How to Train a Doberman to Hunt Deer

Medium
1-6 Months
Work

Introduction

True to the Doberman breed, your Leo is obedient, loyal, energetic, and fairly large. He's eagerly waiting for you at the bottom of the stairs each morning for breakfast and leaps up and down as soon as you reach for the leash. It’s fair to say Leo is part of the family and that you love his upbeat nature. You’ve also had quite a lot of success in training him basic commands, from ‘down’ to ‘wait’. But when you started training your Doberman you were thinking long-term. In fact, you were planning to develop him into a hunting companion, capable of tracking down deer.

Training your Doberman to hunt deer comes with a long list of benefits. Firstly, you’ll have a fantastic way to exercise and stimulate them. Secondly, the obedience training required will transform them into a highly trained dog. Finally and perhaps most importantly, you may have much more success when you go out on hunting trips.

Defining Tasks

Training a Doberman to hunt deer is straightforward, but requires hard work and persistence, on both your parts. You will, of course, need to get your dog familiar with their future prey. You will also need to develop the hunting skills they will need to be effective. All of this will require the right motivation. Unsurprisingly, like most dogs, Dobermans will do pretty much anything for food and a favorite toy. So both will be used throughout training.

If your Doberman is just a puppy then you should have the perfect, receptive student. You could then see results in just a month. But if your dog is older and their listening days are in the past, then it may take several months to whip them into shape. Get training right and you’ll have company on those early morning hunting trips. Not to mention, you’ll have an obedient and switched-on dog.

Getting Started

Before you start training, you will need to gather a few bits. You will need some training decoys and scent spray. A favorite toy or two, plus a decent supply of tasty treats will be needed. If you don’t want to use treats, you can break your dog's favorite food into small pieces.

The other main requirement is time. Set aside at least 10 minutes each day for training. You can work in a yard to start with, but then you will need to move on to local fields and natural hunting ground.

Once you have all those boxes ticked, just bring perseverance and enthusiasm, then work can begin!

The Every Angle Method

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Step
1
Obedience classes
Take your Doberman to group obedience classes from as early an age as possible. This will teach them a range of useful commands you’ll use later on, from ‘wait’ to ‘down’.
Step
2
Games
Spend a few minutes each day playing tug of war and fetch. Both will help naturally develop the skills your dog will need later on. Plus, dogs learn best when they think they’re playing a game.
Step
3
Encouragement
Whenever you see your Doberman taking an interest in deer, following their scent or barking, give them a reward. This can be a treat or playing around with a toy. They will soon start associating hunting deer with positive consequences.
Step
4
Environment
Regularly take your dog out into their future hunting environment. Get them used to walking stealthily through fields. Also get them used to the sounds of gun shots and any other sights, smells, and sounds they may encounter.
Step
5
Always reward
Some owners make the mistake of only rewarding their Dobermans when they return from a deer hunt successfully. However, at the beginning they always need to be rewarded, otherwise they may well give up.
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The Lead the Way Method

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Step
1
Searching
Secure your Doberman to a leash and take them out to search for deer at least a couple of times a week. With this technique you’re going to help demonstrate what needs to be done, as Dobermans mirror their owners' behavior.
Step
2
Draw their attention
As soon as you spot a deer, point, whisper and do everything you can to draw their attention. It may take them a little while to start with so be patient.
Step
3
Chase
Once you have drawn their attention, run towards the deer with your arms outstretched, shouting as you go. You may look like a crazy person, but if your dog always sees you getting worked up and chasing deer, they will soon follow the suit.
Step
4
Persistence
Now you simply need to practice this regularly. The more often you go out searching for deer and hunting them, the sooner your hunting partner will start seeking them out on their own.
Step
5
Reward
Make sure you always give your Doberman a reward whenever they chase a deer. It can be a treat or you can play around with a toy. If you motivate them every time, they will continue to seek deer out.
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The Scent Method

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Step
1
Play time
Apply some deer scent to a decoy toy. Scent spray can be bought from a number of online stores. Then spend a few minutes playing around with the toy each day and getting your dog worked up.
Step
2
Setting up
Now head out into the yard and create a scent trail with the decoy. Wipe it along the ground and around the yard and then hide it somewhere at the end. Don’t make the trail too difficult to start with.
Step
3
Start line
Now secure your Doberman to a leash and take them to the beginning of the trail. Point and whisper at the trail and encourage the dog to follow it. If they get distracted, gently pull them back onto the trail.
Step
4
Reward
Make sure they follow the trail all the way to the end until find the toy. Your dog needs to know they will always find something if they continue looking. Then once they have found it, make sure to give them a tasty treat and some verbal praise.
Step
5
Make it harder
Now make trails a couple of times a week. Start in the yard but then start making them in local fields. The trick is to gradually increase the difficulty and length of the trails. Before you know it, your Doberman will actively seek out deer all on their own. Then you just need to hand over a reward when they return.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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