Dog Breeds That Bark To The Beat Of Their Own Drum And Are Difficult To Train

Even though pet owners like to think their dog is the best and most obedient, the truth of the matter is that not all good girls and boys are created equal. Some dog breeds are more difficult to train than others.

From Basset Hounds being a bit slower on the learning scale than other breeds to the stubbornness of Old English Sheepdogs, here are some of the more difficult dog breeds to train.

Lhasa Apso Will Please Their Owner If They Want To

Lhasa Apso
Janette Pellegrini/WireImage
Janette Pellegrini/WireImage

A Lhasa Apso will please their owner when they feel like it and only if it’s on their own terms. But that shouldn’t deter prospective owners because this breed is trainable; it’s just a matter of making sessions fun and interesting to keep their interest.

Highly intelligent, this breed really has a mind of its own, and if their owner ignores them, then it’s game over. They’ll walk all over their human and become the master of the house — aka, they won’t listen.

Basenjis Thrives On Short Training Sessions

Basenjis
Janette Pellegrini/WireImage
Janette Pellegrini/WireImage

When it comes to training Basenjis, the shorter the training session, the better. This breed is too intelligent for its own good, and because of this, they need “mind game” training and reinforcement, something a bit more than the typical sit and stay commands.

This breed is also quick on its feet and isn’t prone to enjoying time on a leash. So, off-leash training is a must if walks are to go smoothly and without pulling.

Mastiffs Are Very Emotional

Mastiffs Are Very Emotional
Matthew Eisman/WireImage
Matthew Eisman/WireImage

They’re big; they’re very emotional, and, if not trained properly, Mastiffs will lie down and start snoring in a very cute and unproductive manner. Owners must realize that training this giant breed is a delicate balance of having a firm hand and yet being very gentle and positive.

This breed will get emotional if their owner yells at them, i.e., their feelings will get hurt, and they’ll be done training for the remainder of the day.

Siberian Huskies Need A Lot Of Attention

Siberian Husky
Danil AikinTASS via Getty Images
Danil AikinTASS via Getty Images

There is no denying Siberian Huskies are a fun breed. They’re loyal and full of energy. But it’s that energy that places them on this list of dog breeds that are a bit difficult to train.

They require a lot of attention and training to ensure they don’t become anxious or try to find their owner when left alone. Not to mention they’re outdoor dogs and need a lot of open space to run. So, if a prospective owner is thinking about a Huskie, leash training is going to be a not-so-nice treat!

Old English Sheepdogs Remember Their Bad Behavior

Old English Sheepdog
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

Old English Sheepdogs remember everything. While that might sound good on a training level, it can actually get this breed in a lot of trouble because everything includes all of their bad behavior. This makes them a bit tricky to train.

A stubborn breed, Old English Sheepdogs, like to test their owners in games of will, especially if training exercises become repetitive and robotic. Creative, puzzle-like training is the way to go with this intelligently stubborn breed.

Australian Shepherds Will Test Their Owners

Australian Shepherd
Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Australian Shepherds are widely considered to be one of the most intelligent dog breeds. And it’s because of their smarts that they are a bit difficult to train. While they want to do nothing more than pleasing their human, they won’t hesitate to begin a game of wills either.

They need constant mental stimulation and do best when training is a pseudo-puzzle and has some sort of end goal or reward.

Greyhounds Need A Personalized Schedule

Greyhound
DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images
DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images

A breed typically trained to run around a track, Greyhounds benefit from short bursts of training sessions. Owners of this breed won’t benefit from long periods of telling their Greyhound to sit, stay, or rollover; they’ll get bored and most likely walk away without a second glance back.

The best way to train a Greyhound is to keep them on a specific and personalized schedule to let them know their owner is still in control.

Vizslas Need A “Job”

Vizsla
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Ironically, Vizslas love training. It’s just that they require it constantly to keep their mind and body stimulated with a “job,” or else they tend to get into a bit of trouble around the house. According to the American Kennel Club, “They are highly intelligent, curious, and sometimes manipulative, so owners need to establish solid communication and teach good behavior.”

One of the better ways to train this tricky breed is to play towards its strengths: soft toys that remind it of hunting and lots of outdoor play.

