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With her regal bearing, alert expression, and devoted temperament, the Doberman is an impressive dog. Dobermans are reserved with strangers but are goofy and affectionate with their families. The Doberman was bred by a tax collector to protect him on his rounds as well as serve as his constant companion. For this reason, the Doberman owner has an edge in leash training, since Dobermans were bred to stay with their owner. On the other hand, since Dobermans were bred to protect, it is very important that yours is well socialized, especially while on-leash, so that she doesn't develop leash aggression.
While your Doberman was bred to stay with you, she was also bred to go all day. Dobermans are active dogs who require plenty of exercise to stay happy and calm and perform well. If your Doberman is bursting to run when you are trying to leash train her, you will find training much more difficult. Make sure your Doberman is well exercised and calm before beginning leash training. Even if you think she is worn out, it is helpful to do leash training at a bit of a jog at first until she gets the idea.
Your Doberman is a sensitive dog that will not respond well to harsh handling. Use a chest clip harness or a head halter to prevent damage to your Doberman's delicate neck, and motivate with toys, treats, and your affection. Begin training when your Doberman is well exercised but not exhausted, calm but not tired. Make sure you wear sensible shoes and are prepared to do at least some training at a bit of a jog.
The Tug Means Treat Method
Sound means treat
Choose a specific sound or use a clicker or other noise maker to create a consistent sound that you can associate with a treat. Practice until your Doberman is coming to you for a treat whenever you make the sound.
Leash your dog and begin walking. Walk at a good pace, giving your dog about five feet of leash.
Tug, sound, treat
As soon as your Doberman puts pressure on the leash, make the sound and give her a treat.
Keep practicing, making the sound and giving the treat whenever your Doberman puts pressure on the leash. If your doberman is distracted by something in one direction, go another direction.
At some point your Doberman will pause before she leans into the leash and look back at you, anticipating the treat. Reward her for not pulling.
The Tied to You Method
Tie your Doberman to you
It is best to use a leash with some elasticity so neither you nor your dog will be harshly pulled. You can use a belt or dog walking device to secure your Doberman to you.
Start walking at a good pace, giving your Doberman about five feet of line from you. If your dog wants to stop to sniff, slow down to let her.
Pull, change directions
As soon as your Doberman pulls, change directions. Walk in a determined manner, pulling your dog with you in the new direction.
When your Doberman turns to follow you, reward with a treat or toy and keep going in the new direction.
At some point your Doberman will anticipate the change of direction and will not pull, but will watch you. When you see this, reward.
The Walk With a Pack Method
If your Doberman is determined to pull, despite being exercised well, you can try walking her with a pack to teach the mentality of staying together.
Hold the dogs' leashes so that they won't get intertwined. Everyone should have a place to walk in the group.
Your Doberman or another dog in the group may be resistant at first, but keep walking in a determined manner and they will soon fall in with the pack.
Keep practicing until all dogs are walking on loose leashes, having realized that pulling will not help pull the pack along.
Once your Doberman is comfortable walking in a pack you can try it alone. Make sure to change directions if she starts to pull to reaffirm training.
By Coral Drake
Published: 02/15/2018, edited: 01/08/2021