Strong-Willed Dog: How to Train a Stubborn Dog at Home

Have you ever wondered how to train a stubborn dog at home? Well, it's actually not as difficult as you might think. Read on to find out how.
Paws up for sharing this dog-related article!

If you’re searching for information on how to train a stubborn dog at home, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll give you some tips and tricks on how to train your strong-willed dog successfully. We’ll also provide some resources that you can use to make the training process easier.

So, if you’re ready to get started, then read on!

When Is a Dog Considered Stubborn?

Strong-Willed Dog How to Train a Stubborn Dog at Home

A dog is considered stubborn when your canine buddy:

  • Doesn’t follow your instruction
  • Doesn’t comply with your orders
  • Chooses to ignore you deliberately
  • Tries to stay in the lead on walks
  • Pushes you to the area of their choice

Your dog is considered stubborn when all of your instructions and orders go in one ear and out the other. Your dog listens to everything you say and categorically doesn’t bother to follow those instructions or abide by orders. This behavior is branded as stubbornness in dogs. It is more common in humans, but dogs also fall prey to this notorious behavior.

As mentioned earlier, a dog’s breed has a significant effect on the stubbornness of the dog. That’s why you have to start obedience training in those breeds when they’re puppies. The delay in training will give you a strong-willed dog who doesn’t feel it necessary to bother with your orders and instructions.

If your good dog has turned into an evil brat, there is still hope for both of you. You need to identify and eradicate the factors that are making them stubborn. And with the help of positive reinforcement, treats, and techniques, you can make your dog obedient and docile. We will discuss different situations and needs of the owners regarding stubborn pets in other sections.

Read along and get solutions to most of your problems.

20 Signs of a Stubborn Dog

Dogs are wonderful companions, but if you are struggling with a stubborn dog, you may find the challenges you’re facing rather shocking. The number and diversity of the signs of a stubborn dog are way beyond your imagination. Humans often misunderstand these signs and symptoms. That’s why things get out of control when people realize that something is not right about their beloved pooch’s behavior.

A headstrong and willful attitude will have the following symptoms:

  1. Begging
  2. Demanding
  3. Being pushy
  4. Pushing a toy into you
  5. Looking down on everything
  6. Guarding a human against others
  7. Barking or whining at humans
  8. High-pitched barks in protest
  9. Pawing to get you to play with them
  10. Nudging you to be petted
  11. Sitting in high places
  12. Jumping up on people or putting their paws on people at will
  13. Persistence in disobedience
  14. Always going in and out of doorways before humans
  15. Walking in front of humans while on a lead
  16. Refusing to walk on a lead
  17. Nipping at people’s heels when they leave
  18. Not listening to commands
  19. Standing proudly on a human lap
  20. Persistence about sitting in a human’s lap

8 Factors That Cause a Dog to Be Stubborn

Strategies & Tips for Training a Strong-Willed Dog

Various factors cause stubbornness, and if you have a stubborn dog, you could experience one or a mix of these factors. The most common factors are:

1.   Breed

The number one factor for dogs to be stubborn is their breed. When you get a puppy from one of those notorious breeds, the solution is early obedience training. This will help you change their strong-willed behavior, and you will get an obedient and happy dog. The elder dog can also be trained, but you need consistency, patience, and valuable techniques.

2.   Distraction

When you start obedience training, you must control the environment in the beginning. But if you keep the training that way, things will get complicated. You must start to add factors like television, people, or other toys to make them stick to the plan.

3.   Teaching Dos Instead of Don’ts

If you focus on don’ts and try to make your dog consistent with that, you are not doing things right. The most important thing is to give them a complete plan of dos and don’ts. If the dog doesn’t know what the right things to do are, they will be stubborn in everything they love to do.

4.   Less Motivation

Choosing the wrong treatment and not offering them the rewards for good behavior will make them less motivated. When giving small treats, you are not motivating them to do the right things. The lack of motivation will make them stick to doing what they want, and you will have a stubborn pooch as a reward.

5.   Confusion

When you train your dog to follow commands, the most important thing is that every family member must use the same cues and words. Consistency is key. If everyone in the family is offering them a treat to do an act with different words; the confusion will make them bewildered. And you will brand their confusion as stubbornness.

6.   Excessive Energy

A dog with extra energy needs to get exercise and perform activities. If you are not providing them with the opportunities to do so, they will make their own rules to eliminate the extra energy. Sticking to their own plan will prevent them from following yours.

7.   Element of Fear

When you are punishing your dog and making them afraid of you because of negative reinforcement, you make things worse. A dog is unable to understand punishment and process negative reinforcement. The result will be fear, and a dog that is afraid will always try to avoid your commands and presence.

8.   Possibility of Hyperactivity Disorder

You must not ignore this possibility as the reasons for the signs and symptoms of a stubborn dog. Humans suffer from ADHD, which makes them do various things differently as they please. The same goes for the dogs, and you could confuse them and cause them to be stubborn.

How to Train a Stubborn Dog to Sit

Force and punishment will never get you good results. Use rewards and positive reinforcement with treats and praise. The steps will be as follows to train a stubborn dog to sit:

  • Step 1: Let your pooch focus on a treat in your hand
  • Step 2: Hold the treat above the pooch’s head
  • Step 3: Give the “sit” command and make your stubborn dog sit with physical cues
  • Step 4: Reward at once on sitting
  • Step 5: Repeat the process

How to Train a Stubborn Dog to Lay Down

Here are the steps:

  • Step 1: Hold a high-value treat and make your dog sit
  • Step 2: Place the treat near their nose so they can smell it, but don’t let the pooch grab it
  • Step 3: Lower the treat down near the floor and close to your best pal’s chest
  • Step 4: Praise and reward when the dog lies down
  • Step 5: Add the cue, “lay down,” and repeat the process by letting the pooch eat the treat

How to Train a Stubborn Dog to Drop It

You need to infuse this behavior in the dog with the help of a treat. The process will be the following:

  • Step 1: Offer a toy to make them hold it in their mouth
  • Step 2: Offer a treat to make them drop it
  • Step 3: Pick up the toy and hide it behind your back
  • Step 4: Repeat the process of giving the toy and treat a couple of times
  • Step 5: Add the word drop it while offering a treat
  • Step 6: Repeat the process and appreciate the pooch

How to Train a Stubborn Dog to Stay

  • Step 1: Teach him down with the help of this word and a treat
  • Step 2: Encourage gently and lead him to the ground
  • Step 3: Instruct him to lay down on different occasions like during your mealtime
  • Step 4: Give him a smile and appreciate him a bit and turn around
  • Step 5: Offer the treat when the dog stays down for a couple of seconds
  • Step 6: Increase the time and reward him at the end

How to Train a Stubborn Dog to Walk on a Leash

The process will involve small steps with consistent rewards and regular training. Use the following steps to get the job done:

  • Step 1: Make them understand the idea of leash walking
  • Step 2: Get them used to the leash
  • Step 3: Reward the dog when indoor walk happens according to the plan
  • Step 4: Add a cue word to attract their attention and do the walk
  • Step 5: Take training outdoors and reward their good behavior

How to Train a Stubborn Dog to Stop Barking

The first step in training a stubborn dog not to bark is to remove the distraction and then work your way up to calming them down. An energetic dog will keep barking and charging at everything that moves. Make them tired by letting them play or exercise for a couple of hours daily.

  • Remove the distraction (for example, barking at passersby)
  • Ignore the barking (especially when the dog is confined)
  • Desensitize your dog to the stimulus
  • Toss a treat on their bed
  • Give them the command, “go to your bed”
  • Keep your dog tired

7 Strategies & Tips for Training a Strong-Willed Dog

When is a dog considered stubborn

These strategies and processes will teach you how to train a strong-willed dog. These simple processes will help you make your dog obedient and compassionate towards you and your family. You will have a loving dog that will try to please you by doing what you want. If implementing these strategies and processes don’t result in the changes you want to see in your dog’s behavior, the last resort is going to experts and is something to keep in mind.

This seven-step process involves the following:

1. Go Slow

You have to take every step slowly and should focus on keeping your dog interested and comfortable. This is the part where you don’t let on to the pooch that you are trying to change their behavior. The most useful way is by offering treats and rewards for every good act. Start with a single command, and when the dog learns how to perform that command, try to add distraction. You must take it slow to infuse this behavior in your strong-willed dog.

2. Control The Environment

The most important thing at the beginning of the training is to choose an area without distractions. The best place is your home with no toys or people around. When the dog has learned one trick here, adding distraction means turning on your TV or having another family member around. When training outside, you must control the dog by putting it on a leash and or using a muzzle. Even a well-trained dog can get tempted and distracted by a car or a cat, so taking precautions with the stubborn dog is a must do.

