Importance of Training the Doberman Pinscher

Raising an Obedient and Happy Doberman

We’ve all visited these homes. The dog is a constant nuisance. It harasses guests, jumps on people, doesn’t listen, steals food, destroys things, and often must be physically dragged into a room or locked in its kennel for any amount of peace. This dog is often regarded as a ‘stupid dog.’ This dog is also unable to effectively communicate its needs and wants, and is a burden rather than an attribute to the family; and so will never be happy. This is the dog owner’s fault and a true shame when the dog is a Doberman, who is so willing to learn and please his master.

Contrary to the common misconception, the Doberman is no different to train than any other dog. This misconception is due to the Doberman’s strong will. Interestingly, the same strong will that makes a Doberman puppy, or untrained Doberman, so difficult to control is the same strong will that makes the trained Doberman so obedient and sure.

The most difficult part of training is the beginning, before a critical point. This critical point is when the dog realizes that what you are doing is teaching him how to get what he wants effectively, not unlike his superior pack members would in nature. At this point the Doberman, with his strong will, will stop pushing for what he wants and begin looking to you for instruction on how best to get it.

What does a Doberman want? Well, food and water, potty breaks, and to give and receive affection; mainly to give and receive affection. When Drayko, my male Doberman, was a puppy he would jump up on my legs, play-bite, and bark when he wanted to give and receive affection. Then he was simply following his instincts. In nature, subordinate pack members show affection by licking the superior member’s mouth. This was his attempt by jumping up. Likewise, to encourage play, pack members bark and play-bite each other.

When Drayko would do this behavior, I would not give him affection. I would tell him ‘No’ turning away from him. I would then give him the command to ‘sit.’ At first he didn’t understand so he would just jump up, play-bite, and barked all the more. Eventually, with a little assistance, he would sit. Immediately as he sat, I would bend down, rub his little body all over, give him verbal praise, and let him lick. If he came out of his sit, I would immediately stand and turn away. Before Drayko was three months old he understood.

From then on when he wanted to give or receive affection, he planted his butt and all four paws next to me. When guest came by, he charged into the room and zealously sat his wagging 98 pound beast of a body and adorable face next to each person, vibrating with anticipation for a good scratching by a usually very delighted and amazed person.

With Drayko’s new found understanding, training suddenly became easy, for him. For me, I realized that the critical path to any new training was my ability to show him the behavior I wanted him to perform. Drayko eagerly strived to understand. He knows all he has to do is figure out what in the world I'm asking him to do. Teaching him a new behavior or command is only a matter of getting him to perform it once.