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What Is The Hardest Thing To Train a Dog To Do?



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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Training a dog can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, but some tasks are more challenging than others.

While mastering basic commands like sit, stay, and come might come easily to most dogs, there are certain skills that require a higher level of patience, persistence, and expertise from both the dog and the trainer.

In this article, we will explore some of the hardest things to train a dog to do, discuss the factors that contribute to the complexity of these tasks, and share valuable tips for successfully tackling these advanced training challenges.

This article contains:

How Many Tricks Does Your Dog Know?

What Is The Hardest Thing To Train a Dog To Do

Some dogs may only know the basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and lie down.

However, with consistent training, your dog can learn a wide range of tricks such as rolling over, playing dead, shaking hands, spinning, and even fetching a specific item.

Some dog owners even teach their dogs more complex tricks like jumping through hoops or opening doors.

The number of tricks your dog knows is not as important as the quality of their training and the bond you have with them.

By teaching your dog new tricks, you can strengthen your relationship and communication with them. Additionally, learning new skills can keep dogs mentally stimulated and prevent boredom.

So, whether your dog knows one trick or ten, as long as you enjoy spending time with your furry companion and they are happy to learn, that is all that really matters.

What Is The Hardest Thing To Train a Dog To Do?

The hardest thing to train a dog is teaching it to ignore distractions.

Dogs are naturally curious animals, and they have a strong sense of smell that allows them to be easily distracted by things around them.

Additionally, dogs are creatures of habit, and once they get used to doing something in a particular way, it can be hard to change their behavior.

Training a dog to ignore distractions is especially essential for service dogs who need to remain focused on their work, but it is also useful for any dog that needs to learn self-control.

To teach this command, the trainer should start with small stimuli and gradually add more distractions as the dog progresses in their training.

This process requires patience and consistency, but with the right approach, a dog can learn to ignore distractions and focus on their owner’s commands.

Even though it is challenging, the benefits of having a dog that can ignore distractions are enormous, from improved safety to better bonding between the owner and their dog.

Different Types of Dog Training

There are various types of dog training, each designed to teach specific skills or address certain behaviors. Here are some of the most common types of dog training:

Obedience Training

This form of training focuses on teaching dogs basic commands such as sit, stay, come, down, heel, and leave it. Obedience training helps establish clear communication between the owner and the dog, promoting a well-behaved and manageable pet.

Behavioral Training

Behavioral training addresses unwanted behaviors, such as excessive barking, jumping on people, and aggression. This type of training often involves identifying and addressing the underlying causes of the behavior, such as fear, anxiety, or boredom.

Socialization Training

Socialization training involves exposing your dog to a variety of people, animals, environments, and situations. This helps them develop confidence, adaptability, and appropriate social skills, which are essential for their mental well-being and overall quality of life.

Agility Training

Agility training teaches dogs to navigate various obstacles, such as jumps, tunnels, and weave poles. This type of training not only provides physical exercise but also challenges your dog’s brain, enhancing their problem-solving skills and mental agility.

Trick Training

Trick training involves teaching your dog fun and entertaining tricks, such as shaking hands, rolling over, or playing dead. This type of training provides mental stimulation and can also strengthen the bond between you and your dog.

Therapy Dog Training

Therapy dog training prepares dogs to provide comfort, support, and companionship to individuals in various settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and disaster relief areas. The therapy dogs must be well-behaved, calm, and have exceptional social skills.

Service Dog Training

Service dog training is specialized training that prepares dogs to assist individuals with disabilities, such as visual impairments, mobility impairments, or seizure disorders. The service dogs must undergo rigorous training to perform specific tasks that help their handlers navigate daily life.

Scent Detection Training

Scent detection training teaches dogs to use their extraordinary sense of smell to locate specific scents or objects. This type of training is often used for search and rescue missions, detecting explosives or narcotics, and even identifying medical conditions such as cancer or low blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.

