How to Train a Doberman to Stop Barking

Medium
1-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

He may look menacing, but he also sounds pretty terrifying too. When your Doberman was a puppy, his barking wasn’t a problem. In fact, it was pretty entertaining. However, now he’s grown up and still won’t stop barking. It means the postman is terrified of delivering your mail. It means as soon as someone walks past your house they are ushered past to the sound of your Doberman. His barking is also dampening relations with the neighbors, who are fed up with listening to him bark at all hours of the day and night.

Training him to stop barking will bring you some much-needed peace and quiet. If you introduce a second dog into your home, training him to not bark will stop your new dog from picking up the bad habit, too. This training will also mean other dog walkers may feel more inclined to stop for a chat.

Defining Tasks

Training your Doberman to stop barking is a lot easier than most people realize. The first thing you will need to do is take a number of steps to deter him from barking in the first place. Once you have got him associating barking with negative consequences, you can then focus on using positive reinforcement. You will need to use obedience commands to first teach him how to bark on command, so you can then instruct him to be quiet, too.

If he’s a puppy, he should be a fast learner. This means you could see results in just a week or two. However, if he’s older with years of barking under his collar, then you may need up to six weeks. If you can get this training right, you won’t have to worry about introducing your friendly Doberman to guests and strangers ever again.

Getting Started

Before you can start training, you will need to get your hands on a few bits. A water spray bottle will be needed for one of the methods. You will also need high-value treats or your Doberman's favorite food broken into small pieces. A toy or two will also be required.

Set aside 10 minutes each day for training and try to find a time where you both won’t be distracted. Remember to be consistent and always end the training sessions on a high note.

Apart from that, you just need patience and some earplugs, then work can begin!

The ‘Quiet’ Method

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Step
1
‘Speak’
Put your dog in a situation that you know is likely to trigger a bark. Then issue a ‘bark’ command in an upbeat voice. Before you can teach him to be quiet on command, you need to be able to instruct him to bark.
Step
2
Reward
As soon as your dog does indeed bark, hand over a tasty treat. You can also give him some verbal praise. Make sure he gets his reward within three seconds of barking, otherwise he won’t associate the reward with the action. Practice this for ten minutes each day until you can instruct him to bark in a range of different situations.
Step
3
‘Quiet’
Now, instruct him to bark and wait for him to fall silent. As soon as he does, issue a ‘quiet’ command. You can use any word or phrase you like. Dobermans can learn hundreds of different commands.
Step
4
Reward
Once you’ve given the command and he’s stayed quiet, hand over a tasty reward. The happier your dog feels afterwards, the more eager he will be to repeat the behavior again. Practice this for a few minutes each day, but start to bring forward the ‘quiet’ command so you give it while he’s still barking. With consistent training he will soon associate the verbal command with falling silent.
Step
5
Application
You can now start using just the ‘quiet’ command whenever your dog barks. If you use it every time you catch him barking, you will slowly break his barking habit. You should also get anyone else in the household on board with training.
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The Meet His Needs Method

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Step
1
Food & water
Some Dobermans bark because they are trying to tell you something. It may be that he is hungry or thirsty. Make sure you feed him at the same times each day and that his water bowl is kept topped up.
Step
2
Bathroom breaks
Your dog's barking may also be because he’s desperate to go to outside for a pee. Make sure he goes out after meals and before bed. If he’s a puppy, he may also need to go out at several other points throughout the day.
Step
3
Attention
Spend a few minutes each day giving your lovable dog attention. Stroke him, play with toys and make sure he’s content. Dobermans can be needy despite their fierce appearance. If his barking is attention seeking behavior, this could remedy the problem.
Step
4
Exercise
Dobermans are big dogs who need a generous amount of exercise. Take him out for at least one lengthy daily walk. It can also help to throw a ball as you go. The walks will ensure he spends his time at home sleeping instead of barking.
Step
5
Reward
You also need to make sure you use positive reinforcement. Give your Doberman a treat and verbal praise whenever he meets new people and doesn’t bark. You will soon get him associating being quiet with tasty rewards.
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The Prevention Method

