What breeds tend to be the most challenging to train?

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Terriers are wonderful dogs. They’re smart, energetic, tenacious—and very cute; but they can be a challenge to train. Here’s why: they tend to be stubborn, spoiled (they know how to use their cute factor to manipulate). They often want to be the boss or “leader of the pack” and can possess the maddening ability to outsmart many people, so they can “trick” even the most astute trainer. They can even get a little aggressive at times, because they hate being told what to do!

A dog can be difficult to train for many reasons. Sometimes, even the most perfectly trained dog stops responding, which could be because a tiny change in a hand movement command throws her off. They can also be overly protective, distrustful, excitable, stubborn, and aggressive or even a little slow—sometimes a dog can just have trouble understanding what you want.

Some breeds made both our easiest-to-train and most-difficult-to-train list. Just as with humans, a trait can be both an advantage and disadvantage. In all cases, the training can be difficult, but not impossible—just be sure the trainer is very firm!

  • Border Collie: Their intelligence makes it so they picks up even the most subtle changes in hand or voice commands; hence, confusing them and making them seem unresponsive.
  • Doberman Pincher: Dobies make great guard dogs, but they can be a little aggressive so they need a firm hand.
  •  German Shepherd: We often see the German Shepherd as police dogs. They’re fiercely loyal, brave and protective.
  • Pit Bull: The name “Pitbull” actually refers also to several related breeds, including the American Pitbull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Staffordshire Terrier.
  • Malamutes: These gentle giants are known for their independent natures.
  • Hounds: They can be pretty headstrong, but will almost never be aggressive. This group includes Bloodhounds, Bassett Hounds, Coonhounds, Greyhounds and Afghan Hounds.
  • Rare breeds: Many, like the Boxer, Irish Wolfhound, Great Dane or Argentine Dogo, often require some obedience training.
  •  Small dogs: A lot of small dogs love to be pampered and treated like royalty.

Here are some others that can be tough for one reason or another:

Akita, American Eskimo, Bulldog, Chow Chow, Dachshund, Newfoundland, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Rottweiler, Shar Pei, Standard Poodle, Weirmaraner, Vizsla, Beagle, Shiba Inu, Shnauzer, Siberian Husky, Dalmatian, Boxer and Samoyeds.

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