As a Doberman owner, you may be concerned that your dog is aggressive.
You may have already been told by others that they are afraid of your dog or that they think it is dangerous around children and strangers. These opinions can make you feel bad about yourself as a pet owner.
Today we’ll help clear up some common misconceptions about Doberman and provide helpful tips on managing aggression in Dobermans. We’ll also talk about making your dog less aggressive and give some advice on whether Dobermans are a good family dog.
Let’s start by getting right to the answer to the question…
Are Dobermans Aggressive?
Dobermans are often considered dangerous due to their size and appearance. However, they make excellent pets and formidable guard dogs.
A poorly trained, socialised, and/or abused Doberman may become aggressive. Understanding your Doberman’s genetics will ensure that its aggression does not become a problem.
Although male and female Dobermans are more aggressive than other dog breeds, female Dobermans are more likely to show aggression.
Male Dobermans are generally more affectionate. They are also more tolerant of strangers in public and more likely to run and play with someone new than females.
Because male Dobermans are generally more tolerant, they often make better family pets than female Dobermans.
What Can Make a Doberman Aggressive?
Dobermans are usually calm dogs. They are not particularly friendly with strangers or other animals. However, certain situations can make a Doberman aggressive. Some common triggers include:
Fearful or Anxious Temperament
Doberman Pinschers are born with instincts to protect their territory. They are highly territorial animals.
A Doberman may become aggressive if he feels threatened on his home turf. If your dog is afraid of people, events, or other pets in the area of his home or yard, he may feel that he needs to protect himself aggressively.
Dobermans can be easily made anxious. The sight of another dog, person, or unfamiliar noise is enough to make many Dobermans uncomfortable. Fearful dogs may lash out at other animals and people to protect themselves from the perceived danger.
Excessive or Sudden Energy
Dobermans are naturally energetic. They have powerful legs, making them excellent sprinters. However, they are not particularly active dogs compared to other working breeds like Border Collies and German Shepherds.
Dobermans need a steady amount of exercise to remain healthy. If an unfamiliar noise spooks your dog, he cannot use that energy to play or run around. He may redirect his energy towards a more familiar person or animal aggressively.
Anxiety and a sudden release of energy can come together to create a dangerous situation for your dog and those around him.
Dobermans are very complex animals. They have a wide range of behaviours that can be considered normal, and they also vary significantly in intelligence and the ability to learn new behaviour.
Some Dobermans quickly pick up new tricks and skills, while others struggle for years.
Not all Doberman Pinschers are the same. Some Dobermans will try to please you and learn new tricks, while others may interpret what you want as a threat and become aggressive in response.
Unstable temperaments can make aggression more likely because it is difficult to predict how your dog will respond to different situations.
Genetics and Hereditary Factors
Dobermans can inherit aggressive tendencies from their parents. If both parents are aggressive, the offspring will likely be more aggressive than other dogs.
It is not always easy to determine if your Doberman has inherited aggression. It often shows up as fear or anxiety in response to a trigger.
Abuse and Mistreatment
A dog that is abused may become aggressive towards people or other animals.
Mistreated dogs often subtly show their aggression, redirecting it toward anything they perceive as a threat instead of the animal or person responsible for the abuse.
Dobermans who have been abused will often not enjoy being around people or other animals. They may even become aggressive towards those they know and attempt to protect themselves from the threat of abuse again.
A History of Abuse
Dobermans who were abused as puppies may become more aggressive than other dogs. Dogs learn right from wrong by the way you treat them.
If you punish your Doberman puppy for acting aggressively, he will likely become more aggressive with time.
Because of their size and strength, an adult Doberman can easily injure another dog or person. If you are not careful, your Doberman may lash out when he feels threatened.
Dobermans need extensive socialisation as puppies. This means exposing your dog to a wide variety of sights and sounds so that he can learn to be comfortable around these events and people.
If you do not socialise your Doberman puppy, he may become anxious and lash out to protect himself from the threat of the unknown.
