Can All Dogs Be Trained?


It is true that some dog breeds can be  more challenging than others to train. However, learning about different characteristics and working appropriately with them, is part and parcel of good dog ownership. It is all about understanding what motivates different breeds and learning how to work with these traits successfully teach your dog new things. You may not win prizes for obedience, but most dogs can learn the basics. Read our Holidays4Dogs article to find out more.

A good dog training class is a great when you set out to train your dog, or puppy. However, make sure the instructors show a good knowledge of a variety of breeds. A good trainer should understand a wide range of breed traits and be able to show you how to work with them. If any trainer labels your dog un-trainable just because of his breed, look elsewhere. It is also important that the training methods you use, are positive and force free.

Tiny tantrums. 

Small breeds, too, often get the unfair label of being difficult to train and frequently unmanageable. Many small breed owners, perhaps spend less time on training because, small dogs are easier to control physically – by picking them up, for instance. However, small dogs are quick to learn and usually do really well with a hands off approach, such as clicker training. They often excel in dog sports such as agility, because they are light on their feet and very fast.

Stubborn and selectively deaf.

Hounds often come in for particular criticism on the obedience front and are often regarded as unreliable off-lead and generally stubborn in nature. Hounds can be challenging because they just love to hunt. Once they get their noses onto a scent they can be difficult to distract. However, this should in no way imply they are completely un-trainable. After all, hounds have long worked in hunting disciplines that require them to take instruction and demonstrate obedience.

Larger than life and twice as thick?

Not really! But, the bigger breeds are not without their own unfair labels either. Largely because they are often accused of being un-responsive, aloof, or just too lazy to bother. However, dogs such as St Bernard’s and great danes can be trained – they just might  perhaps operate at a more sedate pace. Don’t forget, many large breeds such as Newfoundland’s partake in activities such as water retrieving, or rescue, in which they positively excel.

I once worked with a police dog handler whose criticism of rottweilers in the forces was rather amusing. While rottweilers are amenable to police dog training, this particular police dog handler labelled them as, “lazy”.

Particularly during warm weather, the officer claimed it wouldn’t be unusual for one certain police dog ‘rottie’ to start running after a suspect and then lay down in a puddle after a hundred yards. He would look back at his handler, as if to say, “I’m not chasing him in any further, you’ll have to do it”. That said, large dogs are more than capable of learning. Leonbergers, for instance, do very well in competitive obedience.


With the right approach, any dog will be amenable to learning new skills. Today’s motivational training methods such as clicker, or marker training, are ideal ways to train your puppy, or adult dog. In addition, you will be able to create a much stronger bond between you and your four-legged pal.

If you have a breed that perhaps has an unfair label and you have managed to train him when other people doubted, get in touch on our Instagram or, Facebook pages. We would love to include your stories in another Holidays4Dogs article.