By Karen A. Soukiasian
If you are taking the time to read this, you’re probably a “dog person.”
There are four categories of dog people. First is the life-long dog person, with years of experience. They almost certainly had a dog when they were a child, and got the needed experience in being responsible for their care and training. Then there is the “I like dogs, but don’t want one,” person.
Followed closely by the “We had a dog when I was a kid… but, I only played with it.” And, lastly, the “I never had a dog, but want one now,” person.
All dogs aren’t created equally, especially in the training department. True, there are exceptions to every rule. But some breeds are known to be easier to train than others.
Generally, training issues are not from a lack of intelligence. Most often, the problems arise from the lack of the training experiences of the owner! What happens with several breeds are their instincts overpower their need to please their human. Often they are stubborn, strong headed and get bored easily. Some even resent being told what to do! They have been bred to rely on their instincts, such as high prey drive, independence and their senses, especially their sense of smell! It’s almost guaranteed, as soon as their nose hits the ground, they don’t hear a thing you are saying!
A lot of dog trainers will agree, breeds that have a reputation to be harder to train than others often include: Basset Hounds, Beagles, Blood Hounds, Chow-Chow, Shiba Inus, Sharpeis, Afghan Hounds, several terrier breeds, and the adorable little lap dog, fur balls, the Pekingese. As beautiful or cute as they may be, these dogs are not for novices, nor are they for people who are not willing to make a genuine commitment of time and energy to train.
For first time dog owners, biddable breeds are the ones to check into. They come in all shapes and sizes. They are inherently less independent. They have been bred to connect with their human companion and to work as a team. If it’s a larger dog you are looking for, there are plenty in the Sport and Herding groups that are bred to happily interact with their human companion. They include any of the Retrievers and Poodles. The dogs in the herding group, such as Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, and Australian Cattle Dogs are easy to train, because they too were bred to interact with their owner. Looking for a small dog that wants to please, and is recognized to be easy to train, do some homework. Check into the Pomeranian, Papillion, or Cairn Terrier.
Bottom line: If you are a new or inexperienced dog owner, don’t start with a hard to train breed. You will be doing an enormous disservice to yourself and the dog. Lack of training is a common cause why dogs are surrendered to rescues and shelters. Do your homework. Find a biddable breed that fits your family and lifestyle. Enroll in a recommended positive reinforcement, punishment free Puppy Kindergarten or obedience class as soon as you can. You’ll be glad you did!
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