Need Expert Advice (not opinion) on Doberman Pinscher

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Need Expert Advice (not opinion) on Doberman Pinscher

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Old 05-23-2016, 05:21 AM
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Question Need Expert Advice (not opinion) on Doberman Pinscher

I have planned to get a canine companion. This will be my first exposure for practical purpose (my dad used to have a Rampur Hound who passed away when I was 13 months old - so I guess that won't count as practical exposure).

I am doing research and am reading the following scholarly books on dogs:
  • Before You Get Your Puppy - Dr. Ian Durban
  • After You get your puppy - Dr. Ian Dunbar
  • The Other End of The Leash - Patricia B McConnell
  • Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know
  • Reaching the Animal Mind - Karen Pryor
  • Several videos on YouTube

Before I reveal the breed I have chosen, I think it's important to emphasize that I stay around 9 hours outside home (work) (0630 hours to 1530 hours) on weekdays and stay at home in the weekends. I am not a fitness freak but I do exercise daily for one hour to keep myself fit.

I live in a three storeyed house [with my mom] - don't have a yard or a garden but we do have a moderately big and guarded/fenced roof top (where I have planned to train him/her). There are only two persons in the entire residence (no kids, no other pets).

I have mentally decided to take a leave of 15 days (kind of like paternity leave) once I get a puppy to help her/him adjust with the house initially. I am not in a hurry to get one (have planned around December 2016) until I am absolutely sure I am well educated and informed about what I am getting into for the next 12-16 years of my life.

I am 38 years now (from India). I am inclined towards getting a Doberman (for a companion and protection). I am to some extent an introvert and like to keep to myself most of the time - hence the numbers of "friends" (not colleagues) I have are quite low. But I always honor my commitment - and once I am committed - I see the end of that (which will include the joy as well as the nuances and hardships faced during raising a puppy).

My questions:
  1. Is Doberman a suitable breed for my life style? (I fully understand what it means to raise a Doberman as a first time owner).
  2. I am more worried whether he/she will develop separation anxiety and/or aggression as I shall be out of house for 9 hours (Mon to Fri).
  3. I am not going for a Labrador/Golden Retriever. So, kindly don't suggest me those two breeds.
  4. As a primary criteria, I am searching for breeds those have LOW SHEDDING and LOW DROOLING (Slobbering) potential.
  5. Initially, I have planned to potty-train in the balcony portion of the first floor of the house (since he/she will be staying in the first floor with me most of the time and as the stairs are quite steep I am not comfortable allowing him/her to descend and go outside for potty or peeing. Is it possible to change that place once he/she grows up to say, 4/6 months?
  6. What is the most suitable age for a doberman to take him for walking with me?
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Old 05-23-2016, 08:04 AM
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I don't really have any advice, since I'm not a Dobe owner, but I'm going to tag @kmes since I know she has one!
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Old 05-23-2016, 08:07 AM
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Let me first commend you on all your research before getting a dog. Most people don't do half that much and you're really doing a great job.

However I have to say that I don't think a Doberman would do well living with a schedule like that. They are highly intelligent and high energy. If you left one alone that long it would very likely develop behavior problems and destroy a lot of things in your house. Getting any puppy with such long work hours typically isn't a good idea (unless you have someone help out) because the puppy needs to use the bathroom every 3-5 hours. If they aren't let out they won't get housebroken and this can be a lifelong problem. Along with that you said you're introverted. It's very important little puppies get socialized to lots of people and places so they don't get scared of them as an adult and become aggressive.

Typically I would add that Dobies don't do the best with new owners either but someone who does so much homework might be dedicated enough to one to manage. But again I don't think your schedule is conducive to such a high energy breed. I think right now you should consider looking at some other breeds. If you are absolutely set on a Doberman you would have to hire a dog walker or have a friend/family member regularly help care for the dog while you are at work. But I would suggest looking at some calmer, less intense breeds first. Are there any others you like?
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Old 05-23-2016, 09:51 AM
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If you are absolutely set on a Doberman you would have to hire a dog walker or have a friend/family member regularly help care for the dog while you are at work. But I would suggest looking at some calmer, less intense breeds first. Are there any others you like?
Thank you sire!

