Dobermannzwinger von Raetia
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Thoughts on the
Training methods and characteristics of the Doberman in comparison to other breeds of working dogs are very similar in general though there are quite some differences in detail. While especially the German Shepherd and Malinois are presumed to be very willing to please, the Doberman is described as squirrelly and nervous.
One reason for this is, that quite often you can see that Dobermans are trained, handled and kept like Shepherds and by doing that the limits of these dogs are hit quickly, which leads to a totally wrong picture of this very compact breed of dogs. And even comparing German Shepherds to Malinois there are big differences in upbringing and training in my opinion, particularly when it comes to intensity and work pressure.
Comparing the Doberman to those two dogs, the disparity is much larger. While the upbringing as a puppy is the same in means of play, socialization, getting to know everything and building self-confidence, the Doberman needs close contact to his handler in this early stage and later as well. Keeping a Doberman in a kennel is therefore not advisable.
In the early stage of training of the young dog and later on as well, intensity of training has to dosed carefully to avoid overtraining and keep the dog willing and on a high performance. Overdoing training can quickly lead to loss of performance, overly hyper or dull behavior on the opposite.
Also in the matter of drive to prey there are large differences: a Doberman will usually tend towards the agitator when in a sportive conflict between agitator and prey. It is very important to consider this when training the dog in protection work. Especially in a young or beginning stage it is extremely important to teach the dog a correct and clear way of playing the game with agitator and prey.
I’d say the bond between a Doberman and his handler is not closer compared to other breeds, but it is more uncompromising. A Doberman is in a way dependent on his handler and having the close bond described above, the handler always comes first. This said, you can imagine how much impact mistakes and insecurities on the part of the handler will have on the dog in everyday life as well as in training and behavior in public. A Doberman has a very high ability of reading his handler’s agitations, feelings and weaknesses and will often try to balance, compensate or even exploit them.
That is what makes working with a Doberman so intense, amazing but sometimes difficult at the same time. It is not the characteristics themselves, as these are existent in all breeds of working dogs, it is their intensity and emphasis that make the difference.
There is a good reason that the Doberman has the reputation of being one of the best guard and protection dogs worldwide. His boundless willingness to work and sacrifice himself paired with his downright lovable basic nature makes the Doberman so unique.