How to Train a Doberman Puppy to Come

Medium
1-6 Months
Behavior

Introduction

You can start training your Doberman puppy to come when called at as early as 8 weeks of age. This smart and loyal breed is generally eager to please. Our positive training methods will show you how to teach your Doberman puppy to come when you call them, without using harsh punishments.

This valuable behavior is called “recall,” and it just may save your dog’s life one day. Dogs of any breed that have a strong recall were usually worked with as puppies, and continue to practice this skill with their owners over the course of their lives.

If you bring some patience and consistency to your training game, you will start to see your Doby puppy understand the “Come!” command in just a few short sessions. By the time she is an adult, regular practice and “proofing” will make her recall strong and reliable. 

Defining Tasks

Dobermans can learn to have a strong and reliable recall. However, it is critical to know your individual dog, and have a strong sense of what is more important to him than your rewards. For example, many Dobermans have a strong prey drive. He may never be fully safe off leash where there is a chance that small dogs or cats could distract him and incite him to chase.

When training you Doberman puppy to come when called, it is important to make every successful recall a rewarding experience. If you call her to you and then punish her, you will be undermining your training efforts. If you need to call her to you before you crate her, always try to include a short game or a few rewarding tricks before having her go in her crate.

Finally, every puppy loves a game of chase – so be careful when you choose to play it. If you call your pup to you, and he does not come, never chase after him. Instead, walk or run away until he comes after you. 

Getting Started

Before you get started with training your Doberman puppy to come when called, be sure to have your motivators (treats, toys, and praise) ready to go. In addition, get a 25’-50’ long line leash or rope that you can attach to his collar for the steps of training that will require you to enforce the recall command.

Remember that trainings sessions for all puppies should be 5-15 minutes long, depending on her attention span. Keep things fun and exciting or your little pup will get bored or distracted. This will undermine your efforts to keep her focus on the things you are trying to teach her.  

The Fun Recall Game Method

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Step
1
Set up
Keeping training fun can sometimes be a challenge. This is a way to turn your recall training into a game your Doberman puppy will get a big kick out of. Starting with a few friends, give them each a bag of tasty treats and have them sit or stand in a circle.
Step
2
Alternate
Take turns calling the pup using his name and the command “Come!” Keep the tone really exciting and fun.
Step
3
Hold back
When he gets to the person that called, they should reward and then hold him for a few seconds while the next person calls. He will start to be very excited, pulling a bit to get to the next person in a hurry. This is perfect as it reinforces that the recall is best when it is fast.
Step
4
Add distance
Increase the size of the circle as your puppy is ready for a more advanced game. Try calling from different rooms to really up the ante!
Step
5
Outside
Once your pup is reliably playing the game with gusto, move it outside on a nice day. Use a long line to make sure you can catch him in the event he is distracted.
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The Basic Recall Method

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Step
1
Set up
This is the best method for first training your Doberman puppy to come when called. Make sure your training sessions are in a place he is familiar with. Distractions such as toys, other dogs or people should be removed to make sure he can focus on learning this new behavior. Get your rewards ready.
Step
2
Run away
When your puppy is just a few feet away, run away from her. She is sure to follow you instinctively. Call her name, followed by the command “Come!” only after she starts running towards you. Reward liberally for every successful recall, and ignore failures, for now. Repeat 10-20 times.
Step
3
Add distance
Over the course of the next several weeks, continue to work with him in the low distraction environment, but work on putting some more distance between you and him, touching his collar before rewarding, and saying the command without running away. Continue to reward success, and ignore failure.
Step
4
Outside
Hopefully, you have been practicing recall drills inside for several weeks and your pup is consistently coming when called indoors. Now you are ready to increase the difficulty by taking your training sessions outdoors. Use the long line and continue your recall work, only now reeling her in to you if she fails to come within 2-3 seconds of being called. Continue to touch her collar before rewarding, and ignore failures.
Step
5
Add consequences
To teach your dog that he can’t get away with not coming when called, you will have to add a consequence at this stage. You should only do this after your Doberman puppy has plenty of practice with positive reinforcement. If your dog fails to come when called within 2-3 seconds, reel him in and give him a “time out” in his crate for 3 minutes or so, every single time he fails to come when called. To really get a reliable recall, proceed to the “Proofing” method once you have mastered this step.
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The Proofing Method

