With the very undeserved reputation as a vicious and highly aggressive dog, the Doberman Pinscher has a lot of obstacles to overcome about misinformation about the temperament and traits of this breed. A well socialized, well bred and well trained Doberman Pinscher is a loyal and very affectionate companion dog, a playful dog and also a very loving dog. They are, however, highly protective, able to show aggression in the face of possible danger and fearless and courageous when it comes to defending their family and their property. They are typically wonderful with children and seem to know how to be gentle and careful around kids, particularly when raised in a household with children.
Understanding the Doberman Pinscher and knowing how to work with a dominant and intelligent breed is the very first step in working with the Doberman. The human has to assume and maintain the role as the alpha leader in the family, which all starts with obedience training and positive types of training. The Doberman Pinscher is not a dog that responds well to punishment and it can actually cause more aggression and more timid behaviors which will eventually result in aggression if the dog feels threatened.
Starting out from the beginning with the human as the alpha leader is critical with this breed. Puppies are less dominant that older dogs, so forming the relationship early with all members of the household is important. Kids as well as adults should be consistent in training the Doberman Pinscher and take turns working with the puppy after he or she has mastered the commands. A Doberman Pinscher will enjoy petting and praise almost as much as a food treat and they love to interact with people. This is a great way to bond with the dog and to provide the foundations of a livelong positive interaction. Often a Doberman Pinscher will bond very closely with one member of the family, often the primary person that spends time with the dog, however they are very friendly with all other family members. This is different than some breeds that bond completely with one person and basically ignore others or simply tolerate their presence.
The Doberman Pinscher is considered to be one of the most intelligent dogs for learning new commands regardless of which ranking system you use. Typically they fall in the top five to 10 breeds in the world for learning new commands. Most Doberman Pinschers will learn a new command with 95% accuracy with less than 5 repetitions. This high level of learning and natural intelligence can also complicate training if different commands or different methods of teaching are used. Consistency in every step of training is essential.
The Doberman Pinscher is a dog that has lots of strength and athletic ability. They will need to have a space and time to run and play in order to settle down to serious training routines. Including small breaks and games in training also helps to keep these dogs interested as high repetitive routines are boring for the breed as a whole. They love to be challenged and are great problem solves. Games of hide and seek or retrieving hidden objects are mentally and physically challenging for these dogs.
The Doberman Pinscher is moderately high on the list of dog aggressive breeds however this is minimized with routine socialization. Socialization should start as soon as the Doberman Pinscher has completed his or her final set of puppy vaccinations and this is typically at about the 3 month stage. Puppy obedience classes or routine trips to a dog park or walking and playing with other dogs are ideal. Any signs of attempting to dominant other dogs, especially other dogs in the household, should be corrected by isolating the Doberman Pinscher and then supervising the reintroduction. Some Doberman Pinschers will simply remain more dog aggressive and therefore should not be allowed to run in off-leash areas. Cats and some Doberman Pinschers can live in the same house if the Doberman Pinscher is raised from a puppy with the cat. Cats that wander into the Doberman Pinschers space or yard that are not family pets will typically be chased and, if caught, they can easily be killed by the dog.
The Doberman Pinscher will patrol the yard when outdoors and will keep all other animals and people off the property. Most are not problem barkers but will sound the alarm if they feel things are out of place or someone is approaching. It is important to teach the Doberman Pinscher a stop command for barking as well as to remain seated if you are talking to the individual that is visiting or approaching. This will not only help you to control the dog but it will also prevent the person from becoming frightened unnecessarily.
The Doberman Pinscher is a very clean pet and will naturally lick and self-groom. Their short coat does shed moderately throughout the year but with their love of attention a quick brushing each day is never a problem. The Doberman Pinscher also is a playful dog and will typically have his or her favorite toys to play with. Many Doberman Pinschers keep their toys in a group and will be able to learn the names of each, allowing for selective retrieving, a trick that will amaze your friends.
Although the Doberman Pinscher is a naturally energetic dog they are also very relaxed indoors. Some may be prone to weight gain in their later adult years and food intake should be carefully monitored. All Doberman Pinschers have a very low tolerance for extended periods of time in the cold, although they love to run and play in the snow. Short periods outside in cold weather are acceptable but these dogs do need to be indoors rather than outside. The Doberman Pinscher can tolerate hot weather very well but, as with any dog, should only be exercised in the coolest parts of the summer days.
A well trained and socialized Doberman Pinscher is a pleasure to be around. While they are playful and affectionate to their family they still are a true working breed and need to feel that they have a family job to do. For most Doberman Pinschers this is the protective role they naturally have the instincts for, making them a great choice for many families.