picture, sometimes I think she loves him more so they can definitely bond just the same when they are older. She cuddles with him way more than she cuddles with me.

Also, there is no way an invisible fence would stop her from going after anything. Not a chance. I would definitely recommend a real fence and not an invisible one. Once she spots something and her drive kicks in that is all she wants and there's no stopping her... except a fence. She's even blown through screen doors :/ Not that screening is much, but I certainly didn't expect it to happen.
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Old 11-12-2012, 11:19 PM   #14 (permalink)
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You will have to have a good solid "real" fence to get a dog from a reputable rescue or a reputable breeder anyway.

Yes, my last three dobes were all rescues and the bond was/is INCREDIBLE.

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Old 11-12-2012, 11:41 PM   #15 (permalink)
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We adopted our doberman in July. They estimate him at about 1.5 yrs old. We didn't want a puppy puppy so this worked out better for us (even though 1.5 is nowhere near clear of puppy hood but he knew the basics). With adoption of an older dog you also have a better idea of the dogs personality than that of a puppy. We have had no issues with bonding, if anything he settled in faster than we expected. Lol he does of some kinks to work out, but a perfect dog would be too boring .


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Old 11-12-2012, 11:50 PM   #16 (permalink)
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So, why else do I think shock containment systems are a bad idea?

1) Your dog can associate the shock with whatever he is focusing on at the time it occurs,
and, in turn, become fearful and/or aggressive toward that thing/ person/ dog/ etc. Given
that the line is invisible and your dog never sees what is shocking him, your dog has no idea
why his environment is suddenly causing him pain. This could cause some fallout. Whatever
your dog was looking at at the time of the shock is what he could end up associating the pain
with. So, where were YOU standing? Was there another dog in his line of vision? Were there
any children passing by? How about the neighbor? If your dog starts to associate the pain
with these things, how do you think his attitude toward you, the neighbor, children, other
dogs, etc... might be affected?

.........You have to ask yourself...why can't aggressive or phobic dogs be put on one of these
systems? Could it be because they know that these issues can be exacerbated by the same
systems that they deem as perfectly safe? Maybe your dog will be fine on these systems,
maybe he won't. Problem is, by the time you find out, it will be too late and you will spend a
lot of money and a lot of time trying to fix the issues if they arise. Personally, in all my years
of training, I have yet to meet a dog contained by one of these systems that doesn't have
some sort of fear or aggression issue. (As a side note...when's the last time you read a white
paper on the dangers and risks of a solid fence? They don't exist!
(As a side note...when's the last time you read a white paper on the dangers and risks of a
solid fence? They don't exist! )

see reasons 2) to 10) http://www.diamondsintheruff.com/inv...the%20ugly.pdf
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:30 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I second the ides of rescue rather than a small puppy. Puppies are a ton of work, it's literally like raising a newborn all over again. Are you going to honestly have the time to totally immerse yourselves into it with four young children? Also puppies teethe, and it's painful, with a five year old that would make me a bit nervous. Not saying it can't be done but these are very energetic dogs that need to be constantly physically and mentally engaged or they find their way into trouble. There are so many calm mature rescues that would totally blend into your family. I would consider that route. Rescue dogs in my opinion are so appreciative for what is given to them and a family of their own is like hitting a jackpot. Just something to consider. We are enjoying our first dobe to pieces but it would be an outright lie if I said she didn't cause any grey hairs on us. Lol. It's a lot of work and more patience then you ever knew you had and I don't mean to discourage you but you really need to look at all angles. Puppies are very hard work if you want to raise them right. Just my thoughts. Good luck with whatever you decide. Ps I would also take that electric fence idea out of your mind. Very bad idea. Get a real fence.
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:40 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conan74 View Post
I had considered a rescue, but then I found multiple resources that indicated due to a Dobe's loyalty they are best to get as puppies especially if you have children. Thoughts?
I can only speak from personal experience, but I recently, within the past two months, adopted a 3.5 year old Doberman. After this short period of time with us, there is little question as to where his loyalty lies. As with ANY dog, especially a dog of this size, monitoring the interactions between your kids and your dog is a must. I can find situations where adopting is great and I can also find other situations where purchasing from a reputable breeder is good too, but loyalty isn't really one of the factors. Also, I'd worry about getting a puppy and only have 60-90 minutes a day for exercise and training. In my opinion, training is a constant thing and almost all interactions can be a training experience with your dog. With a puppy, it is even more crucial that you have enough time and patients to set aside to work with them and mold them into an outstanding dog. As with any dog (but especially a larger breed dog, IMO), you need to make sure that your children are old enough to be taught how to respect the dog's boundaries and how to be consistant with your pup.

If I have learned anything owning a Doberman it's that owning an intelligent dog comes with a price. Yes, they learn good things quickly, but they also learn what they can get away with and how to manipulate their people. They also require quite a bit of mental stimulation, along with physical, to truly fulfill their needs. I think the most important thing is to make sure that you have time to care for such a smart, energetic breed, along with your children, and understand that when/if your children lose interest in giving the dog attention and training, that you are willing to put in even more effort.

I also, like everyone else, do not think an invisible fence is safe. I've seen my Dobe in predator mode when he spots a squirrel, and I highly doubt an invisible fence would make him flinch.
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:15 AM   #19 (permalink)
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^^^^ +1 with MissVan...very well said.

