As I’m sure you already know, Dobermans are an incredibly intelligent breed of dog. They’re also always eager to please their masters. These two traits mean you have a dog that is highly trainable and can easily learn some more advanced, and impressive, tricks.
I previously wrote an article titled 13 Easy Tricks to Teach Your Doberman (with Pictures). If you haven’t had a look at that article yet, please do. That list contains some of the easier tricks for Doberman’s to learn. It’s a great primer for these more advanced tricks. The tricks here are certainly more impressive, but also may take a bit more work for your dog to pick up on.
My Training Philosophy
If you read my previous article, then you already have a bit of an idea of my training philosophy, but I’ll briefly touch on it here. First, learning these tricks should be a fun experience for both you and your dog. I encourage you to train your Doberman with lots of positive reinforcement.
Giving your dog lots of praise and a delicious reward (or healthy training treat) goes a long way with teaching these things to your dog. There really isn’t any need for negative correction here. Only positive reinforcement of your dog’s behavior once you get him (or her) to do what you want.
I also love the use of visual cues along with a verbal command. Visual cues just seem to work very well for Dobermans since they are so focused on you at all times. They really do help to speed up training. So use visual cues with as many of these commands you’re trying to teach your dog as possible. Now let’s get on to the advanced tricks!
Command: “Crawl”, “Stay Low”
Result: On your command, your dog will crawl along the ground while laying on their stomach.
This is a great, slightly more advanced, trick that is still easy for this breed to pick up on with some patience. Having your dog “army crawl” across the floor on command is a pretty cool thing to see.
Start with your dog in the (upright) laying down position. Give the verbal command of your choice and a visual cue. I like to point in the direction I want my dog to crawl. Have a treat in one hand and hold it on the ground about a foot in front of them. They will naturally crawl a bit forward to get the treat. If your dog wants to stand up to get the treat, you are probably placing the treat too far away—try bringing it closer to your dog.
Once he makes any motion that even remotely resembles the beginning of a crawl, praise and reward your dog. Continue practicing this command by holding the treat further and further away from the dog on the ground. Do not give the treat to your dog if they stand up during this exercise, only praise and reward if your dog crawls towards it. Eventually, you’ll be able to transition into having your dog crawl in the direction you point, with a verbal command, and without using a treat as a lure.
Command: “Wave”, “Hi”, “Bye”, “Bye-Bye”
Result: On your command, your dog will lift one paw and scratch at the air in front of them (appearing to be wave).
This is a very cute trick for your dog to be able to do, but it’s one of the more advanced tricks to teach on this list and may take a bit of patience. It’s best to make sure your dog already knows that shake command before attempting to teach him this trick, it’ll make it much easier for him to learn.
Start with your dog in a seated position and a treat nearby. Ask him to shake and put out your hand. When he gives you his paw, shake it like normal, but then raise it up high near his eye level. While doing this, give your verbal command (such as “Wave!”). Then grab his paw with your other hand and make it scratch at the palm of your hand that he was shaking a second ago. Have your palm displayed directly at him. Then praise and reward him.
With practice, you should be able to just show him your palm in front of him (like you would for a high-five), and he’ll start scratching at it. Then you should be able to show your palm to him a small distance in front of him, without touching him whatsoever, and he’ll start scratching towards it. Praise and reward when he’s accomplished the task each time. Eventually, you should be able to do it across the room from him and get him to scratch at the air like a wave goodbye.
3. Close Door
Command: “Close It”
Result: On your command, your dog will use his nose to push a door or cupboard closed.
This is a very useful command for your dog to know, especially if you are rushing around the kitchen trying to get things done and need a cupboard closed.
Start with a treat in your hand, your dog sitting next to you, and a partially open cupboard in front of the two of you. Give your command and visual cue to your dog, such as pointing at the open cupboard door, then put the treat right up against the door with your hand and encourage your dog to go for it (but don’t let him get it just yet). When his nose hits the door and it closes, praise him and give him the treat.
Repeat this until your dog will bump the cupboard door closed with his nose on your command without the treat being held against the door. Once he has this down, it should be very easy to get him to do this with a full sized door such as your front door or a closet door.
4. Pick It Up
Command: “Pick it Up”, “Get it”, “Give it”
Result: On your command, your dog will pick up something on the ground that you point at, and bring it to you.
This is another very useful command. In fact, Dobermans who are taught to be service dogs are pros at performing this task. For this trick, our visual cue will be you pointing at the object you want him to pick up.
Start with him seated in front of you and one of his favorite toys in your hand. Drop the toy to the ground, point at it, and give your verbal command. Many Dobermans will instinctually pick it up. If he doesn’t, then quickly reach down and put it in his mouth. Have him pause for a second or two with it in his mouth, then reach down and pick it out of his mouth. Praise and give a treat.
