Doberman and child

ARMANI CODE z Padoku

ARMANI CODE z Padoku

 

A question about doberman and child. How would a doberman behave with a teenager that visits a divorced parent?

Q:

I am retired military with a lot of time on my hands. I have owned other breeds before, but never a Dobie. I have been thinking about purchasing a Doberman, but do have one concern. I have an 11 year old daughter who doesn’t live with me but does visit two to three times a year; 30-day summer visits and one holiday visit. My concern is how would the Dobie get along with daughter, having little opportunity to be around her. I wouldn’t want her to get up in the middle of the night for a bathroom visit, and be attacked by the Dobie. What to you think? Rick

A:

Hello Rick,
I think the concern is not about the breed. Dobermans have great personalities and intelligence (I’ve owned many dogs). They are super active and need to be challenged intellectually. Your concern should be how strong of a leader are you? Will you be a leader of the pack, or your dog will rule? And do you have time and willingness to keep up with your dog – regularly exercise (a tired dog is a happy dog), and intellectually challenge (play games that require them to think) even when your daughter is around?

I have 2 male European dobermans (not American Dobbies). I train them for Schutzhund – so they are challenged intellectually on a regular basis. I keep them with great discipline – regularly exercised (they love to chase a ball or play tag), consistent with the rules in the house (once something is forbidden – it’s always forbidden), they get dedicated time with me several times a week (takes care of jealousy), I teach them patience and acceptance (when I’m busy they have to accept to wait, be left alone), and the most important – I’m a very strong leader of our pack. I can’t stress that enough – you must be a strong leader if you want to have a strong dog such as doberman.

I few months ago my parents moved in with us. My dogs never met my parents before but understood that they are a part of my family now. My grandmother and her little male Chihuahua (Rosco) visit us once a month for a couple of days. We have no problems of my dogs accepting them as well. I was more worried about the Chihuahua – the dogs might want to establish hierarchy among themselves, but because of my strong leadership they all (including Chihuahua) accepted their place in my pack.

Friendly dobermans

Rosco likes to sleep in Argo’s bed when he visits, and Argo just lets him.

 

I don’t have children, but we have visitors with kids and there is no difference how my dogs interact with children or adult visitors.

An 11 year old won’t pull dog’s ears, poke him or provoke in any other way like a baby would, so I wouldn’t worry about that. I would establish the ground rules for both parties – your daughter and your dog. If you are a strong leader for your dog, I wouldn’t worry about incidents like you mentioned in your question. What you described could only happen if the dog is the leader, then he would be protective.

I would watch out for jealousy. Make sure to continue the established routine with your dog when your daughter first comes to visit. Do the same walks and games and include your daughter as well. That way they will get to know each other and your dog will learn that you are still his master and won’t neglect him because of your daughter. In worst case if your dog will get jealous it will be directed at you (again – if you are the leader). And that is usually displayed as misbehavior, not aggression (once again – if you are a strong leader and raise your dog under your leadership). My older dog got jealous when I brought home a puppy. My routine with him changed as I had to spend more time with the little one. To get my attention, my older dog chewed his bed, pooped on the carpet a couple of times, and got into a habit of whining – behaviors he never displayed before. I spent a couple of days alone with him and everything was back to normal.

Uncontrolled aggression in dogs is not breed determined on my opinion. I strongly believe it is owner’s fault or desire. Such aggression in dobermans is a hollywoodized misconception. They have a great prey drive, which is responsible for playfulness, chasing after the ball, and attacking a prey. How you direct that drive is up to you. The same is true about many other breeds. For example hunting or sporting dogs have prey drive as well. Mainly they bark or stalk it. Have you seen a spaniel or even a labrador barking at strangers? It is a drive for prey that was neglected by an owner. If this drive is re-directed – that dog carries a ball in his mouth all the time and ignores strangers.

Dogs, like people, have reasons that predetermine their behavior. There are must be reasons for a dog to attack someone. The most common reasons that I’ve seen are poor leadership (then the dog does whatever hits his mind), excess of energy (they become too pushy that might end with aggression), neglected jealousy (a chronically ignored dog will keep looking for a way to bring back attention of his master), possessiveness (a deviation of poor leadership, when a dog thinks he owns you and don’t let others near you), an accident (stepping on a dog, or screaming and running towards a dog will cause a dog to self defense).

Being a retired military guy, I think you know what discipline and strong leadership is and will know how to incorporate that into raising a dog.

Here is a link to the past litters of the kennel where I bought my dogs. If you click through you will find many photos of dobermans and kids. All the best~!

  One Reply to “Doberman and child”

  1. Valpekurs
    April 19, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Very well said! I agree… You must be a good leader of your pack. Build a good connection between the two of you because dogs can sense what people feel.

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