Adoption Process

Apply to Adopt Today!

We can’t wait to match you with a Doberman Pinscher who fits your family and lifestyle! Apply now, and review our intake, application, and matchmaking process for adoption below. Be sure to also review the Do I Qualify page.

*Please email if you’d like a word or PDF version of our application via email or mail. Word or PDF applications will be delayed in processing as they have to be manually entered into our system.

Our goal is to place fundamentally sound Dobermans in loving homes that fit their personalities. This begins with our intake process:

  • We work closely with shelter staff or the surrendering owner to obtain history and medical records.
  • Our certified evaluators complete behavior/temperament assessments.
  • We do not take in any Doberman with a known history of bites, aggression or dangerous behavior issues.
  • We provide all our Dobermans with an extensive medical intake exam.
  • Our Dobermans live in a foster home for a minimum of two weeks. There, our volunteers can observe behavior, temperament, and habits. This allows us to understand each Doberman’s needs and quirks to ensure a successful placement. Our intake process is patient and thorough to promote the best possible outcomes.

Our application process exists to ensure that the people who adopt from us are qualified and committed adopters, and get a match that works best for them. Our objective is to find each Doberman a loving, safe, and secure forever home that is well suited to his or her unique disposition, habits, and needs. To achieve that objective, we ask our adopters to participate actively in the process by honestly, frankly, and candidly representing their expectations, wishes, limitations, and lifestyle.

  • To adopt a Desert Harbor Doberman, first you must fill out our online application. Be sure you’ve checked out the Do I Qualify page first.
  • Next, we schedule a phone interview to learn more about you and answer any questions you have about us and our processes.
  • After the phone interview, we visit your family at your home at a mutually convenient time. (TEMPORARY UPDATE: Due to COVID-19, DHDR has discontinued in-person home visits. We now take a flexible approach, often doing home visits via video chat. More information will be provided during the application process.)
  • Once you’re approved, our matchmaker will work with you to help find the Doberman who is right for you.

Finding the right Doberman can happen immediately, or it can take some time. Patience always pays off. We recommend starting the application even if you do not have a specific Doberman in mind. Looking for a young puppy? This is especially important as we often have a puppy waiting list. Scroll to the bottom of this page to learn how the puppy waiting list process is a bit different.

Once you have been approved the process of finding the right Doberman really begins.

  • After you and our matchmaker have selected a Doberman you want to meet, we will work with you to arrange for a meet and greet. This will take place on “neutral” ground, and must include everyone who lives in your home, including current resident dogs. This first meeting could set the tone for their continuing relationship.
  • Then both you and Desert Harbor “sleep on it.” To ensure that the right decision is made, we ask that you think carefully about your decision regarding this specific Doberman. If it is not the right fit, then simply let our matchmaker know and they will continue working to find the right fit. If it is, then we move on to the adoption!
  • If the adoption’s a go – We ask you to sign our adoption contract and request an adoption fee based on the Doberman’s age, health, condition, etc. Our fee ranges from $150 – $450, and helps us offset the cost of your pet’s extensive vet intake exam. Not one cent is profit.
  • There may likely be a training requirement built into your contract.
  • You have 30 days from the date you sign your contract to return your Doberman for a full refund. This trial period gives you and your Doberman time to adjust.  If for any reason the placement isn’t working, you can return your Doberman to us.
  • We will always accept our Dobermans on return. However, if you decide to return your rescue after 30 days, there will be no refund. The money will have been spent on the next Doberman in the line.
  • We make no guarantees, implied or explicit, about our Dobermans; when you sign our contract, you waive and indemnify us against all liability claims.
  • It is the nature of rescue that we cannot know our Dobermans’ pasts in exacting detail. We will disclose everything we know to you up front, including any history, documentation, medical records, and information we have observed. We want to make sure you know as much as we do because we want the Doberman you adopt to fit your home for life.

After you have adopted, we are here to support you. Our Post Adoption Counselor will check in with you, and we offer a variety of resources and classes.

What are you waiting for? Get started now! Curious if you qualify? Learn more about qualifying factors here. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Special Note: Puppy Waiting List
Whether you are looking for a puppy, or have young children and only qualify for a puppy, you can complete the same online application included at the top of this page! Once we get your application, we will add you to the waiting list. When a puppy match becomes available, we will then contact you to complete the phone interview and home visit portions of our process. We are never sure when a puppy may come in. It could be many months, or tomorrow we could get in a litter of 10. Please review the Support & Requirements that come with adopting a puppy from DHDR.