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Puppy Care Advice

The intention of this page is to help you better care for your puppy once home. We have included information to help you get started, recommended books, and included links to Web sites which you should be able to look up valuable information.

Click on link listed below to go straight to topic of interest or simply scroll down page to view all:

Continuing Care

Puppy Supply List

Book: Bringing Puppy Home

Parvo: A Threat to Dobermans

Vaccination Schedule

Book: New Owner's Guide to Dobermans

Comparing Dog Food Brands

Nipping at Owner

Cats and Dobermans

Ear Cropping - Why? and General Guidance

Why Dock Tails?

Picking a Name for your Puppy

Staph Infection

Continuing Care

Feeding Your New Pup

At first it might be necessary to soak your puppy's food in water to soften it. Depending on the age at which you pick up your puppy, you should only have to do this for a week. It is rare by 8 weeks old for a puppy to be unable to eat dry food. This is a precautionary recommendation. Nonetheless, if your pup needs it soaked initially after going to its new home, try your puppy with food that has not been softened with water after a week or so. If the puppy has no trouble eating the food hard, you may stop soaking the food prior to serving.

Your puppy has been getting fed twice a day - once in the morning and once in the evening. Always be sure to supply your puppy with adequate water. Just as drinking plenty of water is good for you, it is also good for your puppy on into adulthood. DO NOT limit water to avoid potty accidents.

Since 4 weeks of age, your puppy has been fed Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food, Chicken. We chose this food brand because it was rated well on DogFoodAdvisor.com.


One of the nice things about Dobermans is their hair length. You will not need to get it cut. You will, however, need to brush the coat on a regular basis. This will help remove loose hairs and stimulate the oil glands to produce a healthy coat. We recommend using what is called a shedding blade for you to brush with. Here is a link to one on Amazaon: SAFARI Dual-Sided Shedding Blade, One Size, Dog Shedding Brush, Deshedding Tool for Dogs, Dog Hair Remover, Dog Grooming, Dog Brushes for Shedding, Stainless Steel

Nail trimming: The puppy has been getting its nails clipped almost weekly. We do it this often to help out mom as their tiny nails get sharp and that wreaks havoc on mom while they nurse. For continued care as pups get bigger and later into adulthood, it is necessary to clip nails every 3 to 4 weeks. Try not to let them get too long. It can cause problems with walking and be an uncomfortable nuisance. If too long, there is a risk of the nail splitting or breaking which is terribly uncomfortable for your Dobe.

If you forget and the nails do get too long, the quick in the nail will extend out as the nail extends in length. The quick is the live tissue within the nail. If clipped, it will bleed. Do not worry too much if you clip the quick and cause bleeding. It is not that painful - but it will be quite messy. To "chase" the quick back and get the nail back to a normal length, you will need to clip the nails every 3 to 4 days - just a little bit at a time, thin slivers. It will take some time and effort, but it will be well appreciated in the long run.

Nail clippers on Amazon: Best Professional Pet Nail Clipper Large And ... you might want to consider having Styptic powder on hand for those times you do trim the nail too close. This is handy to stop the bleeding fast: Remedy and Recovery Professional Groomer's Styptic Powder for Pets, 1.5-Ounce


Expect your puppy to be a chewer for about the first year of life. The puppy has some big teeth coming in and to sooth its gums, the puppy is going to resort to chewing. Buy chew toys and LOTS of them! And, keep shoes and other objects you do not want to get chewed up off the floor. These pups are extremely smart, but there will be a physical need for them to chew. To keep everyone happy, try not to set the puppy up for failure. Keep the puppy’s toys on the floor and everything else up.

Do not choose toys that are small in relation to your pups mouth size. Surgical removal of swallowed toys is a real thing. Additionally, do not choose toys with pieces that may be easily chewed off and swallowed. Lastly, DO NOT by raw hides of any shape or form. These are choking hazards and no dog should be given one.


There is a real chance when you bring home your new puppy, he is going to whine the first few nights. This is separation anxiety. The puppy is used to being with mom plus a lot of littermates. To help, you can try putting a ticking clock in the crate or area that pup is sleeping (simulates a heart beating). You may also try putting pup in a laundry basket with a towel (preferably one we send home with you), place that beside your bed and sleep with your hand in the basket. Not ideal, but when you are desperate in the wee morning hours, you will be ready to try anything. This should not last more than a week.

Your new pup will require some adjustment time. Prepare yourself mentally for that before bringing pup home. In preparation for the upcoming weeks where you will likely get limited good sleep, we recommend concentrating on getting plenty of sleep before you bring puppy home. If you are blessed with a pup that doesn't experience separation anxiety, odds of being woke up in the middle of the night are still reality because you have entered the potty training stage.


