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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-09-2019, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Prospective Doberman Adopter with questions/concerns

Hello all first post here. My family and I have decided we want to adopt a Doberman. We are a family of 4 with two older cats. My wife and I have been thinking about getting a dog for a few years now and now that the kids are 4 and 2 and we are settling into a more normal routine, we think the right time is almost upon us. We have decided to go through Doberman Rescue Minnesota, a home visit is scheduled for tomorrow. They have a whole litany of rules for who they adopt to, including the requirement of a puppy for houses with children under 6. I think that is a good idea anyway so we can properly socialize and train our puppy. Some things that concern me are that adopting a puppy gives me no visibility to the pedigree of the dog. Are their genetic issues, etc? Also reading about DCM and the potential for poor health scares me. If I were to go to a breeder, I would have some information regarding the parents at least. Having said that, I have always adopted pets from shelters, including two dachshunds (My most recent dogs) that lived until they were 18 and my cat who is 17 (My wife's cat is 15) For the experts, what are your thoughts about the following?

1. Adopting from a rescue organization, is the risk considerably more for a dog with poor health and longevity than if I were to go to a breeder? Do the benefits (rescuing a dog that needs to be rescued) outweigh the risk?

2. I know that the prevailing wisdom states that you shouldn't have a male doberman with another male dog, how about male cats? One of our cats (17) is a male, friendly, confident and neutered. Will this be an issue? Would I be better off with a Female?

3. I live in a cul-de-sac with 7 kids including my own between the ages of 2-4. If I get a puppy, is there a reasonable expectation, given proper socialization and oversight, that the dog will live in harmony with the children as they grow up together?

Tell it to me straight, I don't want to make a bad decision for my family and bring an animal into it that wouldn't be compatible. Thanks!

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 09:28 AM
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Is there a particular reason you want to adopt rather than purchase from a reputable breeder?

I do foster rescues often, most of them have great temperaments but I've had some that haven't had great temperaments.

If I were you and I had small children and knowing I would have friends and such coming over... I would purchase from a reputable breeder who was doing a breeding with their own dogs or a breeding to a male who they 100% knew had a more laid back temperament. Even if you rescue a puppy you do not know what kind of temperament it will have when it's older. You can train a dog until you're blue in the face but you can never rid a dog of it's God given temperament.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 09:47 AM
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Personally I hate to see small children and a Doberman of any age. Not because the dog is the problem but because the children can be. JMO
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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I am looking at rescuing because, I have always adopted from rescues. Every pet I have had has been either a stray that I adopted or from the humane society. I just think it is the right thing to do. But I do understand that there are some risks involved. I also completely agree with the sentiment that kids need to be "trained" to act appropriately with a dog as much as the dog will be. Thanks for the responses, I am considering all alternatives.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 05:30 PM
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Hi Mike,

Really the only question I can answer with any degree of authority is whether or not a male Doberman would have problems with a male cat. NO--I've been raising Dobes with both male and female cats (neutered or spayed) since 1959 with no problems. Actually way back a male that my parents adopted used to spend a ridiculous amount of time attempting to hoist an in season female cat into position. It finally caused my parents to gather up all the female cats--barn cats and house cats and get them all spayed (something I'd been begging them to do for years)

Same sex issues seem to pretty much be the same as for mites--species specific. So I don't think that would be any sort of a problem.

I'm not sure how to answer your first question--yes there are some real issues with the possibility of poor health and/or poor temperament on an adopted puppy but frankly even from the best of breeders and knowing a fair amount about the breeding lines you can sometimes end up with something you never expected. When Ma Natures stirs that genetic pot sometimes something from generations back emerges--and sometimes it's good and sometime it's not so good.

Question three--umm--you have a 2 year old and a 4 year old? I've got to agree with VZ-Doberman--I have friends who have raised Doberman puppys with small children with no problems. And they've never had problems with small kids running wildly around the house and yard with small puppies and young Dobermans. BUT VZ said he'd rather not see Dobeman's with any small kids--it's easy for even a 4 or 5 month old Dobe pup to accidently knock a kid down--or step on them or take their sandwich away from them--crying kids mean that the Doberman is in trouble with adult humans. But when the kid tries to poke a crayon up the puppies butt (why? because it's right there at eye level on a little kid) or runs the puppy down with her tricycle it doesn't tend to be the kid that's in trouble--it's still the puppy.

But I've seen puppies raised with kids by parents who know how to make dog/child rules and to make them stick and it works fine.

Fortunately I decided long ago I didn't have what it takes to be a breeder (because I never really thought that I was skilled enough to properly place the puppies) and I don't have to make those decisions. So yes, I've seen it work well but realistically I don't think placing Dobe puppies is the best thing to do when there are very small kids involved.

