How to Train a Doberman Puppy to be a Guard Dog

Hard
1-6 Months
Work

Introduction

You’re loving having your cute little Doberman puppy in your home. However, you know he won’t remain small and cute for too long. Which is fine, that is part of the reason you chose him. You also love Dobermans for their intelligence, loyalty, and energy but now you want to put those attributes to use. You would like to train him to be a guard dog. 

Training a Doberman puppy to be a guard dog will bring with it several benefits. Firstly, you will have an effective deterrent and an efficient way of keeping a place or object secure. But this type of training is also a great way to instill discipline, making it easier to teach your Doberman a range of other commands too. Finally, this sort of training is a fantastic way to channel his energy into something productive.

Defining Tasks

Training a Doberman puppy to be a guard dog is surprisingly straightforward. You will use boundary training to show him the object is within his territory, therefore requiring his protection. You will also use obedience commands to bring out the defensive types of behaviors you would like to see, such as barking. Another essential component of training will come in the form of finding the right motivator. Dobermans, like most dogs, will do almost anything for food. So the right mouthwatering incentive will be needed. 

Because he’s a puppy he should be a fast learner. This means you could see results in just a matter of weeks. However, if he’s stubborn and not so interested in learning then it may take several months before you see consistent results. Get this training right and you will be able to sleep easy at night knowing your house is being safely guarded.

Getting Started

Before you get to work, you will need to get your hands on a few things. Stock up on tasty treats or break your dog's favorite food into small pieces. If you’re stuck for ideas on food, cheese is often fairly effective. 

You will also need a long leash, a short training leash, and 15 minutes each day to commit to training. The more consistently you train, the sooner you will see results.

Once you have all that, just bring patience and a proactive attitude, then work can begin!

The Boundaries Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Morning walk
Secure him to a short leash each morning and walk him around the perimeter of the area you would like him to protect. Remain quiet as you go and try to keep him focused. If he walks around it each morning, he will soon believe it falls within his territory.
Step
2
Evening walk
You also need to walk him around the perimeter again in the evening. Walk just as you did in the morning and he will soon naturally want to defend everything within the boundaries.
Step
3
Long leash
You can also tether him to a long leash, ensuring the object or space you want him to protect falls within his boundaries. Again, this will further reinforce what does and does not fall within his territory.
Step
4
Encouragement
It’s also important you encourage any promising signs of guard dog behavior. That means handing over tasty treats and giving him verbal praise whenever he takes notice of strangers or barks at them.
Step
5
Never punish him
Dobermans are big and strong, so it’s important you retain control during training. So do not punish him. This type of training can result in Dobermans becoming overly aggressive and potentially dangerous. Positive reinforcement is the most effective approach to take.
Recommend training method?

The Control Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Obedience classes
It is important you take him to group training classes from as early age as possible. This will ensure he is still friendly and sociable with dogs and people he does know. It’s important he can interact with those he knows.
Step
2
Basic commands
Teach him ‘down’, ‘wait’ and any other basic commands that may come in useful later on. All will help you keep control of him later on in life while securing your position as pack leader.
Step
3
Get animated
Have a stranger slowly approach the space or object you want him to protect. Then point and talk in a high-pitched voice to draw his attention to them. Continue drawing his attention until he gets worked up and barks.
Step
4
Reward
As soon as he barks and takes an interest, hand over a tasty treat. It’s important he’s rewarded each time he displays promising signs of taking note of strangers. Make sure you have the stranger shout and run away too. He needs to know he has to bark until the person flees.
Step
5
Lose the treats
Once he’s got the hang of it and barks at strangers every time, you can slowly start to cut out treats. It will now be a habit and he will no longer need a food incentive to get to work.
Recommend training method?

The ‘Bark’ Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Setting up
Place him in a situation which is likely to cause him to bark. When he is about to be fed or go out are likely occasions. You’re going to use these to teach him to bark on command.
Step
2
‘Bark’
When he is in a bark-inducing scenario, give a ‘bark’ command in a clear but upbeat voice just as he is about to bark. You can use any word or phrase you like for the instruction, Dobermans can learn hundreds of different commands.
Step
3
Reward
As soon as he does indeed bark, you can then hand over a tasty treat and give him verbal praise. Just make sure he gets the reward within three seconds so he associates it with barking. Now practice this each day for 5 to 10 minutes in a range of different situations.
Step
4
Have someone approach
Once he understands the command, it’s time to put his training to the test. Have someone he does not know approach the place he is supposed to be guarding. Instruct him to bark and then after a few seconds have the person run away. You can then give him a mouth-watering reward.
Step
5
Change it up
Practice this every other day, but try to have a different person approach each time. It will quickly become habit to bark at anyone that approaches. When he starts barking without you giving the command, you can slowly phase out the treats.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd