Dealing with Stubbornness: Strategies for Training a Headstrong Dog

by | Feb 9, 2024 | Board and Train, General Information, Training

Have you ever found yourself in a battle of wills with your four-legged friend, where it seems like they’re the ones calling the shots?

Welcome to the world of dealing with a stubborn dog. It’s an adventure filled with challenges, but fear not; it’s one where patience and understanding emerge victorious.

This article is your trusty guide in navigating the waters of training and coexisting with the most headstrong canine companions.

We’ll dive deep into the art of managing stubborn breeds, unraveling the mystery behind their strong-willed nature.

Plus, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most popular stubborn dog breeds, giving you insights and tips on bringing out the best in these determined pooches.


7 Signs of a Stubborn Dog

Signs of a Stubborn Dog

In the canine world, a stubborn dog can be quite the character, presenting a unique blend of challenges and charm. For dog owners, recognizing the signs of a stubborn dog is vital to understanding and training their furry companion. Let’s explore the telltale signs that you might have a headstrong hound on your hands:

  • Selective Hearing: One moment, your dog is all ears, responding to your every command. The next, it’s as if they’ve developed a sudden case of selective hearing, especially when you’re asking them to do something they’re not keen on.
  • The Immovable Object: During walks, a stubborn dog might suddenly transform into a statue, refusing to budge. Whether it’s because they want to sniff around a bit more or don’t want to go home yet, these dogs make it clear that they move on their terms.
  • Training Troubles: Training a stubborn dog can feel like solving a puzzle without all the pieces. They might master a command one day and then act as if they’ve never heard it the next. Consistency? Not their strongest suit.
  • Bossy Boots: Stubborn dogs often try to take charge of situations. They may lead on walks or nudge their way to the front door first. It’s their way of saying, “I’m the captain now.”
  • The Great Debate: Trying to get a stubborn dog to do something they don’t want to do can become a bit of a negotiation. It might take a lot of coaxing, treats, or a change in tone to persuade them to comply.
  • Patience Testing: These dogs have a knack for testing their owners’ patience. They often do things at their own pace, which can be slower than a snail on a stroll.
  • Houdini Acts: Stubborn dogs might be escape artists, finding ways to slip out of harnesses or sneak out of yards. It’s as if they’re saying, “You can’t contain this spirit!”


22 of the Most Stubborn Dog Breeds

We often hear about dogs that are easy to train, but what about the dog breeds that give their owners a hard time? 

Most Stubborn Dog Breeds

Afghan Hound

Afghan Hounds are like the supermodels of the dog world, elegant but known for their independent nature. This makes them one of the most stubborn dog breeds, often choosing to do things their way.


Akitas are strong-willed and fiercely loyal, sometimes translating into a stubborn streak. They are intelligent but may only sometimes show eagerness to please, making them challenging to train.

American Foxhound

While friendly and sociable, this breed has a mind of its own. American Foxhounds are often more interested in following a scent than following instructions.

Basset Hound

With their floppy ears and sad eyes, Basset Hounds are hard to resist. However, they can be pretty stubborn, especially regarding training and walking.


Beagles are adorable and friendly but are also one of the most stubborn dog breeds. They’re often led by their noses, making them easily distracted and hard to train.

Boston Terrier

Boston Terriers may be small, but they have a big personality. They can be stubborn at times, especially if they think they’ve found a more exciting way to do things.


Bulldogs are well-loved for their unique looks and laid-back personality. However, they can be stubborn, often preferring a good nap over a training session.

Bull Mastiff

The Bull Mastiff is a loyal and protective breed, but it comes with a stubborn streak. They can be hardheaded when it comes to obedience training.

Bull Terrier

Known for their egg-shaped head, Bull Terriers are energetic and playful. However, their fun-loving nature can sometimes turn into stubborn behavior, especially when set on something.


Don’t let their size fool you. Chihuahuas may be one of the smallest dog breeds, but they have a big attitude and can be surprisingly stubborn.

