Owning a Doberman is fun. Or it should be.
Unfortunately, some Dobermans are not as mellow as we would like. For a variety of reasons, some Dobermans have more anxiety or nervous behaviors than others. This could be a result of poor breeding practices, poor puppy socialization, training issues, or stressful home environments.
So what can you do to help calm your Doberman?
Depending on the situation, you may need to try different things. A dog with separation anxiety will need different treatment than a dog with a fear of noises or thunder. But some of these tips will help in either situation.
Dog anxiety tips
- Exercise your dog. A mentally stimulating walk, a good run, tug of war, flirt pole game, or a wrestle with a dog friend is sure to get excess energy out. If you can’t walk your dog, try a few other ways to exercise your dog.
- Feed nutritious food. There is a belief that a healthy diet will improve a dog’s mood. Just imagine children who have eaten lots of junk food, sugar or pop, then run around like little maniacs.
- Try behavior modification with treats. For noise phobias, try throwing your dog a favorite treat after every thunder and lightning strike. Food helps dogs to focus and may work as a distraction to whatever is scaring them. Hopefully, your dog will learn to associate a scary noise with something positive. Note that some dogs are more food motivated then others.
- Try to mask the sights or sounds that are upsetting your dog. For example, close the curtains so he can’t see lightning or turn up the tv or music so he doesn’t hear the wind blowing outside. Or close the blinds so that he can’t see that stranger walking by outside.
- Some dogs feel safer in their crate, while for others crates make them more nervous. Let your dog, go to the place that he likes. One of my Dobermans likes the bathroom during thunderstorms, (one theory is because that room has less static electricity).
- Try calming devices. These tools need more research, but some believe they work to help dogs be less nervous. Anti-anxiety tools include Dog Appeasing Pheromone, Body Wraps (like the Thundershirt), Calming Caps, Storm Defender (a shirt with metallic lining), and Mutt Muffs. The dog Appeasing Pheromone is available as a collar or room spray. It works by giving off a synthetic version of pheromones naturally released during lactation. I tried this product since it was recommended by my vet for noise/thunder anxiety, but I didn’t notice any visible difference with my two Dobermans.
- Be calm yourself. If you look or feel tense and anxious, so will your dog. Keep your body position relaxed, don’t look upset, afraid or agitated and talk calmly. Your dog will pick up on these subtle cues. They look to you for guidance in stressful situations. Make your dog feel that they can trust you to protect them from scary stuff. (Keep in mind, standing over or staring are seen as threatening body language to dogs.)
- Get anti-anxiety medication from your vet. If your dog is very fearful, he needs relief. Meds may also help with desensitization training.
- Use a Kong Wobbler to mentally distract and help calm your dog. Here’s a handy Kong Stuffing Guide.
- Music can help calm your Doberman. I suspected that classical music had a calming effect on dogs and have since learned that solo-piano music is an option to influencing a dog’s mood. A research study conducted by Dr. Deborah Wells, an animal behaviorist, studied the effect of different styles of music on shelter dogs. While heavy metal music caused dogs to bark and pace around more, psychoacoustic classical music showed fewer stress behaviors on dogs. (Pop music and conversation seemed not to have a noticeable difference either way.) Calming solo-piano seems to have an effect on reducing heart rate due to the slow rhythms and simpler arrangements. For dogs with separation or noise anxiety, try playing this style of music 20 minutes before you leave home. If you expect visitors and your dog is a handful, try calming him with music to assist with training obedience when the person arrives. If you plan to board your dog, maybe ask the kennel if they can play your calming music for your dog.
I recommend solo-piano as an option for easing your dog’s stress. In my home, I frequently play solo piano music from an internet station, or you can purchase especially created music for dogs like the CD, Through a Dog’s Ear: Music to Calm Your Canine Companion. With my two Dobermans, they seem to settle down and sometimes even go to sleep with the music. On another note, it’s great for calming humans too!
How do you calm your Doberman? Do you have any special tricks?
36 thoughts on “How To Calm Your Doberman”
I am a doberman owner and this was very helpful for me
I have a 6 1/2 year old Doberman. We moved out of state a year and a half ago. Since then she has gotten very attached to me. If I leave she gets into things. I have tried to dog proof the house but she is very smart, she opens cabinets and eats everything. I am concerned she is going to get sick. I have put on calm music sprayed relaxing fragrances,, taken her on walks and I never know what I am coming home too. Love my girl please help.
Have you tried exhausting her with a flirt pole before you leave?