I myself am apprehensive with Doberman and my routine - let alone I have also started to think whether my current schedule at all encourages having a pet in the first place, to be honest with you! Hence, I am so eager to learn from you experienced people.

"Doberman" - this name has earned quite a negative reputation among the un-informed part of the population in my country. So, walking a Dobie is not a pleasant idea anyone will even imagine in their nightmares, even if they are friends.

I am not dead-set on Doberman, but in that domain (companionship and protection), I can't find any finer breeds other than a GSD or a Rotweiler.

GSDs shed a LOT (as heard from the owners, personally and on different forums), which kind of negates my primary criteria. I have also heard of a breed of GSD who has smooth coat (resembling that of a Dobie in terms of quality and thickness) but I am not convinced that GSDs are at all suitable for a humid and sultry climate as India. Besides the GSDs are even smarter and "equally susceptible to separation anxiety like a Doberman".

Rotweiler - well, they remind me of the Hades Dog - in short, I am fearful (for the lack of better term) of them (though I hear they can be exceptional family dog with proper training).

So, that leaves us with Rhodesian Ridgeback (they are even more energetic than a Doberman and are more destructive with separation anxiety - even as puppies), Boxer (brachio-cephalic - too much drooling) - as far as my limited knowledge goes. So, I really need some pointers here. Please.

"Calmer and less intense breed" - nothing comes to my mind other than a Labrador (which I am really not interested in). I look forward to your recommendation of other breeds in this category.

There is also one more thing to consider. The possibility of acquiring non-indigenous breeds (other than the most common like the ones mentioned above) has reduced drastically in my country over the last 2/3 years (as per the statistics I saw) - and even if they are available - are exorbitantly priced!

One more critical point I missed before was that - whatever the training those are involved will be solely done by me (taking advice from books, manuals and/or videos). The concept of a professional Dog training Institute is still an alien concept in my country or at least in the part where I reside.
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Old 05-25-2016, 10:30 AM
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In terms of a calmer and less intense breed, Labs are actually really crazy and energetic before they're about age 3. So that wouldn't even be one I'd recommend. There are hundreds of dog breeds out there, but the rarity of other breeds where you are might be difficult as you said. Have you considered getting a local breed? Or a Greyhound? They're large, somewhat intimidating looking dogs, but they're very calm and content to wait in your house when you work, and affectionate with their owners. And sometimes mixed breeds are the best. There's nothing inherently better about purebreds than mixed breeds.

The thing about dogs wanted for "protection" is that they can be dangerous if you don't know how to handle them. All dogs will protect their owners if necessary. I would also say you are right that dogs like Rottweilers and Ridgebacks are just not for a first time owner, and Ridgebacks need LOTS of exercise. So really I think you might be better off finding a dog that is large (because you want to feel safe), but has a calm, sweet disposition that will enable you to train it easily.
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Old 05-26-2016, 12:08 AM
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Dobermans are a high energy breed and while in its young years, it would need 2-3 MIN hours of exercise per day. And that is not just walking...it needs to run every day for a good chunk of that time. I honestly don't think that breed will fit in with your lifestyle and living situation.

Also, if you get a puppy, you will need to spend time taking your dog out to socialize and get it exposed to crowds, different people, noises, other dogs, etc. I know you wanted a guard dog, so socialization prevents a dog from growing up and protecting you from EVERYONE vs being able to differentiate between a nice stranger and someone who could harm you.

Mastiff breeds (like the Great Dane, English mastiff, bullmastiff) are generally lower energy, and may more readily fit into your schedule. Many people are intimidated by them on their size alone. But you don't want a dog that drools, so hmmm...

