Training secrets & easy tricks to teach a Doberman
It might be lucky of you when adding a Doberman to your family. Dobermans are known for their loyalty, devotion and intelligence. In fact, according to WebMD (pets), they’re the 5th smartest dog breed in the world which helps them easier in perceiving and training. Obedient and devoted to their owners, Dobermans are gentle giants who seem to be very close and very loyal to their owners in an affectionate, trusting way.
The key to understand the Doberman personality is recognizing that these family dogs will do anything for their owners — as long as they show him a direct, clear and consistent commands.
The smarts, the drive, and the desire to learn allow them to be an ideal breed for learning some very impressive dog tricks! “You absolutely have to know how to handle them, however. You never ask a Doberman; you always tell him what to do. You have to show him what you want.” - said Dawn Vendegna-Perovic, a professional trainer who specializes in working with Dobermans and Rottweilers.

The most important training tips

  • Routine.
Dobies love routine. That means your routine as well as their own. So it’s better to schedule their training sessions for the same time every day. If you want a happy Doberman, be mindful of your own schedule, as well as your dog’s. “Everything, including training, has to be consistent.”
  • Positive reinforcement
Being smart, Dobies respond well to positive reinforcement — treats and praise to reward good behavior — rather than to training methods that involve harsh correction or physical punishment.
Remember to give Dobies plenty of praise as well as treats to motivate them while teaching them tricks.
Learning tricks should be a fun experience for both you and your dog. You’re not correcting a bad behavior here, you are teaching a new one and associating it with a command.
  • Using visual cues to speed up training
Incorporating a visual cue is an effective way to dramatically speed up your dog's learning of these tricks due to Doberman's intuitiveness and attention to their owner. Therefore, in these tricks, besides verbal commands, visual cues are often encouraged to be used. This can be a hand gesture or another movement that you've chosen. Make sure you always use the same command and visual cues for each trick during training and your dog will quite easily learn them.

The basics

It’s important that your Doberman has the basics down before being taught these new tricks. Because many of the tricks rely on basic commands first, make sure that he/she has a lid grasp on these commands. What your dog should know prior to learning the tricks listed are:
“Lie Down”
“Ok” (or any other release command)

Now let’s start with 13 cool tricks below!

1. Shake

Command: “Shake”, “Paw”
Result: On your command, your dog will lift one paw and place it in the palm of your outstretched hand, mimicking a handshake.
A simple but great trick to start with.
- Let your dog get into the seated position
- Grab his paw, shake it up and down with your hand and simutaneously say “shake”
- Praise your dog and reward him with a treat
- Practise it a few times a day.


2. Bark

Command: “Bark”, “Speak”, “Guard”
Result: On your command, your dog will bark either once, or repeatedly until you give the release command, depending on how you perform the training.
There would be some differences in teaching this trick for each individual dog.
- Do something to get your dog to bark on his own while saying the command
- Praise him and give him a treat

3. Turn around

Command: “Turn Around”, “Turn”, “Spin”
Result: On your command, your dog will spin around in a complete 360-degree turn.
- Start with a treat in one hand
- Give him the chosen command (E.g. “Turn around”) and a visual cue of pointing your finger at him and doing small circles with it.
- Put the hand with the treat inside down toward his nose so that he can smell it through your hand
- Lead the dog in a complete 360-degree and encougage him to go for the treat
- Once he’s completed the turn, stop and open your hand up in font of you, and give him the treat.

4. Backup

Command: “Back up”, “Back”, “Space”
Result: On your command, your dog will take approximately one step directly backward.
- Start with a treat in your hand, your dog will naturally be to get as close as possible to the treat. Stay there until he gets it
- Show your dog the treat and give him the command along with a visual cue of your choosing
- Get him to back up any way you can, for example, get uncomfortably close to your dog and place your knee on his chest, then gently push against him enough to get him to back up
- Praise him and reward him with a treat while repeating the command.
After repeating many times, he’ll back up on his own just with your verbal command.

5. Jump

Command: “Jump”, “Happy”, “Fly”
Result: On your command, your dog will jump straight up in the air and back down.
It’s the best way of teaching this funny trick to start with a toy that he or she loves and will naturally jump to get without much hesitation.
- Hold your dog’s favorite toy in one hand outstretched in the air over his head while the other holds a treat
- Give him the command with a visual cue. For example, use a sweeping motion with your arm by your side, ending with your finger pointing up to the sky.
- Sweep your hand by your side, ending with it pointing up to the ball while saying your chosen command and encouraging your dog to jump up to get it.
- Release the ball so that he can get it as he jumps to do
- Praise him and give him a treat
Repeat this process until you can start to do it with just your hand,visual cue and the command.

