How to Train a Doberman Pinscher

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The doberman pinscher is a very people-oriented breed that is also easy to train. Many people assume this animal is naturally vicious, which is not true. They are very devoted to family and that loyalty makes them protective. The key is to be able to train and correct this dog properly without being afraid of him. Then he will be a loyal companion to you and your family throughout his lifetime.

Things You'll Need

  • Slip chain collar
  • Long leash (at least 12 feet)
  • Treats
  • Try to begin training with your Dobe when she is young. Six months or younger is the best age to start. This absolutely does not mean you cannot train an older dog if you are in that position. It is just best to start them younger so you and your family can socialize her and teach her not to be overprotective. Simple obedience training is the best way to do that.

  • Begin by establishing yourself, and the rest of your family members, as the "pack leaders." Every dog, no matter what breed, will make an effort to take over the household once they come in. This is very simple: You make the decisions. You decide when he eats, where he sleeps, even when he gets love and affection. When he jumps all over you demanding attention, teach him to become calm before he gets it. Crate-train him, which will also help with housebreaking, if needed. Always be sure you are the first one who goes out the door when you go for walks. Dogs will follow the leader.

  • Start socializing your dog. The socialization process simply means that you take her into different environments and get her used to meeting people and other dogs on a regular basis. She may be timid at first, or even a bit overprotective of you. But with your words of encouragement and praise, this is usually something that dissipates quickly. You must get your dog comfortable with you, and with various surroundings, before you can begin to train her.

  • Begin by teaching your Dobe to walk nicely on a leash, using a slip chain collar. Let him walk ahead of you a bit on the long lead. As he begins to pull, pop the leash firmly to get his attention, and say the word "Easy" loudly and firmly, then change your direction. The idea is to get him to stop, look at you and then change direction with you. Be sure to praise him when he does this. This command also works to teach him to walk slowly alongside you without pulling. Just use the same technique, but without changing your direction. After a few corrections with the collar, you should be able to just give the "Easy" command without popping the leash at all. Always, however, fall back on that as a reminder to your dog if he gets distracted.

  • Use treats to teach her the basic commands. Sliced hot dogs are inexpensive, and all dogs like them. Slice them into small pieces to train your Dobe, and put them in a pack that is around your waist for easy access. Have her sit for you, and reward her when she is sitting calmly, close to you and looking up into your eyes. This is called "focused attention." Keep repeating the "sit" command until she does this correctly without you having to push her back end down.

  • Teach him the "down" command when he is in the sitting position. Step to the side to give him room, then take your hand (with a piece of hot dog) and basically guide him down to the ground with a sweeping motion while you say "Down." He should follow the hot dog with his nose as you stretch your hand down to the ground and out in front of him. Push down between his shoulder blades to help him down. Then reward him by dropping the treat between his two front legs. This will take a lot of repetition, but he will get it if you are consistent. This command comes with an "automatic stay," so he should stay in the down position until you release him with the command "OK!" Keep repeating the word "down" while he is in the position, so he will know you want him to stay until released. When you say "OK!" it should be in a very upbeat, happy voice.

Tips & Warnings

  • This takes a lot of repetition. Your training sessions should be short, about 5 to 10 minutes. And you should initially train your dog about four times a day.
  • Once your dog has it all down, you can taper off the treats and simply use praise to let her know she has done well.
  • Always give your commands firmly with strong inflection. And always give praise with a very happy voice. Dogs pay very close attention to how words sound and to body language.
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