15 Most Difficult Tricks To Train Dogs

Here are the 15 most difficult tricks to train dogs:

1. Handstand

Teaching a dog to perform a handstand can be quite challenging, as it requires exceptional balance, strength, and coordination.

2. Skateboarding

Training a dog to skateboard involves teaching them to balance on a moving board and propel themselves forward using their hind legs.

3. Playing the Piano

This trick requires a dog to learn how to press piano keys with its paws to produce musical notes, which can be difficult due to the precision and timing involved.

4. Walking Backward

Training a dog to walk backward can be tricky, as it goes against their natural instincts and requires them to develop new muscle memory and spatial awareness.

5. Opening and Closing Doors

Teaching a dog to open and close doors involves training them to use their nose or paws to manipulate door handles or push doors, which can be a complex and challenging task.

6. Tidy Up Toys

This trick requires a dog to pick up its toys one by one and place them in a designated container, which can be difficult due to the precision and multi-step process involved.

7. Fetching a Beverage from the Fridge

Training a dog to fetch a beverage involves teaching them to open the fridge, locate the specific item, grasp it gently without puncturing it, and then close the fridge door before delivering the item to you.

8. Turning Lights On and Off

Teaching a dog to turn lights on and off requires them to learn how to manipulate light switches with their nose or paws, which can be a challenging and precise task.

9. Weaving Through Legs

Training a dog to weave through your legs while you walk requires them to maintain close proximity and coordination with you, as well as navigate changing leg positions.

10. Saluting

Teaching a dog to salute involves training them to lift one paw and touch it to its head or nose, which can be difficult due to the balance and precision required.

11. Balancing on a Ball

Training a dog to balance on a large exercise ball requires exceptional balance, strength, and coordination, making it a particularly challenging trick.

12. Jumping Through a Hoop

Teaching a dog to jump through a hoop involves training them to leap through a suspended hoop without touching the sides, which requires precise timing and body control.

13. Backflip

Training a dog to perform a backflip is an advanced and potentially dangerous trick that requires significant strength, athleticism, and coordination.

14. Dancing on Hind Legs

Teaching a dog to dance on its hind legs involves training them to maintain balance while performing various movements and steps, which can be quite challenging.

15. Playing Dead

Training a dog to play dead requires them to learn how to fall onto its side and lie motionless, often with dramatic flair, which can be difficult for some dogs to master.

Facts You Need To Know About Dog Training

Dog training is an essential aspect of dog ownership, fostering a well-behaved and happy pet.

Here are some important facts you need to know about dog training:

1. Early Training is Crucial

Starting training early in your dog’s life lays the foundation for good behavior. Puppy socialization and basic obedience training should begin as soon as possible.

2. Consistency is Key

Consistent commands, cues, and rewards help prevent confusion and ensure more effective training. Make sure all family members and caregivers follow the same training guidelines.

3. Positive Reinforcement Works Best

Rewarding your dog for desired behaviors using treats, praise, or toys makes them more likely to repeat those behaviors, leading to more enjoyable and successful training sessions.

4. Patience and Persistence Pay Off

Dogs learn at different paces, so it’s important to be patient and persistent in your training efforts. Avoid showing frustration or impatience, as this can negatively affect the training process.

5. Training Should be Fun

Keeping training sessions short, engaging, and fun helps maintain your dog’s interest and prevents boredom. Incorporate play and positive reinforcement to make training enjoyable for both you and your dog.

6. Understanding Canine Body Language

Being able to read your dog’s body language, such as tail position, ear posture, and facial expressions, can provide valuable insights into their emotions and help you tailor your training approach accordingly.

7. Addressing Behavioral Issues

Identifying and addressing the underlying causes of unwanted behaviors, such as fear, anxiety, or boredom, is crucial for effective behavioral training.

8. Socialization is Essential

Exposing your dog to a variety of people, animals, environments, and situations helps develop confidence, adaptability, and appropriate social skills.

9. Every Dog is Unique

Different breeds and individual dogs have unique temperaments, strengths, and limitations. Tailoring your training approach to suit your dog’s specific needs and abilities will lead to more successful outcomes.

