My dog is stubborn

Training Tips for Dealing with a Stubborn Dog: A Guide for Frustrated Dog Owners

One of the most common calls we get at Alaska Dog Works is from owners that is frustrated with how their training is going with their dog. 

Training a dog can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be incredibly frustrating, especially when dealing with a stubborn dog. If you’ve found yourself at your wit’s end trying to train your headstrong pup, you’re not alone. Many dog owners struggle with training a stubborn dog, but with the right approach and a little patience, you can make significant progress. In this blog post, we’ll explore effective training tips and techniques to help you tackle the challenge of training a stubborn dog.

Understanding Your Stubborn Dog’s Behavior

Before diving into training techniques, it’s essential to understand why your dog may be exhibiting stubborn behavior. Dogs, like humans, have unique personalities, and some are more independent and strong-willed than others. Stubborn behavior in dogs can stem from a variety of factors, including genetics, past experiences, fear, or simply a lack of understanding of what is expected of them.

It’s crucial to remember that your dog’s stubbornness is not a sign of defiance or disobedience. Instead, it’s often a result of miscommunication or confusion. By recognizing this, you can approach training with empathy and a willingness to understand your dog’s perspective.

Positive Reinforcement Training

One of the most effective training methods for stubborn dogs is positive reinforcement.

This training technique focuses on rewarding desired behaviors rather than punishing unwanted ones. When your dog exhibits the behavior you want to encourage, such as sitting on command or walking politely on a leash, immediately reward them with praise, treats, or toys. Positive reinforcement creates a positive association with the desired behavior, making your dog more likely to repeat it in the future. When using treats as a reward, make sure to use small, tasty treats that your dog loves. Consistency is key with positive reinforcement, so be sure to reward your dog every time they demonstrate the desired behavior.

Consistency and Patience

Consistency is essential when training a stubborn dog. Make sure that everyone in your household is on the same page when it comes to training commands and expectations. Inconsistency can confuse your dog and make training more challenging. Additionally, it’s important to have patience when training a stubborn dog. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same goes for dog training. It may take time for your dog to understand what is expected of them, so be patient and persistent. Celebrate small victories and progress, and don’t get discouraged by setbacks.

Clear Communication and Commands

Clear communication is crucial when training a stubborn dog. Use simple, consistent commands, and avoid using confusing or ambiguous language. For example, if you want your dog to come when called, use a clear and distinct command like “come” rather than variations like “come here” or “over here.”

When giving commands, use a firm but positive tone of voice. Avoid yelling or using harsh tones, as this can create fear and anxiety in your dog. Instead, speak confidently and assertively to convey your expectations.

Understanding Your Dog’s Motivation

Understanding what motivates your dog is key to successful training. Every dog is unique, so take the time to figure out what rewards and incentives work best for your furry friend. Some dogs are food-motivated and respond well to treats, while others may be more interested in playtime or verbal praise. By identifying your dog’s primary motivations, you can tailor your training approach to be more effective.

For example, if your dog is motivated by play, use a favorite toy as a reward during training sessions. By tapping into what drives your dog, you can make the training process more engaging and enjoyable for them.

Exercise and Mental Stimulation

A tired dog is often a well-behaved dog. Regular exercise and mental stimulation can help reduce stubborn behavior by providing an outlet for your dog’s energy and curiosity. Make sure your dog is getting enough physical activity through walks, runs, or playtime in the yard.

Additionally, engage your dog’s mind by using puzzle toys, interactive games, or training exercises that challenge their problem-solving skills. When your dog is physically and mentally stimulated, they are less likely to exhibit destructive or stubborn behavior. A well-exercised dog is also more receptive to training and is better able to focus on learning new commands and behaviors.

Seek Professional Help if Needed

If you’ve tried various training techniques and are still struggling to make progress with your stubborn dog, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Professional dog trainers have the expertise and experience to assess your dog’s behavior and develop a tailored training plan to address specific issues.

They can provide valuable guidance and support to help you and your dog overcome training challenges. When choosing a professional dog trainer, look for someone who uses positive reinforcement methods and has a good understanding of dog behavior.

Ask for recommendations from friends, family, or your veterinarian, and research potential trainers to ensure they have the credentials and experience to assist with your dog’s training needs.


Training a stubborn dog can be a test of patience and perseverance, but with the right approach, it is entirely possible to make meaningful progress. By understanding your dog’s behavior, using positive reinforcement techniques, maintaining consistency, and providing ample exercise and mental stimulation, you can set your stubborn dog up for success. Remember that every dog is unique, and what works for one dog may not work for another.

Be patient, adaptable, and open to trying different training methods until you find what works best for your dog. With time, effort, and a positive attitude, you can help your stubborn dog become a well-behaved and obedient companion. As you embark on this training journey, keep in mind that building a strong bond with your dog is just as important as teaching commands and behaviors. By fostering a trusting and loving relationship with your dog, you can create a solid foundation for successful training and a lifetime of companionship.

With dedication and the right approach, you and your stubborn dog can achieve training success and enjoy a harmonious relationship built on mutual understanding and respect.


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