Doggone It! 10 Dog Breeds that are Hardest to Train

Dogs are intelligent creatures that have the ability to learn things such as to sit, roll around, and use the litter box. You can teach your dog different ways or in different styles through rewards and punishment. However, not all dogs have the same level of training difficulty; some can be trained easily while some require great patience for you to teach a dog a certain task. These are the list of dogs that are hardest to train.

1. Beagles

This dog breed is energetic; that is why they are hard to train. They have short-attention-span, especially if there is a thing or a smell that got their curiosity. They are intelligent in their own ways. The beagles are used for hunting; that is why in captivity, they can’t focus their attention if they see a lot of things. If you would want to train them, aside from great patience, the place should be free from objects that may catch their attention. Their natural activity involves barking, digging and smelling only so they need to have more activities that will further stimulate them physically and mentally.

2. Rottweiler

Experts would say that the rottweilers are only for owners who have extensive knowledge of how to tame dogs. This kind of breed is naturally aggressive, but they tend to be loyal if they are properly trained. There are a lot of cases wherein they have a high tendency to hurt people around them if they hot-tempered that is why they have a bad reputation as a home companion, but this only happens when the dog is not properly trained. Rottweilers form a special bond with their owners only; that is why if you asked someone to train them, they would resist making them difficult to train. The training process will be easier if it is their owners who would teach them things. 

3. Siberian Husky

This dog breed is a sociable and active dog. If they are bored, there is a tendency that they lie down and be inactive for hours. They have extreme personalities. If they are happy, you’ll see it easily through their playfulness bit of they are sad; you would just see them quiet and inactive. If you are to train them, make sure that they will not lose their interest, or they shouldn’t get bored to keep them attentive. As the experts say, there being active is what makes them satisfied. The use of rewards such as treats would help them cooperate and so that it would be easier for it to learn and understand the training that you are giving.

4. Basset Hound

This dog breed gets easily distracted, especially when they smell something. They will follow their nose even though you are commanding them to do something that makes training a bit difficult. Positive reinforcement plays an important role if you would want to get their attention. You may need to do the routine that you are trying to teach them so that they would easily learn it. They are known to be independent and pack leaders; that is why they tend no to participate if someone trains them. Experts say that it is one of the personalities of a hunting dog is being aloof; that is why when you train them, you may need to use stronger language.

5. Chinese Shar-Pei

If you observed them physically, you would have an idea that they are cuddly and friendly, but in fact, they are listed on the list of dog breeds that are aggressive; that is why they are not applicable for families with children. Training them is a challenge because they tend to be over territorial that will let them attack other people or animals that they are not familiar with. This dog breed also has a hard time socializing so if you would let other people train them, make sure to introduce them to the dog in multiple meetings so, at the main training session, the dog won’t be too aggressive.

6. Afghan Hound

They are known to be a very intelligent dog breed because they show their independent personality by doing what they want. It is their personality to be attentive in learning and following your demands, but since they have a short attention span, they may have a sudden change of mood from being attentive to inactive during the session, which is quite frustrating for the trainer. When they lose interest in something, you can expect that it would be a difficult task to let them cooperate again and just wait for another day to proceed with the training session. Their high intelligence partnered up with their aloofness makes them difficult to train. 

7. Chow-chow

This lion-like dog breed has a tendency to become hot-tempered and that they are described to be a dog breed that is harder to please than other breeds. It is advisable to train chow-chow if they are still young, wherein they haven’t developed their territorial personality. In training this kind of dog breed, punishment does not work well because they just tend to ignore it; that is why positive reinforcement such as the use of rewards works well for them to cooperate. The reason why they are hard to train is that they naturally have an alpha personality or being dominant and that they also have a lazy personality so if you would train them, there is a possibility that if you commanded them to do an action, they would prefer to just sit or lie.

8. Bulldog

At first, you will have the impression that bulldogs are active-type dogs, but in reality, what they love is to just sleep and eat. Because of its laziness, it also has a hard time listening to commands as well, making it hard to train. An ideal owner should be trained when it comes to dealing with a bulldog, especially if you would want to train them. They would usually disobey their owners, how much more if someone who would train them is not familiar with them. You need to expose your dog to its trainer a couple of days before the actual training so the dog won’t be aggressive and territorial.

9. Dalmatian

This type of dog breed is active and needs to have lots of activities for them not to be bored. For you to train them easily, join them in your daily workout routine like jogging and exercise, so if you train them, they would just perceive it as an ordinary routine. Punishment doesn’t work for them because negative stimuli can discourage them not to do the training sessions again. If they are discouraged from doing something, you will have a hard time persuading them to teach them. Use treats and other forms of rewards to encourage your dog to cooperate during the training session. 

10. Pugs

This dog breed tends to be playful if they are in a good mood. Timing is important if you are to train them because there are moments where they just want to eat and sleep; if this is the case, it would be difficult for you to get their attention to train. An ideal trainer for them is the one that will instill consistency. The reason why they are hard to train because they become bored easily, especially when they see a thing that will make them more curious. Giving them treats is a way to get their attention longer. 

Common Reasons Why Dogs are Difficult to Train


Dogs have innate personalities wherein they prefer to do what they want and tend not to follow if you would introduce something new to them. The most common routine that being taught to them is potty training if your dog used to peeing in your carpet, even if you already introduced them to their litter box, because of their stubbornness they will not follow unless you would use an effective technique for them to get used to it.

Independent Streak

If your dog has a sense of independence, they have a tendency that they will just do what they want to do. If you would ask them to sit, but what’s on their mind is to lie down, they will lie down. To train independent dogs, make use of treats and make sure to only give them it to them if they would follow. 

The dog is overpowering

In some cases, the reason why dogs are not trained is because of some factors, such as their physical abilities and size, that somehow intimidates their trainer. If the dog breed is a guard dog, they have a tendency to overpower their trainer with the way they look and with their mental and physical ability.

​Too Smart and curious

Intelligent dogs tend to be playful, which makes their attention span shorter, especially if they are curious about something. In most cases, intelligent dogs tend to be mischievous wherein they do anything that they want, even if it would cause trouble just to overcome their boredom.

Final Thoughts

Not all people are equipped with knowledge and patience to teach dogs. It would take days to months for them to learn a certain task. The different learning styles depending on the kind of dog breed; that is why it is important to know how your dog will learn best.

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Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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