You’ve attended training sessions, read books, and watched videos. Nonetheless, your dog appears to dislike training with you. This is usually the point at which a pet owner informs her dog trainer that her dog is stubborn and thus cannot be trained. However, in situations like this, the owner frequently unintentionally sabotages the training sessions.


“Owners must always approach training with a positive attitude and avoid saying ‘no’ or making negative sounds like ‘ehhh,'” Leigh says. While the concept of a “negative marker” has been around for decades and was first used by positive reinforcement trainers, research has shown that it actually hinders learning.

“Dogs must feel confident in order to learn new skills,” Leigh explains. “If they are constantly told that they are incorrect, they will stop trying.” Enter the “stubborn” dog, as many dog owners refer to it. This dog appears to be ignoring his owner, doing everything except what is requested of him.

“Often described as “blowing them off,” Leigh explains, “in reality, the dog does not want to try because he does not want to be wrong.” “It’s easier for him to sniff, scratch, yawn, and pretend he doesn’t hear the owner.” I frequently tell my students to imagine themselves in school. If you had a teacher who was constantly telling you that you were wrong, you would never raise your hand to answer a question.” Instead, you should ignore your dog’s mistakes and give him another chance. Dogs who are not punished for attempting to perform behaviors are more likely to do so.

It’s human nature to focus on the negative and ignore the positive. When training our dogs, we must do the exact opposite. “Be generous with your rewards, and you’ll have a dog who enjoys working with you,” Leigh says.

Our body language has a significant impact on how a dog responds to training; canines are much better at reading us than we are at reading them. “Some dogs are more sensitive to their owners’ body language than others,” Leigh continues. “When working with the dog, make sure you’re not hovering over him or invading his space.”

This is especially important for a shy or nervous dog who may shut down if you get too close to him. Leigh adds that while training, you should pay attention to how you stand. “Use positive body language and keep moving to keep the dog interested.”


“Dogs are extremely tuned-in to their humans’ feelings, and so they will be stressed if you are,” Leigh explains. “To get the most out of your dog, skip training and wait until you are rested and in a good mood.” Remember that training should always be enjoyable for both you and your dog!”

If you find yourself becoming frustrated, take a break and do something different, such as go for a walk around the block. You’ll be recharged and ready to go when you return.

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