Known for their high degree of handler loyalty, keen intelligence, goofy personality and balanced energy levels, the Doberman pinscher is one of the most-loved breeds in America. While Dobermans master new concepts quickly and are a delight to train, their owners must always consider the Dobe's guardian nature.
Lay down the ground rules the instant your pup joins your family. Your cute, squirmy, 8-pound Doberkid won't be small for very long, and it's important to teach him the family rules, guidelines and expectations from the start.
Crate-train your Doberman. While your puppy loves spending time with you, he needs a safe, secure place of his own where he can relax when you're unable to supervise him. By preventing accidents, you expedite the house-training process, and by keeping your inquisitive pooch safely contained and out of trouble, you remove the opportunity to learn unwanted behaviors such as rooting through the trash, counter-surfing or eating couches.
Introduce your pup to a variety of people, places, animals, objects and situations from an early age. Because Dobermans have been bred as guardians and protectors, nothing is more vital than ensuring your pup has a well-rounded view of the world. By properly socializing him, you help prevent aggression, timidity and fearfulness from limiting your dog's ability to enjoy his life and everything in it.
Enroll your Dobe in a group class. For pups younger than 6 months of age, find a puppy kindergarten class. Puppy kindergarten provides excellent opportunities for socializing an impressionable young Doberman, while also laying the foundation for further obedience training once your pup is older. For more mature Dobermans, select a group obedience or manners course. Socialization is just as important for adolescent Dobes, but mastering basic obedience takes precedence.
Practice some aspect of training, manners or development every day. While you don't have to block out chunks of time for this, keep in mind that a few minutes here and there add up quickly. Take advantage of the time spent on hold on a phone call to practice sits and downs. While walking out to the car to bring in groceries, work on having your pal wait politely at the door.
Exercise your Dobe at every opportunity. A tired Doberman is a happy Doberman. By helping your dog get ample amounts of physical and mental stimulation, you'll prevent behavioral problems from developing due to boredom and anxiety.
Since 2001, Kea Grace has published in "Dog Fancy," "Clean Run," "Front and Finish" and an international Czechoslovakian agility enthusiast magazine. Grace is the head trainer for Gimme Grace Dog Training and holds her CPDT-KA and CTDI certifications. She is a member of the APDT and is a recognized CLASS instructor. She's seeking German certification from the Goethe Institut.