10. Lifelong Learning

Training should be an ongoing process, as dogs continue to learn throughout their lives. Regularly reinforcing commands and introducing new skills or challenges helps keep your dog mentally stimulated and engaged.

What Breeds Truly Are More Stubborn/Problematic?

It’s important to note that breed temperament can vary greatly between individual dogs, and labeling a breed as “stubborn” or “problematic” can be misleading. However, some breeds are known for their independent nature or strong-willed personality, which can make training more challenging. Here are a few examples:

1. Afghan Hound

Afghan Hounds are known for their aloofness and independent nature, which can make them more resistant to training.

2. Dachshund

Dachshunds were bred for hunting, and their stubbornness and strong prey drive can sometimes make training difficult.

3. Siberian Husky

Siberian Huskies are intelligent and independent dogs, which can sometimes lead to a stubborn streak when it comes to training.

4. Basenji

Basenjis are known for their cat-like independence, making them less inclined to follow commands without proper motivation.

5. Beagle

Beagles have a strong sense of smell and can be easily distracted by interesting scents, which can make training more challenging.

6. Chow Chow

Chow Chows are known for their independent and reserved nature, which can make them appear stubborn during training sessions.

7. Borzoi

Borzois are intelligent and independent dogs, often described as “cat-like” in their demeanor, which can make training more challenging.

8. Basset Hound

Basset Hounds have a strong sense of smell and can be quite stubborn, making them more resistant to training efforts.

9. Shiba Inu

Shiba Inus are known for their independent and strong-willed nature, which can make them more difficult to train compared to other breeds.


Q: What is the hardest thing to train a dog to do?

A: One of the hardest things to train a dog to do is to reliably bark or not bark on cue.

Q: What are some tricks to teach your dog?

A: Some popular tricks to teach your dog include sitting, staying, rolling over, and shaking paws.

Q: What is the trick to teach a dog to shake paws?

A: To teach your dog to shake paws, start by giving the command “shake.” Then gently lift your dog’s paw and reward them with a treat. Repeat this until your dog lifts their paw without your help.

Q: Is teaching a dog difficult?

A: Teaching a dog can be difficult, especially if you have a difficult dog breed. It takes time and patience to train your dog, and some tricks or commands may take longer for your dog to learn.

Q: Which dog breeds are the hardest to train?

A: Hardest dog breeds to train include Afghan Hounds, Basenjis, Bloodhounds, Bulldogs, and Dalmatians.

Q: How can a dog owner teach their dog complex commands?

A: To teach your dog complex commands, start with basic commands and then gradually increase the difficulty. Use positive reinforcement and repeat the training process for each new command.

Q: What are some other difficult commands to teach a dog?

A: Some difficult commands to teach a dog include walking backward, jumping through a hoop, and doing a bang performance where they act like they have been shot.

Q: How can a dog understand what to do?

A: Dogs understand through positive reinforcement and clear cues from their trainer. Consistency in training and rewarding good behavior is key to helping your dog learn.

Q: What is the best way to get your dog to come when called?

A: The best way to get your dog to come when called is to use positive reinforcement and reward them every time they come to you. Start by calling them from short distances and gradually increase the distance over time.

Q: What is positive reinforcement in dog training?

A: Positive reinforcement in dog training is rewarding good behavior with treats, praise, or affection. This encourages your dog to repeat the behavior and makes the training process more enjoyable for both you and your furry friend.

In Conclusion

The hardest thing to train a dog to do varies depending on factors such as breed, individual temperament, and the level of skill required for the task.

Advanced tricks and behaviors like handstands, skateboarding, or scent detection can be particularly challenging due to the demands they place on a dog’s physical and mental abilities.

However, with patience, persistence, and a positive approach to training, even the most stubborn or independent dogs can learn impressive skills.

Ultimately, it’s essential to understand your dog’s unique needs and abilities and tailor your training approach accordingly, fostering a strong bond and ensuring a well-rounded, happy, and confident canine companion.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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