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He may be intelligent, fearless and energetic, but he’s also pretty huge. However, it’s not until you get up close and play with him that you realize quite how strong Dobermans are. You also realize his strength when he jumps up on you when you’re trying to watch TV. Now, this is entertaining for the most part when it’s just you. But guests and small children look positively terrified. So, although Oscar may not like it, he’s going to have to learn some rules.
Obedience training your Doberman will be useful for several other reasons too. Firstly, you’ll be able to use your control to teach him useful commands, such as ‘down’ and ‘stay’. Secondly, this type of training is a fantastic way to bond with your canine companion. Finally, you can channel all his pent-up energy into something productive.
Obedience training Oscar will probably be a lot easier than you realize. This is because Dobermans are naturally switched on and intelligent. The biggest hurdle will be initially conveying what it is you want him to do and setting some boundaries. However, once you have done that, you just need to reinforce training using incentives, such as food and toys.
If he’s a puppy then he should be fairly receptive. As a result, training may only take a few weeks. However, if you’ve never used obedience training with your Doberman, then it may take a couple of months. Get this training right and you will soon have Oscar performing a range of tricks for you when guests are over. In addition, stamping out any bad habits will be far easier.
Before you can start training you will need to collect a few bits. Stock up on tasty treats or break his favorite food into small pieces. Toys and a leash will also be required.
The other main requirement is time. Make sure you can set aside 10 to 15 minutes each day for training. Try and practice in a quiet room where there is less risk of anything valuable getting broken.
Once you have all that, just bring patience and a pro-active attitude, then work can begin!
The Timing Method
Sign Oscar up to group obedience classes. This is a fantastic place for him to learn obedience commands from other dogs. Dobermans will learn much quicker if they can copy the behavior of other dogs.
Start as a puppy
The earlier you can start obedience training your Doberman the sooner you will see results. Dogs are most receptive in those first few months so put in the effort then and you will yield results far sooner.
Start with ‘come’
This is one of the most important commands to teach your Doberman early. It will ensure you can always call him to side your side, no matter the situation. So, secure him to a leash and get down to his level while issuing a ‘come’ command. Give the command in an up-beat, playful voice.
Pull him closer
Now gently tug on the leash and hold eye contact to encourage him to come to you. As soon as Oscar does come to you, you can give him a treat as a reward and some verbal praise.
Increase the distance
Practice this for several minutes each day. However, gradually increase the distance between you when you call him over. You can then take him off the leash and start practicing in a range of situations, with distractions around. This is an essential command to teach Oscar to ensure obedience.
The Permission Method
Make Oscar work
The crucial part of obedience training is ensuring he will obey your commands. Part of that means he needs to trust and respect you. To help build that respect, make him work for food. For example, take him for a walk before his evening meal.
Make him wait
In addition to making him walk, instruct him to ‘sit’ and wait before you give him his food. To do this, simply slowly put his food bowl down. But every time he moves towards it or comes out of the 'sit' position, take the bowl away. He will eventually realize he needs to sit and wait for permission before he can dive in.
If he wants to join you up on the sofa, you need to teach him to wait for permission. To do that, simply hold his collar to stop him jumping up. Then issue an ‘up’ command. Give the instruction in a high-pitched voice and pat the sofa as you give it.
Then let him jump up onto the sofa next to you. Make sure you give him some verbal praise and cuddle him to show him he behaved correctly. If he jumps up without asking permission, you need to calmly remove him by his collar.
Obedience training like this will only work if all members of the household are on board. So sit everyone down and ask them to follow the same rules when it comes to feeding him and making him ask permission to do things like join you on the sofa.
The Start Basic Method
One of the easiest and first obedience commands to teach Oscar is ‘sit’. It will lay the groundwork to teach him a range of more advanced obedience commands, such as the submissive position ‘down’. Simply take him to a room and stand before him with a treat in your hand.
Give the instruction in a playful voice. Dobermans learn best when they think they are playing a game. In fact, you can use any word or phrase you like for the instruction, Dobermans can learn hundreds of different commands.
Move your hand up
As you give the instruction, slowly move your treat hand up and over his head. This should naturally lead him into a 'sit' position. It can also help to practice this with Oscar up against a wall, to prevent him walking back instead of sitting.
As soon as he does sit, hand over a tasty treat or toy. Just make sure he gets the reward within three-seconds, otherwise he may not associate the action with the tasty reward. Then practice for several minutes each day. Once he gets the hang of it, you can slowly phase out the treats.
Now you have taught him the first and perhaps the most important obedience command. But now you need to use it to ensure obedience in a range of situations. So instruct him to ‘sit before you put his leash on. Have Oscar ‘sit’ before you cross the road and before he can eat his food. All will help instill discipline and obedience.
By James Barra
Published: 03/08/2018, edited: 01/08/2021