Should I get a Doberman? - Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-03-2018, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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Question Should I get a Doberman?

Hello, I am wanting to buy my first Doberman. I have owned dogs in the past, however they were family dogs and this will be the first dog I am caring for on my own. I know they are a difficult breed so I wanted to ask the community whether or not it'd be a good idea for me to have one.
I have owned a Rottweiler and an Australian Cattle Dog/ Corgi mix, and an Australian Cattle Dog/ Border Collie mix. My family owned a doberman, but she passed away when I was too young to remember.
First of all, the doberman I am interested in is American. However, there was another breeder that I was looking at and the Doberman was half European. I plan on getting a male, and using him for service work. He would be a psychiatric and mobility service dog. I chose a Doberman because I am the type of person that likes "1 person" type dogs(AKA why I had two ACD mixes). I've heard Dobermans are also velcro dogs and like to follow their owners everywhere. I thought that so long as it doesn't turn into separation anxiety, then having a service dog with that tendency would be good. I would also like to compete in agility, nosework, or rally. Not all three, just one but I haven't decided yet. I also love teaching tricks for fun, so he'd learn a bit of canine freestyle and tricks here and there. Despite my mobility issues(knee problems), I do go on plenty of hikes as there are trails behind my house. I also am moving to FL and we will be owning 60 acres of land(I believe 20 or so is fenced, maybe a bit less). We've got horses and chickens and cows and such there, but of course I would socialize him as a puppy and keep him away from the chickens and birds.
I'm not concerned about the level of energy, I owned cattle dogs for goodness sake and they NEVER let me sit down, not even for a moment lol. I'm concerned that if I don't socialize him correctly, that he will become aggressive. Or that he will become overprotective of me and bite someone if I pass out and they try to help me or something. I'm also concerned that he will become restless sitting still for multiple hours in class and I'll have to wash him(retire). I've seen a lot of doberman service dogs that were washed because they couldn't walk calmly in stores, sit still in class, etc. and they started becoming anxious and chewing their paws and became unhappy, despite being exercised enough at home.
I think that's all, if you have any other questions, ask! I'm basically wanting to know if a doberman is right for me and my lifestyle.
OH and I own two cats(one has NOT been around dogs, he's a kitten and we just got him, the other has been raised around our rottie, who passed away :/). I also do not have any other dogs in the house. I do plan on getting small animals, such as ferrets and sugar gliders. I'm an animal lover haha.
I'm also a minor so I live with my mom, stepdad, and 6 year old brother. They are all on board with getting a Dobie!!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-03-2018, 07:14 PM
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I think you could do a Doberman, as long as you know their possible downside as a service dog. I know of other people who use them as a service dog. The most important thing for you is to find a really reputable breeder that is known for breeding dogs with super stable temperament..... then a ton of training & socialization. Some lines tend towards dog aggression (mine do) and some are more tolerant.... but there can be big variations from litter to litter and within the litter. So having an excellent breeder who really knows their dogs is very important for you.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-03-2018, 08:49 PM
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A couple of things to consider with using a dobe as a service dog that have nothing to do with whether they can actually perform the work or have the correct temperament for that work....

1. If you might lose consciousness from time to time as part of your disability and need other people to provide aid, having a dobe as a service dog might make them reluctant to approach you. It has nothing to do with whether or not your dog may become aggressive....it's because people's common perception of dobermans might get in the way.

2. Do you anticipate wanting to move out on your own at some point? It might be hard to find a place to stay. Different sets of regulations (HUD, ADA, Fair Housing Act) apply to service or assistance dogs and there can be confusion about what a landlord can require from a prospective renter and service dog.

Under some of the regulations, a landlord is required to make "reasonable accommodations" for a disabled person and their service animal, but what does that mean?

For example, one possible interpretation of the regulations states that "landlords can refuse to allow certain companion animals if the animal will present undue hardship or expense for the landlord’s business. An example of this is when a landlord’s insurance company will raise rates or drop coverage for certain dog breeds to live on the property that are considered too aggressive, like pit bulls.

The insurance company may label certain breeds of dogs as “dangerous” in the policy. Each reasonable accommodation determination must be made on a case-by-case basis. An accommodation is considered unreasonable if it imposes an undue financial and administrative burden on a housing provider’s operations."

The doberman breed is often on insurance companies' dangerous dog lists. A landlord can't apply his own standards to deny you and your "dangerous" dog housing, but if his insurance company will actually raise his rates or refuse coverage......

The confusion about how the laws apply may mean that you have to jump through hoops to claim your right to keep a doberman as a service animal in a rental property.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-04-2018, 06:11 AM
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My dog Hoss is my service dog....I use him for mobility. He is 3 years old now and does a great job. He serves as a counterweight for me as I go hiking etc.
If you opt for a Doberman you must be prepared to train daily from the moment you receive your pup.
Out of all the things I have trained Hoss on his prey drive has been my biggest Challenge...and of course with a service dog they MUST be very well mannered at all times......it can be done if you put your mind to it early.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-04-2018, 09:09 AM
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To go on about what Mel said, I believe some insurance companies may keep standard coverage rates if you train your dog and get a Good Canine Citizen certificate. Something to ask anyways! It might be useful to show to a potential landlord too! (This is what I plan on doing!)
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-05-2018, 09:57 AM
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I would highly recommend talking to others who use Dobermans for service dog work, especially if you can find some that use them for psychiatric service work. I don't want to ask details about what kind of work you would be asking of the dog, but one thing I would give some hard thought to is how "in tune" with their owner's moods a Doberman can be...I would imagine that can be a double-edged sword and may not be of benefit to you in terms of service work and would really depend on the dog and their ability to do the job you need. For example...let's say I have my dogs at a trial for sport, and I'm anxious. Do they feed off that anxiety and display behaviors that they don't normally display because they are really in tune with me being more anxious? A lot of Dobermans might, at least in my experience. Just some food for thought, and again, I have no idea whether that's something that would be an issue for you. We do have some forum members that use Dobermans for service dogs but not all of them are very active.

As Mary Jo said, finding the right breeder is critical, and I would recommend joining the Doberman Pinscher Breeder listings group on Facebook, and asking about breeders that have produced multiple dogs that have been successfully placed for this work.


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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-05-2018, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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I have picked out a breeder that has had dogs go into service dog programs and successfully become service dogs. As far as exercising goes, it's not really a problem as my illnesses rarely keep me from being able to exercise my dog. I do have mobility issues with my knee, but I use a brace and smart crutch and hiking/going on walks isn't too much of a problem. My parents did help out with exercising my previous service dog(before she retired) when I was too sick to go out. I've heard that shepherds tend to do the same thing MeadowCat mentioned, with feeding off of anxiety and performing badly because of it. I actually didn't know Dobermans did that, so I'll definitely have to look into it(thanks ). Unfortunately, where I live there aren't many service dogs(or dogs in general), and I don't know very many people with Doberman service dogs, but I have been trying to connect with other people on Instagram, Facebook, etc(which is why I joined this community, and to get advice on raising a Dobie in case I did go through with getting one). I don't plan on renting, but staying in a college dorm when I go to college. There is a college I'm interested in that's pretty close to my house so I'd stay with my parents if I were accepted into that school. The other school I looked at was out of state. I visited the school and went on a tour just a couple of weeks ago and asked if they had limitations to service dog breeds. I'll most likely NOT be going to this school as it's in New York and they've banned Dobermans in public housing. Not sure about the college though. The tour guide didn't know anything about the service dog policies. I'm hoping some people in public when I go out won't recognise him as a Doberman because I won't be cropping his ears and I've been told that people won't say much because they assume he's a hound mix or something lol. I know some people get kicked out of stores with their service dog because they're dobermans, rottweilers, or bully mixes. I think that's the only major downside about it.
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