What makes a dog easy to train?
All dogs are trainable, but some dogs are definitely more trainable than others. Much will depend on the dog's temperament and inherent traits; the easiest dog breeds to train usually display the following characteristics:
- A desire to please.
- A reasonable level of intelligence
- A good attention span.
- Moderate energy levels
A desire to please is really important. It means that your dog will work with you rather than against you. These dogs are also highly responsive to positive re-enforcement, and the right training methods will link action and behaviours to positive emotion. Subsequently, your dog isn’t just obeying orders; they're following your commands because it makes them feel good.
A certain level of intelligence will make training easier. However, very intelligent dogs can be a bit of a handful, especially for inexperienced owners. Very smart dogs get easily bored, which may lead to frustration and “bad” behaviour.
A good attention span and moderate energy level are interlinked. If a dog is too boisterous or easily distracted, then you're going to have a tough time holding their attention. You can still train them, but it's likely to require a lot more patience.
5 Easiest dog breeds to train
1# The Labrador retriever
Look for any information on the easiest dogs to train and it won't be long before you come across the Labrador retriever. These natural working dogs are smart and eager to please. Labradors are energetic but can still remain focused on the task in hand. It's these qualities that make them excellent guide dogs, service dogs, and therapy dogs. The Labrador is also an excellent choice for the first time dog owners.
2# The German Shepherd
Another dog that tops many lists is the German Shepherd. These dogs are used by police and armed services all around the world. Unsurprisingly, this breed is intelligent, loyal, and very willing to please. They’re also exceptionally brave, assisting handlers in some of the world's most hostile environments. To give you an idea of what these dogs are capable of, Germans Shepherds have been trained to accompany special force troops on parachute jumps.
3# Standard Poodle
Don't be fooled by this flamboyant show dog; the Standard Poodle has brains to match its beauty. Also known for their obedience, the Poodles natural work ethic makes training pretty straightforward. Like the other dogs in this list, the Poodle was bred as a working dog. Poodles were used to retrieve game and water birds for hunting parties. In fact, the word poodle translates as “water dog."
4# Border Collie
Often cited as one of the most intelligent breeds, the Border Collie began life up in the Scottish highlands where they herded sheep and other cattle. Today's Collie still gets its paws dirty, while many perform in sheepdog trials all over the world. Watching these dogs in action is an amazing example of the special bond between dogs and humans, something that wouldn't be possible without the Border Collies enthusiasm, intelligence, and obedience. But the Border Collie isn't the right choice for inexperienced owners. For dog owning veterans, this breed would be a joy to train.
5# Doberman Pinscher
More renowned for their imposing appearance, the Doberman's sensitive side is often overlooked. These dogs are born with the natural desire to please their owners, a trait passed down through generations of working Dobermans. They have just the right amount of intelligence and training a Doberman will form a life-long bond between you and your pet. Just make sure you start early. According to experts, training should start as soon as possible. Puppies are most flexible between the ages of eight and 16 weeks so its never too early to start. This is important for all dogs and especially important for larger and more powerful animals like the Doberman.
What's the best way to train a dog?
Again, start early. This will make things much easier for you and your dog.
Training is about obedience, not discipline. Be firm, but never domineering or aggressive. This is likely to be counter-productive and may encourage the wrong kinds of behaviour. Focus on positive re-enforcement and rewards instead. And make the training fun! Like small children, dogs learn much quicker when they're enjoying themselves. Other things to consider include:
- Choose a quiet place away from any distractions
- Break up the training into small daily sessions.
- Be patient. Just like us humans, dogs learn in different ways and at different speeds
- Be consistent and always end a session positively. This way your dog will be looking forward to their next lesson.
Although the dogs in this list are easier to train than most, it doesn't mean that training them will be “easy.” It's something that requires a serious commitment on both sides, and it's your job to create the right environment for your dog. Just remember three things: be consistent, focus on rewards rather than punishment, and always remain patient.