I remember all too well that when I was raising a Aussie puppy and my roommate had a 6 year old, an 8 year old and a 17 year old.

The Aussie who was 4 months old when we arrived in Vermont in September treated the 6 year old like another puppy--so there were biting issues that the rest of us never had. And as soon as the temperatures dropped and it turned into mitten. hat and scarf weather the problems got worse. Henry (the Aussie) stole Jenny's (the 6 year old) mittens, he stole her hats and he stole her scarfs and even worse, one morning he stole her lunch and while she was chasing him she missed the school bus.

Henry grabbed the 8 year old's (Rebecca) scarf one morning when she was walking down to the bus stop--she still had one end of the scarf--so holding that so Henry couldn't escape with it she caught up with him and pushed him down in a snow bank, sat on him and retrieved the scarf and wouldn't let him up until he apologized. She had no further problems with him stealing things from her.

The 17 year old was around so rarely I figured Henry thought he was an adult--that wasn't true either but it's how dogs think.

Anyway I think that you are ahead of the game if the smallest kid outweighs the Dobe puppy at 4 months.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 06:06 PM
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So I've adopted older dogs and purchased dogs from reputable breeders while I had older kids. My husband has joint custody of his kids, so we only have them every other weekend and they act like normal kids, which means they aren't naturally dog savvy and we had to work on their behavior a lot. The 3 kids were between 7 and 10 when we got the older Doberman, and it was about a year later that we got the Dane puppy. They had a tendency to squeal, pat the dogs heads, lean on them, lean over them, hug them, run and chase, try to take things from the dogs, etc.:

1) Older rescue Doberman with no history with kids, was very tolerant with the our kids but didn't seek them out, had no issues with unknown people in general, regardless of age. She was very dog reactive though. We adopted her when she was 9 and she lived to almost 12, which is a good age for a Doberman, but she did have DCM, blood clotting issues, and eventually passed from cancer. None of these things impacted her quality of life until the last couple weeks though, they were well managed with meds.
2) Great Dane puppy from reputable breeder, raised with older kids at breeder and at my house, is awful with children and strangers. He was great with everything until about 8 months old, then pretty much became an anxious nutcase. He's 4 now and just in the last year has been reliable around our kids after years of management, training, and medication, still not happy with unknown people. We put him in our bedroom when people come over. Other than behavioral issues,
3) 1.5yro Doberman purchased from reputable breeder, raised with young kids at breeder's house, great with our kids, ignores unknown people of all ages.

So not sure what to say, other than you stack the deck in your favor if you go to a breeder that raises dogs with kids that has a history of successful placement with kids, but we happened to have the best success with older dogs.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 08:11 PM
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Hey DobeBug.........uh....just kind of a FYI.....uh....I'm a woman.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by VZ-Doberman View Post
Hey DobeBug.........uh....just kind of a FYI.....uh....I'm a woman.
LOL VZ. So is bug! Me... Not so much, although it's easy for me to get in touch with feminine side!

Being old guard hippy, I never consider gender relevant in a nice conversation. Hell... Iv'e known bug for years online. She works less than a mile from me and it never occurred to me to discuss gender. Just kind of figured it out.

I will say the I have been a bit more careful with gender specifics recently.

John (male)
Portland OR
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 11:57 PM
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Anymore either I can't tell the gender or I'm afraid to take a guess. Don't want to insult someone so sticking with "you" seems the only way to stay out of trouble. On a side note.....most of my T-shirts, sweatpants and sweatshirts are mens. Hell, if someone looked at my closet they wouldn't know if a man or woman lived here.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 09:13 AM
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Hi Mike -

I just wanted to first off welcome you, from a fellow Minnesotan!

If you're working with Doberman Rescue Minnesota (DRM), I can say that I know them pretty well. They do a decent job of screening the dogs they take in, as well as a pretty good job of screening their adopters, to make sure they make a good match for the dogs that are adopted out. If you do decide you want to go the adoption route, the ONLY place I would even consider adopting a Doberman in Minnesota is through DRM - not any of the other Doberman rescues and not through a shelter or any of the other non-breed rescues, since you are new to the breed.

That said, with a puppy, of course, unless there are some pretty major temperament issues, what you see when you get them in is...a puppy. Without an experienced breeder with a lot of experience and years in the game, so to speak, there really isn't a lot of basis for evaluating that puppy. People that aren't breeders generally don't have the same experience to evaluate a puppy to place them in homes. A breeder will match puppies to new homes based on which home is best suited to each puppy's personality. A home that is new to Dobermans is probably going to get a more laid-back, easy going puppy, rather than the pushy puppy with more drive.

