People often ask us: “Are Dobermans good with children?” We tell them, “extremely good.” In fact, our own son and Atlas are inseparable.
I’ll preface this article by saying our son is on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Evaluators diagnosed our son with provisional ASD at 28 months old, around the time when we talked about adding a dog to the family. When searching for a dog to call family, breed compatibility was an important aspect which we’ve spent countless hours researching on. Through our research, the Doberman appears to be the best candidate for the breed of choice, even though I faced resistance from my wife. You can read more about our puppy journey in this article. My wife also has a separate blog documenting our son’s developmental journey with ASD.
And because of our son’s condition, acquiring a puppy from a reputable breeder was a must. We looked for Dobermans not older than 6 months old at rescues, including Dobies and Little Paws Rescue in Fillmore, CA, but to no success. Rescuing a Doberman that was over 6 months old was not in the discussion table. We wanted a puppy with a clean slate so we can monitor its evolving behavior from the very beginning. We also wanted a puppy that will grow and bond with our son. Rescued dogs with cloudy history may work for some family, but not in our situation. With that cleared, how are Dobermans with children?
Ever Since a Puppy, Still Ballin’
Atlas enjoyed being in the company of children and toddlers ever since hew as a puppy. When Atlas was younger, he loves to play “kick the ball” with our friends’ children when we would have them over. Even today at 9 month old, Atlas still gravitates toward children (and senior citizens).
At the beginning when we first introduced Atlas to our son, our son’s feelings were indifferent. He would pass Atlas as an after-thought while he continued in his own little world; he was not interested in Atlas at all. Atlas on the other hand, tried everyday, very hard to get our son’s attention but to no avail.
Atlas would follow our son around, sit next to him, play next to him and just hang out next to him. Our son only became annoyed. This happened for the good half of Atlas’ time with us (4½ months as of this writing).
Our Son Opens Up to Atlas
As Atlas grew older, our son started paying more attention to him. This occurred around mid-May. Eventually, our son would pet Atlas randomly, touch his tail, tap his ears and lean on him. Ultimately, the two became inseparable. At times, I would find our son cuddling with Atlas on the dog bed or,
I would find Atlas sitting next to our son on the swing set in our backyard.
When we crate Atlas, our son would sit next to his crate and sometime sneak his head underneath the crate cover.
As Atlas continued to mature, he became more protective of our son. If he loses sight of our son even for a brief second, he would become fidgety and start to whine and whimper. He only wants to be by our son’s side.
So, Are Dobermans Good With Children?
Short answer, an emphatic YES! However, I must mention that like any dogs, the dog, preferably a puppy, must be accustomed to being around children. This is a learned behavior when the dog is still a puppy. At an early age, we touched and caressed Atlas everywhere. We got him used to what we anticipate how children will play with him so there are no surprises. This early conditioning paid off big time as Atlas plays well with any children we had over.
Above, all, children and puppy and adult dogs must be supervised at all time no matter how well behaved they appear to be with each other.
Early Socialization is Key
In addition to conditioning Atlas to be ready for children at an early age, we also extensively socialized him. We exposed him to loud noises (dump trucks, trash pick-up days, heavy traffic, loud music, etc.), we exposed him to different adults. As soon as he received all his shots, we took him to weekly doggy daycare so he can play and socialize with other dogs and puppies.
I believe early conditioning and extensive socialization allowed Atlas to be comfortable around children, no matter how roughhouse they tend to be.