At 6 weeks old, your puppy will receive his first series of shots. The next set of shots will be administered at 8 weeks old. Since the pups go home around 8 to 10 weeks of age, it is then your job to make sure your pup receives the next rounds at 12 weeks, 16 weeks, and 20 weeks. Get with your vet for further information noting we highly recommend an additional parvo booster for this breed as Dobermans are more susceptible to parvo than other breeds. Mention and discuss this with your vet.

Supplies Your New Puppy Will Need

1. Pet food.

To get your new puppy off to a good start choose a puppy formula for large breed. We recommend Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Puppy Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food, Chicken 24-lb

2. Food and water bowls.

Dobermans are surprisingly messy drinkers. Here is a feeder/bowl set up to we found to help contain the mess:

Neater Feeder Deluxe Large Dog (Bronze) - The Mess Proof Elevated Bowls No Slip Non Tip Double Diner Stainless Steel Food Dish with Stand

3. Identification tag.

While it can be fun to get the tag from the engraving machine at the pet store, it's expensive and lines of text allowed on the tag is limited. Here is a cheap option from Amazon that allows up to 8 lines:

Pet ID Tags - 8 Lines of Engraving Available | Size Small or Large | Bone, Round, Star, Heart, Hydrant, Paw, Cat Face | 9 Colors | Dog Tag, Cat Tag, Personalized, Anodized Aluminum

4. Collar and leash.

Dobermans grow really fast over the first year of life then start filling out their large frame the second into third year of life. Keep this in mind when purchasing your collar as you will find you need to buy new ones as your pup grows.

5. Travel crate to accommodate your puppy's adult size.

We do not crate our Dobermans. That being said, we are not against crating just do not crate for excessive amounts of time. The decision to crate should be a safe place for your Doberman while you step away from your home and never for punishment or extended periods of time.

6. Stain remover for accidents and spills.

One of our favorite cleaners for cleaning up:

Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odor Remover Dog, Odor Control Formula

7. Shedding blade.

This tool is handy for getting grass off the coat in addition to loose hairs (note Dobermans do not shed bad, but there are loose hairs especially when weather starts warming up). Our Dobermans love to roll and wriggle on their backs in the yard. When the grass is dead, they will collect quite a mess of grass on their backs. This tool is a lifesaver to get grass off before coming back inside.

SAFARI Dual-Sided Shedding Blade, One Size, Dog Shedding Brush, Deshedding Tool for Dogs, Dog Hair Remover, Dog Grooming, Dog Brushes for Shedding, Stainless Steel

8. Dog shampoo.

There are truly lots of good options, but here is a favorite of ours:

Nature’s Miracle Natural Oatmeal Shampoo And Conditioner For Dogs, Honey Sage Scent 32 Ounces

9. Safe chew toys to ease teething.

Not going to make a specific recommendation here other than to choose wisely. Do not choose toys that are small in relation to your pups mouth size. Surgical removal of swallowed toys is a real thing. Additionally, do not choose toys with pieces that may be easily chewed off and swallowed.

Provide LOTS of acceptable chewing options as your pup goes through the chewing stage especially while losing baby teeth. It is not hard to train a pup not to chew on furniture, shoes, and other unacceptable human items provided you make acceptable options available and plenty of them lying around.

Lastly, DO NOT by raw hides of any shape or form. These are choking hazards and no dog should be given one.

Here is link to an example of raw hides. Again, DO NOT buy. The link provided for educational purpose: Pet Magasin Natural Rawhide Chips – Premium LONG-LASTING Dog Treats with Thick Cut Beef Hides, Processed Without Additives or Chemicals

10. Flea, tick and parasite controls.

Choose based off your veterinarian's recommendations.

11. Nail clippers.

If you choose to trim your Dobermans nails yourself, here is the style we recommend:

Best Professional Pet Nail Clipper Large

Bringing Home Your New Puppy

Your new puppy will need time to adjust to its new home. The environment will be different and the pup will be missing mom and its littermates.

Being surrounded by new faces and voices will be strange for your pup. It will all be a little overwhelming. To help your pup adjust with minimal stress, make sure you allow your new pup quiet time to rest.

White noise (fan, static on a radio, etc.) is actually soothing. When you or your pup are ready for some down time, try crating your puppy in a bathroom or other room with no windows that may easily be made dark, turn on the vent fan or provide some other source of white noise. Be sure to close the door to the room to minimize any sounds you or your other human occupants make inside the house.

We will send each pup home with a towel that was used during their initial upbringing with us. Don't expect a perfectly brand new towel! It will be freshly washed, but the point here is to send home with the pup an item that has the scents from our dwelling to yours. You may want to bring a blanket with you at time of pick up. We can then rub it on mom and the litter mates to get their scent on it. Keep the towel and/or blanket with your new pup as it will provide some comfort as he adjusts to his new home.

Here is a recommended book to help you get off to a great start with your puppy.

Parvo: A Threat to Dobermans

According to a study published in the "Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association," Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers and German shepherds have an increased risk of developing parvo while toy poodles and cocker spaniels have a decreased risk. We recommend a 4th round of the parvo vaccination for extra coverage to protect Doberman puppies from contracting parvo.

A good veterinarian will help guide you through this confusing year of caring for your young pup. Additionally, we recommend that you do not expose your pup to any environment where the potential for exposure to harmful pathogens might be high. For example, as much fun as taking your pup to the dog park or even the pet store might sound, we highly advise against it until your pup has completed its full vaccinations. This is extremely important with this particular breed given that Dobermans are more susceptible to Parvo.

What Causes Parvo in Dogs?

How Do Dogs & Puppies Get Parvo Even if They Don't Leave Their Yard?

Vaccination Schedule
[From: The Humane Society]
Types of Vaccinations:

Distemper -
An airborne viral disease of the lungs, intestines and brain.

Hepatitis -
A viral disease of the liver.

Leptospirosis -
A bacterial disease of the urinary system.

Parainfluenza -
Infectious bronchitis.

Parvovirus -
A viral disease of the intestines.

Rabies -
A viral disease fatal to humans and other animals.

Corona -
A viral disease of the intestines.

Bordetella -
A bacterial infection (kennel cough).

Schedule for Pups:
6 weeks to 1 year

6 to 8 weeks -
First puppy shot (DHPP) + Corona
[DHPP = distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus]

11 to 12 weeks -
Second puppy shot (DHLPP) + Corona
[DHLPP = distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, leptospirosis and parvovirus]

15 to 16 weeks -
Third puppy shot (DHLPP) + Corona

Over 4 months -
Rabies (repeat l year later)

7 to 9 months -
First heartworm test

Schedule for Adult Dogs:
(After 1 year old)

DHLPP - Yearly

Heartworm test - Yearly

Rabies - Every 3 years (after second Rabies shot)

Bordetella - Yearly

For further reading, here's an short informative article:

NOTE: Garretts Dobermans highly recommends an additional parvo vaccination to what is listed above which only has 3 doses within the pup's first year. Dobermans are more susceptible. Consult with your vet.

New Owner's Guide to Dobermans

Here is an oldie but goodie so it might not be available through the link provided below. But, if you can get your hands on a copy, it's a great book for people new to the Doberman. It gives an overview of the breed's history, temperament, care and training requirements. It touches on the different activities you can participate in with your Doberman and lists addresses to contact for more info. The health care chapter briefly explains all the major diseases and parasites that you must have your dog vaccinated against. For more in depth training methods for the novice, however, it is best to consult a specific manual on the subject or sign up for some initial obedience training classes which is a fun way to spend time with your new Doberman with useful applications at home.

Publisher: Tfh Pubns Inc; 1998th ed. edition (June 1, 1998)
ISBN-10: 0793827841
ISBN-13: 978-0793827848

How does your Dog Food Brand compare?

The Dog Food Advisor is a public service website designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

Free guide to choosing the best large breed puppy foods:
(you may also sign up to receive email alerts on dog food recalls)


Nipping at Owner

May 5, 2002 -

"One question I have:
The pup started nipping at us even in the truck on our way home from the airport. She does it to everyone and a lot. I thought (hoped) it was due to her thinking we were her new 'littermates' and that's how she acted with them.

"We hold her mouth closed tight for 2 seconds then release and give her a toy to chew or pet her again. Does this sound OK? It's not chewing as much as nipping, so I need to 'nip' it in the bud."

"We are doing the touching, etc. etc. . you talk about on your Web site. She seems to tell already from the tone of my voice when she needs to stop something, I don't say 'no' a lot. I either substitute the behavior with the right thing to do, or I look her in the eyes with a firm voice and she seems to get it. Any advice?"

Thanks, Kathy


I simply told Kathy that what she is doing is perfect. What you have to keep in mind is the age - 7 weeks. At this age, all the pups seemed to like to chew on hands, toes, nip at skin, each other... This has to be corrected and the method Kathy is using is great.

You absolutely must not allow the chewing on your body parts, though. Definitely not good behavior. As the pup gets older, the tendency to chew will decrease. By 12 weeks of age, there is a big difference in the desire to chew opposed to 7 weeks of age.
doberman puppy playing

Cats and Dobes

"Good afternoon Laura.

"How have your dobbys been around cats. Is there any way we can condition the pups (Trinity) to cats earlier. Is there any cats in your neighborhood that you could introduce her to?"

Thanks Tara M.


Don't worry about the pup with cats. If she is brought up with them, there isn't going to be a problem. She will play with them (if they let her!) and will probably become protective of them. They will become family. My mother has 3 Dobermans and 3 Yorkies -- the small ones. The Dobes are great with them.

Just the other day I was speaking to one of the owners from Aggie's first litter (Natasha's owner, Leslie). She told me a funny story about their Dobe who has never been around cats. She said they went out of town and had some friends "babysit". The friends had a cat. Apparently, the Dobe and the cat fell in love with each other -- they would just sit and lick each other!!

Click here to read a letter sent in from an owner regarding their Dobe from us and how she fit in with their pets!

Ear Posting Guide for Cropped Ears
If you are going to crop the ears -- and we think you should!! -- here is a link that provides a good guide on how to wrap the ears:

Link to Ear Posting Guide

Deciding to Crop Ears
Here is a link to an interesting discussion regarding reasons to crop the ears. We believe it is better for the health of the ears.

To read short article, click here.

If you wonder why ears ever started being cropped in the first place, then click on the link below for an explanation:
Link to Explanation

Doberman Ear Crops: Different Lengths
Doberman ear cropping information with the different ear lengths shown.

>>Click Here -- Dobermanclub.org

Ear Crops Pictures Posted by Millstone Animal Hospital
>>Click Here -- Photos of Ear Crops

Why Dock Tails?

"Hi Laura,
I was wondering - Why do dogs have their tails docked? I know it is a breed standard but why? I know I am like your four year old but I was curious." Tara F.


As I had to explain to my 7 year old who can understand - there is just not any making my 4 year old understand truly other than "the vet just needed to take it off". Anyway, it is definitely a breed standard and I just don't like the way a long tail looks on a big dog. But, I am pretty sure that the tails started being taken off for two other reasons - 1) danger to itself as it would wack things and injure its tail and 2) it wacks you! If you have ever been around a large dog from another breed that keeps the tail, you would understand how nice it is to not have it there. Imagine something about the size of a young kid's arm swinging back and forth pretty much uncontrolled with no regard as to what it might swing into!

Picking a Name
Picking a name can be hard. Here are a couple of links
that provide a list of names - hopefully making this task
a little easier on you!

Puppy Names for Dobermans
2,000 Dog Names
Great Puppy Names

If you prefer a hard copy and more extensive list, try out these books:

When Rover Just Won't Do: Over 2,000 Suggestions for Naming Your Puppy


Staph Infection
June 12, 2012 -

My husband and I recently bought a Blue Doberman pup named Samson and he is almost 5 months old (born January 27th). He started getting bumps on his back and is now starting to lose his hair in little patches. One of the spots had pus in it and looks like it is healing, but his hair is not growing back. We feel a few more bumps in other areas of his body as well. It has been about a week since he lost some hair. We are not sure if it genetic, since he is a Blue, or possibly staph? If it is staph is it contagious to other animals or humans? Other than the skin problem, he seems to be healthy. He still has tons of energy and keeps us on our toes :) Any information will be of help!
Thank You,
Franc and Ashley"


Sorry to hear you are having some problems. My gut feeling is that it is staph. I looked up info for you to read below. Also, I looked up a shampoo that should help. Here is link to amazon (called DermaPet):
>> Click Here to purchase on Amazon

I would suggest giving the shampoo a try. If it is a bad case of staph, he may need an antibiotic which means a trip to the vet. The vet can then also determine if it is something else. Keep me posted!

Information below copied off : http://www.vetinfo.com/diagnosing-staph-infection-dogs.html#b

Treating Canine Staph Infection

Your vet will recommend shaving any hair in the affected area before you apply any ointments for the treatment of staph infection in dogs. Ointments can help relieve the symptoms of staph skin infection. Your vet will prescribe oral antibiotics for the treatment of the infection itself.

While your dog is undergoing treatment for staph skin infection, keep him clean by bathing him regularly with an antibiotic dog shampoo, such as one that contains benzoyl peroxide. Oozing wounds, scratches and blisters should be kept bandaged during the recovery process.

Keep your dog's bed and living areas clean and disinfected. Veterinarians don't think that staph infections of the skin are highly contagious to other animals or humans, but it's a good idea to limit your dog's contact with other animals while he recovers from staph infections. Wash your hands and change clothes before and after handling your sick dog. Remember, even if you're not vulnerable to infection with staph bacteria, your dog could develop secondary infections if he comes into contact with other bacteria found on your clothes or hands.

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