Dogcharmer: Moab gets the zoomies

Dobermans appreciate having a job to do.


Dear Tom,

We would like to ask you a couple of questions. Most importantly, my husband would like to know where the “off” or “pause” button is! We have a very sweet, affectionate, energetic, and intelligent Doberman named Moab. His favorite place to lay down is right in front of my recliner. The issue is that his “zoomies” kick in when I go to stand up from my recliner. He gets very excited, and has hit my mouth/face with his head several times. This also happens when I am trying to get out of bed. I’m very thankful for you and your extensive knowledge about dogs. What am I doing wrong? He gets physical and mental exercise. The other issue is he randomly nips. I’ve tried putting the vibrating collar on him to correct him, but it’s so random that it’s hard to correct. 


Dear Joy,

Having lived with and trained two Dobes to find missing people over a 25-year period, I’m somewhat familiar with the breed, and appreciate what you’re experiencing. They are true working dogs, and really benefit from having a job. Teach Moab that his job is to “go find” the treat. Let him smell a treat in your hand, and have him sit and stay, or have your husband hold him back as you back up, and then let him see you place the treat, out of sight but easy for him to find. On the words, “go find,” he’s released, and self-rewards when he gets the treat. With success “finding” building on success, make the treat more difficult to find. He will love the game.

As for dealing with his obnoxious behaviors, start by getting him to love the vibration collar. Every day, first thing, he gets called to come smell the collar as it gets put on as he’s getting a treat. Every day. You have the remote with you all the time, attached to a string on a pants belt loop — any way you’re comfortable with. Treats will always be within your reach. Henceforth, before you get out of bed or off the recliner, call him to come and sit, and then toss several of the treats across the room, telling him to get the treats. As he’s having a great time going for the treats is when you get out of bed or off the recliner. If when he’s finished gobbling the treats he’s still interested in jumping on you, or acting in any way that displeases you, he hears, “Uh-uh” as you subtly buzz him with the collar. Joy, dogs are creatures of habit, and it’s incumbent on you to change his behavior pattern from molesting you to manipulating him using the treats and the collar when necessary. Dobes are easily within the top 10 when it comes to the smartest breeds, but like all dogs, they are manipulative, and get away with what they can. If you time the use of treats well, he will be the manipulated one, and will come to love cooperating with you. 

Good luck,

Dogcharmer Tom

Have a question for the Dogcharmer? Write him at Find him on Instagram @DogTrainerDiaries.