How to Train a Stubborn Dog With These Simple Steps

As much as you love your dog, he could frustrate you if he just doesn’t listen. Man's “best friend” could quickly become man’s “pain in the bum” when he does exactly the things you don’t want him to do.

I understand this perfectly, which is why in this article, I’ll giving you easy tips on how to train a stubborn dog.

To train a stubborn dog, you need to understand him first, you also need to know why he does the things he does. You also need to understand that he’s a dog (obviously) and his behavior won’t conform to the acceptable standards of human manners.

His initial inability to adhere to your commands or training doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you, or he’s a “hard head”.

It just means you need to change your approach to his training. Keep in mind that a tiny little adjustment to his training strategy could make a massive difference!

I have quite an idea of how you may feel when your dog doesn’t respond positively to training. This slow, or non-responsiveness from your dog may lead you to ask the question below

I’ve come across a good number of dog owners who have expressed their frustrations concerning training their dogs despite their very best efforts. The truth is, most dogs are trainable, it’s just a matter of approach!

Animal behaviorist, Dr. Joanne Righetti[1] agrees with this. She says...

"Most dogs enjoy being trained, as this means interaction with their owners"

She also pointed out that some dogs may have some brain disorders or injuries that could potentially make it harder for them to learn.

There are some dogs that are naturally easier to train than others, such as the golden retriever or the Labrador, but that is not to say that the more independent (or stubborn) breeds cannot be trained as well.

Dr. Joanne claims that any pet owner who says their dog cannot be trained is likely to be the cause (or a contributor) to the problem. It’s been proven that dogs in the state of stress or fear are harder to train.

It’s advisable to carry out training exercises when your dog is in a calm and happy state. It has also been proven that dogs love being rewarded with treats and would most likely follow your instructions if they know you’d hand them some of their favorite snacks afterward.

Have you been generous enough with the treats?

Keep in mind that the age of your dog is a major factor in his training.

Take a human baby, for instance, their brains are like sponges, free and ready to soak up and process new information. 

It will take an older dog more time to adapt to new commands or routines, especially if he’s not had any real training in the past.

How to Train a Dog That Doesn’t Listen To Owner (& Stubborn)

It’s hard to determine where to begin when your dog doesn’t listen to you.

Frustrating right?

I know you’d like to take your dog for walks and have him well behaved when he’s around other people. It could be embarrassing when your dog doesn’t comply.

So, what can you do about such a predicament?

We all know that dogs don’t speak your language, meaning they can’t understand your exact words (I'd be surprised if they did)

What they do understand is your tone, yes, YOUR TONE! Communicating with your dog has a lot more to do with your vocal tone than the actual words you speak.

This doesn’t necessarily mean screaming at your dog, that would be a big mistake. As I pointed out earlier, dogs that are tensed or afraid will most likely not obey your commands.

If your dog doesn’t listen to you, try using a firmer tone in your voice to go along with your command. Once again, being firm doesn’t mean you should scream.

You can lower your vocal tone but add a degree of assertiveness to it. Keep it confident, short and as precise as possible. Never allow your command to carry many words as this will confuse him.

The funny thing about using too many words in your command is this – your dog will hear you, but would naturally assume you’re not talking to him since he can’t compute all your words.

It pays to be short and precise with your command! This will get your dog’s attention, and without his attention, training will be fruitless.

Below are some tips on how to train your dog to listen

Call him by his name – Call his name in a low but sharp tone. If he has learned his name, he will respond by looking at you and will wait to see what next. At this stage, you are certain your dog can hear you. Use a positive tone so his reaction would also be positive

Pick a basic obedience command – You could say “stay” or “sit” using the same positive tone. Doing this repeatedly will make him get used to it. Keep this up until he has mastered basic obedience. Patience is key at this stage!

Avoid distractions – Have you considered the fact that your dog may not be listening to you because he is distracted? Well, this is very common with some dogs. 

If you notice that he is not responding to basic obedience commands, assess your environment. He could be distracted by surrounding factors. If this is the case, take him to a quieter place with fewer distractions and carry out the commands again

How to Break a Stubborn Dog

There are several factors that could make your dog disobey you, luckily, there are also methods you can employ to solve this problem.

Keep reading!

Start Slow 

You can start by working on his favorite or familiar behaviors. Like I said earlier, understanding your dog is very important.

Be patient as you give out commands and reward him with a treat, even with the smallest level of success (or obedience). Over time your dog will get used to the routine and will begin to respond positively.

Remember to change only one variable at a time, too many changes will throw him off balance and that will frustrate your efforts even more!

If your dog has mastered one basic command, try the same command during the next session, but this time add a little distraction. Maybe turn on the TV or stereo and give the same command again. I

f he follows, then job done, if not, keep at it until he understands that “sit” means “sit” regardless of external distractions.

Don’t Train Him In A Place Filled With Distractions

Start his training in a quiet area, one that has just the two of you. External distractions like birds and cars could throw him off.

Remember it is easier to train your dog when you have his full attention. In a quiet environment, all he can hear is your command, and that’s exactly what you need!

Put away all toys and items he may be tempted to play with, also control his movement by putting him on a leash or in a fenced area.

Be Consistent

Your commands must be the same always, not just in words, but in tone. Consistency in command will help your dog understand that particular command more.

Sometimes, your dog may not actually be stubborn, he may just be confused. Different vocal tones and volumes could throw a spanner in his cog.

If you live with family, let them all understand the type of tone each command carries, well until your dog has fully understood what they mean. The same goes for your friends and visitors.

Let them also offer your dog a reward for obedience just as you do, so he’d be consistent with it.

Here’s an example –

If you want your dog to sit when greeting people, then ask those who come around the dog not to allow the dog to jump on them when he sees them. Ask them to use the command “sit” if he tries to jump on them. Remember, they also should be generous with rewarding him for obedience.

Do Not Punish Your Dog

Screaming or hitting your dog for bad behavior is a bad idea, trust me. This will reduce his willingness to be around you, increase his anxiety and potentially make him more aggressive. You don’t want any of that, do you?

Reward-based training should be your main tactic. If your dog disobeys your command, he doesn’t get his much-desired treat. He knows he can’t “snatch” it from you, so he’ll figure out that the best way to get the snack is to obey you.

Choose His Favorite Thing/Food As Rewards

This concept narrows the reward factor down.

Yes, it’s great to reward your dog for excellent behavior, but it’s even better to reward him with exactly what he likes!

If your dog finds its rewards unattractive or of low value to him, the less likely he is to respond. No one knows what your dog loves more than you, if you don’t, then it’s your job to figure it out.

Do this and you’ll be impressed with the results!

Seek Expert Advice

Lastly, if you don’t seem to be making any progress with breaking that stubborn dog, then seeking advice or help from trained experts is another viable option.

There’s no shame in speaking to your vet, or a reward-based trainer. It’s all for the greater good!

How to Walk a Stubborn Dog

One of the most enjoyable aspects of owning a dog is taking him on walks around the neighborhood. However, if your dog refuses or keeps stopping along the way then it could be really tiring.

Don’t panic, there are some solutions to this, as I will soon point out.

Below are 3 helpful tips that could make your dog walk with you just as you want.

1. Use a click trainer

This is a simple tool that makes a unique clicking sound when pressed. The click sound is fast and distinct, and it passes the message to your dog in an instant.

To teach your dog the meaning of the click, reward him with a treat when he moves as you want. Your dog will quickly associate the click sound with a treat. The more he hears the click, the more he expects a reward, and this will encourage him to walk just as you want.

2. Pair verbal and non-verbal commands

Pairing both verbal and non-verbal commands have proven to be very effective in dog training. As you teach your dog the command, pair it with a hand gesture. He will get used to this over time.

Remember to always reward him with treats when he gets it right. As time goes on, you can stop giving him treats and simply use the hand gestures with the commands, but this is only after he has mastered the commands

3. Use new routes

Just like humans, dogs can get bored too. Walking the same road all the time may become boring for your dog, have you considered this? Take a new route every now and then to spice things up. Your dog could find the new route exciting and would be eager to walk the path

How Do You Train a Stubborn Dog to Come?

This is not as difficult as you may think, all you need to do is to tip the scales in your favor by letting your dog know what he’s missing if he doesn’t come.

Let him know you have a delicious treat waiting for him when he comes, and he still gets to play afterward.

Start this training at home where it’s safe and with few or no distractions. Feel free to use a long line as well, just so he doesn’t run off.

 Here are a few items you’ll need for this training
  • A long line
  • His favorite treats
  • A bag in which to keep the treats
  • Time and patience

Put your dog on a leash, get his attention and move away from him. As you do this, Pat on your thighs and in an excited tone, say “come”. As he approaches, move away a little more to encourage him to keep coming.

Slow down a bit when necessary, just so he can catch up with you, then back up again. When he finally catches up to you, encourage him verbally by saying “good boy”, and of course reward him with a treat.

Practice this regularly and in no time, you would be able to call him even though you don’t have any treat in hand.

Remember to be patient, he’ll get the hang of it as time goes on.

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