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First off, there is no such thing as an untrainable dog. “But,” you argue, “If there were such a thing, surely my dog would fit into that category!” You can believe what you want, but all dogs are trainable; it just depends on how you go about it and how much time and energy you’re willing to invest.
Some dogs are inherently easy to train. They typically fall into the herding or guardian dog breed categories, so if you’re looking for a dog that’s relatively easy to train, here are some good breeds to choose from:
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|Herding Dogs||Guardian Dogs||Other|
|German Shepherds||Doberman Pinscher||Golden Retriever|
|Welsh Corgi||Rottweiler||Labrador Retriever|
|Australian Shepherd||German Shepherds||Poodles|
|Australian Cattle Dog||Papillon|
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One consistent trait across extremely trainable dogs is that they like to have a job, whether it be guarding people, herding cows, or retrieving something their master shot while on a hunting trip.
Purchasing a purebred dog has its benefits, but if you adopted or inherited a dog, you likely have some kind of mutt. With all of the mixed genes, sometimes dogs end up resistant to training, which can be incredibly frustrating for both parties. Add stubborn or dominant personality traits into the mix, and you might feel justified saying that your dog is untrainable. But don’t give up hope yet! We’ve put together a few pointers to help you train your “untrainable” dog.
Hold a Family Council
If there are multiple people in your family, varied training styles can be inadvertently confusing your dog. Before you even start the training process again, sit with down with your family members and decide the signal and the sounds you’re going to make for each trick. Getting everyone on the same page is probably the biggest hurdle in the beginning.
Being consistent is a phrase that you will hear over and over from professional dog trainers and “doggy blogs” alike, so we will say it again here: you have to be consistent. Your dog is looking to you to lead, and he needs consistency in order to learn. It makes him feel more comfortable with his roles, and when he knows what’s going to happen, he’s more likely to comply.
Find a Treat He Likes
It truly is impressive what a dog will do for a Cheerio-sized piece of cheese. Whether you use cheese, processed snacks, peanut butter, or something else, offer your treat often and for everything your dog does right (at least in the beginning). If the snack is high in calories, cut it up into small pieces, or offer various treats to switch things up. You’ll likely have to try a lot of different treats to find some that he really enjoys, but it can make a night-and-day difference having a treat he loves versus one he’s just meh about.
Revisit the Past
One of the best ways to start training again is to the revisit the past – particularly the past successes. You might have to think hard to find something that your pup has been successful with, but once you narrow it down, focus on that one task. Use a clicker to mark the action and reward with a treat every time. Your purpose here is to remind your dog that he is successful and that training can be a positive experience.
Don’t start your training sessions in the backyard or at the park – that’s the first piece of advice. When you’re starting to train a stubborn dog, go slow by controlling as many aspects of the environment as possible. Keep lighting consistent, turn off the TV, work in the same area of the house, and start with some kind of daily routine. And, of course, reward, reward, reward! Once your dog is getting the hang of things, starting adding in one level of stimuli at a time. Maybe turn on the TV or the radio during your training or move to another area of the house. The key is to go slowly and make sure that your dog has things down before adding anything else to his routine.
Be Patient and Positive
It is so tempting to punish your dog when you feel exhausted with the training process before you’ve even started, but try to be patient and positive. Your dog will respond better to consistent, positive reinforcement than physical punishment or being yelled at. And for the love of all that is fluffy and cute, don’t punish him when he comes to you after taking his sweet time out in the yard. You may feel frustrated that he didn’t come right away, but as soon as he gets to the door, give him praise, pats, and treats to reinforce that coming in is a good thing. If you’re consistent, you’ll likely find him coming inside a little quicker each day.
Add in a Lot of Exercise
Sometimes dogs have a lot of pent up energy or boredom, so they’re challenging to train. To counteract their energy, be sure to schedule in extra exercise every day. A dog that has his physical exertion needs met is more likely to cooperate with you during your training sessions.
Consider a Professional
Sometimes you just need help, and there is no shame in choosing professional dog training for your hard-to-train pup. Every dog needs a little bit of dog behavior training, and a professional dog trainer knows the tricks for training your dog and you so that you both can be successful. In fact, sometimes professional dog obedience training is the best way to go so that you and your dog don’t end up frustrated and at loggerheads. Contact Coddled Critters to find out how we can get your pooch the training that he needs.