I do Obedience training for about 15minutes 4 times a week. Would you classify this as 'mental stimulation?' Excuse my ignorance, but what do you mean by he needs a job? Would you mind giving me a couple of examples. What you have suggested seems to have hit the nail on the head. He is fixated on me....quite flattering, but really quite irritating at times. When I am at home, which is most of the time since I work from home, he needs to be next to me. I literally tether him next to me or walk around with him right next to me when possible as left of leash, he can get up to mischief with the cats or if you take your eye off him. He lets me know when he needs to potty and actually we are getting into a fairly good rhythm. But if you could answer my first couple of questions, it would be appreciated.
I am not an expert on training, but my girl is also with me during the day, so I am speaking from experience.
First, obedience training is a good example of mental stimulation, which is great, because it is focusing his obviously very busy mind.
When you tether him to you, you are reinforcing his focus, and he will assume that his "job" at the time is to pay close attention to you. It is in his nature to be "protective" which really just means "watch me" which is why he is "fixated." His reward for this is your attention. So he will naturally strive for your attention all the time.
When he is not in this mode, he is looking for something else to occupy the void left by your diverted attention...hence the teddy bear game or seeking out the cats
He may need an additional task to fill up these moments, to avoid the need to come to his own conclusions (or self-reward
, which is term you should look up and understand, it has been very helpful for me.)
For Roxy, at mealtimes, for example, when we don't want her literally sitting right next to us, we have a "place" command for her. She has to go to her "place" and watch us from there. We reinforce this with treats, which is rewarding for her because she is food-driven. She will stay there for quite awhile, intent on her task of watching us from afar.
She also has the "job" of checking on the kids in the house, and will faithfully make her rounds when they are home. This keeps her out of trouble.
Some examples might include a Kong with treats which can keep him challenged trying to figure out how to get them out...or another kind of entertaining chew.
You may also have to increase the training time. Again, I am not an expert, but my hubby trains for anywhere from half an hour to one hour per day, in one or two sessions, and more on weekends. We also build on the skills she is learning, so there is always a new challenge. It is amazing to see how much this calms her down. Between her training sessions, exercise, and her regular jobs, she is beginning to learn to take time out to chill and relax.
Having said all that, she is here giving me nose-pokes for pats right now, so I can't say your boy will ever really get over his clingy-ness entirely, that's just a Doberman for you!
Hope this helps