The Doberman is a highly energetic breed and an adult Doberman requires at least 2 hours of daily exercise to alleviate this energy. So what does this translate to a puppy who hasn’t received its full round of vaccination and rabies shot yet? This article documents how we mentally stimulate our doberman puppy at home.
Comparing the energetic level of a Doberman puppy to an adult dog is like comparing apples to orange. However, believe it or not, Atlas is highly energetic for his age. He requires a substantial amount of exercise and mental stimulation to calm him down. If he doesn’t expel this energy by bed time, then we will pay for it with Atlas chewing on things he’s not suppose to. Additionally, overnight whining and constant movements in his crate. On the other hand, if he received his daily dosage of interaction, mental stimulation and outdoor exercise, he will knock out within 5 minutes of his bedtime and by 10 minutes, he’ll be loudly snoring.
Since Atlas is only 14 weeks old when I started writing this article, I will illustrate some of the activities we do together exclusively at home or the backyard. Remember, at 14 weeks old, he barely had 3 vaccinations with his final round of DHPP vaccination due on March 8th. His rabies shot come when Atlas turns 16 weeks old (he’ll receive his rabies shot along side with his final round of DHPP vaccination).
A majority of our initial puppy investment consists of products that are conducive to stimulating Atlas’ mind and promoting exercise in an indoor setting. Our activities includes a combination of indoor and outdoor play. I will go over the products that work for us and how we mentally stimulate our Doberman puppy at home.
In day light up until dusk, I would wear Atlas out by letting him chase a small Chuckit! Kick Fetch ball. Shortly after his first bathroom break of the day at 7:00 AM, I allow Atlas to to play with his Chuckit! ball for a good 10 minutes. According to his Fi Smart GPS dog collar, this clocks him at a good 1,000+ steps. After his morning exercise, he receives his breakfast and water at 7:30 AM. By 7:45 AM, he returns to his crate while I get ready for work. I leave his favorite crate chew toy with him before I leave.
Since I work 10 minutes away from home, I return home for lunch at around 11:00 AM to let Atlas out to potty and play with him. He absolutely loves to chase this ball and he can chase it for hours-on-end. I would throw the ball in our backyard at a 20′ distance and he would chase after it.
Then I would walk to the ball and throw it another 20′ in the opposite direction. Atlas is just learning how to retrieve at 11 weeks old. He does it but inconsistently. Now at 14 weeks old, he is more consistent, but I’ll continue working with Atlas on. I also get a work out playing with Atlas. I can be throwing the ball back and forth 20+ times before it wears Atlas down. When Atlas has had enough, he will lie down as soon as he reaches the ball. That’s my cue to bring him back inside. This activity lasts about 10 minutes while Atlas is 11 weeks old. It will increase as he grows older. Currently, he gets about 20 minutes.
I started leash training Atlas in our backyard as early as when he was 12 weeks old. Not much of a training, but I did attach a 15′ long leash to Atlas and let him roam around the backyard for 5 minute blocks. I gradually increase the time from 5 minutes to 10 minutes, 4 blocks a day. At 14 weeks, I started training Atlas to walk on a leash. The training session lasts about 10 minutes and I trained him everyday. On weekends, I leash train him 4 times through the day, 10 minutes per session. I also took him outside our front yard and let him slowly get used to passerby’s, passing cars and passing dog walkers. He did not go on his first walk until he turned 16 weeks old, but I’ll save that for another entry.
Indoor activities consists of giving Atlas chew toys, bully sticks, hide and seek dog toys and playing tug together. I’ll clarify each option.
Atlas love to chew on bully sticks, specifically the 6″ bully sticks by Best Bully Sticks. He can chew on this and keep himself busy while I work on this web site.
Although beef trachea doesn’t last as long as Bully Stick, Atlas loves chewing on it more. He will chew on a beef trachea nonstop until he finishes it. At 16 weeks old, Atlas finishes a 6″ beef trachea within 20 minutes.
Chew toys are like bully sticks, but it encourages interaction. Whereas Atlas would lie down and chew down on bully sticks, Atlas will toss, chew and chase after chew toys.
Chew toys get wrecked and need to be replaced nearly on a monthly basis, so be sure to set aside a budget for chew toys.
Game of Tug
Atlas goes bonkers for tugging games and these are the best ropes to keep on hand. They are strong and sturdy and they will give both you and your Doberman puppy a great work out. We have two types, a shorter hard-strung rope and a longer, soft-cotton rope.
Hide-and-Seek Dog Toy
Hide-and-seek dog toys are an amazingly effective way to keep your Doberman puppy mentally stimulated. It may take a few trials before your puppy figure that it can pull stuffed toys out of a plush container. For Atlas, that was at 10.5 weeks old. There are many variations of this toy but Atlas particularly enjoys playing with Chewy’s Volcano and T-Rex version the most.
Once your puppy figures it out, all bets are off. This toy keeps Atlas busy and also exercises his mind. We have no shortage of this toy and variations of it on hand. While they do get beat up pretty badly, they are incredibly long lasting for the amount of abuse they are subjected to. The first toy of this toy that Atlas has been playing with is beginning to fall apart at 2 months. I am actually quite surprised that it lasted this long when Atlas’ other chew toys are already replaced.
Don’t Forget the Bathroom Breaks!
When you intensely play with your Doberman puppy indoors, don’t forget those bathroom breaks! The interval you take your puppy out for his break is really dependent on your puppy. No two puppy share the same routine or schedule. For us, Atlas’ bathroom break when he was 10~12 weeks old was between 30-45 minutes. That means 30-45 minutes after an intense indoor activity, he will need to urinate. Sometime sooner, sometime even in the middle of the activity! At 15 weeks old, he can hold his bladder substantially longer – about 2 hours between play. But we will know when we see his cue: profusely sniffing the living room and circling around. The minute we see Atlas doing this, we tell him to go outside.
I hope you enjoy learning how we mentally stimulate our Doberman puppy at home. Do you have a favorite activity or activities that you do with your own puppy to keep it stimulated?