The easiest and hardest dogs to train

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Have you finally made the life-changing decision to bring home a dog and welcome it as a new member of your family? Or are you worried your furry friend might end up messing up your place and being a little harder to control?

Like how humans vary in personality types, different dog breeds vary in characteristics and behaviour. And while some dog owners are up for a challenge, most households prefer having pets that are well-behaved, trainable, and reliable.

So if you’re planning to get a dog, now’s the time to familiarise yourself with the easiest – and hardest – dogs to train.

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What are the easiest dogs to train?

These dogs don’t just win hearts with their inherent charm; They’re also able to process and take in instructions from their human friends very easily.

1. Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are incredibly eager to please. Since it’s in their nature to bring delight to their owners, this makes them one of the most people-oriented and easiest dog breeds to train. Even as pups, retrievers are friendly, intelligent, energetic, and willing to work, although a few treats to motivate them won’t hurt!

smart golden retriever standing up on its hind legs

If you’re looking into getting a Golden pup and you’d want it to become a well-behaved adult dog, you should support its growth as early as seven weeks old. You can do this by exposing the dog to different situations and practising socialisation. Remember, they’ll grow into large canines, so it’s crucial to identify and correct any bad habits as soon as possible.

While it may seem like you can train your own Golden Retriever, you might need a dog groomer’s help to maintain your Golden’s double coat and prevent painful matting.

2. Border Collie

Regarded as one of the most intelligent dog breeds, the Border Collie is happiest when it has a task to accomplish. As a dog owner, you have to match its athletic energy with regular exercise, agility training, and constantly find ways to keep them busy. 

intelligent border collie catching a frisbee

Like other breeds, some of the first things you’d want your Border Collie to learn are potty training and basic cues. However, with such an agile and trainable pet, dog owners continue to push the limits of what their Border Collies can do. If you need more proof of how easy to train this breed is, just remember that a Border Collie holds a Guinness World Record for dog skateboarding!

3. Labrador Retriever

Labs are a popular dog breed. According to the American Kennel Club, the Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed in the United States. Families love to adopt this dog as they are obedient, easy to train, and friendly towards humans and other dogs. For Labs, it matters to make their owners proud.

labrador retriever high fiving a woman

Despite their laid-back demeanour, Labs require constant physical activities to keep them in shape. While a simple game of fetch will do, sometimes life gets a little too hectic for some dog owners to take their dog for a walk. Luckily enough, you can count on dog-loving Taskers to walk your beloved Lab.

4. German Shepherd

german shepherd holding its leash in her mouth

If you’re still wondering what is the easiest dog to train, look no further than the service dog, German Shepherd. This loyal and brave canine isn’t only a companion to coppers; German Shepherds are also quick to adapt to family living. With their innate ability to learn instructions fast, housebreaking a German Shepherd pup is expected to be relatively trouble-free.

Welcoming a German Shepherd into the family is like gaining a guardian for life. Their protectiveness pushes them to go as far as putting themselves at risk when their humans need help.

5. Miniature Schnauzer

Those on the lookout for a smaller pet will find themselves drawn to the Miniature Schnauzer. Miniature Schnauzers were described by the AKC as “small enough to adapt to apartment life but tireless enough to patrol acres of farmland.” This breed is small yet one of the easiest small dogs to train. Even as pups, their obedience is evident as they can be potty-trained while still at the breeder’s place.

miniature schnauzer jumping over hurdle in dog agility competition

What Schnauzers lack in size, they make up for with contagious energy and intellect. That’s why it’s important to keep training interesting with your Miniature Schnauzer for well-rounded development. Plus, they’re friendly, so you can be confident in getting a dog sitter to look after your pet when you’re out of the house.

What are the hardest dogs to train?

On the flip side, there are dogs with a reputation for being difficult to train. These dog breeds tend to be independent, stubborn, or aloof. 

While this is true, that’s not to say you shouldn’t own any of these dog breeds. If you plan to adopt any of the following breeds, do extensive research on their needs and how to meet them. Expect to pour more effort and time into getting your dog to follow your commands. When it gets especially taxing for you to train your dog, you can get a dog trainer to get the job done. 

pug refusing to walk and pulling its leash on opposite direction

  1. Beagle

  2. Chow Chow

  3. Pug

  4. Bulldog

  5. Rottweiler

  6. Siberian Husky

  7. Afghan Hound

  8. Basenji

  9. Bloodhound

  10. Chihuahua

Also read: Your Ultimate Guide to Dog Care – Everything you need to know about caring for a dog, from grooming to training 

Tips on training your dog

Reward good behaviour by giving high-value treats

Sometimes, saying “good job” isn’t enough to encourage your puppy or dog to repeat favourable behaviour. When this is the case, make positive reinforcement more tangible by giving your dog high-value treats such as a piece of chicken breast or liver. This way, they’ll receive proper nutrition while they learn to obey your instructions.

Give your dog its own space

Providing a space as simple as a crate can do wonders for your dog. It’ll make them feel more comfortable and secure around you. Set it up and make it accessible for your pet any time they need to rest. You can check out this crate training guide for some helpful tips. 

Hiring a dog trainer

When dog care and training becomes too overwhelming, it’s okay to admit you need help. Whether you want your pet to learn new skills or unlearn undesirable behaviour, getting a dog trainer will be beneficial both for you and your furry friend.

Do you happen to have an incredibly intelligent dog, and you want it to master new tricks? Or do you have a strong-willed pup you wish would obey your commands than trash your place? It’s time to reach out to a local dog trainer who’d be up for the challenge.

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