Raising a European Doberman Pinscher for the very first time
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I have always had a dog in my house growing up as a kid and my sister who was my closest relative that I lived by all of my life has always had a dog in her home as well. Today, she has 2 big dogs living in her home and her mother-in-law has 6 big dogs living in her home! So, needless to say we love dogs.
In my home growing up I always had a dog, but they were small little chihuahuas. When my wife and I bought our first house we decided we were going to get a big dog. At first, I was a bit nervous because I never raised a big dog, so I didn’t know what to expect as far as demeanor and behaviors. But, I saw it as a great way to grow and learn good leadership.
In deciding what dog we wanted to bring into the home, we came across the doberman breed and immediately fell in love. We have three little girls and our youngest daughter was only 1 years old at the time we were looking for a dog. So we wanted a dog that was protective, but also somewhat good with kids (although you can never really predict this). However, our big dog Asia is a delight and great with our children.
I want to share what it has been like raising a big dog for the past 4 years for the very first time. I believe experience is the best teacher in life.
Everything is magnified with a Big Dog
From the size of their poop, to the puddles of their pee, to their everyday behaviors, everything is magnified with a big dog. You think your chihuahuas bark is annoying? Wait till you have a doberman barking in your house because she wants to tell you something. Or ,when you thought that dog food is expensive for your Chihuahua, and now are going through huge mulch size bags of dog food and no matter how much food you feed a big dog they are never full. And not to mention when they get super excited and start sprinting down your hallway, only to turn around and sprint back towards you like a freight train and you fear for your kneecaps. My Chihuahua did this, but I never feared for my safety. These are a few things that I really never gave too much thought when I was considering getting a Doberman Pinscher.
Big Dogs Require Big Toys
This is something that I had to learn the hard way. Again, this is our first time raising a big dog. We just chose to go with a beast and didn’t even know what we were getting ourselves into. When you go to spend money on toys, make sure you buy some big, strong, durable toys. Because if not, the toys you just bought will become shreds within an hour after introducing them to your big dog. There are plenty of great options out there. Our favorite are the KONG Squeeze Stick, KONG Squeeze Tire, KONG Extreme Toy. Just make sure to read the description and look for strong chew toys.
Hire a Dog Trainer
While you can go online and learn all about dog training and it can be an effective approach, we decided to go with a professional K-9 training company. It was one of the best decisions we have made with our dog. We started around the time she was 6 months. We held our own training in the home prior, but it wasn’t until she was 6 months old that she received formal training. The dog trainer’s presence is why I recommend reaching out to one if you can afford it. Ours was a three month training, once a week, and it ran us just about $1,000. It’s expensive but looking back now 4 years later, it was totally worth the investment. Although Asia is very energetic, she’s still a well behaved dog thanks to her commands and training.
Big Dogs Need Exercise
We brought Asia home at 12 weeks old. She had big floppy ears and huge paws and wasn’t too coordinated. Even though she wasn’t too coordinated at her puppy stage, she has always been energetic. Like I mentioned, I have always had little dogs, so my little Chihuahua, I would let him into the back yard and just one lap for him was enough. With a big dog, this is no where near the case. Big dogs need exercise and plenty of it.
From experience, if you are interested in getting a big dog like a Doberman and you are not willing to go outside and spend time outdoors walking your dog, then you should reconsider your options. I learned this the hard way. In the beginning, I thought she was just bouncing off the walls because there was something wrong with her. It wasn’t until the trainer told me that she needs to be walked and not just around the back yard, she needs to go for a 20-30 minute daily walk and she needs exercise and stimuli for her mind. At our house we are active and like being out doors, so we began taking her on long walks and it has made all the difference in her behavior and energy levels.
Big Dogs Need Big Love
There are a few things that can be seen as “down sides” to having a big dog in comparison to a small dog. But I have to say that there is great upside to having one too. For starters, the love that you receive from your big dog is amazing and bountiful. The amount of love that your big dog requires is great too. All dogs need love and lots of it, after all, they give so much. A big dog requires big love. They are big but you are bigger, and they live based off of your touch and your body language. When you have a big dog, they want big hugs, big scratches and strong loving pats on their chests. One of the greatest experiences in owning a big dog is the love. It’s a much different feel than a small dog like a Chihuahua even though my Chihuahua is the best too.
From my personal experience raising a big dog and a doberman at that, is that a bigger dog tests you more. This is where the leadership comes in. Your dog needs to know that you are the leader in the pack. You don’t display this through disciplining or just yelling at your dog, you do this through patience. In being patient you will slowly gain your dogs respect. If you have to wait them out or have a staring contest because they choose not to sit before you open the front door, then you continue with the commands and body language until they give in and carry out their part of the relationship. With time your dog will get there. It’s through patience and love that loyalty and trust is built. Have patience!
Having a big dog is beneficial to your protection. Many people don’t want to cross into a yard where there is a Doberman Pinscher running loose, let alone get too close. This is one area where it pays to have a big dog. There really isn’t much a Chihuahua can do other than bark and maybe bite an ankle. Owning a big dog is a completely different territory when it comes to protection and that I believe is a big plus. Not only do you get big love but you also get big loyalty and protection.
If you are on the fence of owning a big dog and have never had the experience, I would say jump into it and grow. You will learn so much more about yourself and dogs. The experience alone is worth it, just know that with a big dog comes bigger responsibilities. Overall, we love our Doberman Pinscher and we are happy she is part of the family!