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Rollo
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Hi, we recently put a deposit on a European doberman from a breeder in Europe, we live in Canada.We will have our puppy around January The forum has been great for researching and helping us find a suitable breeder and we had some questions as its our first Doberman puppy.

1. We plan on using positive reinforcement training (no pain training, e-collar etc..)and just wondered has anyone used a similar approach and what worked best for you? We plan on doing a lot of classes for socialization and training in the Toronto area.

2. Nail grooming, we hope to do this ourselves and have seen many people use a dremel / electric file, how often do you trim your dogs nails ? And is there a better way to do so ?

3. I am aware of the breed being high energy but also affectionate and being referred to as Velcro to their owners. But any other advice, tips or general information about raising a doberman puppy would be much appreciated.

(Disclaimer: I used to own Boxer dogs in the past and now currently have a two Boston Terriers)
 

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Super Moderator
Hairy Dog, RIP Caesar, Katana, Kip, Capri
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I think you have to look at the point a dobe is in during training of each command. Positive training is the way you want to go when you are training something for the first time. It is essential that the dog know what it is that you are asking him to do and you need to keep the dog interested in working with you. It is also important that you don't ask him to do things he is not ready for.

Take his training in steps, not huge leaps, for each command. "Sit" in your house is different from "sit" in your yard is different from "sit" in an open park. Don't set him up. Don't let him fail. If he is failing at a command over and over, you may be asking for too much—you need to take a step back and go back over material you thought he had learned.

But there generally comes a time, I daresay for most dobes, when they know what you are asking them to do and they choose to ignore it. Dogs can go through teenage phases too. At that point, you may need to enforce a command that is being ignored. That is called proofing the command. An e-collar (or other related methods) may help you at that stage of your training—provided you have training and guidance in how to use an e-collar properly.

I see so many people saying "…come, come, come…" when the dog obviously knows what "come" means and is choosing to ignore them, and those people are not in a position to make sure the dog actually HAS to obey. They've let him off leash too soon, and are using a command he is not 100% compliant in. At that point, an e-collar can be a helpful tool.
 

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Premium Member
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8,563 Posts
Congrats on your new addition.
My boy Hoss is a European Doberman.
Very busy boy at all times and he is approaching 5 years.
We started him in Nosework and he loves it!
The best way to wear out a Doberman is by making them use their brain. Thinking exhausts a pup within 10 minutes.
The best thing you can do is find a good trainer with a positive track record.
It seems all trainers think they are the best trainers so do your homework in advance. Attend some classes just to observe and watch the way the trainer interacts with the student human as well as the dog. Get feedback from the other humans within this class. If it does not seem like a good fit keep shopping.
The most important thing IMO is to start of with a great trainer that is week versed with Dobermans and be consistent with house rules.
Nothing worse than one human doing all the right things ...then another human within the household breaking the rules.
The rule breakers will set you back in your training goals.
Consider nosework, pups love it and they are really good at this sport naturally. .
Nosework will teach you as the human so much about how to read your dogs body language.
Have fun and enjoy all the pokes.
These dogs want to be by your side as much as possible.
 

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Super Moderator
Hairy Dog, RIP Caesar, Katana, Kip, Capri
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LDi makes a good point—when you use a formal command, make sure he complies (or you address the issue if he doesn't) every single time. Don't be sloppy and sometimes let him off, and other times demand it. Be consistent.

If it's not a big deal that he does what you ask him to do—if you're just basically making a suggestion :) —find another way to get the response you want. Don't use a formal command.

Also don't let your puppy do anything that you won't want him to do once he's grown. You may think a puppy barking while you prepare his food or when he wants a toy is cute (I don't; it drives me crazy, but to each his own.) But an adult dog demanding that you hurry up and get his full dish to the floor, or that you give up that toy, NOW, may not be so wonderful. If you don't want to let them up on furniture, don't let them up on the furniture—ever. (For me, I just insist that if I am on the couch, they must ask to get up, and they must get off quickly with no backtalk when I tell them to.)
 
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