One weekend this spring I was lucky enough to train two Dobermans (or Dobermen, as I prefer to call them!) at the same time. It was fascinating to see the training process of the same breed–but at different ages and different training goals.
Scotty the Doberman from Montgomery Village
Scotty was a 5 year old adult red and rust male Doberman with natural ears. Traditionally, Doberman ears are cropped and tails are docked, but we loved seeing the more friendly look to this typically intimidating breed!
His owner in Montgomery Village, MD, enrolled Scotty in our Obedience Jumpstart program after his dog took off after a deer in the park and ran about 1.5 miles away before he was able to be caught! Scotty also jumped on people, destroyed things in the house and nipped (in play, but still scary for people who didn’t know him!). Basically, Scotty’s owner needed help getting his powerful 90-lb dog to learn how to listen more reliably and be less of a bull in a china shop.
I found Scotty to be a goofy, silly Lab in a scary Doberman’s body. He was extremely friendly with people, just overexuberantly so! In follow-up lessons after the jumpstart, his owner and I have worked together on how to implement structure in the house and on walks to improve his behavior.
Scotty was used to wearing a prong collar, which is a very useful training tool, but he had learned to just pull through it when he was overexcited. So I introduced Scotty to the K9 Lifeline transitional leash, one of my favorite tools for helping overexcited dogs to be more calm. Learning to have something on his nose also helped to acclimate Scotty to a muzzle. Scotty had some incidents of leash reactivity and we did not want this to ever escalate to a bite, so a muzzle was an important safety tool.
Now Scotty is well on his way to being an obedient companion, without losing his zest for life! Here’s what his owner had to say:
Check out Scotty’s training playlist! All board-and-train clients receive a daily video of their dog’s progress.
Titan the Doberman Puppy’s Training
Titan, on the other hand, was a black and rust 4-month old puppy enrolled in our 2-week Set for Life program. His owner came all the way from Virginia to get his pup started on the right paw in life. (For our out-of-town clients, we can adapt our programs– just ask!) Titan came to us with all the typical exuberance and challenges of a young working breed dog. He had a lot of drive and enthusiasm–perfect for dog sports, but challenging in a busy family home. Titan was teething, and when frustrated or over-tired, he was quite nippy and jumpy.
Puppies need at least 18 hours of sleep per day! A tired puppy, like a tired, fussy baby, will exhibit problem behaviors much more than a well-rested one.
You’ll notice that Titan’s ears are cropped, as is traditional for the breed. In order for a Doberman’s ears to stand up as an adult, they must be trained to do so from puppyhood so the cartilage forms properly. In this stage, a cylindrical piece of foam is taped to the ears with medical tape and replaced as necessary. Cropping ears and docking tails are optional procedures that do not harm the dog!
We worked with Titan to instill a strong foundation using positive reinforcement and structure. A puppy should always be crated or on leash so that they are not able to practice unwanted behaviors, and so they get lots of positive reinforcement for correct behaviors. It is much easier to prevent unwanted behaviors than it is to address them once they have become a problem.
Enjoy some extreme puppy cuteness in Titan’s videos!
We can’t wait to see how Titan grows up, and to support his owners through the stages of Doberman puppy development! Our Set for Life clients benefit from free private lessons and pack walks for the life of the dog. You will always have our help no matter what!
Do you have a Doberman or other working breed who needs some help adapting to suburban or city life? We can help. Just schedule a free phone call to tell us about your dog and your goals.