When it comes to training dogs, it’s worth noting that all dogs, regardless of the breed are trainable. It all comes down to the time, energy, and commitment you can make. Some dogs will require daily, repeated training sessions. While others will quickly learn something and not require repetition in order to retain what they’ve learned.
Why is that?
Some people think it has to do with a dog’s intelligence. However, intelligence isn’t the only thing at play. There are several other factors that help to determine how well a dog will respond to training.
According to Dr. Stanley Coren, personality, instinctive drive, and genetics of the breed of a dog. Simply put, there are certain breeds of dogs that are more adapted to working with humans. These dogs tend to have the personality, instinctive drive, and genetics that incline them to work with humans, and thus be more responsive to training than other breeds of dogs.
Also, dog breeds that are more easily distractible are less likely to be easy to train. For example, the Bloodhound breed has a high distractibility rating. These dogs are known for their active sense of smell. Which is great, except that it can supersede every other sense, thereby influencing the level of attention they give during their training sessions.
It should also be noted that the ease of training a dog is also determined, in part, by the training techniques used. When training is geared to reward and build a relationship with a dog, the dog can’t help but to pay more attention and have better outcomes. Just like humans, negative reinforcement gains negative rewards - but by using positive reinforcement the yield is positive rewards.
What Are The 5 Easy to Train Breeds?
So, what are the breeds that have what it takes, the factors, to more easily succeed at training? Here they are in no particular order:
Poodles often surprise people with their ability to be trained. Perhaps it’s their fluffiness that fools folks into thinking this breed of dog is simply for looks. Don’t be deceived by the exterior of Poodles, which we must add are particularly delightful to the eye - they are one of the easiest dogs to train. Why? Simply put, they are intelligent and are driven to please and bond with their human. Poodles are also driven to learn new skills or add ons to what they’ve previously learned. Whether miniature or standard, it doesn’t really matter - Poodles are lovely dogs to train.
Dobermans commonly serve as police and military dogs. One reason is because of their ease to train. These dogs are particularly easy to train because they aim to please. Not only their humans but also their handlers. Some dogs will respond to their owners only - not this breed. Their instinctive drive helped to gain them the reputation as truly loyal to their companions. This is why in part, training is retained for the longest time by this breed. However, Dobermans can also be silly and playful.
German Shepherds are common in the role of security dogs. This is due to their size as well as the ease of training them. This breed has high energy levels and a drive for attention, which can be easily mastered through training. German Shepherds were originally bred to follow directions and complete tasks. Because of their endurance, German Shepherds can also work continuously for long periods. This is another reason why they do well as police and military dogs.
Border Collie dogs can be trained in very short periods of time. Why? Because they are some of the smartest dogs. Because they are very intelligent, training is relatively easy. But if you do not train a Border Collie you may very well end up with a dog that has an obsessive personality disorder. The drive of Border Collies require a lot of stimulation and action and can retain training for long periods of time.
Golden Retrievers are powerful, strong, silly, fun, and easy to train. The combination of these features makes these dogs particularly popular. These dogs are easily trainable because they are always ready to please their humans, and have an easy-go-lucky personality. Originally bred to be easy to train and eager to please, Goldens are calm, and reliable and excel at obedience, tracking, assistance dogs, and search and rescue.
Wait, My Breed Isn’t On The List!
You may be worried if your special breed of dog didn’t make the list. I’m crazy about Shih Tzus, and they never make the easy-to-train list… But, they are so cute, independent and funny! So, like me, don’t worry because good training traits can be developed in even the most difficult to trainable dogs (FYI - Shih Tzus tend to fall into this group).
Just like people, dogs have personalities. You need to get to know your dog to understand what motivates him or her. Whatever it is, do more of that and soon enough you’ll have a well-trained dog. Training often involves you learning more about your dog in order to get the right outcome - it’s not about dominance. Sometimes, a hug or a treat may be all they need to overcome any training challenge.
That often works for me!