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Good morning,

I have never owned a dog before but I have been looking into getting a doberman for the past week...

I want this decision to be a well thought process and that I have all the information before committing for the next 10-15 years.

As I have never owned a dog before, I am hesitant and where best to go then to talk to owners of the breed I am interested in.

I live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and am looking for reputable breeder in Ontario and/or Quebec. Any recommendations?

I also was thinking of looking for a rescue no more than 2 year old... as this is an interesting route to give a dobe a second chance.

A bit of background about myself,
I am currently working full time with a steady schedule, 7-5 Monday to Friday.
I live alone with a 3 years old cat.
My boyfriend is over quite often and he is on board with us having a first dog together.
He goes to school full time.
I go once a month to Montreal to visit my mother and brother and would drive with the little guy if I get one.
I have created a thread on Reddit where I had lots of good advice about the breed already and I am continuing my research here.
If I do decide to go with a dobe, I have given myself a six-month period to do extensive research, meet breeders, look for dog park in my area, look for obedience classes and protection classes in my area, looking for dog sit for the days at work to drop in and walk him, looking to volunteer at Humane Society or anywhere that has walk a rescue dog or possibly play with them or spend time with them...
I hope six months is enough to do all of this and be ready when I receive the little guy home.

Advices are welcome :wink2:
 

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well trained hooman
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Welcome!

First, it looks like you have a good start on research. The people here will be very helpful in your search.

Second, some things to consider:

Dobes are A LOT of work. They are worth it, of course, but they really are needy. Some people here may advise against getting a dobe for your first dog, but if you take the time to really prepare yourself, it can (and has) be done successfully.

Dobe puppies are even more work than adults (obviously). They grow fast, are awkward, full of energy and need structure to really be happy. It sounds like you have a good home for a dobe, especially if you and your boyfriend are on the same page and are willing to seek out extra help during the day. Stable schedules will be good, but do you have flexibility in your schedule for getting a baby puppy? Most breeders will send pups home anywhere between 8 and 12 weeks old, and at that point, they don't have much attention span or bladder control. Some people opt to taking a "pupternity" leave (i.e. a couple days-a couple weeks) off work after bringing a pup home, to work on things like potty training, basic house rules, and acclimating the pup to its new environment. When my pup was really young, I left work each day at lunch to let him out and work with him about half way through the day. If that is a possibility, that would be great.

Socialization: puppies have a few critical times in their lives when A LOT of socialization is necessary. This sets them up to be well-mannered, stable dogs in situations later on in their lives. You have to get them used to people, sounds, places, walking surfaces, weather conditions, other animals etc. Most of this should be done when the pup is very young. Correct me if I'm incorrect in assuming that you are a fairly young person (20's ish?). As a fellow young person, I had to adjust my life a bit to accommodate living with a puppy. You will have to think about activities outside of work that you do regularly - can the puppy come with? Will there be someone to care for the puppy if you are unwilling to change your schedule? Would it be better to put some of those activities on hold for a while so you can work on building a relationship with your puppy (very important - dobes are very much "people dogs") and to ensure that puppy will be well trained and exercised? Will you have time for regular training sessions/classes (since this would be your first dog, I would seriously consider a professional trainer/group class rather than training yourself).

What type of home do you live in? (house, apartment, other rental property, etc)? Will you have somewhere convenient for the dog to do his/her business? What about exercise? Some dobes do well in dog parks, some do not. You won't want to bring your pup to a dog park or anywhere frequented by dogs until puppy shots are completed (around 16 weeks) at least. Will your home situation change in the forseeable future (i.e. end of lease, buying a home, etc)? Do you have a plan to find pet-friendly housing if for some reason you aren't able to stay at your current home? Keep in mind some areas with breed-specific legislation (like pit-bull bans, etc) also include Dobermans. If you rent, make sure to check with your landlord about housing a Doberman, as that can sometimes nullify their insurance.

You mentioned that you have an adult cat. Has the cat ever been exposed to dogs? If you were to bring a puppy into the house, do you have the ability to provide the cat with necessary escape routes and areas to be away from the puppy? Some cats do not have patience for dobe puppies, which is understandable, and you don't want to have your cat stressed to the point that it may harm the puppy.

Rescue - is there a reason that you don't want to adopt a rescue older than 2 years old? If you decide to go the rescue route, keep in mind that they will be very selective of the homes they place their dogs in, similar to a good breeder. The nice thing about rescuing is that if you adopt an older dog, you will have a pretty good if not solid idea of the dog's temperament and personality. With puppies, they may change as they get older. A good breeder will be able to find a good fit for your home, but as that puppy transitions to adulthood, they could be very different. Reputable rescues will generally place the dog in a foster home for a while, so they can get to know them and work out any personality/temperament/training issues that may be there. Keep in mind that not all rescues have "issues". Sometimes they may be surrendered because their owner passed away and they don't have anyone to care for them anymore. Or they could be displaced by a personal or natural disaster. Or a million other things. In my time on this forum, I've read that dobes generally mentally mature somewhere between 2 and 3 years old. For a first dog, I think a young adult dobe would be a great fit for you, personally. That way you know what you are getting, and you don't have to deal with many of the rather annoying puppy phases. You will have no issue bonding with an older dog, as long as you give it the attention, care, and training that it needs.

Finding a good breeder - lucky for you, the people of this forum know A LOT about breeders. I am not one of those people, but you can check out the DPCA website (dpca.org) for listings of breeders in the US. I know there are some good breeders in Canada, though I don't know much about them. Stay tuned for more info about that. When you look for breeders, give them a "resume" of sorts - what makes you a good home for a doberman, why are you interested in the breed, their lines, etc. Don't just ask whether they will have puppies soon or not. They will likely ignore messages like that.

6 month timeline - you will probably be able to find a good breeder or rescue group in 6 months time, although it is less likely (not impossible) that you will have a Dobe in hand in 6 months. Most reputable breeders will have waiting lists, and you may have to wait a while longer to get a pup that really fits your lifestyle and what you are looking for (this determination should be made by the breeder - you should not be allowed to pick out your puppy). Rescue can be a little less predictable, as no one really knows what dogs will arrive at rescue at any given time. They will do their best to find a dog that fits your needs, but it may take some time. It will be worth the wait, no matter what direction you go. Please just make sure you don't buy a puppy from a back yard breeder (byb - i.e. someone who breeds dogs for money, or doesn't do the recommended health testing, doesn't compete with their dogs to prove worthiness, etc)

Alright. That's all I've got. Sorry for the long post.
 

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I would suggest going the rescue route for your first ever dog. Good rescues know the temperaments and histories of their dogs and do their best to match you with a dog to fit your lifestyle and experience. Perhaps you could start by fostering a dog? Maybe not even a Dobe? As others will confirm Doberman puppies can be ALOT of work and even adults require a lot of people time!
 

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A Doberman was my first ever dog, and I'll be dead honest with you...I really didn't think we would survive puppyhood. Go with rescuing an adult that is known safe with cats.
 

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Welcome to DT!

Breeders that I would recommend you contact in Ontario for information and perhaps guidance are; Mary Korevaar of Glengate Dobermans (I don't think she is breeding any longer, but she could certainly help point you in the right direction), Maura Reilly of Gatehouse Dobermans and Pat Blenkey or Brian Casey at Wrath-Liberator Dobermans.

Good luck with your search!
 
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