Dogs that are assertive, independent, and sensitive are hard to train and manage for first-time owners.
We have to look for these traits in Dobermans.
Honestly, though, just the looks of the dog are intimidating enough to thwart perceived threats to whatever job they are assigned to.
So to answer whether they have the traits that Dogtime thinks make a dog not suited for first-time owners, yes, they have them.
Dobermans are not good for first-time owners because they don’t adapt to apartment life, they are sensitive, intolerant to loneliness, not a dog- or stranger-friendly, high shedders, prone to health risks, and very intelligent.
They are not suitable for first-time owners. Here’s why [Detailed]:
Is A Doberman A Good First Dog? Traits To Look Out For
It may be apparent now that these huge dogs are not suitable for first time owners.
Don’t take my word for it.
Let’s explore Dogtime’s Doberman characteristics scores to see why they don’t have what it takes to be a good doggo for first-time owners.
Not only do Dobermans fall under the “least suitable for first time owners” but there are many more breeds that are not recommended for novice owners:
- Alaskan Malamute
- German Shepherds
- Beagles, etc.
1. Adaption to apartment life
High-energy dogs don’t do well in apartment life. Dobermans are one of them.
You could argue that their gigantic size makes up all the reasons for that.
Yes, that’s true but the fact the dogs’ physical needs (⅘ score) outweigh your options of keeping them in a small apartment.
Dobermans as it seems are highly sensitive dogs. They will take your reprimand to their hearts.
As a new owner, you may find coping with their needs hard.
I do not recommend punishing the dogs at all. But even if you did because you’ve had enough, that won’t make them good boys.
Instead, they may develop other unlikable behaviors.
Also, before selecting this breed, the new owners should also consider their surrounding environment.
Noisy, packed, and unruly households or neighborhoods do not go well with Dobermans.
3. Loneliness tolerance
The dogs have a hard time staying alone, courtesy of their hound nature.
Hounds work in packs and when you become a part of them, it’s nearly impossible to let you go.
Even if you choose to leave them, they may develop separation-related behavioral problems.
As new owners, I don’t think you should be exposed to such things.
4. Dog Friendliness
This breed is highly territorial. That goes without mentioning how they take their jobs seriously enough to attack another dog if they find it threatening.
For new owners, that is surely hard to manage because dogs are everywhere.
Controlling a huge dog like a Doberman whenever a new dog approach gets hard for them.
I’d like you to reconsider your options.
5. Friendliness to other strangers
A well-socialized puppy will grow into a well-socialized adult. But some breeds don’t take that well.
They are as averse to the idea of having strangers around their houses in their adulthood as they are in their puppyhood.
Dobermans are one of them.
This K9 will bark its heart out and tell the strangers to stay away.
I had a client whose Doberman had a thing against passersby. He would climb up the window pane, bring his mouth forward, and start telling everyone that he wants them to stay away.
We had to correct his behavior several times for several weeks until we were sure that he was okay.
In doing so, we used positive reinforcement combined with a shock collar to get him to understand what we meant.
Gladly, he wasn’t as much of a pain in the ears as he was before.
6. High shedders
Living in apartments with high shedders is a nightmare for first time owners.
Breeds such as Dobermans shed all year around. There’s hair on the couch, your favorite loveseat, and before you know it, in your mouth.
Maintaining high shedders mean that you’ll have to de-shed them by using slicker brushes and whatnot.
Ask yourself, do you have time for brushing or grooming your dog once a week and sometimes even twice a week?
I’m not even counting the seasonal changes in their coats. That doubles the hair and so is your effort to do away with them regardless of the fact that Dobermans are easy to groom (5/5).
7. Potential health risks
You may have read the names: Wobbler’s syndrome, cardiomyopathy, hip dysplasia, osteosarcoma, and gastric torsion.
Well, you read them now.
They are some serious diseases that could put your dog through a lot. See for their signs in early puppyhood.
I recommend that you should do that even before bringing the pup home.
Some breeders have wreaked havoc with the blueprint of a breed. The careless manipulations have led to the degradation of their genetic material.
Thus, you see these dogs born with congenital diseases that may not even find a cure.
I highly recommend that you should thoroughly check and recheck the breed’s puppy, should you wish to adopt a Doberman after all.
8. Intelligent as hell
The intelligence level of a dog makes or breaks your effort to train them.
You can train them still; however, that may be akin to mounting Everest. It’s hard but still, very much doable.
Imagine what you’ll go through if you are to surmount the mountain for the first time.
Such is the intelligence of the dog. It will give you a tough time during training sessions.
Once trained, however, you’ll be more than happy with the results. The dog you’ll see will be different.
Let me share some frequently asked questions that clients normally ask about Dobermans’ behavior.
Do Dobermans Bite Their Owners?
Yes, they do. That bite may be just a nip or chew – what dogs do when play-biting. But on serious occasions, it could deliver a force of 306 PSI to the victim. You could have your bones shattered. That’s one of the many reasons why this breed isn’t for first-time owners. It may go out of its mind when not well trained and hurt them.
Are Dobermans Difficult Puppies?
Yes, they are. Normally puppies come into our control quite easily but you may have to work extra hard with Dobermans puppies. They are independent; they listen less; they nip, chew, and bite, and they could potentially try to run away.
Are Dobermans Recommended for First Time Owners? Conclusion
If you’re looking for a general answer, then I’d say don’t own a Doberman as your first dog. I’ve cited the reasons for that.
At the same time, they are easy to train. So, if you have access to valid training resources, you may as well bring one home.
The dog trainers, like us, know how to deal with difficult dogs.