Hello , first of all this is a fantastic site , a lot of great information here. I have a u year old female doberman that has basically turned into a nightmare. She is constantly whinning , and i mean pretty much all the time , unless shes doing something that she likes to do. Her behaviour has gotten much worse in the last couple years even though nothing has changed. She does barely listens to anything anymore, and is probably three or four times more hyper then she was when she was younger. Another big problem is barking in the house , which i cannot seem to stop her from doing. Im not sure what happened, but all of a sudden its next to impossible to handle her anymore. I would consider training but you cant get her attention , i may have to look into anti anxiety medication, although, i have tried it once and it didnt do much. I would greatly appreciate any advice.
Is there any chance it may be a medical issue?
Try shutting down all EMF sources in your home for a day or 2 to see if that helps. Dogs can hear frequencies that we can’t hear. EMFs like 4LTE and 5G have a constant grating/pounding/sound that even affects our DNA. Can you imagine how our dogs must feel? We disabled all of our 5G and it has helped our Dobie. Just wanted to pass this on just in case you were not aware.
Hi i have a female Doberman spayed and trained well. She’s never greedy for food or snacks. Only takes when we give her after a hand shake. Very loving and adorable. She gets very aggressive when some children come over to play around or the basket ball since my house is beside the park. We can’t calm her down at all. It’s been 3 years now that she has not stopped barking at them. Every evening from 5-7pm she goes on non stop barking until they leave the park. Sometimes even in the mornings if she sees them playing she starts.
But she doesn’t do this to others whom jog around.
How can i tame her down
We have even distracted her by playing with her during that time, taken her for a walk, after all that she starts again. If we kennelled her she barks even louder. But at other times she becomes like a baby
Some dogs just don’t handle the noise and activity that children make. Especially if they weren’t socialized with children when puppies.
I would just avoid the situation if possible, close curtains/windows. Move her to quiet space or basement etc.
This is our car porch and her kennel is around there. We can’t avoid the place at all. It’s a daily activity of those children moreover i have 2 other dogs mix breeds but they are fine. Any further solutions to train her to calm down & get used to the children sounds
She just hate children’s voices
You should exercise your Dobie it is important. Store food in the top kitchen cabinets or food closet.
I just got a Doberman she’s a year old almost two and she has alot of separation anxiety the other day she tore up my house I also have a three year old dob mix which he doesn’t tear anything up I’m wonder if there’s something I can do for my little girl to calm her down when we leave? Cant put her in a kennel
I recently adopted a 2 year old non spayed female Dobie.She is my fourth. She wasn’t housebroken, nor leash trained. She has an extremely high small prey drive. She’s coming along with her housebreaking and will be spayed soon. Also she was in heat when I adopted her. I would like to know if anyone has any hits to curb her high prey drive because the minute she goes out on a leash she is completely distracted looking for anything that moves? Also she is constantly going in circles whether inside or outside. I am thinking of putting her on Prozac for awhile. It helped with my last Dobie when I adopted him from a shelter. Thanks for any help. Fran
If your Dobe has high prey drive, then she will love the flirt pole. Maybe use the pole to get her exhausted and burn off extra energy before you go on a walk.
It might be worth trying. I made my own flirt pole and my dogs went nuts for it.
That is cruel that you put your animals on Prozac. Lack of exercise can’t be fixed with that horrible medication. Exercising your dog is the only thing that can help. Take your dobie to a dog park every day. Dobies require a lot of exercises, having a dog is a commitment, it’s horrible you put them on medication instead of trying harder. Good luck
Just paid a small fortune for a 3 year old trained Doberman from a breeder, was even told that the dog was specifically good with toddlers. I’ve had her for 3 months now and am completely devastated by her. She’s skittish and fearful around my two toddlers, husband, and friends. She’s barely eating and drinking. All the training that she came with has yet to appear. I’ve had a Doberman before and he was the complete opposite. Apparently, the breeder thinks she’s still settling in but how much longer will this take? She just runs around in circles and bolts away whenever anyone except for me approaches her. I’ve tried calming music, treats, adaptil, exercising her daily (we run 2 miles a day) but nothing works. Saw two separate vets and both advised me to keep her away from the kids. Even a certified professional trainer of 20+ years can’t get her to sit at Petco. Not sure where to proceed now, should I send her back to the breeder or keep trying?
“Send her back to the breeder,” as if she’s just some defective toy…? She’s in your life now. You have to work with her. Your “small fortune” that you paid for her isn’t worth the time and emotion she’s invested in YOU. It’s a two way street, dear–learn her and she will learn you.
&Also, mind you, breeders will tell you whatever they have to in order to make money off of you. I hope things have worked out for you.