Whippets Are Stubborn And Need A Lot Of Exercise

Whippet
Monica Schipper/Getty Images
Monica Schipper/Getty Images

If a prospective owner isn’t the most energetic or exercise-prone person, then training a Whippet is out of the question. This breed needs daily doses of outdoor exercise, like running around in open spaces, preferably with other dogs.

It’s the best way to get them to listen when command training begins. When that happens, it’s best to go off a reward-based system, or else they’ll get very stubborn and walk away in the middle of training.

Pugs Have A Mind Of Their Own

Pug
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Agreeable one minute and asleep during a training session the next, pugs will let their owners know when and when it isn’t an appropriate time to work. While this breed wants to please their humans, they have more than a little stubborn streak that makes training a little hard.

Positive reinforcement and a whole lot of treats are the way to a pug’s heart. Any harsh words and this breed will call it quits before their owner realizes their mistake.

Great Pyrenees’ Find Training To Be a Bore

Great Pyrenees
Soeren Stache/picture alliance via Getty Images
Soeren Stache/picture alliance via Getty Images

Used to being independent and out in a field watching over herds, Great Pyrenees don’t see training as something useful. In fact, this breed finds training to be downright boring. Extremely intelligent, Great Pyrenees’ will sit and stay, but they will let their owner know that they think the commands are a waste of time.

To prove their boredom, this breed will move very slowly to perform any command they deem “unimportant.”

Beagles Have A Habit Of Barking

Beagles
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Peter Steffen/picture alliance via Getty Images

Unfortunately, Beagles have a bit of a habit of barking a lot. But breaking them of it isn’t impossible; it just takes a bit of patience on the owner’s part. According to the American Kennel Club, “Beagles do not respond well to harsh techniques, but patience, positive reinforcement, and even a little creativity will win out in the end.”

It might be difficult to be patient when a Beagle is up and barking at nothing in the middle of the night, but good training always pays off in the end.

Shiba Inus Are Virtually Impossible To Leash Train

Shiba Inus Are Virtually Impossible To Leash Train
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Agency-Animal-Picture/Getty Images

First things first, no amount of obedience training will ever make a Shiba Inu okay off-leash. This breed will book it the moment they’re free. Even when it doesn’t come to leash training, this breeds high intellect makes it difficult to train.

The trick to training this breed is creativity and making sure they’re rewarded for a job well done. But the sessions better keep the Shiba Inus interest, or its stubborn nature will have it lying down and bored.

Afghan Hounds Have A Lot Of Bad Instincts

Afghan Hound
Leon Neal/Getty Images
Leon Neal/Getty Images

Afghan Hounds require a lot of work, as they have a lot of bad instincts that need to be broken. One being the instinct to chase small animals. This makes it a bit tricky to go on walks around the neighborhood.

This breed of hound requires constant work, positive reinforcement, and, if owners really want to win over their hound, treats aren’t a horrible idea either. Even so, Afghan Hounds are a lot of work.

Chow Chows Think They’re The Boss

Chow Chow
Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images
Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images

They’re cute, wrinkly, and think they own every room they walk into. Chow Chows are not exactly what one would call easy to train. This breed has a nasty habit of being very standoffish to people and animals they don’t know, so early socialization is key.

An extremely stubborn breed, constant positive reinforcement, praise, regular practice, and patience is the only way to secure a trusting relationship with a Chow, according to the American Kennel Club.

Belgian Malinois Are Too Smart For Their Own Good

Belgian Malinois
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Belgian Malinois’ are extremely smart animals. But that intelligence can get in the way of their training, as they tend to get distracted if sessions become boring and repetitive. They thrive off mind games, but if they see something moving out of the corner of their eye, owners best believe they’re going after it.

The key to a well-behaved Mal is early training sessions that become routine. Owners have to make sure their Mal knows who’s boss and that they’re not going to get away with anything.

English Bulldogs Chew…A Lot

English Bulldogs
Eyepix/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Eyepix/NurPhoto via Getty Images

They might be adorable and great family pets, but the truth of the matter is English Bulldogs are one of the more difficult breeds to train. For most of the breed, chewing is a way of life.

So, getting them into the habit of chewing on nothing but their toys will be the number one hardest thing for owners, especially since they’re not considered the smartest breed. Because of this, training can be a bit time-consuming.

