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Doberman Service Dog: Everything You Need to Know

Doberman Service Dog Everything You Need to Know

Doberman Service Dog: The Doberman is known for being a formidable guard dog. Still, you wouldn’t normally see Dobermans as service dogs, which begs the question: can Dobermans make good service dogs?

The Doberman Pinscher is a working dog breed, which means it has the necessary traits to make an excellent service dog. It has great stature and a strong build. It’s also loyal, protective, intelligent, trainable, and hyper-focused on its owner.

So, if you’re thinking about getting a Doberman service dog, read on to learn more about this amazing breed’s temperament.

Doberman Service Dog: Can a Doberman Be a Service Dog?

While uncommon, Dobermans can make amazing service dogs. They’re a working dog breed, which means they’re:

  • Highly intelligent
  • Loyal
  • Trainable
  • Strong
  • Hyper-focused
  • Alert
  • Eager to please
  • Affectionate

All of these traits are essential for a service dog. Not to mention that Dobermans rarely need special training to be protective of or eager to help their owners.

In addition, when you combine those traits with this breed’s protective and gentle nature, a Doberman can make an excellent emotional support animal (ESA) and psychiatric service dog (PSD).

In fact, Dobermans are known as “velcro” dogs as they tend to stick close to their owners at all times, following them from room to room. They can also detect seizures and gently intervene in cases of self-injury.

Are European Dobermans Good Service Dogs?

Doberman Service Dog

The European Doberman, with its thicker bone structure, can seem more menacing than the American Doberman.

However, given that there are minor temperament differences between the two Doberman varieties, European Dobies can make good service dogs. They have excellent working-dog temperament, but they’re also assertive and confident in unfamiliar situations.

That said, European Dobermans require more exercise due to their high stamina and drive, so they may be better suited for mobility service dogs.

What’s more, they prefer a firm and clear training approach, unlike American Dobermans, who fare better under a softer approach with frequent positive reinforcement.

Are Dobermans Good for Anxiety?

Dobermans can be good for people with anxiety for several reasons.

To begin with, Dobermans need regular exercise, which is an effective method of relieving anxiety.

What’s more, when it comes to grooming, these Dobies are low maintenance. So there’ll be no need for those anxiety-inducing trips to the groomer.

Not to mention that, while Dobermans have a high prey drive, they can appear to have almost no prey drive with proper socialization and training. That means they’re less likely to bark for no apparent reason or take off running after a small animal.

Luckily, Dobermans are highly trainable, with the ability to learn quickly, retain commands, and please their owners. These qualities are essential for dog breeds that are good for people with anxiety.

Will a Doberman Protect You Without Training?

While it may vary from dog to dog, most untrained Dobermans will instinctively protect their owners from any perceived danger.

Dobermans were bred specifically to protect their handlers. As a result, they have instinctive traits that provide them with a natural drive to defend their owners against any threat.

These traits include suspicion of strangers, being in tune with their owners, loyalty, and a strong desire to stay close to their owners.

That’s why, even without training, Dobermans are often observed exhibiting natural protective behaviors such as:

  • Staying close to their owners in new surroundings
  • Sleeping facing the door
  • Frequently checking in with their owners
  • Becoming aggressive when their owners become tense

Are Dobermans Known to Be Aggressive?

Doberman Service Dog Everything You Need to Know

Because Dobermans were once commonly used as guard and police dogs, they’re stereotyped as aggressive, intimidating, and vicious.

However, Dobermans are more protective than they are aggressive. Their natural instinct is to protect, so they won’t hesitate to defend their family and territory from any potential threat.

Still, they’ll only resort to aggression when necessary. Otherwise, Dobermans won’t bite or attack when in danger. Instead, they’ll stand upright in front of their owners and bark to ward off the threat.

Dobermans are also not aggressive toward other dogs and animals, especially if they were raised with them. However, due to their protective nature, if a dog or animal outside poses a threat to their loved ones, they may become aggressive.

So, unless threatened, Dobermans are unlikely to seek out or cause trouble.

If you’ve met or heard of an aggressive Doberman, know that this behavior is likely due to the dog’s environment or training.

Why Are Dobermans not Police Dogs?

Although Dobermans were once popular police dogs with a rich military history, they’re now less common than police dogs for several reasons.

To begin with, Dobermans are highly intelligent and analytical, which is a positive trait in most cases. However, this breed’s intelligence provides them with a degree of independence.

So, following orders isn’t a strong suit for Dobermans, which is critical in situations where every second counts.

That’s one reason why training a Doberman requires far more time and money than training other dog breeds of similar strength and intelligence.

Another reason why Dobermans may not make good police dogs is that they form strong attachments to a single person.

As a result, if a Doberman’s officer passes away while on duty, the Doberman will without a doubt become anxious and depressed. This will also make it almost impossible to transfer the Doberman to another officer.

Is a Doberman More Protective than a German Shepherd?

Doberman Service Dog

Both Dobermans and German Shepherds are fiercely protective guard dogs. Nonetheless, Dobermans have a more innate protective instinct.

Dobermans were bred to be protective guard dogs, and those genetic traits are still present today. A Doberman will protect any person or animal it perceives as a member of its pack at all costs.

German Shepherds, on the other hand, are descendants of herding breeds. As obedient as this breed is, how protective a German Shepherd depends on the dog’s personality, the way it was raised, and the strength of its bond to its owner.