If you are away for 9+ hrs a day, you should find someone who can take the dog out during the day. Otherwise, see if there is a dog daycare in your area.
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Old 05-26-2016, 01:36 AM
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PS. I like the trainers that you have been reserarching on. Awesome that you are doing the research beforehand. Other good trainers to check out are Dr. Sophia Yin and Michael Ellis. Michael Ellis has some great videos on youtube.
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Old 05-26-2016, 05:44 PM
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I don't think being alone for 9-10 during the day and then another 6-8 hours when the owner is asleep are good conditions for any dog, but especially working breeds that are extremely handler-centric, like the Dobi or the Schäfi.
Dobis are pretty sensitive dogs, they need a reliable, gentle and present owner/handler.
Dobermänner need more exercise than one hour per day.
they need loads of mental and physical exercise and for the first 1-3 years (they're slow in growing up, like many bigger breeds) they do need much training, socialisation and attention.
that will cost you time.
I would also not advice you to get a dog breed that you're scared of. you need to be confident in handling the dog even if it is a pubescent, hormone-driven teenager arse-cookie that sits on its ears.

most first time owners are already overchallenged with a less sensitive breed even if they did their home work.
with a breed like this: if you make mistakes they can have pretty severe consequences.
things like protection and guarding drive sound awesome, but they need an owner that is able to handle this and manage, lead and train the dog so that it's not a danger for anyone else but the handler.
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Last edited by mathilda; 05-26-2016 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 05-28-2016, 07:33 PM
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I think it's great that you are putting so much thought into what kind of dog you are going to get and how it will fit into your lifestyle. I hope I can offer some help as somebody who owns two large, protective, high energy breed dogs. (Akita, AkitaxPitbull)

A Doberman may not be the best choice for you simply because of your schedule. There are not a lot of dogs who can truly thrive in an environment where they are left alone for that long. Unless you are willing to hire help, you are looking at an older dog or a very lazy breed (some toy/lapdog breeds, greyhound, gentle giant type) as the only dogs who will do well in that sort of schedule. That all changes, however, if you can afford a dog walker to stop by once or twice while you are at work. Keep in mind, a dog who is left by themselves for that long as a puppy will likely develope destructive behaviors- which would then cause you to have to crate them for the entire day, leading to different issues.

I am implying from your posts (correct me if I am wrong) that this is the first dog you have owned/raised on your own. If so, a Doberman is not the right choice for a first time owner. I do not say that lightly, as I believe that with enough research and commitment on the owners part, they will be able to successfully raise MOST breeds. However, Dobermans are working dogs who have not been "generalized" in the way that Rotties, some GSD lines, and Bully breeds have. Most Dobermans still have a high prey drive, LOTS of energy, high intelligence, and a penchant towards protectiveness and aloofness that can become dangerous in the wrong hands. Dobermans are right there with GSDs, Malinois, and Dutch Shepherds with their ability to become personal protection or police dogs.

I certainly understand your desire for a Dobie. They are georgeous, smart, and intelligent. I would love one as well, but I have my hands full with the 'keeters (my breed of choice). I would steer you towards something similar, but maybe a bit more "user friendly". If you are looking for protection as well as companionship and the ability to adapt to an athletic lifestyle, look into these breeds (or any mix of): Australian shepherd/cattle dog, Rhodisian Ridgeback, wiemaraner, standard poodle, dalmation, maybe Great Dane. A bully could be good for you (Pitbull, staffie, bull terrier) but look at the individual because some have TONS of energy. Stay away from Boxers, every single one I have met has been WILD. The best choices for you though, IMO would be either a Rottie or some kind of mastiff. A Rottie will give you that protection and loyalty that you want, while being a bit more low energy than a Dobie and generally friendlier. Mastiffs are usually pretty low energy (out of the entire range) and basically just low key, calm dogs, yet they have a protective instinct as well as looks that will deter anyone from any sort of shenanigans.

Finally, let me just put in a plug for a shelter dog. You can find a lot of breeds you want, as well as some mixes that can give you a wider variety of desirable traits. You can get the dog knowing what you are getting- whereas with a puppy, you won't have an idea of temperament until they are almost 2 years old. There are so many great rescues out there, even purebred rescues, that it seems like something to certainly consider that the perfect dog for you may not be from a breeder.
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Old 05-28-2016, 07:44 PM
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Besides the GSDs are even smarter and "equally susceptible to separation anxiety like a Doberman".
Owned numerous GSDs and never had an issue with separation anxiety perhaps I have been lucky?
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