Also, a few pointers, to elaborate on what I said earlier about earning priveledges. Dobermans are scary smart, if you haven't noticed yet, you'll soon see. It's easy to be tricked, and to let the dog train you, especially if you're not used to working with such a smart, thinking breed. Come up with a set of rules, and stick to them. I would recommend checking out the NILIF program. (nothing in life is free). I would also start to look into different training methods, and getting familiar. Many here like to use some version of behavior markers, whether it's verbal or with a clicker. Personally, I like the verbal, because you don't ever have to be caught without the clicker. (I have the memory of a drunken gnat) Most also use some version of positive reinforcement training. Both are very simple concepts to understand, and it will give some consistency to your training program. When your dog gets older, and you start moving onto more complex behaviors and training, it will be much easier if you already have an established, thought out way to teach your dog. Consistency is key.
Here's just a few of the many things I do. I teach my dog to sit for everything. Before she gets a treat. If we're playing fetch, before I throw the ball. If we're playing tug, before I release her to get the rope... This accomplishes a few things. First, it teaches your dog that when she sits, good things happen. By combining this with other ideas, which I'll touch on, you are teaching your dog that she can have a positive impact on what happens by doing certain things. In this limited example, suppose we're playing fetch. Sitting means the toy gets tossed. Once you have that established, you can then start to work on patience, and slowly build up the time your dog can sit and wait. When you incorporate this into many things, (more than I just named. Use your imagination!) and start teaching different commands and behaviors, your dog is learning that doing good things means good things will in turn happen. This will help eliminate many of the "problem" behaviors. Why would your dog jump up and bite your hand to get a treat, when she knows it's as easy as sitting calmly? Why would your dog jump on you for attention, when she knows that sitting calmly next to you will get her that attention? Win/win. You don't get knocked over, your dog gets her loving. I like a dog to understand the simple fact that listening is the way to get her favorite things. So, teaching to sit before something happens is a great way to teach a dog to be calm.
I'm a big believer in working training into play. In a typical round of tug, we cover all of the normal obedience commands, in a way that is very fun for the dog. And again, whle doing this, she is learning that her good behavior has positive effects. During initial training, if a dog tries to take the tug before I give a release, we are done, and the tug gets put away. Once or twice is enough to drive home the fact that they're not allowed to take it until told. From a simple game like tug, with a few rules worked in, you are not only getting your dogs energy out in a really fun and interactive way, you're also helping build your dogs confidence (I ALWAYS, without fail let my dog win. I have never once won a round of tug) and most importantly, you are working towards a dog that will never try to take anything out of your hand. Teaching patience, teaching automatic commands, and having fun while doing it. After a while, it becomes second nature. I no longer have to tell my girl "Sit... ok, drop it... ok, etc etc etc. I tell her to go get her tug, she gets it, brings it over, drops it at my feet and waits until I tell her it's ok to grab it and start playing. This now carries over to other toys, objects, etc. If I tell her to go get her ball, she will go get it, and do the same, drop it at my feet.
I love getting creative with ideas, and working them into my play and training. We rarely, rarely do formal training sessions, and my girl is extremely obedient because training is fun, and she truly does enjoy doing what she's told as a result. Almost everyone that meets Dakota is impressed, and wished their dog was like her. Truth is, I'm not doing anything special, and I'm not doing anything that anybody else can't do. It's simply consistency, patience, and learning what makes your dog tick and using that to your advantage. The one thing that I love, again, is thinking up new ways to work training into fun games. Anyone can do this with a little thinking.
These are just a few examples, and hopefully they help you get started in the right direction with a few ideas. Stick around, and keep asking questions, and you'll be in good shape!
- this writeup is so bang on / should come with every puppy.
Along these lines...I also train with fun games and my voice is the marker. Dobermanhs
- with a puppy, I like to train sitting down on the living room floor and get my eyes down to the puppy's level / not as intimidating, than standing over them. I train Tug to build confidenance & Play Fetch for voice training:
Fetch - with frisbee in hand:
- voice the dogs name, waving the toy
- when the dog comes over, get the dogs eye contact & say Fetch / while tossing the toy several feet
- the exact moment the puppy picks up the toy / say Come with much excitment
- reward completed task with loads of praise
One little fun game and the puppy just learned 3-4 commands & things, in like 30 seconds.
Do this several times/day...next time substutute a ball for the frisbee...keep changing the games up, a little.
After several fetch games are completed...its now Tug time. And like KevinK said...the puppy has to win.
From all the play attention, the puppy continues to learn & gives the owner, love & respect.
With a ball, I also practice soft bite / muzzle control.
I rotate my hand (or fingers) in the dogs mouth and the puppy has to ease off the bite force substantially...and its all kept fun, for both of us.