How to Train a Difficult Puppy


When you first bring that adorable puppy home you can envisage its funny antics and see yourself smile when it runs around playfully with its tail wagging. You can picture it growing up and becoming a family member and always wanting to please you. Or taking it for long walks and throwing a stick or ball for it to fetch may be something you can see yourself doing in the future.

You may even imagine yourself sitting next to the fire on a cold winter's night and your faithful dog curled at your feet.

Two PuppiesHold that thought for a moment then consider what you probably failed to see. Soiled carpets, ruined furniture, chewed slippers and annoying barking are a few examples that may come to mind. Does that puppy seem just as adorable now? Is the puppy at fault or have these 'terrible things' simply happened because of little or no training? Well, these can often be difficult questions to answer.

If we assume that you have trained the puppy to the best of your ability but it still remains stubbornly disobedient, there is a good chance that you have a difficult puppy.

Like us, dogs have individual personalities and some are more difficult than others to train. Stubborn dogs are common amongst hounds and terriers but can be present in any breed. The one example I can give you here is a Cairn terrier that I once owned a number of years ago. His name was Sandy and he was a great dog that I had the pleasure of owning or rather knowing for many years until he turned grey and passed away.

Sandy was very stubborn. If he didn't want to do something, he wouldn't do it without objecting. I'm sure it became a game between us after a while. His bed was in the hallway underneath the stairs and he usually slept there quite happily. However, whenever we had company or he was just being his stubborn self, he always growled when told to go to bed. It was completely harmless and I guess it was just his way of saying "OK, I'll go but I'm not happy about it."

Difficult puppies or dogs need confident and experienced owners or trainers. Firmness, persistence and consistency are key to the training of a difficult puppy. Commands should be given in a firm tone and also accompanied with an authoritative body language. Look at the puppy directly when you speak whether it is to chastise or praise. Above all, never give in to the puppy. This will only make it more difficult the next time you want it to obey a command.

If everything you try seems to fail, the best option may be to seek professional advice. This is certainly advisable for some of the bigger breeds and is a better option than abandoning the dog. Unless you are concerned for yourself or your family's safety, before considering something like this, you should check all alternative avenues.

Some behavioural issues have been found to be associated with health problems or bad diet and these can often be helped or sometimes resolved after an examination and advice from a good veterinarian. In other cases, a reputable professional dog trainer is the best solution.

Whatever you decide, never be cruel. And always remember that your puppy or dog is a unique individual and is totally reliant on you. For more information on difficult puppies and dogs and those with behaviour problems you may want to look at Secrets to Dog Training with comprehensive information on the subject.



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