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Step
1
Radio & TV
If your Doberman barks because he can hear people approaching the house, then leaving the radio or TV on quietly could prevent the barking altogether. This is a quick and easy measure to test.
Step
2
Close the curtains
Your dog may bark because he can see people approaching, so shielding his view could deter him from barking. You can close the curtains and blinds. Alternatively, you can keep him in rooms away from the front of the house.
Step
3
‘NO’
Whenever your vocal canine barks, you need to be there to react consistently every time. Go over and give a firm ‘NO’ close to his face. You don’t want to scare him, but make sure he knows you mean business.
Step
4
Water spray bottle
Carry a water spray bottle around with you. Then if he does bark, rush over and give a quick spray near his face. This will quickly get him associating barking with negative consequences.
Step
5
Obedience commands
Work on brushing up on your Doberman's obedience training. Stimulating your dog's mind is just as important as physical exercise. Practice 10 minutes a day. A dog who knows to listen to commands will adhere to the request to not bark.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Kilo
Doberman Pinscher
8 Weeks
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Question
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Kilo
Doberman Pinscher
8 Weeks

Got her a few days ago and she does nothing but cry and whine when I step out of the room or even when I leave to go to work. She’s doing so well with all other training, it’s just the bark. And it’s beginning to stress me out. What all can I do?

I’ve tried these methods:
Tv/music while away
T-shirt with my scent in the kennel
Plenty toys
Comfy bed and an area to run around and play
Closed curtains

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
667 Dog owners recommended

Hello Chierra, I suggest working on building pup's independence. I suggest the following commands to help build independence. Out command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Distance Down Stay on a long leash outside: Crate Manners - great calmness and gentle respect building exercise : https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Surprise method - for introducing crate for first time: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Interactions with pup should be a bit more boring and structured for a while - especially with you. Don't act sorry for pup, don't allow pushiness, don't fuss over her when you leave or return. When you first come home from somewhere or return to the room, ignore pup for five minutes to condition a calmer response from her. Work on her staying on Place in one room while you move about the room and go in and out of the room (work up to that part). You want pup to have to exhibit and practice self-control and independence out of respect for you - staying on Place out of obedience in this case. Practice pup staying on Place instead of always trying to follow you. Teach pup a Quiet command. When pup whines at the door, tell pup Quiet once she knows that command well. Quiet - teach with a bark at first, then start using the command when she whines too and reward when she stops whining to help her generalize it to mean stop whining also: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark When she whines, use a small canister of pressurized, unscented air called a pet convincer. Calmly tell her "Quiet" through the door, then if she continues crying, briefly open the door and spray a small puff of unscented air from the pet convincer at her side and leave again. If she chooses to leave the door and go lie down calmly, if someone else is in the room with her, they can give her a treat calmly as a reward for calming down. All of this should be done with a calm, no none-sense attitude, not angrily or loudly or acting sorry for her. You want to express the attitude you want her to feel - which is calm and not sorry for her or angry. Only spray the air at her chest or side, do NOT spray her in the face. Also, only use unscented air, don't use citronella! You can also wait to use the Pet Convinced and just work on building independence through the obedience commands and other strategies I mention to see if the correction is needed. Finally, working on some agility type obstacles with new surfaces, obstacles, and things to overcome can help build confidence if she is generally nervous. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Beefy
Doberman Pinscher
1 Year
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Question
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Beefy
Doberman Pinscher
1 Year

Hello,

we have a Doberman that's almost 2, and although she's a wonderful dog and is very sweet, she is not so nice to our neighbor's puppy. He's a golden retriever under a year old and is a people person , but when my dog sees him she goes crazy. She won't stop barking at him and if he crosses the line I'm scared she may try to bite him, but she's never bitten anyone before and never would, not even our family cat, but I'm scared that she just gets so protective that she'll try to defend our yard and cause more of a problem. She gets plenty of exercise and tons of love, buy it's just this puppy that she goes crazy over.