I agree, that is just out of control. What’s wrong with people… Not every body can have a Dobie
Obviously, you did not do much research before getting a Dobermann. Do you realize exercising is crucial for Dobie’s mental health? YOU HAVE TO TAKE IT TO A DOG PARK almost EVERY DAY, you have to work with the dog. It is a lot of work and commitment, especially with Dobermann. It’s not an object you know. Do you think the breeder will take better care of it? Out of control. Breeders often treat animals horribly.
Our Dobie was 13 years old in October. He still gets complements on his looks. But he has high anxiety, more so then when he was younger. We just got a new paper delivery person with a loud muffler on his car. (At first I thought it was a truck) He gets to scratching at me in bed. Wines, barks. He does this even before the paper is delivered, I thinks he knows the time it will show up. So I am up from 3 or 4 AM. I have given him a pill from the vet but not sure if it is safe for every day. He won’t keep a tundershirt on he chews it off. Has anyone experienced This or can give me some advice on this. I am not a happy person at that time of the morning and I don’t treat him with the best of care.
Have you tried giving him a super favorite treat when the car comes around? Maybe he can learn to associate the dreaded car with a great treat coming.
Can dog sleep in an area where he won’t hear street noise?
If all else fails bribe the muffler kid to avoid your street or change his delivery schedule on your street.
My dog is a super excited one. We both go racing in our field. He is much faster than me even if I am on my quad his maximum speed is nearly 60 km/ph recorded
As a child I always had 2 Dobermans which we had a huge yard & I ran my large male daily. When I grew up & my son was 11 I couldn’t find anyone to sell me just a pet quality Doberman I could spay, for I wanted a puppy that hadn’t had issues, so my son would have a protector over the summer between 6 & 7th grade. My prayers were answered after I built a cedar fence for the rottie mix puppy I got. My neighbor gave me his beautiful male dobie because it had issues with another dog he owned & Max thought he was mine anyway. He told me he was scared of everything. That dog was the best well-trained dog I had. He knew when I was going to get a migraine, he protected all the kids in the yard. I would just walk him with gracie the rottie daily. I couldn’t take him to a dog park, because if he even thought Gracie or I were in danger he would just show his teeth. Never bite anybody but I always felt safe & loved. He slept with me & my declawed cat. Am the most stressed out person yet both him & the red one I have now are the absolute bees knees. Amber knows when I need to wake up & wont let me sleep in, she also senses my migraines, yet she is content to lay on the couch under a blanket next to me. She see’s me putting on my shoes for work & she goes straight to her crate. I will always have Dobermans for me they are the best breed around. the super perceptive, great with kids, wonderful housedogs, car travelers & I disagree that your house has to be peaceful, for they make my house peaceful. They are very calming & loving dogs.
Your message is so encouraging! I am bringing home two doberman brothers in a couple of weeks and feel a little nervous about what’s ahead. I know they’re smart and loving dogs- I just worry about whether I’ll come home to find my house destroyed one day! I work from home and can take them out to pee every hour- having said that, how long do you think it will take for them to feel settled in, and potty trained?
I just lost my back female , Phoebe, two weeks ago, less than a month after her 13 th birthday . She had also survived lymphoma for three plus years, and about a month ago at the dog park, people were so awed by her speed and spirit , they couldn’t believe she wasn’t a puppy!
At home , she was just like a great big , mostly calm cat! Very mellow , and ladylike , BUT IT WAS STRANGE SOUNDS, mostly fireworks and skateboards that would induce extreme irritation or PANIC!
I noticed that almost any OTHER Behavior was traceable right back to ME, as our Dobes are most of all WATCHERS! And they are always aware of our abrupt mood changes. Such things as screaming while having to endure badly programmed voicemail menus on the phone when trying to get a real human to answer, ( my achille’s heel),or loosing my keys at the last minute, ( whatever tpet peeves we have), would be interpreted by Phoebe as being about or towards HER, unless I took care to nip it in the bud and reassure her all was AOK!
It’s good to always remember Dobes are VERY Sensitive and aware of YOUR State of mind, so maybe if your dog seems unduly nervous , it could help to really look at the way YOU move, do housework, or talk to yourself OR The phone! Dogs don’t understand phones, computers or bad voice mail programming, and sometimes, in a dogs eye, our environment might not feel as peaceful to them, as it does to us! I thank Phoebe for teaching me to conduct myself in a slightly calmer manner, and it’s better for me , too, ” Thanks, Phoebes!”
