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.
Recommend training method?

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.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Midas
Doberman Pinscher
6 Months
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Question
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Midas
Doberman Pinscher
6 Months

I have a 6 month puppy, that doesn’t stop barking and moaning at night, I’m unsure what to do as it’s every night and my partner and I are not getting any sleep, he has always slept down stairs but recently the barking and moaning has got worse, he is up nearly every hour barking

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1125 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ellan, First, I would make sure pup is receiving both mental and physical exercise during the day, remove all food and water at least two hours before bed, and ensure pup is healthy with your vet. If pup is healthy and needs are being met, then I would work on teaching the Quiet command, crating pup at night, and correcting the barking/crying whenever pup makes noise before it's been at least 6 hours since pup last went potty. First, work on teaching the Quiet command during the day using the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, during the day practice the Surprise method from the article linked below. Whenever pup stays quiet in the crate for 5 minutes, sprinkle some treats into the crate without opening it, then leave the room again. As he improves, only give the treats every 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hour, 2, hour, 3 hour. Practice crating him during the day for 1-3 hours each day that you can. If you are home during the day, have lots of 30 minute - 1 hour long sessions with breaks between to practice this, to help pup learn sooner. Whenever he cries in the crate, tell him "Quiet". If he gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats in after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his side through the crate while calmly saying "Ah Ah", then leave again. Only use unscented air canisters, DON'T use citronella! And avoid spraying in the face. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Repeat the rewards when quiet and the corrections whenever he cries. Practice for a few days until he is doing well during the day. You can either continue what you are currently doing at night during this process or go ahead and jump into what I explain below for night time training - waiting until the day is good before starting the night or starting the night and day both at the same time. When he cries at night (in the crate - where he needs to be sleeping for now) before it has been 8 hours (so you know it's not a potty issue), tell him Quiet, and correct with the pet convincer if he doesn't become quiet and stay quiet. Don't give treats at night, only during daytime practice. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Gypsy
doberman lab mix
2 Years
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Question
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Gypsy
doberman lab mix
2 Years

Gypsy is a very lovable, goofy dog. However, she is extremely protective of me in a way that can scare people. She barks quite a bit around people she doesn’t know or trust, so anytime we take her for a car ride or go anywhere, she barks at people. She’s never aggressive in any way she just barks a lot. I want her to be comfortable meeting people without barking, what is the best way I can go about training her not to bark?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1125 Dog owners recommended

Hello Mallory, First, with any aggression, I do recommend working in person with a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression, and comes well recommended by their previous clients for aggression work. This will also be easier to address if the trainer works with a staff of trainers, or training group so that their are multiple people who can act as "strangers" during the training sessions you and your trainer set up. It sounds like pup is being possessive of you, which is a bit different than protective. Possessive is a form of resource guarding, where pup is acting like they own the person they are guarding. It's generally related to a lack of respect. I would start by working on building pup's respect for you. Check out the article I have linked below. Follow the Working and Consistency methods https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Commands that are good for respect building - Out, Leave It and Off are especially important for giving pup directions right now. Place, Down and Heel are especially good for respect building. Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Heel- Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Off- section on The Off command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-train-dog-stay-off-couch/ I would also work on teaching pup a Quiet command and desensitizing pup to strangers. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark For the safety and reassurance of those around you, I would desensitize pup to wearing a basket muzzle using food rewards, and get pup used to wearing that in calm settings first, so it's not just associated with new people. To introduce the muzzle, first place it on the ground and sprinkle his meal kibble around it. Do this until he is comfortable eating around it. Next, when he is comfortable with it being on the floor with food, hold it up and reward him with a piece of kibble every time he touches or sniffs it in your hand. Feed him his whole meal this way. Practice this until he is comfortable touching it. Next, hold a treat inside of it through the muzzle's holes, so that he has to poke his face into it to get the treat. As he gets comfortable doing that, gradually hold the treat further down into the muzzle, so that he has to poke his face all the way into the muzzle to get the treat. Practice until he is comfortable having his face in it. Next, feed several treats in a row through the muzzle's holes while he holds his face in the muzzle for longer. Practice this until he can hold his face in it for at least ten seconds while being fed treats. Next, when he can hold his face in the muzzle for ten seconds while remaining calm, while his face is in the muzzle move the muzzle's buckles together briefly, then feed him a treat through the muzzle. Practice this until he is not bothered by the buckles moving back and forth. Next, while he is wearing the muzzle buckle it and unbuckle it briefly, then feed a treat. As he gets comfortable with this step, gradually keep the muzzle buckled for longer and longer while feeding treats through the muzzle occasionally. Next, gradually increase how long he wears the muzzle for and decrease how often you give him a treat, until he can calmly wear the muzzle for at least an hour without receiving treats more than two treats during that hour. Muzzle introduction video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJTucFnmAbw&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=6&t=0s Recruit friends and family pup doesn't know to walk past them while on leash with pup wearing the basket muzzle too if needed for additional safety. Watch pup's body language and have the person stay far enough away that pup stays relaxed. As the person passes pup and pup is reacting well (don't reward while aggressive or acting fearful), then have the person toss several treats gently toward pup's paws and continue walking. Have lots of different people do this in lots of different place - without approaching pup after. You want pup to begin to associate the people with something fun happening and take the pressure of petting away at first before pup is ready for that part. As pup improves, have the people gradually decrease the distance between them and pup. Once pup can handle people walking right by and dropping treats, practice the protocol from the video linked below, keeping pup's leash short enough that if pup were to lunge while practicing this, they won't be able to get to someone to bite. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIJoEJfTS-E Check out trainer's like Thomas Davis from the Canine Educator on youtube for some videos where you can see similar scenarios being done. I do recommend working with a trainer on this though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Stella
Doberman Pinscher
2 Years
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Question
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Stella
Doberman Pinscher
2 Years

