Humans are social animals and thrive in the company of others. We all love friends, families, and different relationships. The joy of being together and knowing that we have someone who cares for us is simply exceptional. The downside, though, is that we don’t take being ignored kindly. It hurts and can get frustrating after a point.
Now, imagine your best friend doing that to you. And, we aren’t talking about human best friends, we’re talking about our furry best friends. Dogs make the most awesome companions ever!
If this bundle of joy refuses to listen to you or come to you when you call him, you have a super stubborn friend. It may be okay for a while because every dog, like every human, has a unique personality and we must embrace it. The problem, however, arises during training. Stubborn dogs don’t respond easily to training and may need special attention. This doesn’t mean that they are dangerous dogs! There is no such thing as a dangerous dog. They just need more patience than an average, supremely excited dog.
Is training really required?
Before we jump into the tips, we want to talk about the importance of training because many people have specifically asked us about it. They seem to think that dogs don’t need training and will “just learn” the ways of life. Please understand that no matter how much you love them and no matter how close they are to you, they are still animals.
They do not understand the rules that humans created, and they are not born with a natural instinct to just pick up whatever house rules you have. Fido needs to be potty trained, not to pull on the leash during walks, and how to act when there’s human food around. All this is possible only if you teach your dog.
6 Tips to Train a Stubborn Dog
Now, let’s learn how to train a stubborn dog who simply refuses to budge on command. It won’t help you or your dog if you get frustrated and yell your head off. It will help only when you act. Ready? Let’s go.
Go step-by-step and be very patient
We have already established that your dog is stubborn. So, rushing into the training process will only irritate him and annoy you. Stubborn dogs need a lot of patience, and you must accept that. Make him get used to the rewarding system with familiar behaviors. This will teach him that training is not punishment and that he will be a very, very good boy if he learns what you are trying to teach him.
It is perfectly acceptable to start with the simple command to sit.
1. Show him how to sit or point at the floor.
2. Use your own strategies and the moment he sits, reward him.
3. Try it again.
4. Give him lots of treats and be gentle with him.
Once he starts seated, you can make a minor change in your routine. You can have someone else come into the room while training and see if he still sits when you ask him to. Try it a few times, and he will start focusing on the training regardless of the distractions.
It is crucial to take it slow and steady because if it gets too difficult, your dog will give up. He is a stubborn guy, and any force or negative energy will cause him just to put his foot down. If he reaches this stage, things will get worse. So, you must avoid it at any cost.
Consistency is key
Training a stubborn dog can take several weeks or months. But, this can easily stretch if your training methods lack consistency. We have noticed that dog owners complain to no end that their dog just doesn’t learn. However, their pup isn’t at fault at all!
Knowingly or unknowingly, every family member gives your pet different cues for certain behavior. This makes your pooch confused because he doesn’t know whether he is doing the right thing!
For example, imagine you are ten years old and in a classroom. Your English teacher taught you that your notes would be considered complete only if you use blue ink. Your science teacher, on the other hand, gives you full marks even though you used black ink by mistake. Now you are confused about whether you can use black ink or whether you must stick with blue!
You can only ask your teacher and do whatever told. Your dog, however, does not have that choice. The confusion will frustrate him and maybe even end up making him aggressive!
To remedy this, ensure that all your family members are involved in the training. If you are training him to get his food only when he sits down, all your family members should do the same. If someone gives him a treat when he is jumping, and/or scratching their leg, it’s back to square one. The same rule applies to sofa privileges, peeing outside, and so on.
Positive reinforcement is necessary
Did you know that yelling and punishing will only create anxiety, fear, and aggression? Punishment does not work at all, and it is hopeless to try it. Yes, your stubborn dog can get on your nerves sometimes but remember, you are all he has! He lives to please you and would never do anything to anger you. Dogs are innocent like that. But, it takes training and a lot of love from you to understand what you expect from them.
So, embellish every training session with plenty of treats and then see how quickly your dog learns. Let’s look at this with another example. This time let’s talk about walks and how dogs tend to pull on the leash.
1. When you take him out for a walk, stop at the door and wait for him to look back for you.
2. Don’t yell at him to see you or anything.
3. Just stand and wait for it.
4. When he does (and he will), give him a treat. If you are using a clicker, click and then treat.
5. Now, walk a little further and repeat.
Stop, click, treat.
Walk again and when he starts to pull, stop.
When he looks back, click and treat! Continue this every day, and over time, he will stop pulling without you yelling your lungs out or threatening to hit him.
Keep Him Focused During the Training Session
If you are training your dog in a room, make sure you remove any and all distractions from it. This includes toys, objects that he would want to chew on, unnecessary noise, and so on. Even well-behaved and a properly trained dog gets tempted by toys. Furthermore, stubborn canines specifically look for distractions. Make it easy for you and your pooch by eliminating this possibility altogether.
If you are training him in the yard or outdoors, putting him on a leash is very important. Otherwise, he may run when he sees a bird or start chasing someone he finds exciting or suspicious. Always having a leash handy will minimize such mishaps.
Make It a Habit
Training for your dog should be like brushing your teeth for you. It should become a habit. Just doing it for a month or so and forgetting about it will not help. It won’t take more than a couple of days for your dog to forget everything and behave however he wants to. Since he is stubborn and tends to like doing things his way, this is even more important. Once it becomes a habit, it will become a way of life for both of you. Then, it will be more comfortable, and your companionship will improve as well!
Take the Help of a Trainer
While we strongly recommend that you train your stubborn dog yourself, sometimes a little help can go a long way. If you have an adult dog or if he is showing signs of anxiety, it may be a good idea to leave it to the experts. Hire a professional trainer with lots of experience and good reviews. He/she will be able to guide you and your dog to happiness.
Don’t settle with just any trainer. A few trainers use punishment to train dogs, and as we already mentioned before, that can affect your dog badly. Choose a trainer who follows reward-based techniques. Ask for references and speak to them so that you get a clear idea. Also, don’t hesitate to ask multiple questions to clear all your doubts. When you are confident, go ahead.
Bonus tip – Purchase delicious treats and comfortable gear such as leashes. Do not use shock collars and other such tools to train your dog. A healthy dog is a happy dog!
We hope you follow all these tips to train your stubborn dog. There’s nothing better than to see you and your dog spend a happy, loving life together without any sort of frustration. After all, our pups are our best, most loyal friends, and deserve nothing less than all the love in the world!
About the Author
Kritika Ponia: I am 30% human and 30% pug. The rest of me is crazy mixed in water. When I am not writing professionally, I am writing personally or forcing cuddles out of my pug. I have more doggy-friends than human friends, and I adore writing about pet care and health. What else do I write about? (Human) healthcare & wellness, technology, biology, physics, social media, fashion, and oh, emotional wellbeing!