How To Train a Stubborn Dog
How to Train a Stubborn Dog
Fortunately, most dogs want to please their owners, making training easy. However, certain breeds and dogs can be quite challenging (and frustrating) to train. For these dogs, patience and maintaining a happy attitude are key. Short, frequent training sessions will help you train a stubborn dog.
Giving the Dog Positive Reinforcement
Reward the dog when it behaves by giving the dog something it really likes.Are you using a high enough reward for your dog? It doesn't matter if we like the item; your dog has to love it.
- The most common reward is a treat. Try boiled chicken, string cheese, or chicken hot dogs. You could try a bone or dog treat. You want to reward the dog when it responds to your command and behaves. If the dog ignores or rejects your command, no treat.
- If treats are the preferred item, keep them handy so that you can practice throughout the day, such as anytime you get up for a drink/snack or bathroom break.
- You could toss the treat on the ground so the dog has to get up. Then, wait again until the dog chooses to sit, without any encouragement from you. When the dog does, say, "Yes!" in a happy tone, and deliver a super yummy treat. Repeat this 5 or 6 times.
Try using other positive reinforcements instead of treats.Sometimes a dog is not food driven, so consider whether they are into a ball or a tug toy. Other dogs just love attention. You have to figure out what makes your dog happiest, and then use that as their reward.
- Praise is simply a happy, excited voice and gentle touching. This is the cheapest and easiest reward to offer. You could also use a favorite toy as a reward.
- Touch is another great way to reward a dog. Some dogs respond to being petted or their tummies being rubbed. A brisk 10-minute walk can also be a reward if you are able.
Repeat training exercises and commands several times in a day.Be very consistent and repetitive. A solid training program takes a minimum of two years of consistent and organized training.
- You will get as much out of your dog as you put into them. If we say our dogs are "stubborn," we are basically making excuses for not learning how to teach our dogs to understand us.
- Ensure everyone around the dog has the same rules and expectations. Everyone in the household should use the same commands for tricks and set out the same limitations. Don't feel sorry for the dog and violate your own rules at times. The dog will learn the wrong lesson.
Letting the Dog Know You’re In Charge
Be assertive with the dog to establish control, but don’t use force.Convincing the dog that you are in control is vital. This shouldn't be done through cruelty, such as beating or hitting the dog.
- It is done by simply stepping in front of the dog, and making it back up and allowing you to go through a doorway first. It is done by taking a bone/toy away from the dog when you want it. Don't play when your dog wants you to; play when you want to, and stop when you want to.
- Use your voice, but understand that dogs respond to tone and emotion as much as words.Change the tone of your voice appropriately - for example, lighthearted and higher to say well done, and serious and deeper for commands and when the dog isn't doing as it should. A firm no or nope is as important as praising a puppy or dog for doing things properly.
Train your dog while walking him or her.You can establish control with a dog while walking the dog with a leash. Don't let the dog take the lead or go off leash.
- Take the dog for long walks. Make sure you are either walking ahead of the dog or side-to-side. A stubborn dog always thinks he is the leader, and not you.
- Whenever you train a dog, she or he is training you. People running after their dog on a long leash is an example of a well-trained human to a dog. It is a game of patience, and the more patient one wins, and the less patient one loses. A tired dog, though, might be easier to train at home when you get back.
Start with the easiest commands.The easiest command to teach is "sit." Once they learn a command, the others will come a little easier. They will start to realize that will get praise and a treat if they can figure out what you are trying to tell them.
- Use audible and visual commands. Say "sit" and make some sort of hand gesture. Make sure to do the same thing every time or you will confuse the dog and make the process longer.
- In the beginning, reward the dog if it gets close to sitting. Eventually you can work your way to a full sit. However, once they execute a full sit, you should not reward them for a half-hearted sit.
- Think of ways to break up a trick or command to make it easier for the dog to learn. Don't make the dog roll over for the first trick or it will be too complicated.
