Doberman Puppies: The Ultimate Collection of Resources
Pick the right puppy, and raise your puppy to be an enjoyable, friendly, stable adult in line with breed standard. The weeks and months of puppy hood will set the stage for a happy life.
First things first, enjoy this virtual class on Doberman Puppies!
- Picking a Breeder or Rescue
- Bringing Puppy Home
- Training & Exercise
- Nutrition & Health
Picking a Breeder or Rescue
Picking the right breeder or rescue, and avoiding the use of Back Yard Breeders, is critical in ensuring you don’t support the abuse of our breed and that you get a Doberman that isn’t set up for failure.
- Download our Breeder Checklist to use when picking a breeder.
- Learn more about Back Yard Breeders.
- Check out our article with Phoenix Dog Magazine on picking the right rescue.
- Read why you should never adopt or buy two puppies from the same litter, or two puppies of the exact same age at the exact same time, in this article about Littermate Syndrome.
- Learn about the Doberman breed – it is not the breed for everyone.
- Consider joining your local DPC club and following your local rescue on social media.
- Learn why you should never buy an Albino/White Doberman puppy.
Want to know even more? Prima Dobermans has a great Puppy Buying guide and information on Puppy Evaluations.
Bringing Puppy Home
When you bring your puppy home at 8 weeks or older (no earlier!), they are going to be overwhelmed. You can focus on these three things:
- Decompression: The first step in setting your new puppy up for success is understanding that they need time to decompress. Their whole (short) world has been flipped ‘round and ‘round, and they are just so cute, our human nature is to snuggle on them, pick them up, and show them off. Puppies need to be handled, socialized, and exposed, so don’t confuse the decompression period with too much isolation. Puppies, especially puppies who are not shy, can often have a shorter decompression period than adult rescues. Even if your puppy has completed it’s vaccinations, be sure to take things slow.
- Allow the first week in the home to be quiet, stress free.
- Allow the puppy to come to you for affection – don’t smother it too much.
- Wait over a week until you introduce the puppy to large groups of neighbors, or take them to the pet store. Make this window longer if you have a shy puppy.
- If you have other pets, be sure the puppy gets crated breaks to nap, away from the other pets. Even if you do not have other pets, puppies should get used to decompression time in their crate throughout the day. The crate is a GOOD thing.
- Slow Introduction to other animals: Take it slow: give your resident pets time to get used to a new puppy’s smells before you let them meet. Then, give them plenty of breaks.
- The Rule of 7: Do you want to avoid having a puppy who is afraid of thunderstorms, men with beards, or slippery floors? Focus on the Rule of 7 right when you get them home!
- Focus on the importance of Crate Training! It is one of the kindest things you can do for your puppy.
- Start potty training.
Focus on reading up and learning all you can here! Socialization is often not what people think, and getting it right can be the difference between an adult with issues and a stable adult! Socialization is not about as many experiences as you can give to your puppy. It is about regular, controlled, only positive experiences. Break socialization into small pieces. When you do introduce your puppy to a new person, dog, or experience, make sure there are treats, that it is very positive, and that you go super slow. You should not allow people or other dogs to rush up to your puppy all a sudden. Here are some great socialization resources:
Training, Enrichment & Exercise
After you master the concepts of socialization, you can focus on enrichment and exercise for your puppy!
- It is never too early to start training your puppy. Clicker training can be an awesome way to start. Before you start working with a trainer, we highly recommend learning about LIMA principles. This ensures that you pick the right method for your dog, and don’t get too aversive too soon. If you do that, you have nowhere left to go, and no relationship with your pup.
- In addition to the basics, work on impulse control with your puppy. You can also read about the 3 Exercises for the Well-Mannered Dog.
- Understand that as your puppy grows, there are many exercises that they should not do until a certain age.
- Consider joining a Facebook group for Brain Games ideas. Brain Games often burn more energy than an hour walk.
- Again, avoid dog parks, but check out alternative ideas.
- Work on confidence games like Touch and Tricks.
- If you start leash training the right way from the beginning, you will have less issues correcting bad leash behaviors! Check out these tips before you ever put a leash on your puppy’s neck.
As your Doberman grows, put him or her to work! It is what Dobermans were bred for, after all. Learn about our Dobersports program, which includes free and discounted classes all year long. Join our Dobersports group to interact with other owners and see announcements of classes in Arizona.
Subscribe to DHDR’s email list for community events and sports.
Nutrition & Health
The great dog food debate! To cover the basics:
- Use Dog Food Advisor to check the food you are feeding. No matter which food you choose, puppies need a unique type of food until they are adults (just like babies eat baby food first).
- Follow the instructions that come with your food; most puppies are fed 3-4 times per day until they are about 14 weeks old. Learn why you should never free feed.
- Many people prefer to use stainless steel bowls to avoid puppy acne, and some people use slow feeder bowls (found on Amazon or at the pet store) for puppies that may eat kibble too fast.
- Immediately upon getting your puppy, consult with your veterinarian on which shots your puppy needs at which times. Puppies are extremely susceptible to deadly illnesses, so it is important to get up to speed on their needs right away. Adult Dobermans should see the vet at least once per year, even if they seem healthy. The majority of Dobermans see the vet more often as they are a high maintenance breed.
- If you have any questions about Grain Free, Raw Fed, or more detailed nutritional considerations, please email us!
Doberman puppies are not easy, but sometimes you have a puppy whose issues extend the normal challenges. We highly recommend working with a professional trainer. Reach out to DHDR for training resources. You can also check out these resources:
- How to deal with excessive mouthing and biting (or handling intolerance)
- Another good article on young puppy mouthing and biting.
- Resource Guarding (growling or guarding food, toys, people, etc)
- Is your puppy shy? Does it run away from people? Regularly hide under things, shake, or seem scared? Learn about working with shy puppies and bringing out their confidence in the right ways.