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Dobermans are well known for being loyal, fearless, intelligent, and obedient. However, your Doberman simply doesn’t want to follow even the basic commands, such as 'sit'. When you try to fit his leash so you can go for a walk, he goes into overdrive. He jumps around and you spend the next five minutes chasing him around the kitchen. It makes the whole ordeal rather stressful. Teaching him to sit patiently will put an end to this dilemma.
It will also help for a number of other reasons. If you can teach him to sit, you can have him sit and wait before you give him his meals. This will help reinforce your position as pack leader. Teaching him to sit is also the most basic command that will be the foundation for all future training.
Fortunately, Dobermans are fast learners, so this type of training is relatively straightforward. The most challenging part comes in initially conveying to him what it is you want him to do. Once he understands this, you just need the right incentive. Food or a favorite toy is often the most effective tool. You will also need to turn training into a fun game. Doberman puppies learn best when they are having fun.
Because he’s a puppy, he should eager to please and a quick learner. This means you could see results in just a day or two. However, if he’s not so good at following instructions and is easily distracted, then you may need up to a week. Succeed with this training and you will have laid the groundwork to teach him a range of other commands, from ‘wait’ to 'high five'.
Before you start training, you will need to gather a few bits. The most important component will be food. So, stock up on treats or break his favorite food into small chunks. A toy will also be needed for one of the methods, as will a clicker.
Set aside just 5 to 10 minutes each day for training. Try and find a time where there won’t be noisy kids charging around the house, distracting him.
Once you have all that, you just need patience and a positive attitude, then work can begin!
The Treat Lure Method
Lead your Doberman puppy into a quiet room. Then kneel in front of him and hold out a treat in front of his nose. If he’s already quite tall, you can stand instead. Just make sure you capture his attention with a treat.
Give a ‘sit’ command in a clear, but playful voice. Doberman puppies respond best when they are playing a game. Also, make sure you give the command just once. Otherwise he will know that he doesn’t have to respond to your instructions first time.
Now slowly move the treat back over his head. This will naturally guide his head and body back as he tries to follow the treat. The first couple of times, you may also want to use your spare hand to guide his body down.
As soon as he does indeed sit, hand over a tasty treat. You should also shower him in verbal praise. In addition, remember the greater the reward, the quicker he will learn and the more eager he will be to practice.
Spend a few minutes each day practicing. He will quickly pick it up. You can also practice in a range of situations, so you know he can still perform when there are distractions around. Once he’s got the hang of it, you can gradually cut out the treats.
The Clicker Method
Get him used to the clicker. This will become an effective way to communicate with him and signal to him when he has performed a trick correctly. So, whenever he follows an instruction or behaves as you wish, immediately click to let him know and follow up with a treat.
Hold his focus
Stand before him with a treat in your hand. Hold it right in front of his nose and make sure he knows what you’ve got. Try and stay quiet at this point too, you want him to concentrate.
Now slowly rotate your hand back over his head. The key is moving slowly, so he naturally follows your hand. This will lead him into the sit position.
Click & reward
As soon as he sits down, click to let him know he has performed the trick correctly. You can then hand over a tasty treat and shower him in verbal praise. Make sure he gets the reward within a few seconds, otherwise he may not associate the action with the reward.
Lose the treats
Spend the next few days practicing. Try it in a range of situations. You can also have other people give the command. Once he gets the hang of it, you can just use the verbal command alone and stop guiding him with your hand. At this point, you can then start to cut out the treats.
The Toy Temptation Method
Spend a few minutes each day playing around with a particular toy. Play fetch, tug of war and really get him as worked up as possible. You want him jumping up whenever he sees the toy. Leaving it in his bed overnight will also help him get attached to it.
Dangle the toy
Now quietly take your Doberman puppy to a quiet room. Hold the toy in your hand to get him to follow you. Then stand above him and hold eye contact. This will help him focus.
Give your ‘sit’ command in clear but friendly voice. The more animated you are, the more he will think it is a game and the more eager he will be to play. You can use any word or phrase you like for the instruction. Dobermans can learn hundreds of different commands.
Lead with the toy
Now slowly move the toy back over his head. This should naturally lead him to lean back as he tries to follow it. He will eventually be guided into a 'sit' position. You can try training right up against a wall, so he can’t walk back and has to sit down.
Make sure you reward him as soon as he does sit. Spend a minute playing around with the toy. To start with, reward him even if he sits for just a second or two. At this point you want to encourage any promising signs. Then as you practice over the next few days, you can have him sit for longer. Once he’s mastered the trick, you can stop using the toy as a reward.
By James Barra
Published: 02/07/2018, edited: 01/08/2021