Since I was young I have always remembered the not so smart little 3 year old that laid on the back of her black Doberman satan and chewed on her ears. she let me several times and I guess I bit a little to hard and she growled a warning . I never did it again, what a patient dog. The same dog had a litter of puppies the same time as our cat had kittens. They never cared if it was a puppy or a kitten they shared feeding each others litter just like they were their own. My last blessing was a beautiful long legged red Doberman named Liberty (Libby). She chose me or we chose each other when I moved back in with my parents. she was a naughty girl before I came. she chewed up a couch and 2 chairs and she pulled a crock pot with roast in it off the counter when no one was home. She also ate an entire Chocolate cake of the stove. All I can say is separation anxiety is all I could think of and boredom .She was my closest friend from 2004 until 3/3/2014 she will make me smile for life.
My one guy liked the smell of lavender. He loved smelling candles and I put lavender oil on the his ears (not on the fur). He thought that was great. My girl liked massages which I always gave her. They were great dogs, very pleasant to have. They both passed in the last couple years and I am awaiting another one.
For about the last three months I have been feeling close to Morgan Freeman because Ive been driving “Miss Daisy” around. I never knew how much fun a doberman ls! They are sudh intelligent beings
I have a doberman who has just this year been diagnosed with epilepsy, yup grand mal seizures, I have been a vet tech for years and I keep my 112 lb baby calm with deep tissue massage, my boy just loves it especially when I rub his spine from his neck to his tail, he has even fallen asleep during his rubdowns!!!!!!!!!!!
This may be long, sorry, as I grew up w/Dobies and it’s the only breed I will ever have. I also worked w/Dobie rescues. What I’ve learned from decades (I’m 56) about them is their 1st yr(s) of life are soo very important. How they are raised and treated early will contribute to a nervous dog or a calm Dobie. They’re very sensitive & should never, ever be hit–of course, yelled at, or left outside–they are inside dogs. Get ready to share your couch & bed, they are “velcro dogs”. When trainnig a pup use a water bottle & squirt them while saying “no” in a normal voice–they learn quickly & have the i.q. of at least a 7 y.o. child & understand sentences. Give them lots of love, play/exercise and good care & they won’t have the nervous issues I’ve seen in abused or abandoned Dobies. We currently have one that had 5 different families in his 1st 18 months. He was starved, weighed 30 lbs @ 18 mos old when we got him. He is now a big boy at 110 lbs. Luckily he’s learned that an “oppsy daisy” is ok, coz at 1st he’d cringe & hunker down if he bumped into a table or anything–& we’d say “oopsy daisy” in a hi-pitch, fun sounding voice. When one of us did one we’d say “mama (or papa) did an oopsy daisy”). Now he doesn’t cringe at anything. He loves cats & lets them climb all over him and sleep w/him. He is now my husband’s service dog & goes to school w/him (teacher). He’s good w/everyone especially the handicapped, small kids, animals & the elderly. He is such a lover boy. Once in a while he will have lose stools & I know he’s been stressed by something. Like anohter contributor reported, the “Thru a Dog’s Ears” music works miracles. He also loves to ride in hubby’s van and of course is a “velcro” Dobie, so get ready to share your couch & bed. Just love them & they will give you 100% more love back to you. As I always stress, PLEASE RESEARCH ANY BREED YOU’RE CONSIDERING, AS WELL AS YOUR LIFE STYLE & LIVING CONDITIONS.
FYI: It’s LOOSE stools – please don’t LOSE your temper upon reading this.
How long did it take for him to get comfortable in your home and not to be afraid of everything? I just adopted a 2 year old female dobie who has spent at least the past 8 months outside to run loose on an acre. She hasn’t pottied in the house once, we’ve had her for about 5 days. She’s already gotten so much better with her leash and harness walking outside but she’s scared of EVERYTHING! Any strange noise or if someone walks in the same room as her she bolts. She ran off a couple times and it’s so hard to get her back. She won’t leave my bed side for food or water unless I force her to move from her “spot”. I talk friendly, try to reassure her & comfort her but she’s still so nervous. When she’s out of my room all she does is pace. I want so badly for her to let her guard down and to realize she’s safe & become confident and laid back. About how long before you think she’ll come around?
I’ve always wanted a Doberman & sadly she’s been neglected & I have so much work ahead of me with her I’m just scared she’s too damaged & I won’t be able to help her become the loving, confident dog I so badly want her to be, Not only for my families sake but most importantly for hers.
We are on with our third Dobie and they have all been big, soft, daft, loving adorable animals. We would have no other breed.
Saxon is six is about 6 months and he is
full of good honest pure energy he is so
fast,he just loves to run and jump.So
I run him or play fetch with him. Then
Bring him in feed him water him and he
Is out.Simple and it works well.
But it don’t last long!
Maybe it’s the way you bring them up, I’ve had Dobes for for 40 yrs,and they’ve all have been big babys. They all had back yards, but I think it’s because petted, stroked etc