6. Jump up

Command: “Jump Up”, “Up”
Result: On your command, your dog will jump up in a hind-legged standing position and place both paws in your hands.
This seems one of the easiest commands to teach Dobermans, because they can almost do it naturally. The hard part, however, is to teach Dobies not to do this to strangers when they come to visit at your house.
- Walk up close to the dog with a treat nearby
- Give the verbal command and visual cue at the same time, for example, use the motion of tapping my chest with both my hands as the visual cue
- Reach down, then grasp his two front paws in both your hands and stand straight up
- At this point, it would be true that your dog is standing on his two hind legs and his two front paws should be in your hands (one in each hand). Pause in a second
- Release their paws, setting them back on the ground and reward him with praise and treats

7. Balance

Command: “Balance”, “Stay”
Result: On your command, your dog will be able to remain perfectly still, enough to balance an object on his head until you give the release command.
- Make your dog sit and stay
- Hold his nose level and simultaneously place a treat on top of it
- Keep your hand on his nose for a few seconds, still holding it level
- Release the command and let him eat that treat.

8. Hug

Command: “Hug”, “Love”
Result: On your command, and while in a seated position, your dog will put both of their front paws on each of your shoulders and their nose over one shoulder.
- Have your dog in the seated position with a treat or two nearby.
- Kneeling down in front of him, tell him to “stay”
- Give the chosen command for this trick and a visual cue, for example, tap your two shoulders with each of your hands.
- Quickly grab his two front paws and place them on each of your shoulders
- Lean in so their nose is over one of your shoulders and pause for a few seconds.
- Give the release command, praise, and a treat

9. Cross paws

Command: “Sit Pretty”, “Formal”
Result: “On your command, and while laying down, your dog will cross one paw over top of the other.
- Ask your dog to lie down, if he isn’t already
- Kneel down in front of him and show him a treat in your hand
- Give the verbal command and pick up one of his paws slightly off the floor, and lay it over top of the other
- Pause for a second and then praise your dog, reward him with a treat
- Repeat this trick and your dog will be able to do it independently with just your verbal command soon.

10. Pray

Command: “Pray”, “Say Your Prayers”

Result: On your command, and while laying down, your dog will bury their nose in between their outstretched front legs as if praying. They will stop on your release command.
- Start by letting your dog lay down in front of you
- Give the verbal command with a visual cue.
- Using the treat in your hand to guide the nose of your dog between their front legs so that their nose is straight down to the ground between their legs
- Pause there for a few seconds, give the release command, then praise and reward him with a treat

11. High-five

Command: “High-Five”, “Five”, “Nice Job”, “Awesome”
Result: On your command, your dog will raise one paw up to about their eye level to meet your waiting hand for a “high-five” type motion.
- Start with the dog in a seated position and some treats for motivating nearby.
- Kneel in front of your dog and say the command chosen along with a visual cue.
- In this case, the visual cue will be showing your dog the palm of your hand in front of them (as if you were giving a high-five).
- Use your other hand to place their paw directly onto the palm of your waiting hand.
- Give your dog lots of praises and treats

12. Kiss

Command: “Kiss”, “Kisses”, “Love”
Result: On your command, your dog will kiss your cheek.
- Have the dog in a seated position
- Get close and present your cheek to your dog’s nose and say the verbal command you’ve chosen
- Many Dobies will just naturally lick your cheek at this point. If that’s the case, praise him a lot and give him a treat.
- Repeat this trick until he associates your verbal command with this action.
- If your dog doesn’t want to and assuming you trust your dog enough, try putting a small (very small) touch of peanut butter on your cheek so your dog will lick it.
- When he licks your cheek once, stop, give him lots of praise and a treat.

13. Under

Command: “Under”, “Hide”, “Be Brave”, “Are you a brave dog?”
Result: On your command, your dog will run between your legs from the front, turn around behind you, and stick only their head out through your legs.
- Let your dog sit a few feet in front of you while holding a treat in your hand and your legs spread wide enough for him to walk through.
- Give your dog the command and a visual cue (E.g. point down towards the ground between your legs), and get him to follow the treat that’s in your hand
- Guide him between your legs from the front, and then turn him around behind you and guide their head through your legs from the back
- Stop when just his head is now between your legs and his body is still behind you.
- Pause there for a second or two, then praise and reward him.

Final thoughts

These basic tricks are mainly just for amusement but they can get some good laughs and impressive looks from friends and family.
Dobermans are incredibly intelligent and the tricks listed here are just scratching the surface of what these dogs are capable of.
Get ready to try a few of the very cool “advanced tricks” which are a little more complex, much more impressive, and a whole lot more fun!
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