Training

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How to Train a Doberman to Hunt

Training

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2 min read

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How to Train a Doberman to Hunt
Hard difficulty iconHard
Time icon1-6 Months
General training category iconGeneral

Introduction

Your Doberman is a fierce looking canine. You often forget this because you know they’re all soft at heart and just want to lick everyone and cuddle. However, it’s when strangers walk by and look wary that you realize their strength, speed, and size can be intimidating. Those characteristics, however, are also why you think your Dobie would make the ideal hunting companion. Not only may training your Doberman to hunt solve your pest crisis, but it may also relieve some of that endless energy they seem to have. 

Training your dog to hunt also brings with it several other notable benefits. You’ll have some company when you’re out stalking prey through fields early on weekend mornings. This type of training will also assert your position as pack leader, giving you greater control over your canine pal. Lastly, you’ll have a productive avenue to channel their energy into.

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Defining Tasks

Training your Doberman to hunt isn’t like training him to ‘sit’. You will have your work cut out for you over the next few months. You will need to use obedience training to ensure they follow your instructions when they’re out hunting. You may also have to lead by example in some scenarios. Training will also consist of getting them familiar and excited by their prey.

If your dog is just a puppy, then you have the ideal student to train. Your Doberman should be at their most receptive and eager to please. So you could see results in just a month or two. However, if your Doberman is older and more interested in sleeping than chasing down prey, then you may need up to six months. If you master training, you will have a well-trained, effective canine hunter. You’ll also have a great way to stimulate and exercise your dog.

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Getting Started

Before you start training, you will need to make sure you have a few bits. Firstly, you will need prey decoys and scent spray to get the dog used to their future prey. You will also need an effective motivator. So stock up on treats or break their favorite food into small pieces. 

Set aside 15 minutes or so each day for training. In fact, the more you train, the sooner you will see results. You will need a yard and local fields to practice in.

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

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The Full Package Method

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Obedience classes

The first thing to do is take your dog to group obedience classes. They will teach them a range of useful commands. But just as importantly, they will socialize your Doberman with other pets and people. And it’s important they only channel their aggression towards the chosen prey.

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Encouraging games

Play tug of war and fetch for a few minutes each day with your dog. These games are a great way to naturally develop the skills and behaviors they will need when you take them out hunting.

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Hunting environment

You also need to get your dog familiar with the hunting environment. That means they recognize the sights, smells and sounds. That includes gun shots and any other distractions.

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Encouragement

You also need to encourage your Doberman from as early an age as possible. That means giving them treats and verbal praise whenever they bark or show an interest in their future prey.

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Avoid punishment

Do not punish your dog. This may only make them overly aggressive and then controlling their hunting desire may prove increasingly challenging. So instead, stick to positive reinforcements.

The Decoys Method

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Decoy excitement

Spend a few minutes each day playing around with decoy toys. Make sure they have scent spray on them. You can then play tug of war, fetch and any other games that will get your Doberman worked up and familiar with their future prey.

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Scent trail

Now head out into the yard and wipe the decoy toy along the ground around your yard. Then hide the toy in a bush or something at the end of the yard. You’re going to teach your Doberman to sniff out their prey.

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Encouragement

Now secure your dog to a leash. Take them to the beginning of the trail and point and whisper at the ground. Dobermans have a strong sense of smell so they should quickly pick it up. If they get distracted, pull them back onto the trail and encourage them to keep sniffing.

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Reward

It’s important you make sure your dog always continues to the end of the scent trail. This teaches them that there will always be a tasty reward if they don’t give up. This can make the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful hunting companion.

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Change it up

Now you just need to make new scent trails a few times a week. You can gradually make them harder and longer. Then start setting them up in larger fields. Continue to do this until your Doberman naturally starts sniffing out prey. Then you just need to make sure you’re always ready to hand over a mouth-watering reward.

The Watch Me Method

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Scouting

Head out regularly with your Doberman. You need to be out looking for their prey at least a couple of times a week. You can then practice stealthily searching through fields and forests. Try and keep quiet to ensure they concentrate.

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Capture their interest

Once you do come across your prey, point, whisper and do everything you can to draw the dog's attention to it. Be patient, it may take a little while the first few times. So persevere, even if you look slightly odd to anyone walking by.

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Charge

Once you have the dog's attention, run towards the prey with your arms outstretched, shouting as you go. your dog will probably quickly follow suit. This works because Dobermans learn by mirroring their owner's behavior. So if they see you get worked up by the prey, they soon will too.

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Reward

You must reinforce your dog's new chasing behavior. That means handing over tasty rewards whenever they give chase. You can even give a reward when they aren’t successful to start with. If they don’t get anything tasty in return, they may give up trying.

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Persevere

The most challenging part of this technique is continuing to show enthusiasm and regularly chase prey yourself. If you look deflated or don’t bother getting worked up, then your dog may quickly lose interest too.

By James Barra

Published: 04/16/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

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