The doberman is a natural-born service dog that's constantly looking for new activities to learn. The dobe loves attention during training sessions and catches on to new commands quicker than most breeds. Your dobe will stay patiently within a matter of weeks with consistent training using positive reinforcement.
Give your dobe the "sit" command. You can't teach "stay" until your doberman has mastered sit. To teach sit, hold a treat in front of your dobe's nose so he can smell and taste the treat. Move the treat over his muzzle and over his head, so his nose follows and points to the ceiling. In an attempt to balance, the dobe will naturally move to sit. As soon as his butt touches the floor, enthusiastically say “good sit” and give the treat. Continue to practice until your dobe sits on command with only verbal praise.
Give the stay command as your dobe is sitting. Say “stay” while standing toe-to-toe with your dobe. After 5 seconds, praise him verbally and with treats. If your dobe stands before the 5 seconds are up, do not give the treat and do not reprimand the dobe. Simply start over by telling him to sit and do not give the treat until he has stayed for 5 seconds. Once staying for 5 seconds, move so you're standing next to your dobe before giving the treat.
Stand 3 feet away for 30 seconds. After one week of your dobe staying in the sit position for 5 seconds and continuing to stay while you move to your doberman's side, increase the difficulty. Say “sit” and then “stay” while moving backwards 3 feet. Maintain eye contact with your dobe. Remain 3 feet away from your dobe for 30 seconds and praise him with treats if he stays sitting during the entire process. Once successful at staying for 30 seconds, move so you're standing next to your dobe before giving the treat. If he stands, start over.
Give the sit-stay command while opening the front door. The stay command can save your dobe's life since it stops him from running into a busy street. With your dobe on a leash, give the sit-stay command. Open the door. If your dobe stays for 60 seconds, praise him and reward him with a walk, outside playtime or even a car ride, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
- "Doberman Pinscher: A Comprehensive Guide to Owning and Caring for your Dog;" Lou-Ann Cloidt; 2007
- The Humane Society of the United States: Teaching Basic Commands
- Train between 8 to 16 weeks of age since your dobe is not producing hormones and is more focused during training sessions. Your dobe should understand "come" by 4-months-old, according to the Kennel Club Books author Lou-Ann Cloidt.
- Giving praise and treats when your dog is beside you teaches your doberman to associate rewards being received once he is next to you.
- Use small chunks of cheese or cooked chicken rather than dry dog biscuits for treats. By the time your doberman has finished a dry treat, he forgets why he was rewarded, according to Cloidt.
- Only give commands when you're standing and keep your hands out of your pockets. Keep the bag of treats out of sight.
- Never punish a doberman. Punishment training techniques can lead to aggression and problematic behaviors in dobes.
- Avoid treats as bribes. Ask for the command, wait for compliance and then vary your type of reward. Once your dog is catching on to the command, only give treats every other time he stays. If treats are overused they become bribes so your dobe replies with “I'll stay, if you give me a treat,” according to the Humane Society of the United States.
Melissa McNamara is a certified personal trainer who holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and communication studies from the University of Iowa. She writes for various health and fitness publications while working toward a Bachelor of Science in nursing.