Can all dogs be trained? (Even the stubborn ones?)

Have you ever wondered if there are dog breeds out there that are merely untrainable? It might sometimes feel that way with a specific stubborn dog. 

The truth is that some dog breeds are harder to train than others. Combine the dog breed qualities with perhaps some poor life experiences, and you can end up with a dog that feels impossible to train.

However, while several dog breeds are very stubborn, there is hope! Even the most stubborn dog breed is trainable with the right methods and persistence. 

Below, we will share a list of the ten most stubborn dog breeds and information about their personalities, breed history, and training tips. 

These dog breeds are often labeled as stubborn or hard to train because they are independent and have short attention spans. However, once you understand how their minds work, it can be possible to prepare them with a lot of persistence. 

Then, for those of you who don’t feel up to the challenge of taking on one of these very stubborn dog breeds, we will also share a list of the ten most comfortable to train dog breeds! 

Often some dogs are labeled as more natural to train because they are eager to please and are faster learners. Other dog breeds are so intelligent that they thrive with the stimulation of training. Which dog breed will you choose as the one that best fits your lifestyle and personality?

Ten Most Stubborn Dog Breeds

  1. Dachshund: The Dachshund dog breed originated in Germany for burrowing and locating small prey during a hunt. They might be little and cute, but the intent was for the dogs to be tough enough to take on a badger, and it shows! 

Dachshunds are brave, with an aggressive streak. These dogs also have a high prey drive, and this leads to a short attention span. 

They love to chase anything that moves, which means that as soon as you try to give them a training directive, they will be taking off across the yard after a squirrel. 

Dachshunds also love to bark, which makes being able to train them even more important, as challenging as it can be. Because of their independent and stubborn personalities, these little dogs can be hard to house train. The best solution to this issue is to crate train them. 

Dachshunds are also prone to be one-person dogs. It can make for some challenges with possessiveness. However, it can also be an asset for training as they will be eager to please their “person.”

  1. Boston Terrier: The Boston Terrier has a firm independent personality that does not like being told what to do, which makes sense when you learn that they were initially bred to be fighting dogs! However, today the breed is known more for being loving and hyperactive than for any aggressive tendencies. 

It is important to note that male dogs of the breed can sometimes show an aggressive posture to other males if they think they are invading their territory. 

Boston Terriers are fun-loving with humans and would much prefer choosing to play over sitting or staying for a training exercise. They especially love children and are a lively addition to any family. 

Because of their stubborn nature and difficulty focusing, it’s essential to be patient and think long term with any training efforts. Crate training will be helpful when house training a Boston Terrier. 

  1. Chihuahua: Originating in Mexico, the Chihuahua dog breed is well known for being loving and protective lapdogs for their owners. However, they can also be aggressive and fierce, which can cause issues if they are choosing to try to protect or guard their family. 

Chihuahua dogs often form a tight bond with just one person, and their cuteness and small size can lead to being babied and spoiled. 

However, this breed needs the training to ensure that their dominant and aggressive tendencies are replaced with good habits.  Owners should establish firm ground rules and stick to them. 

Chihuahuas bark a lot as a reflection of their big personality, which is another reason for functional training. It’s essential to use positive reinforcement and make it fun when training a Chihuahua. They are sensitive and intelligent, and won’t put up with harsh treatment. 

  1. Shiba Inu: The Shiba Inu breed was initially kept as pets in Japan to assist with hunting. Intensely loyal, this is a type of dog that generally only picks one person to focus on with their affection. 

Shiba Inu is also remarkably independent, with a spirited and strong-willed personality. This independence means that they are very resistant to training, but training must happen to ensure that their aggressive tendencies don’t damage anyone or thing in their life. 

Training of the Shiba Inu is also a challenge due to their alertness and strong prey drive. They will be easily distracted while their imperfect human is trying to have them sit and stay. The best way to train a Shiba Inu is with a positive approach that makes them feel like their tasks are their idea. 

Training is also essential since Shiba Inu dogs, especially males, can be aggressive with other dogs when they feel that their territory is being invaded or threatened. 

  1. Beagle: The Beagle breed was raised to be a hunting dog, using their sensitive nose to track prey. Like many hunting dogs, they have a high prey drive and need to be regularly exercised. Their prey drive creates training challenges due to a short attention span and the fact that their sensitive noses rule these dogs. 

If a beagle finds a delightful scent, they will ignore anything else that you are asking of them. Along with these challenges, Beagles have a stubborn nature that resists being told what to do. This is possibly why house training a beagle can take a long time. It’s best to use crate training for this purpose. 