Many Dobermans who are not properly socialised show their aggression in subtle ways, like cowering when approached by people or other animals.
If you do not provide ample mental and physical stimulation to your puppy, they may become more aggressive later on in life. Not providing an outlet for training and mental stimulation can cause your Doberman to act out aggressively.
Dobermans are naturally suspicious of strangers. If you do not socialise your dog with a wide variety of people, it may become aggressive around those he does not know.
How to Prevent Aggression in Dobermans
If your Doberman exhibits any signs of aggression, there are several steps you can take to prevent the situation from escalating:
Be Patient and Consistent in Your Training Methods
You want to be consistent with your dog training practices. If your dog misbehaves in one situation, correct them. You need to be calm and assertive when you correct your dog. If you are nervous, he will pick up on it and become agitated.
Learn More About Your Dog’s Temperament
If you have a Doberman, learn all you can about their temperaments. If your dog is prone to anxiety, make sure your training practices are not too harsh.
You want to be firm with your training methods but avoid doing anything that would cause your dog to lash out.
Avoid Punishing Your Dog for Acting Aggressively
It can be challenging to determine if your Doberman has inherited an aggressive temperament. If you punish your dog for showing signs of aggression, it may become even more aggressive.
Give Your Doberman Exercise and Mental Stimulation Regularly
Dobermans need exercise and mental stimulation every day. This will help keep your dog healthy and de-stressed. If your dog becomes agitated, exercising and giving him something to focus on can help you diffuse the situation.
Give Your Dog Plenty of Attention
Your Doberman needs your attention every day. This can help establish a bond between the two of you and provide him with the mental stimulation he needs.
If you do not give your dog plenty of attention, he may become aggressive toward people or other animals in an attempt to fill his need for attention.
Determine What is Making Your Doberman Uncomfortable
Some Dobermans become aggressive because they are uncomfortable in a certain situation. If you can determine what is making your Doberman uncomfortable, you may avoid the situation in the future.
For instance, if your dog becomes aggressive when leashed, you will need to leash him less often. If your dog is constantly anxious around groups of people or other animals, you should give him more mental stimulation and provide him with a way to work out his energy.
Socialise your Doberman Extensively
If you do not socialise your Doberman with a wide variety of people, sights, sounds, and smells, he may become aggressive around those he does not know. Make sure everyone who interacts with your dog has some kind of training in positive reinforcement training.
If you are careful to socialise your Doberman extensively at a young age, he will grow to be more tolerant of people, animals, and situations.
Take Your Doberman to the Veterinarian
Your Doberman should see his veterinarian regularly. If your dog is aggressive, it might be because he is in pain or unwell. A visit to the veterinarian can help you determine if your dog requires treatment for an illness or injury.
If you take your Doberman to the vet and nothing is wrong, you should continue to take him for regular check-ups. Dobermans are prone to developing health problems, and you should stay on top of them to keep your dog healthy.
Are Dobermans a Good Family Dog?
Dobermans are highly intelligent and very loyal. They make good family dogs, particularly with responsible children who can handle them properly.
Related: Are Dobermans Good With Kids?
It is important to know your dog’s temperament and be careful when training them. If you are not sure how your Doberman will react in a situation, avoid it until you have a better idea of his behaviour.
Dobermans are also friendly with other animals, especially when socialised from a young age. If you own another animal, your Doberman should get along with it.
Dobermans are a good family dog, but you must be careful in your interactions with them. If you have a Doberman and would like to learn more, contact your veterinarian for advice on training and socialisation.
The Bottom Line
Dobermans are not as aggressive as some people think. They may become agitated or irritable in certain situations, but they are not on the aggressive side for the most part.
Dobermans need to be well-trained and socialised as young puppies to curb aggressive or undesirable behaviour. If you establish yourself as your dog’s leader early on, he will be more likely to listen to you and be less aggressive.
Follow these tips to ensure your Doberman has a happy, healthy life!
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