Wondering how to train a stubborn dog? That’s a great question, and we have the answers!
Strategies for How to Train a Stubborn Dog
With patience and persistence, you can most certainly learn how to train a stubborn dog. Here’s everything you need to know.
1. Pick the Right Reward
Let’s be honest: some quality bribery can get you a long way when it comes to training your dog.
But in order for it to be effective, your reward has to be worth your dog’s effort. Is your pup food-motivated? Then grab some high-quality treats.
If your dog is ambivalent toward food, then go for a favorite toy instead or offer an extra game of catch.
The point is to figure out whatever it takes to motivate your dog and use it to reward desired behavior.
2. Choose the Right Place
You want to set your dog up for maximum success, which means creating the right atmosphere for your training sessions.
Just like you wouldn’t teach a child to read at a busy park, you shouldn’t ask your dog to listen at their favorite dog park.
To start, pick a calm, quiet indoor space without any unnecessary distractions.
As your dog makes progress in your training, you can start incrementally adding distractions with time.
3. Take Things Slow
Nobody said progress has to happen overnight, so don’t put too much pressure on the situation, yourself, or your dog; otherwise, you’ll end up in a rut.
Instead, take things step-by-step and reward even the slightest bit of progress.
Hint: This is where those super tasty treats come in handy! For some dogs, that small bit of initial progress can quickly translate into large gains.
4. Do Not Punish Your Pup or Use Negative Reinforcement
It’s long been established that using negative reinforcement and punishment actually results in worsened behavior and well-being of the dog.
Although your pup may be testing your patience, it’s important to refrain from using punishment. Remember that they just need a better understanding of our enforced rules.
Instead, when your dog is unable to follow instructions, simply take it back a few steps in the training process where you had success and reward that behavior.
By taking a few steps back, you can go forward with reinforced confidence and understanding.
5. Be Consistent in Your Training
To train any dog, you need plenty of consistent training, but this is especially important when dealing with a stubborn pup.
In some cases, different members of the family may be reinforcing contrasting behaviors, which actually makes your dog rightfully confused and not stubborn. So make sure everyone is on the same page with training and commands.
The other level of consistency you’ll have to exercise is in the amount of training.
Teaching your dog once and expecting it to master the behavior is unreasonable, so offer many consistent repetitions of the same training if you want to achieve any real progress.
This means incorporating the practice into your daily activities and rewarding it appropriately.
6. When to Seek Professional Help
While many seemingly stubborn dogs can be taught after some time and repetition, this may not be pragmatic in certain cases.
It’s important to know the difference between stubbornness and aggression, especially when it comes to training an adult dog.
If your dog is showing signs of aggression or excessive fear, you should contact a professional dog trainer to help guide you through this delicate process and offer any necessary behavioral training.
Your Dog’s “Defiance” May Not Be That Exactly
Even though you’re undoubtedly frustrated by multiple failed attempts to get through to your dog, the fact of the matter is your pup’s rebelliousness may actually be something else entirely.
For starters, many behaviors that dog owners find undesirable are actually basic canine behaviors, which can be notoriously difficult – though not impossible – to control.
The other issue that could be leading to your dog ignoring your wishes is a matter of miscommunication.
After all, we’re dealing with another species that doesn’t speak our language, so it’s only natural that some level of misunderstanding occurs.
This doesn’t mean that we’re bound to continue this frustrating trend. It just means we need to change our approach and perhaps use our dog’s natural instincts to our advantage.
Final Thoughts on How to Train a Stubborn Dog
We hope these tips help show you how to train a stubborn dog. Remember, clear communication and a hearty dose of patience will go a long way.
Whether you’re starting out with an untrained puppy or teaching an adult dog, your approach to overcoming stubborn behavior should essentially be the same.
Some older dogs may take longer to unlearn a long-term behavior, but with continued training, it’s still very much possible.
And don’t forget, to set yourself up for success always pick the right reward and space to practice, then engage in plenty of repetition to reinforce the wanted behavior.
It’s important to stay patient and refrain from using any punishment when teaching your dog. And if your dog becomes aggressive at any point during the process, seek the help of a professional trainer right away.
Watch a Training Video
As you learn how to train a stubborn dog, it often helps to see the process enacted. That’s why training videos are a great resource.
We are big fans of dog trainer Zak George. His enthusiastic, positive, and informative style has earned him millions of followers and countless fans.
Fortunately for us, he’s put together a video that shows you how to train a stubborn dog. Check it out and discover even more tips and tricks to help with the process.
Bonus Training Tip
As you focus on figuring out how to train a stubborn dog, you might find yourself getting frustrated or impatient at times. Don’t worry; this is totally normal when training a dog – especially when your dog is more resistant.
Everyone gets a bit stressed when working on training. How you react to this frustration, however, is what’s important.
Training a stubborn dog does require a great deal of patience and persistence. If you feel like you’re at the end of your rope, either take a break entirely and start the training again at a later time or give yourself a quick timeout.
Giving yourself a brief timeout does wonders. Just pause, breathe deeply, and count to 10. This will recenter you.
Dogs can sense if you’re hyper or angry, so taking a few moments to regroup will make the training process even more successful.
We hope you found our guide to how to train a stubborn dog helpful. Training a dog with a strong personality is always more challenging but not impossible if you employ patience and repetition.