Behavioral Problems Common to the Doberman Puppy

Chewing and Destroying Everything

There are several reasons your Doberman puppy might be chewing and destroying things around the home. First, Doberman puppies are mouthy, meaning they tend to interact using the mouth. Second, Doberman puppies teethe early, and the process happens within a short period. The combination of these two facts leaves the Doberman puppy with a need to chew often during the first few months of age.

The Doberman Pinscher is also highly intelligent. This means he needs something to do. A bored young puppy will chew on something, so the Doberman owner should be sure to have a generous supply of interesting toys and chew items, especially when the puppy is left alone.

Yong Doberman puppies should also be watched carefully while they play. If someone is not available to watch, the puppy should be safe in a kennel. A Doberman puppy left unattended will find something to chew on, often something dangerous.

If the puppy begins to chew on something inappropriate, he should receive a “No” verbal correction, and the inappropriate item should be replaced with an appropriate chew item, after which the puppy should receive praise.

If the Doberman owner is consistent, the Doberman puppy will grow to recognize what he is allowed to chew and what he is not.

Swallowing Odd Items

For some reason, many Doberman puppies go beyond chewing and will swallow items. This is why it is important for the Doberman owner to replace toys and chew items when they become worn or torn into pieces small enough to swallow. -- When in doubt, throw it out. 

A swallowed item can cause injury or a blockage in the digestive system, so great care should be taken in keeping an eye on what the puppy is up to and the condition of his chew items. Chew items should be large, at least as big as the puppy's muzzle. Likewise, care should be taken to keep small items out of the puppies reach.

Sometimes, a puppy will pick up small items like rocks or pebbles in the yard and swallow them. This behavior must be corrected quickly. One good solution is to squirt the puppy with a squirt bottle. Remember, Doberman puppies should not be outside alone. There should be a human watching. The key to the squirt bottle correction is to condition the puppy to associate the cold squirt with picking up the items, and not the person watching him. Otherwise, he’ll just learn to be sneaky.

I like to pretend I'm using the squirt bottle for something totally unrelated to squirting puppies. That way, when the puppy does something inappropriate, like trying to swallow stones or eat poop, they get a cold splash which they will assume has something to do with the stones or poop, and not me and my squirt bottle. 


There are two ways of handling a puppy who starts digging. You can correct the behavior all together, teaching the puppy that it's never appropriate to dig, or you can teach the puppy to only dig in a certain designated digging area.

The first is simple. When the puppy digs, the puppy gets corrected. Soon enough the puppy will learn not to dig, but will likely need a reminder every now and then.

Teaching a Doberman puppy to dig only in a certain area is a little more difficult, but allows for the puppy, and subsequent adult Doberman to exert a very natural behavior. Although digging is messy and destructive, it's great exercise and some Dobermans enjoy it immensely.

The easiest way to establish a digging area is to mark off the designated area in some way that makes it apparent to the puppy. Then bury toys and treats there. Praise the puppy for digging in the digging area, and correct the puppy otherwise.