Are you struggling in training a stubborn dog? The excitement of bringing home a new puppy or adult dog is unmeasurable. But one of the biggest challenges of having a new dog is training and socialization. Ideally, training should start at an early age, when a dog is in their first few weeks and continue into adolescence. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned.
Many pet owners come to us wondering why their pup is not responding to their training or picking up on the rules of the home. The good news is that even those stubborn dogs can be trained. The team at Union Lake Pet Services explains that, when you think your dog can’t be trained, there is hope.
Common Mistakes in Training a Stubborn Dog
There are several factors in why a dog is stubborn or resistant to training. Some dogs refuse to come when called. Others are unruly when on the leash. And many other dogs are aggressive or anxious when interacting with strangers or other pets. Here are some reasons behind the “my dog can’t be trained” myth.
- They are ill or in pain – Underlying medical problems can trigger a dog to act out more than normal. Issues such as infections and other undiagnosed illnesses may not be obvious to the pet owner. If your dog’s behavior problems are not resolving, contact us for a thorough examination to rule out pain or medical problems as the root of the issue.
- You are frustrated – Dogs pick up on our emotions and react to them. If you are getting anxious, angry, or upset with your dog, take a break from the training session and calm down. Resume the session after you have done something positive with your pooch, such as sharing a meal or a snuggle.
- Your dog doesn’t understand your commands – Repetitive commands without association can confuse a dog. If your dog is bored or doesn’t like to do certain commands, like “come” or “lie down,” they may only respond to the 10th time you have said to do it. Change the behavior by making it a game instead of a chore. Integrate something they like, such as a ball to fetch or treat, and use the command in tandem with the reward. Sometimes, too, when you are distracted, they will also be distracted. Stay focused on the task with your dog for better results.
- The training sessions are too long – Consistency and routine create a well-trained dog. If you are pushing the amount of time training your dog, they may become bored or frustrated. Training sessions should be about 10 minutes long and repeated often. Short, frequent sessions are the key to empowering your dog to learn the right ways of behaving. Set a schedule for training sessions each day and stick with it for consistency.
- You are reprimanding your dog – Dogs rarely respond favorably to punishment. In fact, it can reinforce the problem. The goal is to reinforce the behaviors you want from your best friend through the use of positive rewards training. You should focus on not only treats but also verbal praise, fun activities, toys, and trips to the park as ways to entice your pet to warm up to the training sessions.
- Get help from a professional dog trainer – When you have tried your best and continue to have problems training your dog, it’s time to enlist the help of a professional. Professional dog training and socialization classes are great for all dogs as a supervised, safe way to explore new behavioral skills. At ULPS, we have several options for the dog who is resistant to training, and we have seen those dogs make excellent progress. We welcome you to consult with us about how to get your dog the skills they need.
Training a Stubborn Dog is Doable
The good news is that most dogs can be trained with persistence, the right techniques, and patience. It can be harder if they are older, or if they first need to address issues that may be causing them to resist training, like anxiety and fear. Getting to know your dog and their motivations will go a long way in setting up an effective training program. If you are working on training a stubborn dog, we can give you at home training pointers when you sign your pet up for group training. To learn more, please contact us.