As he starts to understand what you want of him, he’ll probably just be picking up the item and waiting for you to take it from his mouth. When you’re at this point, start putting out the palm of your hand and asking him to place it in your hand before praising and rewarding. Make sure you practice this with various objects as you go so he never gets used to doing it with only one object.
5. Open the Refrigerator
Command: “Open”, “Open it Up”, “Fridge”
Result: On your command, your dog will open up the refrigerator.
I’ve used this before when I’ve had a hand full of groceries and needed the fridge open. I’ve also just used it when I’ve been walking towards the fridge and want it open before I get there. This is an impressive trick that also has a few good uses. To do this, you’ll need to tie something to the handle of your refrigerator like an old towel or small rope so your dog has something to pull on to get the refrigerator’s door to open.
Lucky for your, Doberman’s will naturally pick up this trick a lot quicker than many other breeds. Start in front of your refrigerator, have a treat nearby but don’t let your dog see the treat yet or it might distract him. Show him the rope (or towel) tied to the handle of your refrigerator, give him the verbal command along with a visual cue.
Then shake the rope while encouraging him to get it. Try to get your dog in “tug-of-war” mode. With a Dobie, you basically just need to get him excited enough and start encouraging him more once he grabs it with his mouth. Their natural instinct will be to pull on it. Once the refrigerator door opens, praise and reward your dog. You should be able to have less and less involvement in this motion as you practice until you’re able to just give the verbal command and he’ll open the door.
6. Get the Remote
Command: “Fetch Remote”, “Get Remote”, “Remote”
Result: On your command, your dog will seek out the television remote control and bring it to you.
This trick is all about making your dog useful! Keep in mind that this trick is a dangerous one for your remote control so if you have a spare remote, or an old used one you don’t care about (get a cheap one at a Goodwill), that might be better than training with a remote you care about. Make sure there are no loose parts he can swallow.
Start with the remote control on the floor next to you and a treat in your hand. Point to the remote control and give your verbal command. If your dog doesn’t naturally pick the remote up (which some Doberman’s will naturally do on their own), then bend down, pick it up, and put it in his mouth. Pause for a few seconds and then take it from him. Praise and reward.
Repeat this until he’s picking up the remote on his own and naturally handing it to you for his treat. Now try spacing the remote out further and further away from you. Eventually, he should be able to seek out the remote on your command and bring it back to you for his treat.
7. Hide and Seek
Command: “Find [name]”, “Seek”
Result: On your command, your dog will search the house looking for a hiding family member. Optionally, your dog will start barking loudly when he locates that family member.
This is an impressive trick, but it’s also a really fun game to do with your dog. This is especially great if you have kids that you can get to participate in this as the “hider”. To get your dog to start barking when they locate the hider, he’ll have to know a bark command first.
Start by getting your dog to sit in front of you and the person who will be hiding from your dog (the “hider”). I like to give the hider a treat so my dog can see that they have their motivation in hand. Make your hider shows your dog the treat in their hand. Then tell your dog to stay and have the hider run off and find a place to hide somewhere in the house. Don’t make it too difficult of a hiding place at first. Try having them find a hiding spot in the same room, or just outside the room that your dog is in.
Then give the command firmly to your dog such as “Find Alex!” or “Seek!” along with a visual cue and release your dog. I like to simply point in the general direction of the hider. Once your dog finds the person, make sure the hider gives your dog the bark command, have them wait a few seconds with the dog barking, give the release command, and then provide treat and praise.
Pretty soon, you should be able to have your “hider” hide in places that are more and more difficult in various rooms of the house. Your hider should also be able to just stay hiding and not give the bark command for the dog to start barking loudly once they’ve found the hider. You might be surprised how good a Doberman’s nose is at tracking people. This exercise will really demonstrate this.
8. Push the Big Red Button
Command: [Your Choice]
Result: Either on your command or at the dog’s will, he will push a big red button which will play a loud pre-recorded message of your choosing.
This can be a very useful command or just a hilarious ability for your dog to have. Amazon sells a very cool big red button, which you connect to your computer just like a USB drive and load on any MP3 or WAV format audio recording. Then when your dog presses the button, it can say anything you want, such as “I’m hungry!” or “Let’s go for a walk!”
You can even get really creative and make the command for this a question like “Do you believe him?” and then you’ll dog will run over and press the red button which will play a funny response like “It’s all a lie!” I like this specific button because it’s simple to use, it’s battery operated so you can set it anywhere, and it has non-slip rubber feet so it won’t slip around on hard floors when your dog is batting at it with their paw.
It’s a simple little device but it’s pretty funny when you try to turn your back on your dog and he pushes the big red button which says something like “Hey Dummy! I’m ready for a walk already!”.
To get your dog to do this, get your big red button and load on the audio file of your choice. Then have your dog sit on the ground and place the red button right in front of them. Place a dog treat directly under the button, give the command of your choice, and encourage your dog to go for the treat. Keep encouraging your dog and he’ll likely eventually smack the button, or press it with his nose. As soon as he does, give the treat and praise your dog.
To see where to get this button and some hillarious free sound files to use with it that are perfect for Dobermans, click the link below:
If your dog is having trouble pushing the red button or is only pressing it with his nose, it’s ok to pick up his paw and place it on the button. Once he does this, give lots of praise and a treat. Eventually, you should be able to just give the command and your dog will be eager to run over and press the button on his own for his treat.
9. Put Away Toys
Command: “Clean Up”, “Clean”, “Pick Up”, “Put Away”
Result: On your command, your dog will pick up each of their toys and return them to their toy box.
This trick is a little more difficult for a Doberman to learn, but it can be done. The best way to teach this trick is to make sure your dog has a toy box where you usually keep their toys. If you don’t have one, get one, and after a week or so of using the toy box, you can start teaching this trick.
Start by having treats nearby but don’t let your dog see them just yet since it might be a distraction. Place just one toy outside of the toybox, on the ground. Give your dog the command along with a visual cue, and encourage them to get the toy. Once they do, grab the toy and try leading them to the toybox. Most Doberman’s will hold onto the toy at least for a short time before letting go, allowing you time to gently guide them a few feet over the top of the toybox. Once you get to the toybox, give them the command to drop the toy. Once it drops into the box, praise and reward your dog.
With time you should be able to do less guiding by the toy. Once your dog has gotten the idea of doing this with one toy, try expanding this trick to two toys. Continue adding until they are able to pick up multiple toys and place them into the toy box one at a time. This trick can take some patience and a bit of time to teach, but it is very doable for an intelligent dog who’s eager to please like a Doberman.
10. Play Dead
Command: “Play Dead”, “Bang”, “Would you rather [blank], or be a dead dog?”
Result: On your command, your dog will quickly lay down on their side and stop moving.
This is a great trick for a Doberman to learn, although it can take a bit of work. The main reason is that it involves the dog laying on their side, which is a somewhat vulnerable position for a dog to be in, something that is instinctively avoided by Dobermans.
Once they learn it, however, you’ll dog will love doing it. It’s also a real crowd pleaser when you have friends over. One client of mine taught their dog to perform this trick using the words “or be a dead dog” as the command.
This had a million uses, such as when a door to door salesman would come by, then he could ask his dog “Would you rather buy his magazine, or be a dead dog?” Then, of course, the dog would quickly drop to the ground like a dead dog and the client would graciously turn down the salesman’s offer.
Try to teach your dog this trick when they’re already relaxed and laying down in front of you. To start, have a treat in your hand and kneel down directly in front of your dog. Show him the treat then give the verbal command and visual cue. Then guide his nose (using the treat as a lure) over his shoulder and over the back of his neck.
Hopefully, your dog will roll onto his side in an attempt to follow the treat with his nose. Then give him the treat with plenty of praise. Repeat this until the dog is comfortable rolling on his side. It can take a bit of work for a Doberman to become comfortable with this. As you go, make sure you’re slowly adding more of a pause after he gets on his side, give your release command, then provide the treat and plenty of praise.
As your dog becomes more comfortable, you’ll be able to get him to pause and wait until you give the release command. Eventually, you should be able to do this action at a distance from your dog with only the command and visual cue.
Here’s a great video on YouTube that shows the progression of teaching a dog to play dead from start to finish.
As you can see, the general idea here is to encourage your dog to do what you want, any way you can, while you associating that action with a verbal command and often a visual cue. When your dog starts to do the actions you’re looking for, give lots of praise and a reward. Doberman’s love to know that they’ve done a good job, and this is a huge motivating factor for them.
Staying mentally stimulated is very important for a Doberman. They’re just so intelligent that they can easily become frustrated and stressed when they aren’t using that intelligence. Keep teaching your dog new tricks, provide lots of mentally stimulating toys for when you’re away, and feel free to refer back to these articles for more ideas. It’ll certainly help to keep your dog, a happy dog!
How many commands can a Doberman learn? As a highly intelligent dog, the Doberman Pinscher is capable of learning well over 50 commands along with each command’s associated action.
How many words can a Doberman learn? Doberman Pinschers are considered the fifth smartest dog breed in the world and can learn up to 250 words.