I believe maybe it's because we didn't socialize her very well as a puppy with other dogs, but we're trying a shock collar right now (she already has an elecitric fence). she doesn't listen to the beeping, but she did respond once to the shock.

What are ways we can efficiently train her to make her not freak out so much? We want our neighbors to see that's she's a great dog and not as a terror. would a shock collar work? we would get a trainer but with everything that's happening now that's not an option.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! We want our neighbors to not dislike our dog and we want their family to be able to play outside and not have to go in because my dog is barking at theirs. I've told the mother already that we're starting to train her, but still I want to find the best way to make this work.

Thank you so much!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
667 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sam, Shock collars can be very effective but what they are good at is enforcing a known command really consistently. They are best used in combination with positive reinforcement. For example, you teach pup commands like Leave It, Quiet, Out, or Say Hi, and reward pup for obedience and correct for disobedience once pup knows the commands well - so that pup understands how to avoid a correction, has the skills to be able to do what's needed due to practice and training beforehand, is motivated by rewards to want to obey, and doesn't just associate the correction with the other dog but with their own disobedience. What you don't want is for pup to associate the correction with the other dog by just correcting pup while they are reacting toward the other dog - without any prior training. Start by teaching the commands I mentioned: Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Out command - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Come - Reel In method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Say Hi (Or Touch) - used to teach pup to do touch the fence without reacting to create a positive association with puppy's presence later on in the training (pup won't be ready for this level of training at first): https://www.petful.com/behaviors/what-tricks-can-i-train-my-dog/ Work on teaching pup how to do those commands. Use rewards like treats, and praise pup as soon as they get something right while learning - even before the treat is delivered so that they are being given feedback right as they do the correct action to help them realize that is what they are supposed to be learning. Purchase or make a long training leash (20' or 30' foot non-retractable) to use for commands like Come, Leave It, and Out, and to use later when you add the e-collar back in. I am not sure if your e-collar is a remote training collar or an automatic bark collar. If it is a bark collar, you will obviously only use it in combination with teaching the Quiet command and rewarding quietness, while the collar corrects the barking. If it's an automatic training collar it can be used in combination with a long leash (to physically show pup what to do like come toward you or move away from something) to enforce Come and Out and Leave It also when pup ignores your command, after the command has been taught and practiced with positive reinforcement methods. Work on teaching those commands and work up to pup being able to obey them around other types of distractions like people acting loud or silly or dogs walking down the street. When pup is good at obeying during those times, practice the commands on the far end of the yard with pup on the long leash while the puppy is in their yard also. Practice like that until your dog can obey and ignore pup while on the long leash further away from the puppy. Gradually decrease the distance between your dog and the puppy at the fence as your dog gets to the point where they can stay focused on you and ignore the puppy. Practice this until your dog can handle eventually being by the fence with puppy on the other side and still pay attention to you and ignore pup - this will take time and practice to work up to that point so keep at it. When your dog can handle ignoring the puppy while you are directly working with them, also begin just associating the puppy's presence with good things. Whenever your dog is in the yard and ignoring the puppy or staying calm, praise and give a treat for him simply being tolerant - you want him to eventually start to ignore the puppy's presence on his own without your reminders so that you get to the point where he is calm around the puppy even when you aren't there enforcing it with training tools, rewards, and commands. Interrupt pup immediately as soon as he starts "thinking bad thoughts" - opposed to waiting for a full explosion. Watch his body language and interrupt things like staring, tensing up, growling, fixating, and ignoring you. He is likely to learn better if you can interrupt before he is as aroused as he would be while barking and growling. Reward calmness, ignoring pup, and focus on you. If you are using a remote training collar opposed to an automatic bark collar - make sure that you are fitting it correctly and finding the correct stimulation level to use with the collar for your particular dog. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Anja
Doberman Pinscher
8 Years
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Anja
Doberman Pinscher
8 Years

