Individual personalities of Doberman Pinschers are varied. Some are outgoing and friendly, others are shy and reserved. Some are dominant with other dogs and chase cats and small dogs, while others are social butterflies at the dog park and have been known to cuddle up with kittens for long naps. Regardless of the individual, all Dobermans are steadfast and loyal companions, true friends to the people they love. They are fearless in the face of danger and make excellent guard dogs, but contrary to popular opinion, they are not attack dogs. Their method of protection is to keep intruders at bay, pinning them to a wall or corner until backup arrives. Despite their reputation for viciousness, most Pinschers are big softies at heart who love the companionship of people.
Doberman Pinschers are large dogs with high energy levels and require a lot of exercise in order to avoid destructive behavior. Activities should vary, in order to keep them interested, as they are intelligent dogs who bore easily. They enjoy outdoor activity and will be happy to accompany people on walks, runs, hikes or bike rides. They were bred to work alongside people – acting as guard dogs, police dogs, military sentries, medical dogs and as part of search and rescue teams. This desire to work still remains, and they are at their best when learning new tasks.
This desire to be at “work” means this breed needs a lot of mental stimulation, as well. Agility competitions are excellent outlets for Pinschers to exercise and use their thinking abilities at the same time. This breed was not designed to be a lazy couch-dweller.
Indiscriminate breeding over the years has led to variable levels of trainability in Doberman Pinschers. Some take to training well and pick up new tasks easily and amiably, while others are stubborn and hard-headed. Regardless of the individual, all Doberman Pinschers should be trained with consistency, strong leadership and a firm, but gentle manner. They will shut down if treated harshly.
Once leadership is established, most Dobes take well to advanced training. Their desire to work alongside people, their ability to take direction well, and their menacing figure is what has made them excellent police dogs for many years.
Doberman Behavioral Traits
Over breeding has wreaked havoc on Doberman Pinsher’s bloodlines. Potential owners should research any breeder they are considering adopting from, as many lines have become neurotic. You can often find Doberman Pinschers chasing their tails in their cages, barking uncontrollably and suffering from severe anxiety. If adopting from a Pinscher Rescue, it is important to know the dog’s history or neurosis before bringing him home.
Because they love to work alongside people so much, Dobes are prone to separation anxiety which can be made worse if they don’t get enough activity. Their anxiety usually manifests itself in the form of bakring and destructive chewing. Dobes should never be tied up alone, outside. People who work long hours should not adopt a Doberman.
Socialization is important when raising a Doberman Pinscher. They are naturally protective of their home and people, but this can get out of hand if left unchecked. They should be taught that guests are welcome and that other dogs are not intruders to be chased away.