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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Most Recommended
1 Vote
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

ribbon-method-1
Effective
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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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Least Recommended
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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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Written by Sharon Elber

Published: 01/22/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Cooper
Doberman Pinscher
7 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
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Cooper
Doberman Pinscher
7 Weeks

can he be trained without a professional's help? If, yes then what is the right time to start his leash training him out in my backyard?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
943 Dog owners recommended

Hello Abhay, Most basic obedience commands can be taught on your own with a puppy if you wish to learn how. The main benefit of an obedience class is actually the socialization gained through playing with the other puppies and being handled by the other dog owners in class, if you find a class that emphasizes those things. Check out the article I have linked below on teaching come - this article is a good start to finish for the various skill levels of come you want to eventually work up to, generally running away from pup to get pup to chase you, using food rewards, playing hide n seek with pup inside, and using a long training leash while outside, are all great ways to teach a puppy to come. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ Below are some visuals of puppies being taught come, along with other commands. If you have friends with puppies, why not create your own puppy class and follow together also, to gain the socialization of the other puppies and people too. Puppy Class videos: Week 1, pt 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnhJGU2NO5k Week 1, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-1-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 2, pt 1 https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-2-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 2, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-2-part-2-home-jasper-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 3, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-3-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 3, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-3-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 4, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-4-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 4, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-4-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 5, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-5-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 5, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-5-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 6, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-6-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 6, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-6-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1-0 Finally, check out the PDF e-book downloads found on this website, written by one of the founders of the association of professional dog trainers, and a pioneer in starting puppy kindergarten classes in the USA. Click on the pictures of the puppies to download the PDF books: https://www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Tyson
Doberman Pinscher
2 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Tyson
Doberman Pinscher
2 Months

he bites everyone and everything, because of which no one can play with him. He pee's & potties across the house. he hardly listens or understands anything. he doesn't walk in the leash.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
943 Dog owners recommended

Hello, For the biting, check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Bite Inhibition" method. At the same time however, begin teaching "Leave It" from the "Leave It" method. As soon as pup is good as the Leave It game, start telling pup to "Leave It" when he attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if he makes a good choice. If he disobeys your leave it command, use the Pressure method to gently discipline pup for biting when you told him not to. The order or all of this is very important - the bite inhibition method can be used for the next couple of weeks while pup is learning leave it, but leave it will teach pup to stop the biting entirely. The pressure method teaches pup that you mean what you say without being overly harsh - but because you have taught pup to leave it first, pup clearly understands that you are not just roughhousing (which is what pup probably thinks most of the time right now), so it is more effective. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite When pup gets especially wound up, he probably needs a nap too. At this age puppies will sometimes get really hyper when they are overtired or haven't had any mental stimulation through something like training. When you spot that and think pup could be tired, place pup in their crate or an exercise pen with a food stuffed Kong for a bit to help him calm down and rest. Also, know that mouthiness at this age is completely normal. It's not fun but it is normal for it to take some time for a puppy to learn self-control well enough to stop. Try not to get discouraged if you don't see instant progress, any progress and moving in the right direction in this area is good, so keep at it. For the potty training, check out the Crate Training method from the article I have linked below. You can use that alone, or in combination with the Tethering method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside For the leash training, if pup hasn't been introduced to a leash yet, start with this article: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-your-puppy-to-accept-leash Once pup is used to the leash and leash pressure, then check out this article on Heeling: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel For general obedience and listening check out these videos of a puppy class, or you can find a great puppy class in your area too. Puppy Class videos: Week 1, pt 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnhJGU2NO5k Week 1, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-1-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 2, pt 1 https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-2-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 2, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-2-part-2-home-jasper-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 3, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-3-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 3, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-3-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 4, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-4-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 4, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-4-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 5, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-5-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 5, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-5-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 6, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-6-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 6, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-6-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1-0 Finally, check out the PDF e-book downloads found on this website, written by one of the founders of the association of professional dog trainers, and a pioneer in starting puppy kindergarten classes in the USA. Click on the pictures of the puppies to download the PDF books: https://www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Bob
German Shepherd
7 Years
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Question
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Bob
German Shepherd
7 Years

Hi,
My dog's name is Bob. I have a command with which he come to me running from 40-50 metre. I have taught him hand shake at this age (7years) but whenever I say him to sit, he doesn't sit the same time, I have to put my hand on his nose for him to sit. I want him to sit without my hand motion. He listens me like 70%.

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

Hello, here are a few guides on teaching Bob to sit: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-sit-and-stay. As well: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-golden-retriever-to-sit. And https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shiba-inu-to-sit, along with https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-terrier-to-sit. There is lots of reading for you to do, and you will see there are a few methods that can work. Choose one that you feel will work with Bob's personality and start with that. Train the "sit" command 10 minutes a day, and after the command has been mastered without the nose tap, then you can incorporate it with the recall. Congrats to Bob for his excellent recall! He'll get the sitting part of it after some consistent training with one of the methods detailed in the guides I have provided the links for. Happy training!

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Question
Heidi
dobermann
2 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Heidi
dobermann
2 Months

The dog gets really excited and unable to stay still. She also does a lot of biting with those very sharp needle like teeth. She just won’t stop biting. The more she is stopped, the more aggressive she becomes.

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

Hello. Here is 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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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
239 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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