3. Consistency Is The Key

When every family member in the house behaves differently and wants different behavior from the pooch, things will get fishy. When you want to make things better with the stubborn dog, always ensure that each family member is on the same page with the training methods. The dog must hear the same and consistent set of commands from every family member in the house. For example, when you are teaching your pooch to sit in the presence of other people, be consistent. Forbid your kid from encouraging your dog to jump on their friends and other people.

4. Avoid Punishment

According to experts, your dog can process positive reinforcement, but they cannot process punishments as we humans do. The punishment will never get you the required results. And in most cases, every punishing act will increase stubbornness a bit more than before. When you see negative behavior in your dog, avoid punishment and just use a firm, loud voice to give them the cue words to prohibit repeating the same behavior.

5. Right Rewards

A low-value reward will not make your dog happy, and there will be no motivation for the act and reward conditioning. The low-value reward will not make an impression on your pooch, and you will not see any change in your furball’s behavior.

Another mistake that most owners make is being inconsistent with the reward. They find it difficult to offer a reward every time for the good behavior. Well, if you have not infused the positive behavior in your dog yet, do not skip a single event. This will break the conditioning process, and you will have nothing in return.

6. Make Training a Habit

Make training a habit not only for your best pal but also for yourself. If you are skipping a day after a week or so, you are doing it wrong. There should be short training sessions throughout the day. And you must keep doing everything with the same focus and energy all the time. If you are not taking the training seriously, how can you expect the stubborn dog to give it a try?

Your habit of doing things right will inculcate positive behavior with your love and reinforcement. The use of the right rewards and appreciative behavior will make your dog understand that this is the right thing to do. And you will be able to break the older bad habits and infuse new good ones.

7. Get Help

If there is fear or aggression in your dog and things are not working, stop stretching the limits of your pooch. Call experts right away, and they will create strategies for your beloved dog. Expert help and new techniques with consistency and compassion will surely give you positive results.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ - What Breed is My Dog How to Identify ANY Dog Breed - Is my dog a pure breed (4)

Is It Possible to Train a Stubborn Dog?

It is frustrating to train a stubborn dog, but there is always hope that you can train your stubborn dog with useful techniques and consistent methods.

Why Is My Dog Suddenly Stubborn?

An unmotivated and a bewildered dog can seem like a stubborn pooch. But when the adult dog suddenly becomes stubborn, the reasons may be some factors in the environment or changes in the people’s behavior.

How Do I Get My Stubborn Dog to Obey?

Do the following for making your dog obey you every time:

●      Go slow
●      Control the environment
●      Never punish
●      Use positive reinforcement
●      Stay focused
●      Be consistent

Do Dogs Get More Stubborn With Age?

When a dog gets older, behavioral changes are inevitable. Senior dogs do get stubborn because of medical conditions or other related factors. Most of the time, if your dog’s hearing is affected, you will also consider the poor pooch as being stubborn.

What Are The Most Stubborn Dog Breeds?

The most stubborn dog breeds are:

– Afghan Hound
– American Foxhound
– Basset Hound
– Bulldog
– Bull Mastiff

What Are The Least Stubborn Dog Breeds?

The most obedient dog breeds are:

– Border Collie
– German Shepherd
– Golden Retriever
– Labrador Retriever
– Doberman Pinscher


You have learned a lot about how to train a stubborn dog at home. The main keys to success here are consistency and compassion. If you punish your dog, you will make things worse. All the techniques and strategies mentioned above are bound to provide you proven results. But if your dog’s condition remains persistent, it is always a good thing to call the experts.

These professionals will look for the stimulus and factors that make things worse and help educate you in how to remove them. Experts will create personalized strategies according to the breed and disposition to help the stubborn dog to become more obedient.

Paws up for sharing this dog-related article!
Housam Ayouni
Housam Ayouni

I am a professional in the field of canine behavior and care with many years of experience. Through my dog blog, which has reached over one million dog owners, I offer practical tips and guidance to support dog owners in creating strong, positive relationships with their pets and promoting the well-being and happiness of all dogs. My goal is to help dog owners create a harmonious and fulfilling life with their furry companions.

Articles: 381

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *