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I have been looking into Doberman and breeders for over 5 years now, narrowing down exactly what I am looking for in a dog. I am a professional dog trainer and I have very big goals in mind for my dog. I have a few breeders I like, but almost all of them would require me to import a dog from out of the US, which I'd like to avoid if possible. Here are a few facts about me and what I am looking for:

*I am located in NC, near Charlotte. Distance is not a deal breaker, but a good breeder in driving range would be a plus.

*I want my dog for personal protection. possibly for bite sport, but an emphasis on real world functionality over getting titles. (yes I have experience with high drive working dogs and I know what I'm getting into)

*I prefer black with very dark rust markings, and I am looking for a male. Must be European, not American lines.

*The workability needs to be as guaranteed as possible, very high drive and environmental stability.

*Full health testing is a must

*not a requirement, but since this dog is coming into my life with a specific job in mind, Id like the breeder to be open to taking the puppy back, or being able to resell the dog myself as a well trained pet in the event he is unable, for any reason, to do the work I have planned.

I have been researching and preparing for this for many years, and I am finally at a point in life where I will be able to dedicate the time and effort needed to train my dog the way I want to. Although I've been looking for breeders from the start, its very hard to find a good reputable breeder by anything but word of mouth and seeing other people's experiences.
 

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Welcome to DT. Are you looking for a dog for obedience/sport? It might help to express the 'big goals'. Get in touch with Working Dobermans of the Carolinas. There is also a new working type club being formed that I know of and I can put you in contact with the person forming it. She is a long time member of our club (DPCC) who trains and works her shepherd and dobes. I might also suggest you make it to one of our club meetings and I can put you in contact with our club secretary if you want.
 

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I would not mind doing sports for titling, but I am not focused on sports. My main goal is to have a functional personal protection dog. He would accompany me almost 24/7 (luckily as a trainer I'm able to take him to work with me, and work him throughout the day). He would be my personal dog, and more than anything be meant to help me become a better trainer and test my own skills as much as his. The only sport I am truly interested in participating in beyond just titling a dog is mondio ring due to its realism in scenario based competitions vs schutzhund. I have never seen a point in having a dog be trained for protection sports, only to have the same dogs be useless in a real life emergency.

the club sounds interesting, are the meetings in person? where would they be held?
 

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My goals are to have a fully functioning personal protection dog. I am not super interested in sports, as my focus is on real world functionality. I do not see much a point in training a dog in say, schutzhund, only to have a dog who would not fair well or even actually bite in an emergency. That's just for my own personal goals/lifestyle of course. Mondi ring has enough realism that I would be interesting in competing in it, for more than just a title.

What is the working dog club goin/aimed at being? It sounds interesting. Would it be something that meets in person? I tried looking into working doberman of the carolinas, but their pages/web links seem to be out of date.
 

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There aren't a lot of Dobermans doing Mondio in the US. I can't speak to Dobermans actually working as true personal protection dogs. I'm not sure how difficult it would be to have an agreement with a foreign breeder to take a dog back, especially given the current pandemic situation.

I do know someone local with dogs titled to Mondio 3. You could certainly reach out to her to talk to her. She's obviously involved with working sport, and her Dobermans are European. Maureen Haggarty - High Mark Dobermans High Mark Dobermans
 

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My goals are to have a fully functioning personal protection dog. I am not super interested in sports, as my focus is on real world functionality. I do not see much a point in training a dog in say, schutzhund, only to have a dog who would not fair well or even actually bite in an emergency. That's just for my own personal goals/lifestyle of course. Mondi ring has enough realism that I would be interesting in competing in it, for more than just a title.

What is the working dog club goin/aimed at being? It sounds interesting. Would it be something that meets in person? I tried looking into working doberman of the carolinas, but their pages/web links seem to be out of date.
Your ignorance in regards to working sports is obvious. For one thing you cannot effectively train a working dog in protection without a skilled helper. If you try to do this yourself in the dogs eye it will always be a game. Same thing if you start the dog as a puppy on a helper. Despite what people think it is a game to the puppy. In any case their growth as a protection dog with real power will be diminished in the long run. Training "Biting in an emergency" is just another step in training. Sometimes it is the other way around. for example with Cairo, I don't think it was ever anything but real to her. It was always about the man not the equipment. In Schutzhund we had to train her to target the sleeve and not the groin of the helper. It did get our helpers in the habit of wearing cups. Schutzhund is about to control. It is about testing drives, from prey to defense, to aggression. It is also about de-sensitizing the dog to pressure. With a Doberman, even the best working specimen you likely have to train this. If you don't have control all you have is a liability. As far as breeders in North Carolina, John Kowalczyk (Wustenstorm) is out of the breed. Scott Simpson has had some success and occasionally breeds, his lines are from German working lines, namely Warringhof.

In addition,if you are not established with a working sport club your chances of getting a reputable working breeder to sell to you are diminished significantly. My advice is to put your lack of knowledge on a shelf, don't pretend you know something, because you don't have a clue, and go visit a bunch of working dog clubs. Start with German Shepherd clubs.
 

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Although a bit harsh Rosamburg is correct. Puppies start with play, as the dog matures and gets better at handling stress and pressure you slowly build towards defense and then towards aggression. Anytime you try to bypass one of the first two stages you chance either ruining the dog forever or creating a huge liability. When most of us see breeders trying to work baby puppies in defense or aggression we roll our eyes. You want your dog to always understand why and when they are working in those drives, esp. aggression.

I also agree to try out clubs. Even if they don't allow dobermans most will allow you to come and watch and learn. I also agree to not go into it like you know anything because no one does until they're in it. Even still, I've been doing this 4 years and I'm constantly learning.

Good luck
 

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Although a bit harsh Rosamburg is correct.
I wasn't being harsh, I was being kind. If the OP goes at breeders attempting to acquire a working prospect like he approached the forum, with his internet acquired nonsense about working sports he is highly unlikely to have anyone take him seriously.


Even still, I've been doing this 4 years and I'm constantly learning.
I have been in the breed for 39 years. I have trained under and with some of the best Schutzhund trainers in the world for 16 years. I have handled 2 Doberman's to multiple IPO3 titles, and competed at the national and international level. Sometimes I feel like an absolute novice. After thousands of hours of training I consider myself a mediocre handler.
 

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Id like the breeder to be open to taking the puppy back, or being able to resell the dog myself as a well trained pet in the event he is unable, for any reason, to do the work I have planned.
I wasn't being harsh, I was being kind. If the OP goes at breeders attempting to acquire a working prospect like he approached the forum, with his internet acquired nonsense about working sports he is highly unlikely to have anyone take him seriously.
EXACTLY...

And,.... after RUINING a good dog, due to their ignorance and lack of experience they want the breeder to take it back now or be able to sell it...
 

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... In Schutzhund we had to train her to target the sleeve and not the groin of the helper. It did get our helpers in the habit of wearing cups. Schutzhund is about to control. It is about testing drives, from prey to defense, to aggression....

RB, thanks for the concise synopsis of protection training sport.

Unfortunately, I agree with GR on your reply to the OP, although inexperienced in the subject, was just voicing his/her goals and asking for recommendations.

Maybe NOT going directly for the groin, as you trained Cairo, would have been a more effective approach? :|
 
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I wasn't being harsh, I was being kind. If the OP goes at breeders attempting to acquire a working prospect like he approached the forum, with his internet acquired nonsense about working sports he is highly unlikely to have anyone take him seriously.




I have been in the breed for 39 years. I have trained under and with some of the best Schutzhund trainers in the world for 16 years. I have handled 2 Doberman's to multiple IPO3 titles, and competed at the national and international level. Sometimes I feel like an absolute novice. After thousands of hours of training I consider myself a mediocre handler.
We don't see you around here enough these days, Rosamburg. Miss having your insight into the working side of the Doberman.
 

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EXACTLY...

And,.... after RUINING a good dog, due to their ignorance and lack of experience they want the breeder to take it back now or be able to sell it...
Yes, and somehow I missed that statement the first time I read the original post. I noticed that last night when I read it. I was laughing so hard I couldn't respond. I have spent time with a some of the top working line breeders in Germany... Marco Comeli (Burgestatte), Carston Reichel (Dragonnereich), Kat (Warringhof), and numerous others I met at a few Dobermann Schutzund clubs in Germany and at the world championship I competed at in Lozorno, Slavakia. Nobody would do this. In the US they would not do this....Especially in the Doberman breed. I spend my time with German Shepherd people, even in the GSD breed no breeder would do this. As Doug Mattson would say, you are buying a puppy, not buying a washing machine with a warranty.

In the working GSD world where I reside it is understood that it is always a crapshoot with puppies. My training director, Lance Collins and his wife Dr. Gabi Hoffman have probably bred 15-20 Bergblick litters in the 15 years I have been with them. I think every dog they have handled at the world championships (multiple showings with multiple dogs) are dogs they imported as young adults. The one Bergblick dog that Lance was working he had to place, because he felt that he did not have any training helpers at our club that were knowledgeable enough to work him. Gabi is just now handling a Bergblck dog from one of their breeding's. The point is that when you take in a puppy, or even a young adult you never know how it will work out....Even with the best trainers on the planet. Not to mention with a novice handler who thinks they are a professional. I have seen a lot of "professional" dog handlers come to the West Coast German Shepherd Schutzhund Club. I will say no more today.
 

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RB, thanks for the concise synopsis of protection training sport.

Unfortunately, I agree with GR on your reply to the OP, although inexperienced in the subject, was just voicing his/her goals and asking for recommendations.

Maybe NOT going directly for the groin, as you trained Cairo, would have been a more effective approach? :|
No you misunderstood. Going for the groin was all her idea...she's sort of short. We had to train her to NOT go for the groin.
 

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this is great thanks. and yeah dobies arent exactly the perfect build for the sports, its more mals and shepherds ...but doberman meet more of my other needs than a mal or shepherd ever could.
 

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Thanks for all the advice. I missed a lot by not checking for a few days so bear with me and hopefully I will hit all the points that were brought up.

I know puppies cannot immediately be put to work, there is a long process of teaching "the game" first. In regards to returning the dog, it would only be if the dog had zero aptitude for he work, even after attempting to build the drive for it. Let me ask this, If you obtained a dog, that you intended to keep throughout its life for a specific purpose, whatever it may be. A year goes by of training the dog and it has great obedience and is a well rounded dog, but it simply isn't able to fulfil the whole reason you got them in the first place. What do you do with the dog? Of course I love dogs, however working dogs in my opinion, are not just pets but investments meant to be worked at and better the breed as a whole. If i have invested $5k in initially buying the dog, plus a year of time training and caring for it, but it has become clear the dog will never have the aptitude for what my needs are, what do i do with the dog? Or is the only option to be stuck with it forever. I was under the impression selling the dog as a pet dog and "cutting the losses" was a common solution.

In terms of saying I am uninterested in sports, I mean more so for the specific rules. I see the value in them, and understand they are designed as a way to test and improve skills. I value the training methods and principles that go into the dogs competing, however personally i do not want to compete. I would rather train in private, in a great variety of situations, than train for a specific contest. The biggest issue i see with sports is the predictability, yes there are schutzhund dogs who are great in and out of the sport, and who are still focused on the man rather than the equipment. However, There are also dogs in the sports who will not target a man without a suit, and who only practice on the field, and therefor their training does not translate to everyday life. A large part of why I am so interested in protection dogs, is I am not a huge person. I am a 20y/o girl whos told on a daily basis I still look 16 and innocent, i have no fire arm experience and even if i did that still is limited forever to my own responsiveness to a situation. Put simply I am an easy target for all kinds of bad situations. Having a well trained protection dog would bring such a huge peace of mind to my daily life.

As far as training puppies into aduthood goes here is a very basic breakdown of the steps as I've been taught/understand them:

always train engagement first, keep training positive and fun. start building drive with a leather cloth on a rope to start teaching the "tug" game. Start obedience foundations, again staying positive with food or toy rewards. (ive also been told to keep obedience light for dogs that will be doing any sort of bite work, so they dont get too "stuck" to your side)

the transition from cloth to tug/wedge will line up with the puppy's teething. I am also under the impression there should be a gap where no "bite' training will take place so their teeth wont be damaged, and around the 6-7 month mark the tug/wedge can come back into play, and things like grip and targeting can start being developed.

The next step would be transitioning from wedge to sleeve/suit and from then on it is more about technique and control since the game is understood.

these steps are only for the bite training specifically, obviously there is a lot more that goes into training but i wanted to keep it brief. Let me know what parts you guys do/dont agree with and what you'd change.

to give you guys an idea of where i stand experience wise, I am fairly new to this field. I have always loved dogs and found them amazing, when i was 18 i decided to pursue training as a career. My long term goal is to be a great protection trainer, and trainer in general. As i said one of the biggest goals in getting this dog is to help myself grow as a trainer. I have no doubt i will make some mistakes, but thats all the more reason i am determined to be set up for success with a puppy built for the work i want to do. I've ben training for 2 years now, I am fairly comfortable decoying and working a dog in a suit, however I have almost zero experience with training from day 1. I understand the "textbook" portion of it, but as we all know nothing beats real experience.

Also, yes i am inexperienced, but I have every intention of having help. I would never try to train a dog, let alone from scratch, to bite without having access to experienced trainers and decoys around me. I will not be the sole person trying to work the dog alone, or even train it alone. I do think going to clubs is helpful and already planned on volunteering at events for the sake of learning more. Especially since I love decoying and want more experience with it solely for fun.

I am only 20, so this will be my first working dog. I am nervous and want to do all I can to make him the best dog Im able to, so we can both grow and learn together. I am at a point where I have the time, the energy, and the resources to make a great dog and give it the proper training required for the goals I have. Training is my passion and I'm happy to do it every day, from sunrise to sunset. I want to continue building my skills and growing, so all your advice is greatly appreciated! I am at the very start of my journey in this field, so being able to have this guidance and be directed to the right people is very helpful
 

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I hesitate to even bring this up--mostly because my point here is not so much about training (and I've been in Dobermans not in the "sport" or "personal protection" end of thing since 1959 but have you actually looked into the other kinds of requirements of training and owning a "fully functional personal protection dog"?

I only know one person who has ever had a "full functional personal protection dog" and he has said many times that having a dog like this is a little like having an armed but not yet triggered bomb. He carries a multimillion dollar insurance policy with Lloyds of London (who will insure anything for any reason if you pay enough in premiums) because, the dog (although very well trained) is still regarded as a liability for most of the world. There are all kinds of restrictions that are in place about "trained" personal protection dogs.

Just something to think about while you are looking for and training your dog.

Good luck...

dobebug
 

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I hesitate to even bring this up--mostly because my point here is not so much about training (and I've been in Dobermans not in the "sport" or "personal protection" end of thing since 1959 but have you actually looked into the other kinds of requirements of training and owning a "fully functional personal protection dog"?

I only know one person who has ever had a "full functional personal protection dog" and he has said many times that having a dog like this is a little like having an armed but not yet triggered bomb. He carries a multimillion dollar insurance policy with Lloyds of London (who will insure anything for any reason if you pay enough in premiums) because, the dog (although very well trained) is still regarded as a liability for most of the world. There are all kinds of restrictions that are in place about "trained" personal protection dogs.

Just something to think about while you are looking for and training your dog.

Good luck...

dobebug
Yes I have looked into this and understand the risks/liabilities that come along with having a dog trained to bite for any reason. I do plan on having insurance and taking all the required (and not required) precautions. I have a few friends who have owned their own protection dogs, and my research on the topic far exceeds my actual hands on experience. It is definitely an important point to bring up and consider so I'm glad you brought it to the discussion.
 

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I hesitate to even bring this up--mostly because my point here is not so much about training (and I've been in Dobermans not in the "sport" or "personal protection" end of thing since 1959 but have you actually looked into the other kinds of requirements of training and owning a "fully functional personal protection dog"?

I only know one person who has ever had a "full functional personal protection dog" and he has said many times that having a dog like this is a little like having an armed but not yet triggered bomb. He carries a multimillion dollar insurance policy with Lloyds of London (who will insure anything for any reason if you pay enough in premiums) because, the dog (although very well trained) is still regarded as a liability for most of the world. There are all kinds of restrictions that are in place about "trained" personal protection dogs.

Just something to think about while you are looking for and training your dog.

Good luck...

dobebug
Yes I have looked into this and understand the risks/liabilities that come along with having a dog trained to bite for any reason. I do plan on having insurance and taking all the required (and not required) precautions. I have a few friends who have owned their own protection dogs, and my research on the topic far exceeds my actual hands on experience. It is definitely an important point to bring up and consider so I'm glad you brought it to the discussion.
I am...a bit skeptical, to be honest. While I'm not typically one to question someone simply based on their age, sometimes there is a lot people learn over many years of experience. Your friends that own "protection" dogs...how much experience do they have? Have you consulted a lawyer experienced with this? It's not something to take lightly, as Bug mentioned. Heck, I carry an umbrella policy simply owning a Doberman, period.

I honestly don't understand the need for nearly anyone to have a trained protection dog. I don't think it's necessary for 99.99999% of the population. Simply being a "small female", to me, doesn't justify a need. Sorry to be blunt, but you're talking about turning a dog into a weapon. Simply owning and walking with a well-trained Doberman is enough of a deterrent for what most people actually need. Unless you are actually "under threat", my personal opinion, especially given your experience level, is to train your dog in sport.
 
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