Obedience Training Doberman Pinschers
Doberman Pinschers are large, robust, alert, loyal, and highly intelligent dogs. Dobermans were originally developed around the 1890’s by a tax collector to offer him protection during his job. The extreme intelligence that Dobermans possess is both amazing and troublesome. If you keep your Doberman occupied and start training early they are incredibly fast to pick up on new things. You will often be amazed how quickly they learn. If you neglect training your Doberman, you will regret it as they will quickly become bored and use that amazing brain of theirs to get into all sorts of trouble and mischief.
Obedience training is absolutely vital to making sure your Doberman grows up to be an enjoyable companion instead of a nuisance. The basic obedience training commands of sit, down, stay, heel, come, and place will make life with your Doberman a joy. Most Dobermans will respond best to balanced training methods which include a combination of positive reinforcement for training new behaviors through clicker training, and corrections to ensure your dog will continue to mind even in the most distracting of environments.
Clicker training or marker training in Wichita can be a little hard to find. It takes a little more time initially, but the long term benefits of marker training make it absolutely worth it. Doberman Pinschers with their intelligence respond particularly well to marker training. Clicker training and marker training are both based off of the same principles. You utilize either the noise a clicker makes or a noise you make with your voice to signify to the dog that a reward is going to follow. This is how you will teach complex behaviors to your dog. Using a marker to let your dog know the exact moment they make the right choice.
The first step you will want to do to start obedience training your Doberman Pinscher is to do an activity called charging the mark. This is the process where you teach the dog that the sound of the mark signifies an incoming reward. If you are using a clicker hold it in your treat hand. If you are using your voice it’s even easier because you don’t have to have anything extra in your hand. Keep in mind if you are using your voice for marker training you will want to keep your marker very short and consistent. Some people use the word “Yes” or “Yep”. I find it easiest to just click my tongue similar to the sound I use with horses.
Have your dog in a pretty boring environment so you and the treats are the most interesting thing around. Click your clicker or make your sound and immediately afterward give your dog a treat. Repeat this process about 15 times then put everything away. Do this with your dog three times a day. Now you are ready to start using your marker or clicker to help your dog during obedience training.
Obedience Training – Sit
Typically the very first obedience command people train their dog to do is sit. In order to teach your dog to sit you will want to start with a treat right in front of their nose. Slowly push the treat backwards and upwards causing your dog to rock into a sitting position. As soon as your dog’s butt hits the ground click or mark the behavior then give your dog the treat. If your dog is one that wants to jump up to reach the treat or walk backwards when you push the treat back you may need to offer some gentle guidance by placing your hand on their rump and guiding them into a sit position. As soon as they are sitting click or mark the behavior and give your dog the treat.
Repeat this process about 10-20 times very quickly then put away all of your training supplies. Do this about 3 times a day. As soon as your dog is doing the sit motion fluently you will want to add in your vocal cue. The most obvious cue for this behavior is the word “Sit” or if you are training for IPO you might use the German “Sitz”. Say your cue and as soon as your dog sits mark and give them the treat. Do this repeatedly until your dog clearly links the cue word to the behavior. Once your dog has mastered this obedience command during training you will want to make sure your dog understands in a “real-world” setting. For example, if you are out on a walk, take your treats and your clicker with you if you use one. Say your cue word and see if your dog responds. If not help them to get into the correct position then mark and treat.
Obedience Training – Down
This obedience command is the second thing most owners teach their dogs. You will want to start your dog in a standing position if at all possible, but many dogs will default to a sit because the is the first thing they learn. You will want to take the treat right in front of your dog’s nose and very slowly lower it downwards towards the floor. As soon as your dog’s elbows hit the floor click or mark and give your dog the treat. If your dog resists going downwards try luring your dog under your leg or under a chair to help them get into the correct position. Repeat this process 10-15 times about 3 times a day. As soon as your dog is fluent in this behavior you will want to add in the cue. The most obvious cue is “Down” but some people use “Lay” and if you are training for IPO you may want to use “Platz”.
Say your cue word and as soon as your dog assumes the position click or mark and treat. Continue to do this repeatedly until your dog clearly links the cue word to the behavior. This will be the second obedience training command for your dog. When you see your dog clearly understands the cue you will want to test your obedience training out in the real world just as your did with the “Sit” command.
Obedience Training – Heel
One of the most important and complicated tasks you can teach your Doberman is the heel command. We go into more depth on the heel command in our article Teaching Heeling
Obedience Training – Come
In order the train the “Come” obedience training command you will want to utilize two people if at all possible. Have one person hold the dog while you run away from dog being very exciting. When you get approximately 30 feet away call your dog to you. As soon as your dog reaches you praise and treat like crazy! You want your dog to believe coming when called is the most exciting thing ever! Practice this one at least once a day for weeks until your dog will reliable come running to you whenever called.