By Daniel “the Doorman” as told to his owner
Hello! My name is Daniel Riley and I was adopted from Doberman Rescue of Nebraska in March 2006. I joined two beautiful females in my new family. Audrey Hepburn is on my left and Grace Kelly, aka Gracie, is on my right. I’m the handsome guy in the middle but I think you would agree that my two sisters are gorgeous.
I love my new family and feel very lucky to be with them but there are many others like me who want a good family to take them in. Will you be the one to adopt a friend of mine or help them to find a home?
Here are some things you might want to think about before you adopt a Doberman and some questions you might want to ask yourself. I am not up for adoption but I am answering these questions for my friends so I answer in the first person.
Why Do I Want a Dog?
Please do not take one of my kind home just because you feel you need protection. Dobermans were originally bred to be protectors but we want a family where we are a part of the family and are not just there to protect. If someone tries to bring harm to you or your family most of my canine friends will defend their owners or homes but not all of us are good at it, not even those who were traditionally used for such purposes. As a working-class dog I want to be a part of your life not just your security system.
Why A Doberman?
We Dobermans are not for everyone. We are very intelligent dogs and learn quickly but we need owners who are willing to work with us and stimulate our intellect. We don’t generally like to sit around all day with nothing to do. We like to be active and be a part of your life. We like regular exercise and excel in obedience training and agility plus many other things. Because of our short coats, we are not well insulated so we don’t like to stay outside for long periods of time in the cold and the heat can be hard on us too. We need to live primarily indoors but love to go outside with you for walks and other forms of exercise. We do best with a fence so we don’t get carried away and forget where our territory ends and the great unknown begins!
When we are young we need owners who know how to handle us properly, who can be firm but not harsh. Owners who will show us how to live in the world of people.
What Do You Expect From Me?
Although I am intelligent I was born a canine and still am one. I cannot move into your home and read your mind to know what your rules are and exactly what you want me to do. Unless you work with me I will make my own rules and those may not agree with yours.
If you will take the time to train me I will reward you for life. I will not be 100% trained overnight! People take years to raise their children and train them up in the ways of the world but often expect perfection of their canine family members immediately. This is not realistic. Training me to be a good dog and forming our relationship takes time. Learning how to communicate with me in a language I can understand takes time, but when we connect you will feel satisfaction and reward beyond anything I can explain here.
So, if you are a person who expects to take home a dog, any dog, and expect that we will just know what to do and you have no patience or time to deal with forging a communication and relationship, then owning a Doberman, or any dog really is not for you. Adopt a goldfish!
What Is Your Personality?
Are you patient and have the time to train? I will do everything I can to please you. If you are impatient and won’t take the time, I will still try to please you. It is my nature to please you. It is not my nature though to read minds. If you yell at me every time I don’t understand your rules and don’t show me the ropes we will be doomed forever to misunderstanding one another. Please just show me what it is you want from me. If you aren’t sure how to tell me there are plenty of obedience schools available to help you. People really do very well in obedience class. I know many dogs who can attest to that.
Occasionally issues may come up where you feel like I am bossing you. Please remember that we dogs are pack animals. You need to assume leadership of the pack and if you don’t we will try. You must be the leader, teach and enforce the rules. There is plenty of back up in wonderful trainers to help you work through any situation that may come up. Please just ask for help and have the patience and we should work it out as smoothly as possible.
Do You Have Time?
Does your job require you to travel a lot? If so, what will you do with me when that occurs? Do you have a babysitter lined up? I can’t be left alone for days. I need someone to feed me and take me outside to go to the bathroom while you are away. If you travel often or that is a future possibility you really need to think about that. You can still adopt me. I will wait for you to come home and I will like my babysitter, but never as much as you! Just as you would not leave a child without a babysitter or give up a child just because you travel you must think of a dog in the same way and plan ahead.
If moving could be in your future there are plenty of places that will accept dogs but again, you need to think things out before you adopt one of us. It is very hard to have a happy home and then be given up.
Also, if you have children, figure out how we can all live together safely and harmoniously. Dobermans are good family dogs but small children can be unnerving to a lot of us dogs. They make loud strange noises and move quickly and sometimes hurt us without meaning to. Again, a little forethought on your part will help these things to transition smoothly.
What Is Your Lifestyle?
Are you active or do you like to come home from work and sit in front of the computer or the TV? I am not against computers or television but I will need exercise before you sit down for the night and then I am more than happy to be there with you as long as you give me affection while you are sitting. Dobermans love the companionship of their humans. We crave our time with you and need to know we are loved. We do shed. Most dogs do. If you don’t like dog hair and that really cramps your style you should maybe consider adopting something without hair.
Can You Afford a Dog?
I really have no concept of what things cost. Dogs have no use for money but it does cost money to own one of us. The cost of dog food is one element. I don’t eat that much but my food will still cost you money. I also get goodies to snack on just like you do. I will need veterinary care at least once a year for my shots and it’s always best to plan for emergencies and contingencies. Sometimes we get sick or wounded and need to see our doctor. Sometimes we develop health issues like a low thyroid and need daily medicines.
As we age we usually need more medical care just like humans do. Please don’t get one of us, keep us until we are old and then discard us because you don’t want to deal with the aging aspects. We live for approximately 10-12 years so plan on a long commitment. You won’t be disappointed.
What Do Dobermans Like To Do?
Just as all people are not the same, neither are dogs. Generally, we are working dogs so we like to have something to do for parts of our day. Almost all of us love to go for long walks or runs with you and many of us are all too happy to snuggle with you afterward.
My sister Audrey liked to be an ambassador of our breed and her favorite thing to do was to greet the public and kiss everyone, while sister Gracie loves to play ball and run and run. I like to greet my public and run when I can and play with Gracie. Sometimes we get pretty rowdy. We like to jump off of furniture and box and chew on each other. Our humans understand that this is how dogs play although they don’t understand why it is fun.
We like to have good things to chew on, like Nylabones, and Kong Toys and those puzzle toys where we have to figure out how to get smaller toys out of a bigger one are really great for our intellect.
We also enjoy doing our part to help around the house. We watch our humans paint and wallpaper and clean and encourage them when they get frustrated. We always make sure to put a nose print on the doors and mirrors to remind our humans to wipe them off once in a while.
Please note that we have no opposable thumbs so we can’t do any kind of housework that requires such things. We will, however, try to be good when you pick up our toys so you can vacuum and wait until you are finished before dragging them all back out again.
Most of us love people and love to be admired. We especially love our humans that adopt us. We are very loyal, want to please them, and live to be with them. Some of us don’t say a lot and others like to talk to our owners. Our owners and families are our life.
Now, if you have taken the time to go over these questions and still think a Doberman is for you, the folks at Doberman Rescue of Nebraska would love to hear from you. If you can’t take one of us for life but can help out as a temporary foster home they would love to hear from you too. Good luck!
About the Author: Daniel is a 20-month-old Fawn colored Doberman who came to live with his forever family last March. He was shy at first but quickly made himself at home in a household that knew his breed well. He was very sad when he lost his big sister Audrey May 22nd at the grand old age of 13 but continues her legacy by being a good ambassador for his breed and going out to greet the public the way she taught him. His favorite past times include vigorous play with older sister Gracie, long walks, throwing toys into the air and taking time each day to look at the world upside-down. Daniel is especially fascinated by doors and likes to open and close the interior doors of his home although he is still learning how to get out when he shuts himself into a room. He and his sister(s) are currently being memorialized in stories written by one of their humans and since they know this they are working extra hard to come up with story material.
The original title of this article was GETTING READY FOR YOUR RESCUE DOBERMAN.