Most trainable dogs
Dogs are some of our most beloved animal companions. But not all breeds are the easiest dogs to train, and if they’re not well-behaved, they can be a huge source of stress. Without learning the basics, dogs can have all sorts of unwanted behaviours, like barking, pulling on the leash, destroying items in the house, and not socialising well with people or other animals. This sadly contributes to many pets being surrendered to animal shelters when their owners are no longer able to cope.
Proper training is essential for any pet, whether they’re going to be family companions, service dogs, emotional support dogs, or guard dogs. “Your dog needs to know basic obedience,” says dog trainer, Courtney Briggs. “‘Sit,’ ‘stay,’ ‘come,’ ‘off,’ and ‘down’ are all crucial skills you’ll need to have mastered before bringing your dog into unfamiliar environments with unfamiliar humans and activities.”
If you’re thinking of bringing a new pet into your life, first consider which breeds are the easiest dogs to train. Both instinct and intelligence play a role in how trainable an animal is. Certain breeds have been bred for hundreds of years to do specific activities, like herding, and it’s challenging to stop a dog from doing what it’s instinctually supposed to do. But with regular training, any pup – from the smartest dog breeds to slower learners – can learn the basics. So find a dog trainer and enrol your furry friends in obedience school when they’re young.
With positive reinforcement and consistency, your new puppies will become obedient, happy members of the family. And remember: regardless of breed, training a pup takes time, consistency, and patience, says Rob R. Jackson, co-founder and CEO of Healthy Paws Foundation and Healthy Paws Pet Insurance. Treats don’t hurt either.
Bred to be bright and energetic, border collies take their name from the border region of Scotland, where the breed was developed, and the Scottish word for sheepdog: collie. These agile, intelligent dogs are practically athletes when it comes to herding and are no doubt smarter than you think. So impressive are the pups that, the story goes, onlookers at one of the first sheepdog trials, held in Wales in 1873 were amazed by the breed’s ability to follow hand signals and whistles to gather sheep into pens.
Keep in mind that border collies need a lot of dedicated time, attention, and activities. It’s worth the effort, though; collies are one of the most loyal dog breeds out there. Jackson recommends focusing on potty training, commands like “sit” and “stay,” and socialising to help your pup get used to new people, animals, and situations.
Guide dogs for the blind, service dogs, watchdogs, and herding dogs all have one thing in common: they’re often German shepherds. These are some of the easiest dogs to train for work and family life, says animal behaviourist, Dr Mary Burch. No wonder they’re one of the most popular breeds. Because they have a strong protective instinct, it’s important to train them early, so they don’t perceive a threat where there isn’t one.
“Pet parents should work to train their dog in short bursts of time – about five to ten minutes – a few times a day,” Jackson says. “Marathon sessions aren’t good for puppies, as their attention spans are too short. Plus, puppies’ growing bodies need lots of rest and sleep, so give them regular breaks. Training before mealtimes and offering treats can be productive, too, as food is a big motivator.” Some researchers say male and female dogs differ when it comes to training, with males being harder dogs to train.