Choosing a Doberman pinscher as a companion is rewarding if you take the time to train him correctly. It's true your new four-legged friend is energetic, watchful and courageous, but he is quite intelligent as well. These qualities make him headstrong and confident, yet trainable if you approach it right.
Be the Boss
With aggressive dogs like your Doberman pinscher, it is vital to establish yourself as the leader of the pack in order to effectively train him. If your Doberman doesn't recognize you as the alpha leader, he may nominate himself for the role, making it more than difficult to handle or discipline him. Taking steps when your Dobie is a pup—such as by not allowing him to jump up on you or anyone else and not permitting him to sit in your lap—will nip those behaviors in the bud before your dog grows to full, unmanageable size. When he is young and small, however, it is perfectly acceptable and even useful to hold him in your arms on his back. It places your pup in a vulnerable, submissive position and enforces your alpha position.
In her book on the Doberman pinscher, Janice Biniok explains that, as one of the most intelligent dog breeds, Dobermans thrive on stimulating activities and obedience disciplines such as agility, flyball and tracking. VetInfo agrees, advising that you keep your Doberman mentally stimulated to assist in training and to keep him from becoming bored when you're not at home. Teaching your Dobie basic obedience commands like sit, stay, leave and wait can all be worked into games and disciplines he'll enjoy, such as hide and seek or having to wait until you give permission for him to walk through an open door or to dive into his dinner. Hiding toys or providing ones that require he work a treat out from them are other stimulating activities that he can indulge in when you aren't available for a training session or a play date.
Know Your Dobie
Understanding the Doberman you live with is critical to successful training. Your dog will carry many personality traits characteristic of his breed, but he is an individual as well. Knowing your dog and being able to read his moods will give you the awareness to know when he has become bored with a training or obedience session or if you've pushed him too far when teaching him a new trick or command. Simple obedience as well as intricate disciplines require that your Doberman enjoy his training. If he's having fun learning, he'll be more likely to master the lessons quickly and look forward to his training.
Consistency Is Key
Inconsistency is confusing to a Doberman who is trying hard to please you and learn his lessons. This means you have to present him with commands in similar situations every time, such as if you make him wait to eat or walk through an open door. If you don't do it every time, the confusion will be frustrating to him and he'll eventually lose interest in obeying your commands. It also requires that everyone in the family be consistent. Your Doberman's behavior will be unpredictable if he isn't required to act in a certain manner with everyone he lives with.
Socialization makes for a well-behaved, well-adjusted Doberman pinscher. Obedience classes let puppies to meet other people and dogs. Puppy kindergarten and other classes will teach your Doberman puppy not to fear new people, places or other animals, greatly reducing the chances of aggression that his breed can be prone to. Formal classes aren't a requirement if you consistently give your Dobie the opportunity to interact with different people in new settings, supervising him and encouraging him to interact in an appropriate manner and discouraging attempts at dominant or aggressive behavior.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.