I have tried everything.but cant.get her to stop braking and.now she has tried.to bit a few.of.my friends that she knows. Mayne the way they ame in to my house?

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

Hello there. It sounds like you have your hands full. I am going to provide you with information on how to correct this behavior. You won’t be able to solve your dog’s overprotective behavior in one day. In the meantime, you don’t want to put your life on hold. You can still invite guests into your home as long as you prioritize managing your dog’s behavior. You’ll need a short-term strategy to start showing your overprotective dog what behavior is unacceptable while also keeping your guests safe. There are a few ways to do this. Leash: Keeping your dog on a leash while friends are visiting gives you control over your dog’s actions. Leash him up before the doorbell rings and keep him close as you greet your guests. During the visit, you can let the leash drag and only use it if you have to. Muzzle: If you feel his behavior warrants the use of a muzzle for the time being while you work on solving this problem, then it may be a wise choice. Separate Room: Your dog won’t get better without practice, but sometimes you have to weigh the risks versus rewards. If your overprotective dog is in the beginning stages of training, keeping him separated from guests might be best. You don’t want to put a friend’s safety at risk or needlessly stress out your dog. As long as you keep working toward stopping the behavior, separating an overprotective dog from company is a temporary management solution. Start Obedience Training Obedience training is a must for every dog, and it’s especially important for overprotective dogs. Working with your dog on things like “sit-stay,” “down-stay,” and “heel,” will help build his impulse control. He’ll start seeing you as a capable leader and will turn to you for guidance. A mistake many pup parents make is stopping obedience training once their dog masters the basics skills. Being well-trained is about more than knowing how to sit when a person holds a treat in front of their face. It’s a lifetime lesson, and even senior dogs need regular training. Commit to training your dog several times a day for short periods of time. Make Your Dog Work for Affection You can’t help but smother your dog with love every time he’s within petting distance, but that isn’t always what’s best for him. He will start to feel entitled to your attention, and that’s part of the problem. To remedy this, initiate a “work for it” program that allows you to show your dog affection as long as he earns your attention in appropriate ways. Make him sit, stay calm, and do whatever else you ask before doling out whatever it is he wants. If he’s excited for dinner, make him sit and leave it before digging in. If he wants in your lap, ask him to do a trick first. Never give your dog attention if he rudely nudges your hand or barks in your face. He needs to know polite behavior, and polite behavior only, is how he gets what he wants. You ignore everything else. Involve Other People in the Dog’s Life Most overprotective dogs choose to guard only the person they feel closest to. It’s usually the same person who fills their food bowls, takes them on walks, and handles training. They become obsessively attached, and a strong bond gradually mutates into overprotective behavior. Putting some space between you and your dog will help him learn to trust other people. Enlist the entire family’s help and take a step back in your role as primary caregiver. Have someone else feed the dog a few times a week, and encourage other people to engage her in playtime. This will help him be more comfortable with different people. Socialize Socialization is best done during the puppy stages, but even adult and senior dogs benefit from new experiences. Exposing your overprotective dog to new places, experiences, and people, will help him learn that not everyone is out to hurt you. Make sure each new experience is positive, and encourage your dog without forcing him to interact. If your dog is afraid, you don’t want to make things worse. Take socialization at the pace he’s comfortable with. If he seems overwhelmed, back up and try something a little smaller. These are some general ideas and they can be modified to fit your dynamic. These behaviors do take time, I am talking months, to correct. And sometimes the behaviors get worse before they get better. So just push through that time if that starts to happen.

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Question
Paris
Doberman Pinscher
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Paris
Doberman Pinscher
3 Years

She doesn’t stop barking and also uses the restroom inside of th house

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1125 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sadie, I suggest going back to the basics with her for a couple of months and act as if she isn't potty trained at all to stop all accidents from happening so that she will develop a habit of holding it consistently while in the house and wanting to keep your home clean. After a couple of months if she has been completely accident free, very gradually give her more freedom - but when you start, still go outside with her at first to ensure she is going potty and not getting distracted. To crate train for at least two months to get her back on track more strictly at first, check out the Crate Training method from the article linked below. Make sure that the crate doesn't have anything absorbent in it - including a soft bed or towel. Check out www.primopads.com or k9ballistics.com if you need a non-absorbent bed for her. Make sure the crate is only big enough for her to turn around, lie down and stand up, and not so big that she can potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it. Dogs have a natural desire to keep a confined space clean so it needs to be the right size to encourage that natural desire. Use a cleaner that contains enzymes to clean any previous or current accidents - only enzymes will remove the smell and remaining smells encourage the dog to potty in the same location again later. The method I have linked below was written for younger puppies, since your dog is older you can adjust the times and take her potty less frequently. I suggest taking her potty every 3 hours when you are home. After 1.5 hours (or less if she has an accident sooner) of freedom out of the crate, return her to the crate while her bladder is filling back up again until it has been 3 hours since her last potty trip. When you have to go off she should be able to hold her bladder in the crate for 5-8 hours - less at first while she is getting used to it and longer once she is accustomed to the crate. Only have her wait that long when you are not home though, take her out about every 3 hours while home. You want her to get into the habit of holder her bladder between trips and not just eliminating whenever she feels the urge and you want to encourage that desire for cleanliness in your home - which the crate is helpful for. Less freedom now means more freedom later in life. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If she is not already used to a crate expect crying at first. When she cries and you know she doesn't need to go potty yet, ignore the crying. Most dogs will adjust if you are consistent. You can give her a food stuffed hollow chew toy to help her adjust and sprinkle treats into the crate during times of quietness to further encourage quietness. While home, you can also tether pup to you with a leash to prevent her from sneaking off to have an accident - this isn't quite as effective as crate training but you can combine the two a bit if you want pup to be out of the crate a bit more while you are home. For the barking, check out this article and the Desensitize and Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Oscar
Doberman Bulldog
20 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
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Oscar
Doberman Bulldog
20 Weeks

Barks in the house at nothing at all barks to go out 10 minutes after he’s been out barks on the lead at people and their dogs barks when free running and spots them about 200 yards away running over to them and barking

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1125 Dog owners recommended

Hello Gill, Is Oscar friendly when greeting people and other dogs and just overly excited or fearful or aggressive towards others? If pup is not aggressive, but simply overly reactive or excited, I recommend teaching the Quiet command, and desensitizing pup to the things he tends to bark at outside and to other dogs you pass. Quiet methods and Desensitize method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Passing Approach - reward Quietness while repeating passes - only greet other dogs during the training if pup is friendly. Not if pup is aggressive: https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs More desensitizing videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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