Building a strong relationship with your beagle and investing in long term training with this stubborn dog are needed to keep control of their great howling and baying. 

  1. Akita: Akita dogs were bred in Japan for hunting, as well as guarding royalty. Like the Shiba Inu breed, the Akita is well known for choosing only one or two people to love and don’t do well with strangers unless they have been vigorously socialized. 

These dogs are incredibly independent and can become aggressive without proper training due to their fearlessness. They also have an extremely high prey drive, making it not recommended for smaller animals such as cats to be in the same home as them. 

Generally, an Akita owner should get professional assistance with training their dog to ensure success. However, the owner needs to be directly involved in the training with their Akita, as it is essential to maintain their bond. Once good practice is in place, this dog can be an asset with its alert and courageous nature.

  1. Miniature Pinscher: It’s easy to look at a Miniature Pinscher and see how small and cute they are, and imagine that they would be a natural pet. However, this dog breed is a very challenging and stubborn type of dog to train. 

Bred in Germany to hunt vermin in homes and stables, the Miniature Pinscher is very active with a profound dominant streak. They need frequent exercise to help them to calm down and focus on training. 

Miniature Pinschers can be fearless, and are the type of dog who leaps before they think. It’s essential that the owner of a Min Pin takes on the role of leader of the pack, and consistently reinforces their position with training. This will prevent the Miniature Pinscher from taking over the home’s leadership, as they will otherwise try to do. 

Miniature Pinschers are also wary of strangers, so consistent socialization is essential.

  1. English Bulldog: Originally bred in England to help drive cattle to market, the English Bulldog Breed combines a stubborn streak with a lazy personality. This makes sense when you imagine them holding their ground and not letting cattle get past them in times past! 

The English Bulldog prefers to be lying around most of the time, which can make training a challenge. However, English Bulldogs are also very loving and excellent family dogs, so if you can get them off the couch and entice into some training, they will make successful pets. 

They adore their people, so the best way to train a stubborn English Bulldog is to play on their desire to please their people and use positive reinforcement and occasional treatment. 

  1. Basset Hound: The Basset Hound Breed was made for hunting small animals, like several other stubborn dog types on this list. Basset Hounds follow their nose for prey just like Beagles, and sometimes convincing them to ignore their nose and focus on something else can be a challenge! Basset Hounds are very laid back and relaxed dogs at home and love just hanging out with their family. This laziness can also be a challenge in training a Basset Hound since training means getting up off the couch. It takes a lot of patience to teach these hounds, and eventually, gentle repetition will overcome their stubborn nature. Housetraining can also be a challenge, but the use of a crate and patient and kind repetition will have a substantial effect.
  2. Dalmation: The Dalmation breed is an ingenious type of dog who needs consistent stimulation so that they don’t get bored. These dogs are known to be very stubborn, combined with their high intelligence. However, Dalmations can be trained efficiently if their owner does an excellent job of establishing themselves as the pack leader. If a pack leader isn’t confirmed, the Dalmation will decide that they are in charge. Dalmations love their families and want constant inclusion in fun! To train a Dalmation effectively, stimulate and challenge their brains, and make it enjoyable for their playful nature. 