She barks at the least noise outside the house and when she sees another dog or person outside she barks although she is friendly when they come up to her. She constantly whines even when there are people in the room with her.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
667 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sheila, First, for the barking, I suggest combining a few things in your case. You need a way to communicate with him so I suggest teaching the Quiet command from the Quiet method in the article I have linked below - don't expect this alone to work but it will be part of the puzzle for what I will suggest next. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Next, once pup understands what Quiet means you will choose an interrupter. A stimulation bark-collar or Pet Convincer are two of the most effective types of interrupter for most dogs. A pet convincer is a small canister of pressurized, unscented air that you can spray a quick puff of at the dog's side to surprise them enough to help them calm back down. (Don't use citronella and avoid spraying in the face!). Only use a high quality bark-collar for this. I prefer the collars that will allow you to choose the stimulation level manually, then use the lowest level pup indicates they can feel - which might only look like pup acting like a bug is in them, looking around, moving their ears, or some other subtle response. In situations where you know pup will bark or is already barking (catch them before they bark if you can), command "Quiet". If they obey, reward with a treat and very calm praise. If they bark anyway or continue to bark, say "Ah Ah" firmly but calmly and give a brief correction. Repeat the correction each time they bark until you get a brief pause in the barking. When they pause, praise and reward then. The combination of communication, correction, and rewarding - with the "Ah Ah" and praise to mark their good and bad behavior with the right timing, is very important. Once pup is calmer in general after the initial training, practice exposing him a lot to the things that trigger the barking normally (make a list - even if it's long). Whenever he DOESN'T bark around something that he normally would have, calmly praise and reward him to continue the desensitization process - this last part is the real goal, where you want to focus a lot of training. the initial training simply gets you to the point where you can reward pup for good responses - for those calm responses to become long term habit, you want to reward pup for being in that calm mindset often. While you are not home, confine him in a crate or room that doesn't look out the windows right now - barking at things out the window lets him practice the bad behavior over and over again and barking is a self-rewarding behavior because of the arousing chemicals released in a dog's brain - so once a dog starts he is naturally encouraged to continue it and stays in that state of mind if you aren't there to interrupt. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Ruby
Doberman Pinscher
3 Years
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Question
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Ruby
Doberman Pinscher
3 Years

We have two problems we are trying to solve, but right now, the second is the priority

1. We have separated our two Doberman dogs due to a violent attack from youngest to oldest. We have created proper physical space within our house, have Routines that ensure physical activity, play, and love but separately.

Question: the safest way to bring them together a few times each day for play.

Ruby- the dog that did the attacking is also barking at everyone who walks by house, and even though she is on a collar that keeps her within the boundaries of our yard- it scary to the neighbors.

She comes if I clap really loud and call her name, but I’m feeling like I cannot out her outside without me, and that creates a limitation for her because she needs the exercise

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Question
Dusty
X Doberman
6 Months
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Question
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Dusty
X Doberman
6 Months

Dusty steals food from the kitchen table.
He jumps on us.
He bites the little Maltese poodle.
He barks for nothing and when other dogs bark he becomes unsure of himself and then hurts the other dogs

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

Hello, Dusty is the perfect age to start dog training. Training him will turn him from an unruly dog to one that is a pleasure to own. It is worth the investment of your time and the cost is very reasonable. I can give you a few guides to read that have methods and tips you can use to work on the issues. For the food from the kitchen table: https://wagwalking.com/training/not-jump-on-the-counter Try the Kitchen Mat Method and adapt it to the table area. For the jumping: Try the Hand Signals Method https://wagwalking.com/training/not-jump-on-you. And for the barking, try the Quiet Method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite. Taking your dog to obedience classes will give him the confidence he needs to be sure of himself and that should prevent the lashing out at other dogs. Try the Establish a Threshold Method: https://wagwalking.com/training/not-attack-other-dogs. Good luck!

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