Be patient, and teach your dog patience.Teach the dog to wait for the reward. Don't let them sit for a split-second, and then bounce around like a hooligan. The reward only occurs while they are calm and obeying.
- Do not show emotion or frustration, as the dog will pick up on this, and it won’t help. Keep calm and remember your dog is doing their best. Show the dog love.
- Dogs will never obey an unstable person. If you are scared, your dog might get dominant towards you and, if you are excited, he or she will not take you seriously. If you are aggressive, he or she will be confused about what to do and won't follow this kind of energy.
Using Other Dog Training Techniques
Train the dog in a place with low distraction.What is competing for your dog's attention? Is it a squirrel? Is it a vacuum cleaner? A particular tempting pile to roll in? When you are first introducing a behavior, start in a familiar, low distraction place, like your house.
- Keep your lessons short (5 minutes or less). Your dog has a small brain and won’t be able to concentrate for very long.
- Never train more than one dog at a time. Dogs are easily distracted, and another dog in the area doesn't help your efforts. Dogs always display different behavior when they are around other dogs (whether they are a familiar dog to them or not). They might end up playing with the other dog more than they are listening to you.
Enroll the dog in obedience classes.Another option (if available) is enrolling the dog in “fun” classes, where dog training experts will help you with a stubborn dog.
- You could also hire a dog trainer to come to your home. Check with your local veterinarian for references.
- Try using a clicker with the dog. You need to associate your clicker with a treat, so your dog knows that a reward is waiting when you use the clicker and say a command.
Try to figure out why the dog is remaining stubborn.Maybe the dog feels like he is being bullied and has shut himself away from any input (this is especially common in sensitive dogs, and dog breeds that are usually sensitive).
- Maybe the dog is slower by nature (some dogs are just not as active as some other dogs; if you have a dog that usually moves slowly, don’t expect him to do fast tricks.)
- Consider whether the dog is lazy or sick (dogs, like people, will be less motivated to do things on hot days, for example, or when they are not feeling well).
- Be honest about whether the dog simply does not understand what the owner wants (some things, like sentences, can seem very clear to humans but are not understandable to a dog despite a dog's best intentions). Maybe there is nothing in it for the dog (dogs, like humans, do things because there is something to be gained from it; dogs expect less - a treat, ball or a pat is to them what a whole salary is to a human).
QuestionHow can I get my stubborn dog into his cage?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerInstead of trying to drag him into the cage, try luring him in with treats or a favorite toy. If he learns that the cage is good, he will be willing to go into it. Also, remember to put a bit of food or water in while you leave. If he's hungry or thirsty while he's in the cage, he'll associate it with bad things, and that's the opposite of what you want!Thanks!
QuestionHow do I get my dog to walk up the staircase at my new apartment? She is refusing by spreading her legs, sitting down, or just not moving.wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry to coax her up the stairs by offering her a small reward for every 4 or 5 stairs she walks.Thanks!
QuestionWhat can I do when my dog sits when its leash is put on and does not walk?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerHold a treat out a few feet away from your dog. When it gets up for treat, walk slowly with treat in hand, so the dog will have to walk to get the treat. You'll have to eventually give the treat (even before the walk is over, maybe) or it will lose interest.Your dog needs motivation. Make the walk seem like the most fun thing in the world. If it doesn't seem fun, your dog is likely to refuse to walk on leashes.Thanks!
- Love him no matter what. Let your dog know that you love him and training failures won't change that.
- Don't hit him when he does something wrong, but simply give a firm but kind "no" and continue your routine.
- When telling your dog the command, make sure he is looking at you and not the treat.
- Be patient, as your dog may take a little time to learn. Start when the dog is young, if possible.
- Get close to your dog before you train; snuggle, walk, or wrestle together, and chances are he will be more enthusiastic with someone he loves.
- Don't train for too long at once or your dog will get tired and bored.
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