On the other hand, there are quite a few breeders that won't sell to homes with young children, and the wait can be long - potentially a year or more. So that may be a factor for you, too. EDITED TO ADD: There is also going to be a *significant* cost difference - a puppy from a good, ethical breeder is going to cost at least $2500, most likely, in addition to the long wait.

In terms of health and need to remember that this breed is not necessarily healthy, regardless. Yes, when you buy from a good breeder, you are stacking the deck in your favor, and you have the advantage of the knowledge of what's going on with your dog's parents, grandparents, great-grandparents....and what HAS happened. Forewarned is forearmed. Even with that knowledge, though, and even with great choices from your breeder, Mother Nature can throw you for a loop. Things happen. I always recommend pet insurance to Doberman owners - I find it to be a wise choice, and I recommend enrolling immediately.

I don't know if you have a particular puppy you are applying for, but if there's an option for you to have someone experienced meet and evaluate the puppy, I'd be more than happy to volunteer to do that, and I also know a great local trainer that also offers those services. Personally, behavioral issues are the things that are a deal breaker for me...a shy, anxious dog is something I've had, and it's something I would never, ever want to deal with if I had a choice ever again.

One final this the litter that just came into DRM that was being treated for parvo? I don't know what the long term implications of that is.

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Last edited by MeadowCat; 05-11-2019 at 09:45 AM.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 09:36 AM
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I cannot give any advice on whether you should or should not adopt a Doberman and whether or not said dog will be good with your kids and other kids. I don’t have children, my dogs have had some interactions with children but I make sure it’s in a calm environment only,squealing hyper kids that ask to pet is a hard pass for me. I also don’t allow kids that are shorter than my dogs head to pet them. As others have said all dogs are different and there’s no real way to no for sure.

What I would like to share with you is a story of the time I adopted a female Doberman from a very reliable rescue. After having a difficult time finding a puppy, my husband and I decided to adopt a young female, we started working with a rescue and went through the typical application, phone interview, Home interview and eventually meet and greet. During the phone interview we discussed behavior issues we’d be willing to deal with, I’m fairly confident in my dog training ability and have a great trainer at my disposal for bahvior issues, I told them that I could accept pretty much anything, distruction, potty accidents, counter surfing etc. but I was not willing to take on a dog that wasn’t dog friendly ( I had two adult dogs at the time) or any form of aggression. We discussed different dogs that they thought would be a match and decided to meet a dog that was described as friendly towards people and dogs,lacked some basic manners and Needed a strong leader because she took advantage of people she deemed pushovers. The meet and great went ok, not great but we decided to move forward. Over the next few days my dogs seemed on edge with her presence and pretty much steered clear of her, she was in the kitchen and my female was In the living room, out of no where she walked up to her and attacked her, no bloodshed fortunately and then the next day went after my male and because he walked by her. We did the crate and rotate thing for the rest of the day but you could see the axiety building in her. I couldn’t sleep all night and and by morning I had decided she wasn’t going to be a fit for my family, my husband said we needed to give it more time but he reluctantly agreed and called the rescue. It was a 3 hour drive, my mom said she’d go with me so I picked her up on the way. When I got there, I pulled her out of the suv so she could meet my mom, she seemed totally fine, a half mile down the road she started circling behind my Mom’s seat, then sat down and snarled at her , I immediately grabbed her collar, pulled over and told my mom to get out. I tethered her to the tie down in the back to keep everyone safe. She spent the entire trip eye balling my mom, lunging, barking and growling at my mom, it was like nothing I had ever saw before. She had never shown even the slightest bit of aggression towards us but I knew right then that she was a ticking time bomb and that we had made the right decision. Maybe I gave her too much freedom, maybe I didn’t giver enough time, maybe they didn’t evaluate her correctly or maybe she was just crazy, but either way it’s not what I agreed to or signed up for.

Shortly later the rescue announced she had found her forever home and then a few months later she was back with them and now had a huge list of requirements, single owner, no kids, only dog etc. and was described as a fierce protector, out of nowhere she wasn’t listed as available for adoption anymore, I kept checking for updates but never saw any. I also found out later that she had some similar problems with other house dogs in a foster home.

I don’t tell this story to scare you, many people have wonderful stories of adoption, I unfortunately did not. I would just recommend that you use extreme caution when choosing a rescue organization and potential dog.

Last edited by Control_Freak; 05-11-2019 at 09:42 AM.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 09:57 AM
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Just a comment for all. You want to make sure that your dog is your Property and you Own the dog instead of Adopting a dog. There are a lot of different legal connotations between owning property from adopting anything.

Some of the animal rights terrorists push this idea of adoption, but you should make sure that your government continues to allow you top Own your dog instead of Adopting it.

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