Doberman Pinschers are big dogs that are very strong. If your Dobie is not taught leash manners, they can become terrible pullers. This not only makes walks miserable, but can cause injury to you if your Dobie pulls you off your feet. Leash manners make sure you have a pleasant walk and can prevent your dog from getting away from you. If you are approaching an unfriendly dog, it can prevent a fight. It also creates a strong bond between you and your dog. There are so many reasons to teach your Dobie to walk nicely on the leash, that we can’t even list them all here. Wondering how? The following are five tips to prevent your Doberman from pulling on the leash.
#1 – Start Young
Dogs start learning from the moment they are born – what do you want yours to learn? Do not wait until your Doberman puppy is an adolescent and stronger than you – start teaching good leash manners as soon as you bring yours home.
#2 – Teach Self-Control
Dobies are intelligent and have a strong will. At first, you may find that upping your rewards helps – often more intelligent dogs need more of a reason to do what you ask. In addition, teaching self-control so your Doberman can make the right choice – for example, staying by your side instead of chasing that bunny – is very helpful. Stay, Go To Bed (mat-stay behavior), sitting for a toy/food/petting, etc., are all good ways to work on self-control.
#3 – Practice Attention
Doberman Pinschers can easily get distracted by things in their environment. On leash, this can lead to you being pulled in whatever direction your Dobie feels like – not fun! A key to stopping these behaviors is to keep him focused on you during a walk. Working on looking at you when you say his name, offering eye contact without a cue, Leave It and Drop are important to leash training.
#4 – Reward Correct Position
Whenever your Doberman is calmly walking in heel position – by your side with a loose leash – be sure you reward him. You can even turn this into a game by trying to move away from your Dobie and seeing if he stays with you off-leash in your house or in your backyard. Start off easy and then increase difficulty (quicker pace, tighter turns) as he learns the game. Rewards can be anything he likes, including treats, praise, toys, etc. As long as your Dobie likes it, it’s a reward. Dogs repeat behaviors that are reinforced, so the more you reinforce him for being in that spot, the more he will do it. It’s as simple as that!
#5 – Don’t Let Pulling Be Reinforced
As mentioned, dogs do what gets reinforced, so make sure your Doberman Pinscher is not being rewarded for pulling. If she pulls on the leash and gets what she wants (to chase a bunny or greet a dog) then she will continue to do it and it will get worse. So, if you feel your Dobie start to pull you in one direction, plant your feet, don’t move, and wait until he returns to you. If your Dobie is stronger than you, you can also turn and walk the opposite direction. Once he is walking next to you nicely, you can turn back and go the way he wanted to in the first place. This teaches your Dobie that if he wants to go somewhere, he has to keep that leash loose. Dogs figure this game out quickly, so it can make training go faster.