Acquired: Breeder (professional)
New Jersey, United States
Posted February 25, 2014
I really do believe that the Doberman is one of the most misunderstood of all breeds, even more than the Pit is today. I've lived with them, three at one point and can safely say that Dobermans turn out the way they're raised and trained. They are not crazy or erratic, do not 'turn on their owners' or any of the other myths that surround the breed. Someone even told me that they 'go crazy' because their brains are so big---NOT true, none of it is.
The one thing that does seem to be inherent with Dobermans is that they are 'one-person dogs', meaning that while they are very family oriented and loyal to the entire family (especially children), they ultimately answer to the one person they bond most closely with. This is not to say that they won't obey anyone else, but it is a pack hierarchy situation. Given a choice of three people in a household, only the one considered the 'alpha' will get a response from the dog. If that person is absent, the dog answers to the next in line, in his/her perception.
They are wonderful with children, and very protective of them. They literally see themselves as part of the family. They are incredibly intelligent, and train very easily.
The first Doberman I lived with was 'Sir', my older brother's dog who came from a breeder and received obedience and guard dog training. He was a beautiful red Doberman and huge, closer to a Great Dane in height. He was so well trained and had such a sharp mind and great disposition that you would never know he had guard dog training until it was necessary. All you saw was a friendly, active and affectionate gentle giant. We walked many miles together, and he never once bolted at anyone or anything; he was a pleasure to be with.
The training is better explained by this story than I could do on my own: My brother was a stock car racer and took Sir with him on the road. One day at the track, his wife went with him. She had fallen asleep in the front of the truck while my brother was busy, and Sir was lying down next to her. A man decided to stick his hand into the open window to steal something, and didn't see the dog. The next thing he knew, something clamped down on his wrist and wouldn't let go. He screamed and tried to get away, but the vise holding his wrist was not budging. There was no growling, no snarling or shaking by the dog; he just held on until someone called security and removed him. That is quality training in action.