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Step
1
Why you need to proof
The steps in this method are all different ways to make your Doberman puppy’s recall even stronger, so she will come when called, every time. Trainers call this “proofing” and it involves deliberately adding challenges to your recall drills at a pace and intensity that your pup can handle. Eventually you will find that she comes when called, every time. Make sure she has the basics down first before making things more difficult.
Step
2
New places
Try doing your recall drills in some places that are less familiar to your puppy. For example, out in the woods, on a friend’s property, or in an open field. Make sure to use the long line if there are any dangers, such as nearby traffic
Step
3
Distractions
You will ultimately want your Doberman to come when called, even if there are distractions around, such as another dog on a leash. It is therefore critical that you practice drilling your recall around as many possible distractions that you can think up. Introduce them gradually, and from whatever distance it takes for your pup to be successful, before making things more challenging.
Step
4
New people
Some people like their dog to come no matter who calls her. If this is the case, you will want to proof her recall with as many folks as you can. If you do not want her to come except when you call, then you can also work on that by rewarding her for NOT going to anyone else when they call her.
Step
5
Select the best
Once your Doberman puppy really has his recall down, and it is at least somewhat proofed (proofing is an ongoing process for the life of your dog), then you can become more choosy about which recalls you will reward. Gradually reduce rewards until you are only giving big rewards to about 1 in 20 of the fastest recalls he offers.
Step
6
When NOT to recall
At some point in your recall training you need to stop using the recall command unless you are confident that your pup will respond to it and come. If you cannot enforce a recall, then use another way to try to get him to come, or physically walk over to him and retrieve him.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Jacson
Doberman Greyhound
8 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Jacson
Doberman Greyhound
8 Weeks

To recall command and to attack or bark

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
92 Dog owners recommended

Jacson is a sweet little guy. Once he is old enough, take him to positive reinforcement obedience to start learning his basic commands. Once he has attended a few levels and formed a solid bond with you, you can teach him more protective commands. However, I do not recommend any attack training without the consultation of a professional. In order to keep everyone safe (Jacson, other dogs, yourself, and people), he needs to learn the safe way to approach and alert you to a situation that needs attention. In the meantime, yes, recall skills are essential: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-greyhound-recall and https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-come. Here are tips for teaching Jacson to bark: https://wagwalking.com/training/bark-when-someone-is-at-the-door. Remember, a solid knowledge of sit, down, stay, heel, leave it, etc is needed as soon as he is ready for classes. Good luck!

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Sergeant
Doberman Pinscher
6 Weeks
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Sergeant
Doberman Pinscher
6 Weeks

I have 3 pee pads laid out throughout my bedroom he goes on all of them but also goes on the floor I would like to only have 1 pad and how do I get him to stop peeing out of his pads ?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
703 Dog owners recommended

Hello Cristina, Check out the crate training or exercise pen methods from the article linked below. At this age, the exercise pen method will probably be easiest due to pup's limited bladder capacity while so young. This method can be used with a pee pad, disposable real grass pad, or litter box and the steps for teaching are the same for each. If you plan to transition pup to going potty outside later, I highly suggest using a disposable grass pad instead of pee pad - since pee pads are made out of fabric and many dogs will confuse them with things like carpet and rugs when they are removed later when it's time to transition to outside. Disposable real grass pads: www.freshpatch.com www.doggielawn.com www.porchpotty.com Exercise Pen and Crate Training methods; https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy For litter box training, also know that you can purchase special dog litter and litter boxes with lower front openings if you choose to go that route. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Zazu
Doberman Pinscher
6 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Zazu
Doberman Pinscher
6 Weeks

He keeps biting and chewing on unnecessary things. He doesn't follow commands and has a very erratic sleep cycle. Its become very difficult to potty train him and at night he doesn't sleep much. I need urgent help!