Ten Easy To Train Dog Breeds

  1. Border Collie: Bred in Scotland and England for herding sheep, the Border Collie breed is an incredibly smart and active type of dog. This breed is highly intelligent, and always eager to learn new things, which makes them so trainable. They love listening for commands from their trainer and completing the assigned tasks. It’s essential to make sure that Border Collies get enough exercise and mental stimulation. They have fantastic endurance, so a quick walk around the block won’t cut it for these athletic canines. Often Border Collies are great candidates for agility training, making use of all of their unique abilities.
  2. Papillon: The Papillon Dog Breed are incredibly adorable and petite, and have been popular lapdogs for centuries. However, they are also brilliant and are easily trained when in the right setting. Their high energy and alertness help them to pick up training tasks quickly and effectively. Like other intelligent dog breeds, the Papillon needs occupation and well-exercised so that they don’t use their brains to become destructive. They simply adore their families and want to be with them. Papillon dogs also have an excellent memory, so consistency in training is crucial. 
  3. Poodle: Poodles used to be water retrievers, jumping into the water to retrieve birds for hunters.  Their unique grooming style is a throwback to that time when they needed to have short hair that would dry quickly, but longer hair in some areas to keep their bodies warm in the water! This breed of dog is well known for their intelligence and trainability. Some say that they are the most intelligent dogs in the world! Poodles come in three different breed sizes, but their intelligence and aptitude for training are consistent regardless of size. Poodles have a reputation for being loyal and focused on just one person, which can be helpful in training as they are very eager to please them. These dogs are so smart that sometimes they have been known to outsmart their trainer! It’s best to keep poodles stimulated so that they don’t become destructive. Socialization is also crucial to learn to be friendly with people other than their beloved owners.
  4. Golden Retriever: One of the most popular dog breeds in North America, the Golden Retriever breed of dog is known to be intensely loyal to their owner, and eager to please. This quality makes them a very trainable dog, mainly because they love to learn new things. Golden Retrievers were originally bred to retrieve game shot by hunters, and they still welcome the opportunity to perform tasks. Golden Retrievers are problem solvers and learn by trial and error. Training needs regular repetition for them to learn. Also, because they are such friendly and playful dogs, the Golden Retriever can be prone to distraction, but if you can get them to focus long enough, they will happily learn whatever task you wish to teach them. These dogs are often used as service and therapy dogs because of their perfect combination of a friendly disposition and a trainable attitude. 
  5. German Shepherd: Originally bred as a herding dog, the German Shepherd Breed combines strength, intelligence, and fierce loyalty to their owner to make them extremely trainable. These dogs are quick to learn any type of training offered to them, which is one of the reasons that they make such good police or military working dogs. German Shepherds are also used as search dogs, service animals, and even for drug detection! German Shepherds can learn many different commands, and because they are so smart, they can be trained even as puppies. It’s important to start training a German Shepherd at that young age so that they are well socialized since they tend to be overprotective and wary of strangers. They grow into large, energetic dogs, so it’s also essential to have the reasonable control of them through training.
  6. Welsh Corgi: The Welsh Corgi breed of dogs can be a little bossy due to their history as a working dog. They were initially bred to be cattle herding dogs in Wales and would nip at the cattle’s heels to send them where they wanted them to go. Even today, these dogs love being given a task and a focus. Corgis also love their family and are eager to please, along with being quick to learn. They are brilliant and have been ranked as one of the smartest dog breeds! All of these qualities make them comfortable dogs to train and have also resulted in Corgis often being used as therapy and service dogs. It is essential to train and socialize a Welsh Corgi as early as possible to avoid their herding and protective instincts becoming an issue. If a Corgi is well trained, you can avoid trying to herd family members and even other pets around the house!
  7. Labrador Retriever: The Labrador Retriever breed of dog was initially bred as Fisherman’s helpers, retrieving fish for them and helping to haul in nets. Today, these versatile dogs work with hunters, service or therapy dogs, and in search and rescue. Their loving, gentle, and devoted nature also makes them fantastic family dogs. Like Golden Retrievers, they are eager to please their trainers and eagerly learn any task you wish. They are also one of the most popular dogs to adopt in North America. Labradors are very playful dogs, so sometimes it can be a challenge to have them focus on the task of training. However, once you do, they will happily learn what you want to teach, especially since they are hard-working and smart. 
  8. Boxer: Originally bred to be a medium-sized guard dog, the Boxer Breed of dog is often seen as a good family dog due to their patience and friendliness. Boxers are incredibly goofy and playful! Boxers take well to training because of their intelligence and ability to learn new commands quickly. These dogs enjoy having a new challenge and will thrive with training. Their alertness and playfulness need positive channels, so agility training is often a good outlet for Boxers. Boxers also love spending time with their beloved family, so undertaking agility training with their owners will be seen as a bonus. 
  9. Australian Shepherd: Australian Shepherds are quite similar in body and mind to Border Collies, as they were also originally bred to herd livestock. They are also identical in their sharp intelligence and ability to learn quickly. However, because Australian Shepherds are so bright, they need to be kept busy with lots of exercise and stimulation. If neglected, these smart dogs can become destructive. It’s best to keep them happy with jobs to do daily, like obedience training or agility. Australian Shepherds also need regular and extended daily exercise for their bodies as well as their minds. Hikes and runs will do it for this breed, not quiet walks around the block. 
  10. Miniature Schnauzer: The Miniature Schnauzer Breed is an extraordinarily active and loud type of dog. They were bred to hunt vermin in homes and barns, as well as to be guard dogs, which explains their love of barking. Training is often needed to keep this frequent barking to a minimum. Thankfully, Miniature Schnauzers are also very bright and obedient and adapt well to any discipline. It’s essential to train your Miniature Schnauzer with a good recall ability, as they are extremely alert and have a high prey drive. One squirrel spotted in the distance, and your dog will take off on you unless you have them well trained! Schnauzers are also very protective of their families, so it’s essential to socialize them well from a young age. 
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© 2020, Jeremy Shantz. All rights reserved.

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