Hi, everyone. Found this site while looking for information on Dobermans and dog ownership, and have spent much of the weekend looking it over and getting ready for the change that's coming in our family life.
I'm a dog person, my wife is more of a cat person. I grew up with dogs - mutts and poodles, but haven't owned one in a while, other than living with someone else's in a shared house in grad school.
To make a long story short - we are getting two dogs today from the local city animal shelter. One is a Doberman - a red female, about 18 months old, and on the small side, from what I can tell (she's about 45 pounds). The other dog, a male, is listed as a Shar-Pei, but to my eye is certainly a mix of some sort. My hunch is that it's a Lab or Retriever mix. He has that look around the withers that says "Lab" to me, and doesn't have the purple/black tongue. According to the pound, he's about a year old, and also about 45 pounds.
We'd been talking about getting a dog for a while so this isn't a spur of the moment thing, yet I feel that we may be getting in over our heads. We own a house, but the yard (on a Southern California hillside) is not fenced. We do have a large paved driveway (80' x 20') that can be enclosed (already bordered by the house and fenced about 2/3 of the way around). We don't plan to leave them out during the day or unattended, etc. This would be more of a play area while we're home to let them work off some steam. The house is two stories, and we plan on getting a gate to keep the dogs downstairs (which is where the exit to the play area is). We have two children, ages 7 and 10 (and no more on the way!). We also have three cats; well, sort of - a large colony of feral cats came with the house, so to speak, and we ended up trying to take them in and make them pets. We succeeded with one; she'll actually come, enjoys being petted, seeks us out, etc. The second one is iffy - really only settles down at night in terms of letting us pet her. I really can't get near the third one, a black male. (They've all been fixed, at least, so hopefully I won't have to corral him again and deal with a shredded forearm.)
In any case, I could go on, if you all need more specifics, but I think I''ll just stop here and do a general request for help. We definitely plan on obedience classes, although I'm not sure how the logistics of doing it with two dogs will work. In terms of socializing them and spending time with them, I am currently unemployed (and looking to work from home, in any case), so I will be able to stay home with them for the foreseeable future.
I'm looking at picking up a crate from Craigslist; I'm not sure if I can pull that off before they get here, however. I'm kind of thinking that they'll sleep in our bedroom (downstairs; the kids sleep upstairs).
A little update: Both need to be fixed before they come home, and I just learned from the vet that the Doberman will not be ready to come home until tomorrow. We could bring the male home today, later this afternoon; one of my questions, however, is how we introduce them to our home. Would it be better to do both at the same time, or would it be OK to bring the Shar-Pei home first? Or, will one day not really matter? Oh, and the vet requires an e-collar for the male so that he doesn't mess with his stitches. Not sure what I make of e-collars yet.
As far as the temperament, we met each dog twice at the pound, once in a place with toys, and distractions on the other side of the glass. Neither dog seemed particularly eager to let go of the toys, but I was able to take it away gently, with no growling or threatening behavior. But, maybe that's because it wasn't really their toy, just something that was available.
Well, so much for my "short" long story. In any case, I'll be revisiting this thread often. Thanks in advance!