By Anne Marie Monteiro
I recently acquired a Doberman puppy after having been puppyless for almost four years. My last puppy was a four-month-old Irish Red and White Setter, and I haven’t had a Doberman puppy for about 11 years. Having bred Dobermans for many years, and having owned a few setters, I can tell you that there is a world of difference in the training of a bird dog and a working dog. I just forgot how much of a difference there is.
The setter has her mind on birds, obviously. She is stubborn, very smart, and very focused on birds or anything that resembles them; which includes bumble bees, dragonflies, wind surfers, etc. She needed training, and a lot of it for anything else such as sit, stay, come, heel. She did learn all these things, but not without a ton of time and patience.
The Doberman is pretty much a self-starter. She learned the basics with no problem, as did most of my Dobies. One or two lessons and she has everything down pat. Then there is the training for which she was bred, namely protection. She needs absolutely no training in that category. It comes naturally. Let me give you some examples of how your Doberman will protect you without formal training.
Curtains: The Doberman knows instinctively that those insidious panels of lace that flutter in the slightest breeze will strangle his people without warning. They must be destroyed. Attacking them when nobody is watching seems to be the best approach. I learned this when my 9-month-old male presented me with the whole curtain, and rod, which he ripped down off my windows while I was at the store. How he got the rod, which was close to the top of my 8-foot ceilings, is beyond me, but he did and was very proud of it.
Rugs: These horrible inventions are just there to trip up the Doberman’s owners and need to be eliminated, piece by piece, thread by thread. I’ve lost a couple to over-protective Dobermans.
Linoleum: The odor from the glue just might poison the Doberman’s owners while they sleep. I had a friend who had a new floor put down only to find a 4-foot hole in the brand new floor when she came home from work the very next day. The dog started at the well-concealed seam, and worked his way out to get rid of the offending odor. Buy ceramic tiles, my friends, buy ceramic tiles.
Worm holes in wooden floors: If you own an older house, there are probably holes in the wooden floors that could catch a lady’s high heel. These too must go. The Doberman will work at the hole until it is large enough to be seen clearly and there will be no issue with catching your heel by surprise.
Soft, fluffy couches: Your Doberman will watch you as you come home from an exhausting day. She will see you sink into that lovely soft couch while you close your eyes. To her it seems like the couch is swallowing you up. This must not be allowed to happen. When you come home to feathers, or stuffing all over the house just remember she is protecting you from suffocating in all those pillows. Toss pillows are also considered dangerous and must be destroyed.
Shoes: These torturous contraptions wrap around the owner’s feet and prevent the Doberman from smelling one part of the human body they love the most. ALL SHOES MUST BE ELIMINATED! By the way, hide your undies as well, as they cover up the other most important part of the human body.
I hope this little bit of advice will help you on your journey to understanding your Doberman better. Good luck and happy training.