There are few dogs that are used in as many different types of jobs as the Doberman Pinscher. These dogs have historically been used as police and military dogs, however the number of tasks they are proficient at, largely based on their outstanding and protective temperament combined with their intelligence, continues to increase.
In the dark days of World War l and World War ll, the Doberman Pinscher served in many different roles. They were used as sentry dogs, patrolling the parameters of encampments as well as in the control of war prisoners. While these dogs where often trained to run down escaping individuals, they were also very loyal and obedient to their handlers and were credited with pulling injured soldiers away from enemy fire in very dangerous situations. In addition to Doberman Pinscher as well as the Rottweiler and the German Shepherd Dog were also used as messengers, transporting documents and reports into areas where other types of communication were too difficult. They were also used to bring medical supplies onto the field of battle and their courage in this role highlighted the qualities of the breed.
The Doberman Pinscher is still used in the military in some areas today. They are typically more involved in search and rescue type activities but they are also still used on patrols and perimeter protection. In the military the Doberman Pinscher is considered to be a soldier just as his or her human counterparts are.
There are several different police departments that use Doberman Pinschers in a wide variety of capacities. In cold climates the dogs are not effective as patrol dogs since they are so prone to problems caused the prolonged exposure to the cold. Instead they are used in specialty types of services such as drug and bomb detection. The intelligence and athletic ability of the Doberman Pinscher makes them an ideal choice for this demanding type of work. They can be found in airports and at border crossings, checking vehicles, luggage and individuals for the possibility of importing drugs or other illegal materials.
Search and rescue squads also use Doberman Pinschers in their mix of dogs. Typically these organizations are less concerned with the types of dogs that they use rather than the ability of the dog to find injured or hurt people. In addition the Doberman Pinscher is an outstanding tracking dog that can be used to search based on a scent that the handler provides. Doberman Pinschers may also be trained as cadaver dogs, which is a highly specialized type of scent discrimination. These dogs are trained to search through areas for the presence of decomposing human remains, often allowing bodies to be recovered that would have never been found if humans were all that could be used for the search.
Not all Doberman Pinscher are involved in police, search and rescue and military work. There are a large number of Doberman Pinschers that are also used as assistance and guide dogs. These dogs are trained to help individuals with physical or visual impairments to live independent lives through the help of the dogs.
Training as either an assistance or guide dog begins at an early age. Puppies are typically fostered in a home with lots of children, other dogs and even cats and other pets. This provides the necessary early socialization to develop a well adjusted and calm type of personality. Doberman Pinschers that prove to be a challenge at this stage because of any type of dominance or possible early types of aggression are removed from the further training programs, but are still in high demand as companion pets.
From the foster home the Doberman Pinscher puppy is then entered into a fairly intensive obedience and training program. High levels of socialization are continued, with constant tests for temperament and behavior traits provided throughout the training. Assistance dogs will be taught how to stand to help their owners move, how to adjust to walking beside a wheel chair or other type of assistance device and even how to open drawers, bark at a ringing phone or pick up items that the owner drops.
Both guide dogs as well as assistance dogs also are trained in entering into public buildings, getting on airplanes and even how to help their owners onto a public bus or other types of transportation. This training is challenging regardless of the breed, and the Doberman Pinscher is well suited to the task.
The Doberman Pinscher also provides one other element to acting as a guide or assistance dog. Their natural instincts to protect can also provide their owners with an additional sense and level of security. As with all types of training and with all breeds, personality and temperament is a critical aspect of deciding if the dog is right for this type of job.
Another job that many Doberman Pinschers excel at is working as therapy dogs. Therapy dogs have to be both obedience trained as well as highly socialized and are used to visit people in hospitals, long term care facilities, nursing homes and hospices. The dogs are there to be a loving friend to the patients, and will give their undivided attention to each and every person that they spend time with. For some patients this is the true highlight of their week and a memory of all the pleasant times they have spent with beloved pets in the past.
Of course all Doberman Pinschers have a self-relegated job as protector of the family. This is a job that they donít have to be trained for, as they will naturally patrol and provide an alert if anyone strange approaches. For Doberman Pinschers that are trained as protection dogs or guard dogs, early training to teach controlled aggression is essential. Controlled aggression means that the dogs are not vicious or aggressive unless they are cued by the owner or handler. This type of controlled aggression is what makes the Doberman Pinscher an excellent breed for the demanding Schutzhund training. Although originally designed for German Shepherd Dogs in Germany entering the police force, it is now open to any breed. Unlike many of the working dog group the Doberman Pinscher has consistently achieved the Title 3 level, which is the most advanced level possible.