Dog training is definitely not an easy task; it requires tons of patience and consistency, among other things. But imagine when the dog is just really stubborn! The training can quickly become frustrating, increasing your chances to give up and call a professional dog trainer.
When training a stubborn dog, you may feel like you’re constantly fighting a losing battle and we totally understand this feeling. However, regardless of all the frustration and exhaustion, it’s certainly not the right time to feel like giving up.
We’ve learned from various pet owners who had the most stubborn dogs over the years and we’ve been able to draw a great plan on what to do when dealing with a difficult-to-train canine companion.
You should know that there’s hope for every dog, even the most challenging ones, and the solution might be as easy as adopting a different approach to dog training.
When your dog doesn’t listen to what you’re saying or never follows your commands, it doesn’t mean that he or she is hard-headed or impossible to train. The real issue often lies in the difference between your human standards of good manners and the dog’s normal behaviors.
So you should expect that changing your dog’s behavior is going to take time, effort, and patience.
You don’t really have to change your training program completely because, for certain dogs, even the littlest change in the training routine can go a long way in having an obedient dog.
Ready to start changing your stubborn dog’s behavior? Here are seven of the greatest methods you can use.
7. Proceed as slowly as necessary
You should begin by working with your stubborn furry friend on their favorite or very familiar behaviors. Then, use rewards to help your dog make the link between training and positivity. Make sure to offer rewards even for the littlest successes; when dealing with a stubborn dog, every tiny success matters.
Once that little canine brain finally grasps that training is a good thing and that new things can be exciting. Just proceed very slowly, while taking one small step at a time and keeping a close eye on your dog’s reactions.
And by taking one small step, we mean changing one single variable at a time. For instance, when your pup learns to sit or come when called, add a teeny tiny distraction to level-up the challenge, like having another person around or turning the music on.
But whatever you do, don’t rush anything because you’ll risk making the training too hard, and the dog may end up deciding that it isn’t worth it.
6. Control the environment
One of your most important goals during the training sessions is to keep your dog focused, and to do that, you should always prepare the ideal environment before you start the session; pick a completely distraction-free room, such as the guest room, living room, garage, or kitchen. Make sure to remove any dog toys, exposed food, or other items that your pup might be tempted to reach for.
If you choose to train your dog outdoors, make sure to add extra safety measures by keeping your furry friend inside a fenced place or on a leash.
You should always have the advantage of a controlled environment because even well-trained pups can get scared by loud noises or get really tempted to run after a squirrel or a kitty.
5. Be very consistent
You’re not the only one who needs to be consistent while you’re training your dog, your family members should also be briefed on the training’s rules because they may unintentionally ask the dog to display the same behavior in different ways or provide rewards following the wrong behaviors.
Such unintentional actions can make your dog seem stubborn, while in fact, he/she is only confused. That’s why it’s important to have every person who spends time with your pup to use the same commands, words, cues, body language, and reward rules as you do.
This way, your dog will find it clear and simple to just do what they’re told without any dilemma.
4. NO punishment
No matter what happens, you must never ever punish your dog. Not only is it cruel and unfair, but it’s also useless and will definitely do much more harm than good. Punishment will make any dog lose trust in their owner and become very anxious, and over time, it can increase the dog’s risk of aggression.
So avoid using even the slightest harmful method during dog training (or any time really!) Instead, use only friendly reward-based training techniques that involve offering your pup the treats, toys, games, or petting he/she wants every time he/she responds to a command successfully.
And when your pooch acts the undesired way, just redirect him/her to the acceptable behavior followed by a nice reward.
3. Pick the right rewards
To make your training sessions more relevant and fruitful, you should make sure to make the desired behaviors highly rewarding for your pup. In case the rewards you give your dog have low-value or are infrequent, his/her response would be negatively affected.
So boosting the rewards’ frequency and value can significantly improve your dog’s response, as well as his/her behavior.
And since every dog has their own favorite stuff, you should find out what things your pup values most to use them as effective rewards.
2. Turning dog training sessions into a habit
Training your dog should be a crucial part of your daily routine, just like brushing your teeth. If you really want to see some good results regarding your dog’s behavior, you need to start engaging your pooch in short training sessions throughout the day. This can be as simple as asking your dog to sit and then giving them a thoughtful reward after they do as asked.
1. Get help as soon as you start feeling overwhelmed
If things are going out of control and you think that your training methods just won’t work, it’s time to seek expert guidance. This is especially true if your dog starts showing signs of extreme fear or any level of aggression. Your vet can help you find a good dog trainer or behaviorist. Just don’t hesitate to ask for help.
Do you have a stubborn dog? Please tell us all about it!