Disciplining your Doberman is something every owner will need to do eventually. Raising your Doberman won’t always be a smooth ride, and there will be times that you need to make it clear to him that certain behavior is not acceptable.
It all comes down to HOW you punish/discipline and there’s a big difference between the correct way and the incorrect way. Everything will be explained below!
Discipline Is a Part Of Training Your Doberman
Throughout I’ll use the word punish/discipline interchangeably.
Punishing your Doberman will be necessary when they inevitably test you and misbehave. It’s best to think of it as just another part of the overall training process…
If your Doberman is engaging in bad behavior or you catch him ripping up the garbage, then this is not acceptable and you absolutely must inform him that he is not allowed to do that. This is an easy example of when a punishment/discipline is necessary.
Try to remember that “punishing” your Doberman is simply another form of training/showing/telling him what is and is not acceptable behavior.
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As I will explain below, there are two important distinctions between punishment techniques
- When you DO catch him in the act
- When you DON’T catch him in the act
How To Punish Your Doberman When You DO NOT Catch Him
Whenever there has been any amount of time elapsed since whatever “crime” or bad behavior has been committed, the punishment must be different. This is due to how dogs learn.
So, you come home to find your shoes destroyed, you don’t know when this happened, what do you do?
- Your only punishment should be your tone of voice
- Give your Dobie a firm “No” or “Bad Boy”
- You can point to the bad behavior too
- Apart from that, you can’t do much more
- Your Dobie will certainly understand you are not happy with what’s happened
- Continue with your day
Here’s why this is all you can do:
Unfortunately, there’s no “naughty step” or “time-out” zone for when you don’t catch your Doberman in the act.
If you don’t catch your Doberman in the act of ripping up your shoes, he won’t fully understand or remember what it is you’re mad about.
The more time that passes since he committed the crime, the less chance he’s got of learning his lesson, regardless of how mad you are and how much you point.
I know, this seems weird, but it’s just how it is. For your Doberman to truly learn and understand his wrongdoing, he needs to be stopped in the middle of the act.
How To Punish Your Doberman When You Catch Him
If you enter the room and discover your Doberman to ripping to shreds his toy or peeing on the floor, you now have the chance to stop him, let him know you aren’t happy, and show him what behavior you DO expect from him.
When you catch your Doberman chewing your shoes:
- In a raised voice give him a firm “No!” or “Bad Boy” always use the same command
- Point to what he’s doing wrong (ripping shoes, pee, poop)
- Let him dwell in your disapproval for just a few moments
- Remove your shoes and put them out of his reach
- Go back to him and put his toy where your shoes were
- If he continues chewing his toy, praise him (very important)
- Continue with your day…
And that’s it. Doesn’t seem like much, right?
Well, that’s the whole point! Punishing your Doberman doesn’t need to be some elaborate routine, the secret is that there is no naughty step, time-outs, or wizardry at play.
Why this works. The key difference is that when you catch him in the act, you have the added benefit of showing him what is right. In the case of ripping shoes, replace the object with his toy, In the case of peeing on the floor, immediately take him to his real potty spot outside.
Showing him what he should have been chewing, or where he should have peed is the key, and then once he gets the point, follow it up with praise.
Dogs learn the best through positive reinforcement, that’s why it’s crucial to constantly praise him for GOOD behavior. With time, he won’t engage in behavior that doesn’t earn him praise, especially if it earns him an unapproving “Bad Boy!”
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Punitive Training Does Not Get Positive Results
Punitive training is the opposite of positive reinforcement training. It’s where you focus on “punishing” behavior that’s bad, rather than praising behavior that’s good. And if you don’t have a positive lesson to be learned after every moment of punishment, then it’s not worth it at all…
Despite how intelligent Dobermans are, they don’t respond well to being shouted at, shown aggression, or any kind of abuse. In fact, all this will do is create a fearful Dobie that doesn’t trust its owner, and without trust, you can wave goodbye to a calm and happy Doberman.
When you “punish” your Dobie, unless there can be a positive lesson to be learned right there and then at the moment, there’s no point in taking it further.
Your Dobie will only truly learn better behavior by being shown what he should have done, rather than just being told he’s a bad boy for tipping the trash can over 3 hours ago.
Why Tone Of Voice Is All You Need To Discipline
All that’s necessary to effectively get across your disapproval is your tone of voice. Nothing else.
It’s been proven by many studies that dogs successfully match tones of voice to the correct feelings and emotions.
So when you speak to your Dobie in a happy high pitched voice, he knows that you are happy, and the world is perfect. But when you give him a deep firm “Bad Boy!” he knows he’s messed up.
And as I mentioned above, no punishment is complete or even worth attempting if there can’t be a positive lesson shown from it. So you must always act in the moment, stop him from his current bad behavior and literally show him what he should have done.
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Prevention is always better than cure, so if you can avoid needing to punish your Doberman, you’re one step ahead.
There’s no secret to avoiding bad behavior other than simply showing him what good behavior looks like. Over and over and over again.
With enough positive reinforcement training and encouragement of behavior that you DO approve of, the chances of him acting up get less and less. The more you praise him for chewing HIS toys, the less he’ll think or even want to chew your slippers.
Whenever your Doberman makes a bad decision, it’s because he didn’t know better. And that, unfortunately, is totally on you. It does take time, but you must start right away.
Not receiving enough stimulation
Another crucial part of developing a well-behaved Doberman is to ensure he is sufficiently stimulated both physically and mentally.
If your Dobie does not receive enough exercise and mental stimulation on a daily basis, then he’ll have extra energy that he won’t know what to do with… And eventually, this will get channeled into bad behavior.
You may find this article on Doberman Exercise if this is an area you think needs improving.
Very Helpful Video
I encourage you to watch this video. It’s not just for huskies, the lessons are appropriate for Dobermans too.
Thank you for reading!
Was your original question answered sufficiently? Please let me know if I can improve this article! For now, all the best, Harry.