The second you bring a cute puppy home, you’re in for a world of happy licking, enthusiastic tail wagging and a deep bond that only grows with time. Along with offering love and affection (and tasty dog food), dog training is incredibly important. In some cases, especially with the hardest dogs to train, the training process requires a bit more patience and steadfast consistency.
“Some dogs do take longer to train,” says Traci Madson, a certified dog expert and trainer with Pupford. “Some are just more motivated to please and learn new behaviours or dog tricks that result in rewards, while others can be more apathetic.”
She says that genetics and learning history really come into play here. For example, if your dog has a history of poor reinforcement, then it can become difficult to teach them new dog commands or change their behaviours. And dogs with low food motivation may be trickier to train compared with those very motivated by yummy dog treats. Other issues, like separation anxiety, unique personalities and even age can impact training ease.
We’ve highlighted some of the hardest dogs to train, according to dog behaviour experts. It’s not that these pups aren’t trainable, but rather that they might require some extra attention or training tricks compared with the easiest dogs to train. For more insights on this topic, learn how to train a puppy and how to train a dog.
Beagles are excellent family dogs and even considered one of the best dogs for kids. However, these hunting dogs have a very strong focus on the smells around them and a strong genetic inclination to follow scent trails. With that said, they’re considered one of the hardest dogs to train. “They can be a challenge training in distracting outdoor environments and off leash recalls,” says dog trainer Chrissy Joy.
Pro training tip: The good news about beagles is that most of the time, they are very food driven! Joy says that this helps in the training process, as you can use high-value dog treats to engage and train them with endless skills and good manners.
2. Siberian husky
The Siberian husky was bred to think independently, which can make them less responsive to traditional training methods. To make matters worse, this sled dog is prone to lots of barking, digging and running away when they’re not adequately exercised.
“Huskies are notoriously independent and wilful, making them resistant to training methods that other breeds may respond well to,” says Bradley Phifer, executive director of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. He adds that they’re also one of the smartest dog breeds and that they have a strong sense of their own identity, which can cause them to be socially selective and easily offended.
Pro training tip: Start training as early as possible with your Siberian husky and make sure to give them plenty of exercise and socialisation. “With a focus on teaching resilience to regular handling, patience, plenty of positive reinforcement and a dash of a sense of humour, Siberian huskies can become well-behaved and loving companions for their owners,” Phifer says.