Skip to main content

An easy guide for training your Doberman pinscher the right way

Training your Doberman pinscher might seem intimidating — they are a smart and active breed, after all. The truth is, though, that Dobies are incredibly eager to please, so you’re likely to have a dog who’s even more excited to learn than you are. Just don’t forget the treat bag!

With some forethought and the right mindset, Doberman pinscher training can be a breeze. It might take some practice to be as clear and concise as possible when communicating with your pup, but in the end, this will make a world of difference for you both. When in doubt, some pets and a delicious snack will definitely help get the message across.

Have an alpha demeanor

According to the American Kennel Club, Dobermans are incredibly smart and eager to please, though they can get rowdy and even destructive when raised or trained inconsistently. In addition to being full of excess energy, this breed can be pushy when they’re particularly motivated — or unmotivated.

To help combat any Dobie stubbornness, make sure she understands that you’re the boss. It’s not about being harsh or loud, though; it’s about letting your dog know that you’re the one who makes the decisions for you both. Once your dog has mastered a basic obedience command like “sit” or “wait,” incorporate that training when feeding your dog or letting her out to potty. When she has to earn her favorite things, she’ll understand that you’re the one who calls the shots.

two doberman pinschers stand next to one another on green grass

Work with their desire to please

Because Dobermans are so naturally motivated to please their owners, many Dobie parents find that training comes pretty naturally. The keys to keeping your pinscher engaged in training are thorough praise and appropriate training intervals. Make sure to find a training treat that’s both healthy and enticing to your dog — though these are no substitute for verbal praise and lots of loving pets!

Although Dobies are often eager for training, too much practice can encourage your pup to act out. Start with five to 10 minutes of training per session when you’re starting out, then build up according to what feels right for you both.

Start with the basics

Dobermans are excited to please their owner and earn a reward, so start with the easiest commands to give them an opportunity to succeed. This builds their confidence, too! Learning the essentials will make some of the more advanced commands even easier since complex moves often combine and build off the basics.

“Sit” is the perfect place to start. Grab a treat and hold it in front of your dog to get her attention, then slowly raise your hand (and the treat) above your pup’s head. To keep an eye on the treat, your dog will naturally lift her head and eventually sit. Don’t forget to praise and reward her! Once you go over it a time or two, incorporate the command word “sit” every time you repeat the trick.

Learn a release command

One helpful training tool for pups who love to please is the “release” command. This command essentially tells your dog that you’re done asking her for things and she can go back to just being a dog.

You would use this command after telling your Dobie to “sit,” “stay,” or just about anything else. In fact, you might already have a release command without even knowing so. A lot of pet parents tell their pups “Okay!” when it’s time to grab a treat after training — it’s exactly the same idea!

a doberman pinscher stands in a grassy field on an overcast day

Be consistent

Doberman pinschers are smart and loyal, but they’re creatures of habit, too. Routines will help keep them relaxed and happy … as long as you don’t come home late, that is! Falling off routines is one common cause of a wily Dobie, though confusion can make them lash out, too.

To combat this, stay as consistent as possible during training. Short, frequent sessions are predictable and just long enough to keep their minds engaged for learning. When actively training, be sure to remember your usual command words and don’t expect your pup to magically pick up on anything new.

When it comes to training Doberman pinschers, most owners are very lucky: All it takes (sometimes) is an alpha demeanor and clear, consistent practice. Of course, every pup is different, so it’s fruitless to expect every Dobie to act just like the rest. It’ll take some time to find what works for you, but try to have some fun in the process!

Editors' Recommendations

Gabrielle LaFrank
Gabrielle LaFrank has written for sites such as Psych2Go, Elite Daily, and, currently, PawTracks. When she's not writing, you…
Why do dogs bark? An expert guide to every yip, howl, and arf
Find out what this kind of communication means
A dog barks in front of a yellow background

Most of us hear dogs barking frequently, some even every day or multiple times. You might look forward to the sound of your pooch greeting you with a happy bark at the door or dread an angry snarl from the neighbor's poorly behaved beastie, but there's a lot more to barking than meets the ear.

This complex form of communication actually can have many different meanings both on its own and coupled with other indicators, like body language. While your dog barking at nothing might annoy you when it happens at 3 a.m., you'll be far better prepared to handle it if you understand what's behind the noise.

Read more
4 ways to uplift your dog’s mental health and why it’s so important
How to keep your dog's mental health at its best
A golden retriever chasing a ball

You may not see it overnight, but the pet industry is changing. Owners and professionals alike are watching pets become part of the family instead of simple companions. People are putting more effort into taking care of their pet's health, both physical and mental, which is great news!

Pet mental health is a new topic that's taking the spotlight thanks to these changes, which is why we asked Renee Rhoades, the head behavior consultant at R+Dogs, about the importance of your dog's mental health. There are plenty of simple things you can do to keep your dog happy and healthy, and some of them may already be part of your routine! If not, this guide will walk you through what simple changes you can make to improve your dog's mental health.

Read more
How can you tell how old a dog is? Easy ways to figure it out
Here's how professionals can tell how old a dog is
An elderly golden retriever stands outside in the sunshine

If you have a dog, then it's almost certain you've heard the cliche that one dog year equals seven human years. As it turns out, that's not actually how dogs age. Our pups mature faster than we do during the first few years of their lives. But what does that mean for aging and maturity? It may surprise you to learn that your canine companion is actually closer to a 15-year-old than a 7-year-old by the time he celebrates his first birthday.

Adopting a puppy makes calculating your dog's age a whole lot easier, but adopting an adult dog may require a bit more detective work on your part. Unfortunately, most shelter dogs have incomplete medical histories, and they may not have records of how old the dogs are. This means that you'll have to figure it out for yourself, but that might be easier said than done. That's why we've put together this helpful guide on how to tell how old a dog is, full of tips from professionals to help you understand your dog's age.

Read more