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
124 Dog owners recommended

Hello! It sounds like you are dealing with multiple issues. These are very normal for puppies this age. As your puppy ages, he will slowly start to learn what is acceptable and what isn't. But I am going to give you some training tips and commands to hopefully speed that process along! The first place I am going to start is to suggest teaching him the command, "leave it". Leave is good to use in place of "no". It is for anything you want him to leave alone, or not get into. Teaching “leave it” is not difficult. Begin the lessons inside your home or in an area with very few distractions. Here are the steps for teaching “leave it”: Make sure you have two different types of treats. One type can be fairly boring to the dog, but the other type should be a high-value treat that he finds pretty delicious. You will also want to make sure that the treats are broken up into pea-sized pieces so it won’t take him too long to eat them. Put one type of treat in each hand. If you like to train with a clicker as your marker, you can also hold a clicker in the same hand that holds the high-value treat. Then, place both of your hands behind your back. Make a fist with the hand that is holding the treat of lower value and present your fist to your dog, letting him sniff. Say “leave it” and wait until he finishes sniffing your fist. As soon as your dog is done sniffing, you can either click with the clicker or say “yes.” Then offer him the higher-value treat in your other hand. Repeat until your dog immediately stops sniffing your hand when you say “leave it.” When you say “leave it” and he stops sniffing right away, leash your dog and then toss a low-value treat outside of his reach. Wait until he stops sniffing and pulling toward the treat. As soon as he does, either say “yes” or click and then give him a high-value treat from your hand. Practice this exercise a number of times. Over time, by practicing “leave it,” your dog should stop pulling as soon as you give the cue. When rewarding him with a treat, make sure that it is something good, not plain old kibble. By doing so, you are teaching him that asking him to leave some food doesn’t mean he won’t get anything, but that in fact he might get something even more delicious. When your dog is reliably responding to the cue, you can teach him that “leave it” can apply to other things as well, not just food on the floor. Repeat the exercise with five different items that are fairly boring to your dog. After using five different “boring” items, start using slightly more exciting items. You know your dog, so you alone know what items he would consider more interesting, but don’t jump to high-value items right away. To increase his chances of success at learning the cue, you want to work up to high-value items gradually. If Kleenex or a piece of plastic, for instance, would attract your dog on a walk, don’t start with those. Choose the items based on your ultimate goal: Anytime you say “leave it,” you want to be confident that your dog will indeed leave whatever you are asking him to leave. . The reward he receives when he leaves an item can change as well. If your dog has a favorite toy, squeak it and play for a moment when he comes running to you after leaving the other item of interest. Most dogs love interacting with us, so a moment of praise or play with a toy can be just as effective as a treat. Now onto potty training. Keep in mind that dogs can only hold their bladders for as many hours as they are months old. So he can potentially hold his bladder for 2 hours max right now. And that is after the last drink of water. Also, puppies usually have to go #2 about 20 minutes after they eat solid food. Including treats. It can take a month or longer for them to understand the concept of waiting until they are outside to go potty. So if you are unable to keep an eye on him in the house, don't let him have free roam of the house. Keep him confined to a kennel or small space. If you are home with him during the day, setting him up on a schedule will not only help your potty issue, but it will also help him with his sleeping issue. This schedule should include his meals, putty breaks, exercise, and training time. You can organize the schedule in a way that suits your dynamic the best. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Thank you for writing in!

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Question
Apollo
Doberman Pinscher
15 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Apollo
Doberman Pinscher
15 Weeks

He likes to nip and bite in the early evening

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
124 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here is some information on nipping/biting. Nipping: Puppies may nip for a number of reasons. Nipping can be a means of energy release, getting attention, interacting and exploring their environment or it could be a habit that helps with teething. Whatever the cause, nipping can still be painful for the receiver, and it’s an action that pet parents want to curb. Some ways to stop biting before it becomes a real problem include: Using teething toys. Distracting with and redirecting your dog’s biting to safe and durable chew toys is one way to keep them from focusing their mouthy energies to an approved location and teach them what biting habits are acceptable. Making sure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Exercise is huge. Different dogs have different exercise needs based on their breed and size, so check with your veterinarian to make sure that yours is getting the exercise they need. Dogs—and especially puppies—use their playtime to get out extra energy. With too much pent-up energy, your pup may resort to play biting. Having them expel their energy in positive ways - including both physical and mental exercise - will help mitigate extra nips. Being consistent. Training your dog takes patience, practice and consistency. With the right training techniques and commitment, your dog will learn what is preferred behavior. While sometimes it may be easier to let a little nipping activity go, be sure to remain consistent in your cues and redirection. That way, boundaries are clear to your dog. Using positive reinforcement. To establish preferred behaviors, use positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits the correct behavior. For instance, praise and treat your puppy when they listen to your cue to stop unwanted biting as well as when they choose an appropriate teething toy on their own. Saying “Ouch!” The next time your puppy becomes too exuberant and nips you, say “OUCH!” in a very shocked tone and immediately stop playing with them. Your puppy should learn - just as they did with their littermates - that their form of play has become unwanted. When they stop, ensure that you follow up with positive reinforcement by offering praise, treat and/or resuming play. Letting every interaction with your puppy be a learning opportunity. While there are moments of dedicated training time, every interaction with your dog can be used as a potential teaching moment.

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