Training & Trainers

Our Training Philosophy

At DHDR, we believe that no one method of training is right for every dog and owner. Each Doberman has its own temperament and needs (and more importantly, every owner needs to be trained differently). Overall, we believe that reward based training methods should be utilized for most situations. However, understanding the root cause of  your Doberman’s behaviors will enable you to resolve the issue and encourage more appropriate behaviors instead. Then, you can have fun with each other, learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and create a positive life-long bond. Balance is important in training your Doberman.

Dominance and force based approaches are outdated and do not promote a healthy, happy bond. By only focusing solely on fixing “incorrect” behaviors, correct behaviors often go unappreciated, unnoticed, and therefore never learned. A dog that only learns from fear of repercussions will eventually give up trying to do the right thing and will either shut down or fight for what it wants. For a dog to truly learn, you must teach your dog what you want them to do first. Once they learn these behaviors, it is your job to promote and encourage them to choose the best behavior.

Physical and mental exercise are needed to keep this incredibly smart working breed healthy. DHDR highly recommends that all our adopters participate in not only obedience training, but also in dog sports or activities. These things build a trusting, mutually benefiting relationship, that will give strength to your communication skills and foster a foundation for success.

DHDR does not promote the use of prong collars, e-collars, or choke chains on our fosters. In rare instances, we recognize that some dogs may need additional tools for success. If it is recommended by one of our trusted training partners, and used under their instruction, we may give special permission to use these tools. If you rely on these tools for your Doberman, we highly recommend consulting a trainer to first determine if they are necessary, and if so, to ensure you know how to use them for long-term benefit of you and your dog. 

IMPORTANT BEFORE YOU PICK A TRAINER! Before picking a trainer, even among our valued partners, consider two things:

  • If you are having a specific problem with your Doberman, consider first having a professional evaluation completed by a trainer that can articulate their method for behavior evaluations without being tied to any type of training. Understanding your dog at its core is the most important thing to do BEFORE you pick a trainer. We highly recommend Sam Kabbel for these evaluations. This allows you to pick the right trainer.
  • Ask the trainer if they align to LIMA principles. This means they don’t believe that “one tool fits all” and they use varied methods, always starting with the least aversive method first. They should not start with Prong or eCollars.


Our “LIMA” Training Partners

Sam Kabbel – Pet Behavior Solutions – Valley Wide
If you need anything beyond basic obedience, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND getting an evaluation from Sam first. Then, you can train with her or pick another trainer. Great for the basics or complex cases, and in-home training. Sam provides the basis for much of our volunteer training.

Sheila Iyengar – Valley Wide – 480-776-4863 (Text or Call)
Sheila is another great option for behavior evaluations and special behavior needs in-home.

ZenK9 – Phoenix & Valley Wide
A holistic and interconnected approach, great for private lessons and behavior evaluations.

Patience Unlimited Professional Dog Training – Phoenix

Cheeky Dog Obedience – Cave Creek

Desert Dog Obedience – Ahwatukee
Basic Obedience, Sports, and Tricks

MLF Dog Training – Queen Creek
Balanced approach to dog sports and training.

Prana Dog Training – Tucson
Extensive working breed experience in Obedience, behavior, and dog sports.

Other “LIMA” Recommended Trainers

Phoenix Animal Behavior Center – Phoenix

Dog Training by Cat – Tempe

All Greatful Dogs – Mesa

Arizona Humane Society – Great one-off intro classes! (These are special AHS classes, we typically do not recommend PetSmart for most Dobermans)

That’s Obedience – Queen Creek

Handi-Dogs – Tucson


Check out our Doberman Sports page to see our recommended Sport Trainers!

Our Adoptables

Adopt Doberman Giada

Random image: Adopt Doberman Giada

Voicemail: 602.492.8139
PO Box 97425
Phoenix, AZ 85060

A 501(c)(3) charitable organization
Federal EIN 27-1352468