Hi all! I recently got my first Doberman puppy! We love him! However he is incredibly independent, would rather go and lay by himself in his kennel and honestly not once has come and cuddled with me or my husband. We have had him for 4 weeks now. I train him, feed him, play with him and he's pretty meh about all of us. Is there anything I can do to bond with him a little more?
Pictures of little man attached, His name is Kaiser!
Every puppy has their own personality, and it hasn't been that long. Be patient with him.
What kind of training do you do? Do you use a lot of high value treats to make it fun for him? Do you keep it short and leave him wanting more? With puppies, I try to keep training sessions to about 5-10 minutes, and really fun, so they always end on a good note. I want my puppies to really, really love training. It's always fun fun fun, with lots of really high value treats. Boiled chicken, fish treats, grilled steak...I figure out what makes them SO excited to work with me. I make sure we end before they are bored, or don't want to work anymore so they always want to keep engaging with me.
Play time...dogs have different play styles, too. Some like to chase toys, some like wrestling, some like to play with a ball...it can take a while to figure out what your puppy enjoys. If he's not into roughhousing and you're playing a rough, push you around game, he might find it to be too much. Try different things, and see what he enjoys.
You might set up an x-pen, and just sit in there with him, while he enjoys a high value chew - a stuffed Kong, a bully stick. Let him associate the really good stuff with being with you.
You may be a person that wants dogs on the furniture, or not. If you are, wait until he's sleeping, and bring him up to just be up there with you and have a nap. He may not be a dog that wants to be RIGHT on top of you. That's okay. It may come with time, it may not.
You can also do a little bit of hand feeding, too. Take a tiny bit of his meal, and just feed it to him out of your hand, a few kibbles at a time. It creates a good association, and you can use it for training.
I would still provide his crate to him, and allow him to choose to be there when he wants. A safe space for dogs to relax is a GOOD thing, and crate skills are very, very valuable for dogs.
Don't stress about it. Bonding will come.