How to Develop a Positive and Rewarding Training Routine for Stubborn Dogs?

March 4, 2024

Dog training can be a challenging endeavor, especially when dealing with stubborn dogs. But don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many dog owners face the same struggles you do, and there’s a solution. As the old saying goes, "you can’t teach an old dog new tricks," but that’s not entirely true. Consistency, time, and a positive, reward-based approach can help you train even the most stubborn dogs. In this article, we’ll present you with a guide to develop a positive and rewarding training routine for stubborn dogs, equipping you with the tools and knowledge to manage their behavior effectively.

Understanding Your Dog’s Behavior

The first step in any training regimen is understanding your dog’s behavior. It’s essential to know why your dog behaves in a certain way. Dogs are animals of habit, and their behaviors are often a response to something in their environment.

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For instance, if your dog keeps jumping on visitors, it might be because they associate new people with excitement and fun. Instead of punishing this behavior, you can train your dog to sit or stay when guests arrive.

Also, some breeds are naturally more stubborn than others. Understanding this can help you adjust your training methods accordingly. Always remember that patience and consistency are key in dealing with stubborn behaviors.

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Setting Up a Reward System

The backbone of positive dog training is a good reward system. Dogs learn through reinforcement. When they behave in a way that you like, you should reward them. This could be a treat, praise, or an extra playtime.

You should always have treats handy when training. When your dog follows your command, give them a treat immediately. This will help them associate the command with the positive experience of getting a treat.

Remember, the key is consistency. For your dog to understand what behavior is being rewarded, you need to reward them every time they follow a command. Be careful not to reward them when they don’t follow the command, as this can confuse them.

Utilizing Commands Effectively

Commands are a crucial part of dog training. They help you communicate with your dog, letting them know what behavior you expect from them. When dealing with stubborn dogs, it’s particularly important to use commands effectively.

Start with simple commands like ‘sit’, ‘stay’, and ‘come’. Be clear and consistent with your commands. If you use different words for the same command, it can confuse your dog and make training more difficult.

When your dog follows a command, be sure to reward them immediately. This helps them understand that following commands leads to good things. Gradually, they will start obeying your commands more often, even without the promise of a reward.

Maintaining Consistency and Patience

When it comes to training stubborn dogs, consistency and patience are your best friends. Dogs thrive on routine, and establishing a consistent training schedule can help manage stubborn behavior.

Try to train your dog at the same time and place every day. Also, use the same commands in the same tone of voice. This will help your dog understand what is expected of them.

Training takes time, don’t expect overnight results. Stubborn dogs, in particular, may take longer to train. But with patience and consistency, you will see improvement in their behavior.

Incorporating Advanced Techniques

Once your dog has mastered basic commands, you can start incorporating more advanced techniques into your training routine. Remember, training should be a continuous process. The more your dog learns, the better behaved they will be.

One popular advanced technique is clicker training. A clicker is a small device that makes a distinct sound. You click it when your dog follows a command, followed by a treat. The sound of the clicker becomes a signal to your dog that they’ve done something right.

Another advanced technique is teaching your dog to follow commands from a distance. Start by giving commands when you’re close to your dog, then gradually increase the distance. This can be particularly useful in situations where you need to control your dog from afar.

Remember, training a stubborn dog takes time and patience. But with a positive attitude, a consistent routine, and lots of treats, you can turn your stubborn pup into a well-behaved member of the family.

Establishing a Training Environment

A crucial aspect of dog training that should never be overlooked is the environment in which the training takes place. We often forget that dogs, like humans, are products of their environment. Thus, a suitable environment can enhance the effectiveness of your training sessions.

For your stubborn dog, try to select a quiet, distraction-free area where your dog feels comfortable. This will help your dog focus better on the task at hand. A familiar place, perhaps a favorite spot in your home or yard, could work well.

The environment should also be safe. Watch out for any potential hazards like sharp objects, toxic plants, or open water bodies that could harm your dog. A safe environment fosters trust, making your dog more receptive to learning.

Finally, equip your training environment with all the necessary tools – a leash, treats for positive reinforcement, and toys to keep your dog engaged. Remember, a good environment sets the stage for successful training.

The Role of a Dog Trainer: You!

As the dog owner, you are the best dog trainer for your stubborn dog. You understand your dog better than anyone else. Yet, being a dog trainer is a responsibility that requires commitment and dedication.

Consistency is absolutely critical. Your dog will likely test limits and try to get away with undesired behavior. That’s where your patience and consistency come into play.

Let’s take the command ‘sit’ for example. When you teach your dog to sit, use the command consistently. Don’t alternate between ‘sit’, ‘sit down’, or ‘take a seat’. This could confuse your dog. Stick with one command, and your dog will eventually understand and respond to it.

Additionally, be patient but firm. Remember, stubborn dogs need more time to learn. Don’t rush the process. Instead, be firm in your expectations, and reinforce the desired behavior with positive reinforcement, such as treats or praise. This will help your dog associate the desired behavior with rewards, which will encourage them to repeat it.


Training a stubborn dog can be a challenging task, but it’s not impossible. The key is to employ a strategy that combines understanding your dog’s behavior, setting up a reward system, using commands effectively, maintaining patience and consistency, and incorporating advanced techniques when needed.

Remember, every dog is unique, and what works for one dog might not work for another. So be patient, stay consistent, and adjust your training methods according to your dog’s needs.

Finally, don’t forget to enjoy the process. Training your stubborn dog is an opportunity to bond with your pet, understand them better, and help them become a well-behaved member of the family. With time, patience, and a positive attitude, you can turn your stubborn pup into a happy, obedient companion.