Conan74
Just the fact that your committment, sounds like 60-90 minutes/day, its a coin toss, that this approach will work in the new dogs favor.
My pups get my full undivided attention (early on) when I am awake, and when I am sleeping the dobe in the center of the master bed.
Is is literally supervised (as well), in my sleep.

Below is a good web site, study all the pages and see if the whole thing, fits in with your family's schedule.
Training & care starts out, closer to 24/7, not part time...and for the sake of consistency, everyone needs to be "on board".
- and make dog ownership, a treat

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Originally Posted by Beaumont67 View Post

Training Textbook Home Alone | Dog Star Daily

Ch 1: Before You Get Your Puppy
Ch 2: Raising A PuppyPuppy's First Week at Home (8-9 weeks)Puppy Playroom & Doggy Den
Errorless Housetraining
Errorless Chewtoy-Training
Home Alone

Puppy's First Month at Home (8-12 weeks)
Puppy Outside the Home

Ch 3: Basic Manners & Obedience
Ch 4: Adolescent Dog Training (18 weeks - 2 years)
Ch 5: Adult Dog Training (2 years+)
Ch 6: Behavior Problems
Ch 7: Dog Behavior
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:40 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I think it is doable, but as a breeder here are my thoughts:

Must have a physical fence - it does not have to be the whole yard, but you have to be able to open a door to your house and let the dog right into it. This is an absolute deal breaker for me as a breeder. You can have the underground fence around the larger portion for exercising when you are out with the dog.

The children will not be responsible for the dog no matter what they say now - it will be the adults responsibility for training, exercising and feeding. So your wife would really have to be 100% on board with this because it will mostly fall to her to do the work.

You have to make time for obedience classes - and with 4 kids that won't be easy!

There are occasionally rescue dogs that will work for a family like yours, but most rescues are very hesitent to place the vast majority of rescues into a home with not just one, but 4 young children. You will most likely be better off with a puppy from a breeder - and it would be best if they were a little older.... say 12 weeks vs only 8 weeks. Be prepared for some breeders saying "no" to that many kids. I myself would be hesitant and would really have to look at the family dynamics first. As a note, I won't be breeding for at least a couple of years so I'm not selling any puppies.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:07 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I agree with everyone on the fence issue; physical fence is your best bet. A lot of breeders and rescues won't sell/adopt to someone who plans to utilize only an invisible fence. It just isn't safe.

I also agree on the bonding thing. Sure, puppies are fun, no doubt about that. Rescues are also awesome, a lot of fun, and shouldn't have any issue bonding with someone giving them a safe and loving home.

Hand Me Down Dobes is located in the Columbus Ohio area. I volunteer with them, have adopted from them, and highly recommend them.

Good luck in your search!
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:51 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Thank you for all of the great information. I'm curious as to how many of you, who have posted, have children and how many?
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:27 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Hey Conan74, welcome to DT from TX! So glad you are doing your research now, before the dog comes home. You'd be surprised how many do the opposite.

This is going to be long, but as a parent in your situation fairly recently I appreciated all the advice I could get on this subject!

I am a mom of two girls, ages 6 & 8. We brought our first dobe pup home in June. We initially looked at rescue but having kids (and cats) made us unfit for the dogs available. So a puppy it was!

We ADORE her, she is a high spirited little spitfire and a joy to be sure. That said, a puppy is sooooo much work. I have never had a puppy before (always adopted rescue adults) so wasn't sure what to expect. It really is like having a newborn again. The midnight potty breaks, the constant demands for attention. The ear posting!! High maitenance! But my circumstances really accomodate the work as I work from home and the only time she is crated is on the weekends if we're out and she can't come with us.

We purchased Remy from a reputable breeder in our city who wasn't super keen on selling to first time owners with young kids. Before she even agreed to sell us a puppy she had my hubby and me out a couple of times to interact with her dogs and the pups, then had us bring out our kids for a couple of play dates - all before she said we could have a puppy. When she saw for herself how respectful the children were, and their dog manners in action, we were approved and SHE picked the pup for us, not the other way around.

I cannot stress enough, if you do decide to go the puppy route, please please go with a reputable breeder. One thoroughly researched here. A Doberman is not the type of dog to mess around with. They are powerful, intelligent, high drive and you don't want to bring a poorly bred time bomb home to your family. Plus, in those first couple of months I swear I talked to my breeder every other day - asking questions about EVERYTHING. That is a priceless resource you won't get if you go with a crappy breeder.

Train your kids as much if not more than you train your pup to have good manners around eachother.

If you check all the appropriate boxes your Dobe will be an invaluable member of your family who you will love forever!

If you ever want to talk parent to parent about the experience feel free to PM me and I'll give you a call!

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Old 11-13-2012, 09:30 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Thanks Mary Jo. Obedience classes are definitely part of our plan, and while I plan on involving the children in the care and training, I have no misnotions that the responsibility will fall anywhere than on my wife and I. I interested in hearing more about your thoughts on adopting versus a puppy from a breeder, as well as your concerns with the children. Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:36 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I have two kids. Gin was 10 when my daughter was born. She learned to walk holding on to the dog.

Currently, I have three dogs (none a Dobe), eight cats, a bird, and two kids. I will tell you now, that if any of your kids have problems like autism, etc. a calm, stable adult dog might be better than a puppy. My son can be a total PEST to the animals (the only one he's intimidated by is the bird). He's lots better than he was, but still....
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