DOBERMAN PINSCHER VERSATILITY
What is the versatility of a Doberman?
The Doberman breed is incredibly versatile and adaptable in a broad range of areas. The versatility of a Doberman will amaze you, because they are so smart, loving and sensitive, alert and courageous, athletic, and have such a nose - they are top candidates in many of the following events. Consider getting your Doberman involved in any one of these, there are plenty more events and sports and opportunities not listed.
Home Companion - first and foremost these dogs live to be with their humans. They love to relax and play at home.
Showing Conformation - The "dog shows on tv" are what most people think of when they think dog shows. But this is just one event at a dog show. Showing or also called "conformation" is a competition where handlers present the dogs in their best form and condition, in a breed specific stance or "stack" that shows off their physical form and structure. The judge evaluates the dogs also in movement and temperament. The dogs are first divided into separate classes based on breed, age, gender, color, etc and the winner from each class progresses to the next level against those winners. The last dog standing at the end of a show wins the highly coveted "BIS or Best In Show." For certain wins at each breed level, points are earned. When a dog has enough points, including "major wins" against larger classes, the dog earns their "Ch or Championship title." The ultimate purpose here is to prove the quality of the dog.
Working Aptitude - there are working sports for dogs that test their ability typically in three areas: tracking (scenting), obedience, and protection (simulated exercises that show a dog's ability to protect you while in complete control). Schutzhund is one of these sports, originally intended for German Shepherd Dogs, but you will find Dobermans to be competitive in it too.
Competitive Obedience - competitive obedience involves exercises/patterns of heeling with the owner at all paces, turns, figure eights, sit, down, stay, recall, etc. Each type of class has it's own set of requirements, and in the AKC the judge can choose their own pattern for the exercises. Again, points are earned and lost based on the dog's performance and if they receive enough qualifying scores then they earn the title for that class. Very fun and Dobermans are very competitive in these events.
Agility - is a dog sport in which the handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Dogs run off leash with no food or toys as incentives, and the handler can touch neither dog nor obstacles. With their speed and athleticism Dobermans excel in agility. It is also a sport involving great teamwork which is right up a Doberman's alley.
Lure Coursing - is a sport that involves chasing a mechanically operated lure - like a rabbit hunt. Competition is typically limited to dogs of purebred sighthound breeds, although the AKC now has all breed lure coursing events. It is pretty incredible to watch a Doberman in full speed chasing after the lure.
Dock Diving - is a sport where dogs compete by jumping off a dock into a body of water (pool or pond). They have different types of competitions including distance jumping, height jumping and retrieval based on time. All include some kind of floating toy that the dog retrieves, although in distance jumping, retrieval of the toy is not required. Not all Dobermans naturally like water but with careful introduction and training even the ones that don't can learn!
Tracking - tracking, using their nose to scent and find things, can be a competition all in itself. The dog is independent and has to find the hidden/missing articles and communicate the "find" to the handler. There is a relatively new competition called "barn hunt" where the dog has to search through hay bale obstacles to find rats (in safely enclosed tube containers). Dobermans have great noses for this!
Search and Rescue (SAR) - Search and Rescue (SAR) dogs assist in saving human lives during disasters, find missing persons and are also used for evidence and cadaver searches. Since the Doberman is strong, agile, smart, alert, and determined, they make very good SAR partners.
Police/Military Work - Dobermans were used extensively by the Marines during World War II and continue their service today in police and military work. They may be used to apprehend criminals, give alert of mines/bombs, or scenting for criminals or illegal substance.
Therapy Work - Dobermans are very adapt for therapy work because of their emotional sensitivity. A dog trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, mental institutions, schools, and stressful situations such as disaster areas are known as therapy dogs.
Service or Guide Dog - Dobermans are used often as service dogs. Service dogs are trained to do specific tasks that helps their owner with their disability. This could be a guide or pilot dog for the blind of visually impaired, hearing dogs that assist the deaf or hearing impaired, mobility assist dogs that pull wheelchairs/pick up objects for the owner/help dress and undress the owner, walker dogs that help the owner to walk by balancing, seizure alert dogs that respond to the owner's seizure by staying with them or getting help, social signal dogs that help owners with autism, combo dogs that help owners with multiple disabilities, or a dog that may respond to the needs of their owner with anxiety or post traumatic stress disorder.