That said, both breeds have a tendency to be loyal and territorial, so they’ll go to great lengths to protect their family and home.

In Conclusion

Being fiercely protective comes naturally to Dobermans. They’re also highly intelligent, loyal, determined, and driven. All of these traits explain why Dobermans are great at protecting their families and excel in roles that make use of their instinctive nature.

So, if you’re looking for unparalleled loyalty, intelligence, and dependability, you should highly consider getting a Doberman service dog.

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Elisa Steffes

Elisa Steffes

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An emotional support animal, or ESA, is an animal companion that provides comfort and support to someone suffering from a mental or emotional disability such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder or a phobia. Emotional support animals and their owners have certain protections under federal and state laws. Landlords, Co-Ops, HOAs, and other housing providers must allow tenants to live with their ESAs free of charge, even if the building has a policy banning pets.

To have a valid emotional support animal, you must be in possession of a recommendation letter from a licensed health care professional (sometimes also referred to as a “licensed mental health professional” or “LMHP”). The ESA letter will establish that you have a disability and that an emotional support animal alleviates symptoms of that disability. Under federal law, this is the only legitimate way to qualify an animal companion as an emotional support animal.

A valid ESA letter is the only documentation you need in order to qualify an emotional support animal. Landlords cannot ask for a certificate, registration, license or ID, or insist that your ESA wear a vest. These items do not confer any legal status on emotional support animals. Some ESA owners use such items as tools to signal that their animal companion is an ESA, but they are not mandatory and do not function in lieu of an ESA letter as valid forms of proof for an ESA. There is also no need to register your ESA in a database or registry.

No, ESAs do not have an automatic legal right to be in grocery stores, restaurants, and hotels that prohibit animals. ESA owners have the legal right to be accompanied by their animal companion in their home pursuant to the Fair Housing Act. Only ADA service animals trained to perform tasks (such as seeing-eye dogs for the blind) have public access rights in places like grocery stores and restaurants. Some establishments such as hotels are not obligated by law to accommodate ESAs but will do so anyway as a courtesy. It is best to check with the hotel or other businesses to see if they have a policy regarding emotional support animals.

No, ESAs are not a scam. Regrettably, there is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding on the internet when it comes to emotional support animals that puts an undeserved cloud over legitimate ESA owners and service companies. Contrary to some myths, there is a developed regulatory framework surrounding emotional support animals in the United States. ESAs are protected by federal laws and government agencies which enforce those laws. There are specific legal requirements that ESA owners must adhere to in order to obtain accommodation under law for their animal companion. Legitimate owners of emotional support animals must have documentation in the form of a recommendation letter from a licensed healthcare provider. Housing providers have the right to demand an ESA letter from the tenant before accommodating an ESA request.

There are also many legitimate emotional support animal services online such as You should proceed with caution with any website that promises that their certification, registration, license or ID will immediately qualify your pet as an emotional support animal. Websites that are not scams will instead connect you to a healthcare professional who is licensed for your state. That professional will conduct an independent assessment of whether an ESA is right for you and issue an ESA letter only if they determine that you qualify. Legitimate ESA companies online cannot guarantee to instantly qualify an emotional support animal, since that determination must come from an independent licensed professional after evaluating the client.


A psychiatric service dog (or PSD) is a type of service dog that has been individually trained to perform tasks relating to a handler’s mental, emotional or learning disability. Psychiatric service dogs have the same rights as other types of service dogs which assist handlers with physical disabilities. Service dogs have special access rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Fair Housing Act and Air Carrier Access Act. They are allowed to accompany their owners in the home, on-flights and in places where members of the public are generally allowed to go.

A psychiatric service dog is not the same thing as an ESA. The primary difference between a psychiatric service dog and an emotional support animal is that a PSD must be fully trained to perform tasks relating to a disability. A PSD in training does not yet qualify as a service dog. In contrast, ESAs are not required to have any specialized training. ESAs primarily provide comfort to their owners just through their presence and companionship. An ESA also requires a letter of recommendation from a licensed healthcare professional.

PSDs and ESAs also differ in terms of their access rights. ESAs have the right to live with their owners free of charge (even in buildings that prohibit pets) under federal Fair Housing laws and various state laws. PSDs have greater access rights under the ADA and ACAA – they can board flights as well as places generally open to the public like stores.

The other major difference between ESAs and PSDs is that an ESA can be a wide range of animals but a psychiatric service animal can only be a dog.

In order to qualify for a PSD, the handler must have a mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. That can include things like depression, anxiety, PTSD, phobias, learning disorders and autism. A licensed healthcare professional is best suited to determine whether you have a qualifying condition.

Under new rules that went into effect in January of 2021, PSDs can board the cabin free of charge as long as the handler submits the Department of Transportation’s Service Animal Transportation Form prior to boarding the flight. The form requires the handler to self-certify that their animal is a trained psychiatric service dog. It also requires information regarding the dog’s trainer (which can be the handler) and veterinarian. Only the handler is required to sign the form.

The ADA allows for service animals to be trained by the handler or through a professional. If the handler is confident and capable of training their psychiatric service dog, they are allowed to do so. It is not necessary to use any organization or professional trainer, although those alternatives may be useful for owners who are not experienced in training dogs.