Every parent must be aware of the ever increasing reports in the national press of incidents involving dogs and children. When you take any dog into your home it will be part of your ‘pack’ and it is up to you as pack leader to set the rules of behavior between your dog and other members of the family. For the well being of all concerned a calm structured routine and common sense are imperative if you want a well balanced happy family dog. Some specific points always to bear in mind are:
- Don’t ever leave a child alone with your dog, be it a Dobermann or any other breed. To do so, no matter how well behaved your dog, no matter how well behaved your child, no matter how briefly they’re left, is irresponsible and places at risk both your child and your dog
- Do teach your child(ren) to treat your dog properly and with respect
- Do make sure your dog has a bed in a quiet place that it can retreat to and ensure your children understand that it’s ‘out of bounds’ to them!
- Do give your dog the opportunity to eat his food and/or have a drink uninterrupted by the children
- Do Not let the children use the dog as a ‘living toy’. Make sure that play is appropriate, i.e. no competitive games such as ‘tug’ and so on
- Do Not allow noisy, hyperactive play – running around shouting and screaming and so on
- Do Not ‘play rough’. The Dobermann is a powerful and athletic breed and if allowed or encouraged to,
will play much rougher than either you or other members of your family can or want to
- Do encourage and supervise appropriate play such as fetching a ball etc. Make sure your dog recognises your child as ‘the boss’ and responds to an instruction to ‘drop it’ in the same way you expect your dog to obey you
- Do make sure all the family, including the children, properly supervised, play a full part in all aspects of caring for your dog
- Do not let children wrap their arms round or stick their faces into a dog’s face or stare at it which is known as ‘eyeballing’ the dog
- Do not let a child under the age of sixteen walk the dog alone, it is illegal
Remember a rehomed dog may have been quite relaxed with its previous family but will be disorientated and need a period of adjustment when settling into a new family. When taking on a Dobermann think it through carefully and make sure in addition to your commitments to the children you have the time to exercise, socialise and train and properly integrate the new arrival.
Dobermanns really need to be part of the family and cannot bear to be excluded.