Most Stubborn Dog Breeds

Chinese Shar-Pei

With their wrinkled skin and severe expression, Chinese Shar-Peis are an independent breed. They tend to be aloof and stubborn, especially with strangers.

Chow Chow

Chow Chows are not just fluffy but also known for their aloof and independent nature. This can often be perceived as stubbornness, especially regarding training.


With their long bodies and short legs, Dachshunds are brave and curious. However, they are also one of the most stubborn dog breeds, often having a mind of their own.


Famous for their spotted coat, Dalmatians are energetic and playful. However, they can be quite headstrong and stubborn, especially if not adequately trained.

English Bulldog

Similar to their Bulldog cousins, English Bulldogs are known for their stubbornness. They are charming but often prefer lounging around to learning new tricks.

Fox Terrier

Fox Terriers are lively and adventurous, but they can also be quite stubborn. They are intelligent dogs, but can be a challenge to train due to their independent nature.

Miniature Pinscher

Miniature Pinschers are small but mighty. They are fearless and energetic, with a stubborn streak that can make them a handful to train.


The Pekingese is a regal breed but can be very stubborn. They are affectionate with their families but might not always listen to commands.

Scottish Terrier

Scottish Terriers are tiny but have a big personality. They are known for being independent and stubborn, which can be challenging during training.

Shiba Inu

Shiba Inus are among the most popular dog breeds due to their fox-like appearance. However, they are also known for their stubborn and independent nature.

Siberian Husky

Siberian Huskies are known for their striking appearance and endurance. They are also one of the most stubborn dog breeds, often preferring to do things their way.


Weimaraners are intelligent and energetic, but they can also be quite headstrong. Their stubbornness can make training a challenge, requiring patience and consistency.

Each of these breeds, while potentially stubborn, brings a unique set of characteristics that make them beloved companions. Understanding and embracing their individuality is key to a harmonious relationship with these stubborn dog breeds.

How to Deal with a Stubborn Dog

Dealing with stubborn dog breeds can often feel like being a conductor of a very unruly orchestra. It requires patience, strategy, and a good sense of humor. As an experienced dog owner, you might already know that each dog has its unique personality. Some are fast learners, eager to please, while others march to the beat of their drum, often with short attention spans that make training feel like a game of chess.

The key to managing a stubborn dog lies in firm training. But remember, ‘firm’ doesn’t mean harsh; it’s more about being consistent and transparent with your expectations. Think of it like setting the rules for a game – everyone needs to understand and follow them to have a good time.

When training a stubborn dog or puppy, keep sessions short and sweet. These dogs can get bored faster than a kid in a museum, so it’s essential to make training engaging. Use plenty of positive reinforcements, like treats and praise, to motivate them. It’s like giving a gold star to a student who’s done well; it encourages them to keep up the excellent work.

When training a stubborn dog, keep sessions short and sweet. Keeping your training sessions engaging and entertaining prevents your dog from feeling bored or uninterested. Use plenty of positive reinforcements, like treats and praise, to motivate them. This encourages them to maintain good behavior while having a good time.

Another helpful tip is to master the art of the leash. A leash is more than just a rope; it’s a communication tool. It helps you guide and control your dog in various environments, from busy streets to tranquil parks. Ensure the leash training is done where your dog feels comfortable, gradually introducing them to different surroundings.

Remember, your environment plays a crucial role in how your dog behaves. A chaotic environment can make stubborn dogs headstrong, while a calm, structured environment can help them learn better. It’s about creating an atmosphere where learning is encouraged.

Finally, involve your family in the training process. Everyone must be on the same page regarding commands and rules. This consistency helps your dog understand that the rules are the same, no matter who’s in charge.

K9 Basics: New Jersey’s Top Solution for Training Headstrong Hounds!

Call us at (866) 592-2742 or, if you’re from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, or New York, visit us at 131 Kenilworth Road, Marlton, New Jersey 08053, to learn more about our obedience training classes.

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