|Care & Training
Many Dobermann breeders recommend a lower protein puppy food (less than 28%) for the first months of puppyhood. Many also recommend raising the food dish off the floor to lessen neck strain while feeding. But concidering the time spent eating, you find it is only a small part of dog's activities, so that really isn't essential.
Aftercare of the Dobermann ear should only be done under the guidance of an experienced Dobermann vet/breeder/handler. It requires time and commitment on the part of the owner. The ears should be taped for 5 or 6 days, then untapped long enough to allow the ears to breathe and dry out, then taped back up again. The longer the ears are left untapped, the longer it will take for them to stand on their own (one night down - a week more to tape). Later, when the ears are already standing, you may leave them untaped until one ear starts to drop and then immediately tape them up again. By the time the pups permanent teeth come in (around 6 months), or before, they should be able to stand upright with no artificial support. Important things to remember when taping the ear:
- Check for odors (should not have a foul smell)
- Don't allow the ear become wet. If this should happen, rewrap with dry tape.
- Do not take the ears down and let the ears "hang" for any length of time.
- When the ear(s) fall -- put them right back up in the roll.
Nail care is best handled by grinding due to the dark color of the Dobermanns nail. With grinding you won't run the risk of cutting into the quick. Grinding should be started as early as possible and may need to be done weekly or bi-weekly when the nails are under control. If you turn the dog's foot over and look underneath the toenail you will "see" where the quick comes to the end of the nail (there is a little "v") and beyond that is the part that you want to grind down/off. Knowing/seeing where the quick stops and the nail begins will eliminate "quicking" the dog.
If grooming the nails of your Dobe resemble a wrestling match or it has become a traumatic event - please seek help from a Dobe breeder/handler.
You have three options for the proper care of your Dobermann's teeth:
Brush his/her teeth daily.
Periodically scale his/her teeth with a professional scaler to remove the build up of plaque and tartar. Place the flat, sharp side of the instrument against the tooth and scrape downward on the tooth. Make sure to start up under the gum and then scrape down. Most veterinarians are more than glad to show you exactly how to do this.
Make an appointment with your vet to have your Dobermann's teeth cleaned. Most veterinarians will anesthetize your dog to perform this procedure, so this is definitely the most risky option.
The Dobermann's coat should not require very much attention. Rubber brushes work well. Also, a quick brush with a wool sock works to get a great shine and put all those little hairs in just the proper place. Always wipe/brush *with* the growth of the coat. Bathing should be kept to a minimum, using a very mild shampoo and rinsing thoroughly.
Eye "goobers" (mucus build-up) are common in Dobes and should be wiped out daily. The color of the discharge should be gray. Yellow or green discharge signals an infection and your Dobe should see a vet.
The Dobermann is likely to be able to destroy most toys suitable for other breeds. One safe bet is a Kong toy (unfortunately they don't sell it in Estonia) which is fairly indestructible. Dobes also have a love of tennis balls but these should only be provided with supervision. There are known cases of Dobermans choking on tennis balls. Beware of products stating they can be "ingested" safely. This does not mean they can be digested successfully
Dobermanns need socialization, socialization, socialization. You should start with a basic obedience course and go on (if you like) even to Szhutzhund or IPO training. Your Dobermann is a very intelligent working dog and will love learning.
A Dobe is not a dog that does well outside. They are a people dog and do well in the same environment that you prefer. If you are too hot, so is your Dobe. If you are too cold, or don't like standing in the sun, you can bet your Dobe is uncomfortable too.
A fenced yard is a big plus but a Dobermann can do well in a small yard or even in an apartment as long as the owner realizes that the Dobermann loves (demands) exercise and must be willing to provide daily walks and or runs
Thanks to Lynn Petrangelo for allowing to use the materials from Doberworld-L on this page.