How do you deal with a headstrong puppy? Here’s What to Do Next

Training Tips for Stubborn Dogs That Just Won’t Listen

At your wits end with your stubborn pup? Sick of soggy carpet and being woken up at 2 AM by constant barking? Tired of being dragged around at the park and embarrassed at the pet store? Controlling your dog can seem like an overwhelming job, but if you break it down into tasks, you can succeed.

Here are some very basic dog obedience techniques that should only take a few weeks for your dog to learn:

  • Potty training
  • Sitting (and staying)
  • Walking on a leash
  • Refraining from barking
  • Does your hardheaded dog seem impossible to train? Be patient, and try some of these techniques.

    Consistency is key when potty-training your canine friend. Here is the “jackpot” method I learned in a dog obedience class a while back. It has worked for every dog Ive tried it on. Give it a shot—dont give up for two whole weeks—and you will be so glad you did.

    Step 4: Realize that some things are harder than others for dogs.

    Dogs do what works — for them. Therefore, it’s in our own best interest to have the behaviors we want for our dog work best for them as well. Two skills that seem hardest for dog parents to teach consistently are “leave it” and a solid recall. Both skills are vital and can even be life saving.

    What is involved from the dog’s point of view in these two skills? His nose. It takes him right to that delicious piece of hamburger meat you accidentally dropped on the kitchen floor. And his nose is leading him to run away from you at a dead run while he chases the scent of the wild rabbit that hopped through his yard.

    Instead of fighting that powerful nose, work with it. For example, when teaching “leave it,” ask your dog to leave a boring piece of kibble. The second he removes his nose from it, mark with a “Yes!” and give him a much better-smelling meat reward. A dog can learn to leave things once he understands that doing so will get him a much better reward.

    How do you deal with a headstrong puppy?

    Is your dog being stubborn? Is your dog ignoring you?

    So what’s happening when your dog seemingly ignores you, and what can you do about it?

    We ask and expect a lot of our dogs, sometimes even expecting a new dog in the home to understand all of the house rules and boundaries on the first day!

    Even with our language skills, you or I would need time to settle in to a new environment. Dogs need time to settle in as well. It doesn’t mean they can do unwanted things like knocking trash cans over — it means we need to be patient as we begin showing the dog his new home.


    As a dog trainer, I hear expressions like “My dog is stubborn” or “My dog refuses to listen to me” on a weekly basis. I empathize with dog parents’ frustrations, while also empathizing with another species who can’t talk and who is most often not being defiant or stubborn. Think you’ve got a stubborn dog, or a dog who seems to ignore you or not listen?