How To Train A Doberman?
Training your doberman is essential to a good relationship with your dog (and your neighbors). For some people going to a dog training class is just not practical or has limited effectiveness. We need to be clear that dobermans are not golden retrievers or labs. The doberman breed was originally bred for protective working purposes and because of this has a different temperament (personality) than the golden or lab.
In order to be successful at doberman training, it’s essential that you understand natural dog behavior first. You should read some books on dog psychology to get a better understanding of how your dog thinks and sees the world. Stanley Coren is a professor who has written some excellent books on dog psychology. I recommend his books to dog owners.
As far as training methods, they seem to fall into three main categories:
- purely positive reinforcement, this method avoids any corrections and the focus is on bribing dogs
- dominant/forceful punishment training, this method demands that your dog obeys via corrections, your dog will obey but he also might be scared of you and unhappy
- pack leader training, this method is a balance of the previous two styles, it uses food/toy/praise rewards and appropriate corrections for disobedience.
Which one is best for your dog will probably depend on the breed and it’s personality. As a guide, for basic training of puppies or dobermans who are more sensitive, start with positive reinforcement to teach the meaning of basic commands. For strong headed or dominant dobermans, or dogs with more serious problems you may want to start with the positive style and if not effective, switch to the pack leader/alpha dog methods.
Some of the best resources that I have found for training a doberman and that I recommend for doberman owners, especially with problem dogs are, leerburg.com and Michael Ellis.
For purely positive training Victoria Stilwell is a popular dog trainer.
For a free training guide, this pdf will break down training lessons into 8 weeks. The basic commands of sit, down, stay, heel and come are explained.
Leerburg has many articles with training information and a great forum. Check it out especially if you’re having dominance or behavioural problems. One of their best articles explains the method of voice marker training. It’s a long read but worth your time as it will help you understand how dogs learn and teach you to become a better trainer.
Another great dog trainer is Michael Ellis. He has extensive experience training dogs and has many videos posted on his website from his seminars.
Then there’s Caesar Milan, better known as the Dog Whisperer. He has a popular series on the National Geographic Channel that should be watched by every dog owner. If you’ve never seen his show, I recommend you watch the series. Just keep in mind that he is working with extreme cases on that show and not the average house dog. His techniques may not be suitable for your dog.
These are all great resources, especially new dog owners or owners that have not had success with their previous dog training methods.
Is there a dog trainer that you respect or recommend?