Guide to Raising Doberman Pinschers

by Joanna Ehlers
The Doberman pinscher was first bred as a companion to tax collector Louis Dobermann.

The Doberman pinscher was first bred as a companion to tax collector Louis Dobermann.

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The unerring loyalty of the Doberman pinscher has made him a favorite among canine enthusiasts worldwide. Fearless and determined yet sensitive and intelligent, the Doberman is a complicated canine whose only desire is to please his favorite person. Careful attention to a Doberman's diet, socialization and training can keep him happy and healthy from puppyhood through his golden years.

Feeding Right

A Doberman puppy deserves nothing but the highest quality food. High-quality dog foods list meat as the first and sometimes the second ingredients, and can be found at pet food stores or veterinarian's offices. Though premium food may be more costly than a lower-quality brand, it is highly digestible, which ensures that dogs absorb all the nutrients. To maintain the Doberman's slim frame, the Dog Channel recommends rationing the puppy's food and measuring carefully to avoid obesity, as excess weight can damage a young dog's joints. Active Doberman puppies will require a higher calorie content than adult dogs to support brain and body growth. As the dog ages, his dietary needs will change. Doberman owners can pay close attention to the dog's condition and alter his diet if needed with advice from a trusted veterinarian.

The Ears Have It

Traditionally, the Doberman's ears are cropped between 7 to 8 weeks of age. If you choose to do this, it is a surgical procedure that should be performed only by a veterinary professional specializing in ear cropping. Following the procedure, puppy ears are protected with a cup or rack. Sutures are removed from the ears seven days after surgery, but the cup must remain on the ear until it is fully healed to stand properly. Peroxide and BFI powder can be used to keep the ear edges clean and dry. Once the scabs from surgery have healed, the pup's ears can be taped. Puppy ears will stand on their own anywhere from 4 to 7 months if owners keep them taped. Taped ears should never have a foul odor and must be kept dry, according to the Doberman Club website.

Caring for Dobermans

Care of the Doberman's sleek coat is simple, requiring only a slicker brush or a hound glove once a week. A wet towel will suffice if these are not available. The Vet Street website recommends brushing a Doberman regularly and directly before giving him a bath to maintain a healthy coat and tidy home. A shampoo formulated specifically for dogs should be used at bath time. The Doberman's short coat and sensitive skin won't require frequent bathing unless the dog is filthy, and no more than once every three months. Dogs should be thoroughly rinsed after a bath. Dobermans can shake dry or be towel dried. For a healthy mouth and fresh breath, Doberman owners can brush their dog's teeth. Dobermans are sensitive to cold weather and may require extra protection while outside in the winter. A lightweight sweater or jacket can help keep pet Dobermans happy, healthy and dry when out for a wintertime romp in the snow.

Early Socialization and Training

The intelligent Doberman must be socialized from his first days among humans. He should be exposed to different situations and people for a well-rounded existence. They are possessive of their perceived territory, and must be taught to accept strangers. Puppies should be handled not only by their owners, but by strangers as well to encourage trust. Doberman owners can help their dogs by allowing them to see people coming to their home's front door and training them not to jump up at visitors, according to the Dog Channel. Owners of Doberman pinschers must act as firm but gentle leaders to gain their dog's trust and respect. Training begins the moment the puppy is brought home. Dobermans appreciate ritual and will gravitate to one person, so keeping a training regimen familiar will encourage the dog's cooperation, especially if it is performed alongside his favorite human. When trained fairly, Dobermans excel in agility, obedience and tracking. The Dog Channel asserts that training a Doberman is a lifelong pursuit that will help to hone the Doberman's protective traits while ensuring that he is consistently socialized.

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