How to Crate Train a Doberman Puppy

How to Crate Train a Doberman Puppy
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon5-14 Days
General training category iconGeneral

Introduction

Your Doberman puppy probably feels like your whole world right now. Everyone that has seen him instantly goes ‘awww’ and wants to stroke him and to be honest, you can’t blame them. You’re loving every minute of looking after him and having him by your side. However, an important part of his growing up is learning to accept his crate. So, unfortunately, no matter how cute he is, he still needs to learn to use his crate. 

Training him to use a crate is good for him in the long run. Firstly, he will have somewhere safe and secure he can escape to, his own territory. Secondly, it will teach him how to spend time on his own, which will prevent him getting separation anxiety when you leave for work. Finally, it will hopefully stop him going to the toilet on your nice floors and causing damage at night when you aren’t around to watch him.

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Defining Tasks

Training any puppy to accept his crate can be a challenge and Dobermans are no exception. You will firstly need to make sure you have the right crate for him. You will then have to take steps to make the crate as comfortable as possible for him. A routine will also need to be established, so he’s used to heading there and feels comfortable when he is in his crate. Successful training often relies on finding the right incentive. Treats or toys will often go a long way. 

Because he’s a puppy and Dobermans are confident and obedient, he could respond to training in just a few days. If not and he’s particularly needy, then you may need a couple of weeks before you see consistent results. Get this training right and you will no longer have to worry when you head upstairs at night!

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Getting Started

Before you can start with training you will need a few bits. The right sized crate will obviously be the first essential. You will then need blankets and an array of toys to help it feel like home and make him comfortable. 

Stock up on some treats, or break his favorite food into small pieces. They will be used to motivate him throughout training. Try and be there as much as possible to start with; consistency is key if you want swift results.

Once you have all that, you just need willpower and a positive attitude, then work can begin!

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The Introductions Method

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The right size

The first thing you need to do is make sure you choose the right sized crate. He should have enough space to stand up, turn around and move a little, but not much more than that. You don’t want him to think he has room to go the toilet in there.

2

Positioning

Place the crate in a sociable room, such as the family room or kitchen. You don’t want him to think of it as a dark and gloomy place he’s forced to go to. Then secure the door open so he won’t frighten himself when he enters it for the first time.

3

Treat lure

To get him in the crate for the first time, place a few treats near the entrance. You can then head over and talk to him in a high-pitched, animated voice. You want him to associate the crate with positive experiences.

4

Feed him near the crate

To start with, you should feed him his meals near the crate. This will further help him to associate the crate area with happy things. You can also leave his water bowl near there as well.

5

Build up the time

Start by just playing with him for a minute or two in the crate. Then take him back out for a while. Next time, leave him in the crate for a little while longer. The trick is to gradually increase the time he spends in there.

The Leave Him Alone Method

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Lure him over

Use a treat to get him into the crate to start with. You can place one in front of the crate and another inside. You can also point to the crate and use a high-pitched voice to encourage him.

2

Stay close

Once you have gently secured the crate, leave him in there for a couple of minutes, but stay close. To begin with, you want to put him at ease by sticking around. You can talk to him and play with him through the sides. Then release him for a few minutes.

3

Increase the distance

A bit later on, place him back in the crate but this time move a little farther away. Keep doing this until you can leave the room for several minutes. If he begins to look anxious or scared, then you’re moving too quickly.

4

Toys

To make him feel more relaxed when he is inside the crate, place some toys in there. A food puzzle is also an effective technique to keep him occupied. Laying down a blanket or two will also help put him at ease.

5

Location

If you have an older dog in the house too, his bed should be placed nearby. You do not want your crated Doberman puppy to associate the crate with isolation. Once he’s comfortable in the crate for a considerable time period, you can then move it to a location you prefer. But to start with, try and keep it somewhere sociable.

The Routine Method

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Say good morning & good night

You need to get him in a routine of staying in his crate. This will help him know you will always come back for him. So, spend a couple of minutes saying good night and stroking him and then do the same first thing in the morning when you wake him up.

2

Toilet time

It is important he also gets into an effective toilet routine. If he’s locked in the crate and desperate for the toilet, he won’t associate it with happy moments. So, take him out in the morning, throughout the day and in the evening. If he’s a young puppy, the more you can take him out the better.

3

Cold shoulder

If he’s been to the toilet, had plenty of water and food, yet he still whines at night when you leave him, then you need to try and ignore him. If you don’t, you are telling him that whining is the way to get what he wants. You need him to accept the crate.

4

Exercise

Doberman puppies cannot be left in the crate for too much of the day. This is particularly important if they are very young. So, make sure he gets plenty of exercise and isn’t kept in there all day and night.

5

Treats

If he associates the crate with positive rewards then he’ll be much more likely to spend time in there. So, leave the odd treat in there. Also, leaving one in there each evening is a fantastic way to get him to go in each night, without any hassle.

By James Barra

Published: 01/24/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Lucca

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Doberman Pinscher

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8 Weeks

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Hi there, my Doberman is only 8 weeks old and we are following a crate training routine. She currently sleeps right through the night, but during the day I find it hard to even leave her in there for 30 mins. Am I doing the right thing by placing her in there only when she’s tired? Or do I need to make more of an effort to put her in there when she is awake and playing? She just cries and jumps up at the crate. Any help would be amazing.

March 26, 2022

Lucca's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Monica, That's great that she is doing so well at night. I would also practice during the day starting with short intervals. Follow the Surprise method from the article I have linked below for how to train with the crate during the day. It's a bit different than the night time because pup is awake more. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

March 28, 2022

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Judge

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Doberman Pinscher

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7 Weeks

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How to start training

June 2, 2021

Judge's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Melissa, What exactly are you wanting to train? If you are referring to crate training and potty training using a crate, check out the two articles I have linked below. Surprise method for crate introduction: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Crate Training method for potty training: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If you are wondering about general priorities and getting started with socialization and training more as a whole, check out the free PDF E-book AFTER You Get Your Puppy, which can be downloaded. www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads Zak George is another good general training resource, as well as the individual topics on things like teaching Sit and potty training found on Wag's site, www.wagwalking.com/training https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZzFRKsgVMhGTxffpzgTJlQ Congratulations on your new puppy! Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

June 2, 2021


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