I use a command to S. to pee/poop. He's 100% as far as peeing on command if he has any to get rid off--he's fixed so he goes all at once--but he really likes to hold off on pooping as long as possible.
• What type of crate do you use and what materials does your doberman lie on.
Before he was housebroken we just used the removable plastic bottom of the crate.
• How did you train your doberman to use the crate, how long did it take?
Put him in the crate because they "worked", people said, and used a wooden sheet of mushboard to restrict his movement so he could turn around but not walk around. On day three of crate training I crated him and he sh-t in it as soon as I turned my back, and looked at me like he thought he did the right thing. I took him out, washed the crate bottom, put him back in... and he did the same thing. We had to stop with the crate for about a week and then start over.
• What uses does the crate serve for you and how does your doberman see the crate? (bedroom, punishment, etc)
I never punished S. for after-the-fact discovery of poop/pee. But if he did it in front of me, I scream bloody murder at him and take him outside immediately. My wife would take him to the poop and try to shame him but I didn't like this.
• When did you stop using the crate?
At about ten months. But he would still go in there. Now he sleeps in a crate.
• What techniques did you use to Housebreak/potty train you doberman? (puppy pads, etc)
Tried treats when he went outside, tried yelling if I caught him in the act, tried waiting outside until he would finally go then let him back inside, etc.
• How long did it take it become 100% reliable, no more mistakes.
Probably about ten months. He had an accident at 11 mos. but he had an infection. At nine months he'd still pee on cloth dog beds on the floor, because when he was a puppy the breeder confined him to an exercise pen with his littermates on top of blankets 24/7 and took him away from his mother before five weeks so he missed some crucial learning.
• How does your Doberman alert you that they need to go out.
He still doesn't. He goes out two or three times a day, AM, PM and usually midafternoon. If he hasn't gone in eight or twelve hours he goes in the crate, but he's held his bladder 16 hours before and held poop for over 24. He's weird about it.
• Do they go on different surfaces and in new locations easily? (if traveling and no grass is available)
Typically he prefers grass and sidewalks and it's always unannounced. In fact, his favorite routine is to suddenly drop out of heel, at which point I turn around to see him squatting on the sidewalk pooping.