Bullmastiffs Are A Long-Term Training Project

Bullmastiffs
Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty Images
Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty Images

They might be great family dogs, but a Bullmastiff is definitely a long-term project when it comes to training. A very strong-willed breed, owners need to set a schedule and set rules for their Bullmastiff right away if they plan on their dog being well-behaved and trained.

According to the American Kennel Club, many Bullmastiff owners recommend signing pooches up for puppy training classes as soon as possible to get them familiar with various commands and social interaction.

Pekingese Are Very Opinionated

Pekingese
Damon Coulter / Barcroft Media / Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Damon Coulter / Barcroft Media / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Bred to live in palaces, Pekingese are almost as stubborn and independent-thinking as the emperors whose laps they used to sit on. An extremely opinionated breed, Pekingese can be very difficult to train in a timely manner, as they tend to do what they want when they want.

It will take a lot of work to get this breed housebroken and listening to commands. But once an owner accomplishes that, Pekes are considered great house pets.

Japanese Chin Are “Catlike” To Train

Japanese Chin
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Originally bred to entertain, charm, and comfort Japanese royalty, not much has changed in the Japanese Chins’ demeanor throughout the years. They’re very “catlike” when it comes to training, only enjoying positive reinforcement.

They will shut down at the first harsh word from their owner, making training a bit tricky. Even so, keeping everything light, fun, and interesting will go a long way with this breed. Just keep in mind that they do have a stubborn streak and won’t let their owner forget it!

Basset Hound’s Are Very Independent

Basset Hound
Harald Lange/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Harald Lange/ullstein bild via Getty Images

According to the American Kennel Club, “Basset Hounds are very independent, and training the breed can be a challenge.” It’s not that it’s impossible to train this breed; it’s just that it will take some time and patience on the owner’s part, especially since this hound breed looks aloof more often than not.

This is because the breed’s instinct is to work alone. But positive reinforcement and treats go a long way when it comes to training.

Bloodhounds Quickly Become Set In Their Ways

Bloodhound
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It’s not that Bloodhounds are untrainable; it’s just that they need to be trained right away, or they’ll be set in their ways. And if an owner thinks they’ll be able to un-train a Bloodhound, they’re sadly mistaken. This is a case of a dog very unwilling to learn a new trick.

According to the American Kennel Club, their stubbornness won’t be as big of an issue as long as they’re put into obedience classes very early.

Shih Tzus Have A Way Of Getting Their Way

Shih Tzus Have A Way Of Getting Their Way
Sarah Stier/Getty Images
Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Training Shih Tzus isn’t an easy task. They have a way of getting away with bad behavior, charming their owner into forgetting everything naughty that just happened. Call it stubbornness or genius, Shih Tzus aren’t the best when it comes to obedience, specifically house training.

This breed takes time to train, so enrolling a Shih Tzu in an early puppy class that focuses on positive reinforcement is key to a happy dog that listens.

If It’s Not Fun, A Bull Terrier Won’t Bother

Bull Terrier
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

For Bull Terriers, if it’s not fun, they won’t really bother with training. According to the American Kennel Club, “This is an independent free-thinker with a higher commitment to “fun and games” than to a work ethic. Bull Terriers operate on the principle that if it is fun, they will do it. If not, why bother?”

A bit stubborn, this breed can be difficult to train if the owner isn’t a creative, energetic thinker.

Chihuahuas Use Their Cuteness To Their Advantage

Chihuahua
Josh Brasted/Getty Images
Josh Brasted/Getty Images

Chihuahuas are eager to please their owners but at a cost. They’re a very smart breed and use their cuteness to get away with bad behavior. Owners need to have a very firm hand in obedience training, making sure to let their pooch know who is in charge of the house.

Not great with strangers, it might take some time for owners to get their Chihuahuas to feel comfortable and not bark around people they’ve just met. With this breed, patience is key.

Lakeland Terriers Are Smart But Get Bored Fast

Lakeland Terrier
Matthew Eisman/WireImage
Matthew Eisman/WireImage

Lakeland Terriers are too smart for their own good, and they know it. With their “big dog in a small package” swagger, this breed needs to be constantly challenged and will get very bored with repetitive training sessions.

But training is a must for this breed, or else they’ll drive their owners a bit crazy with their constant barking. A firm yet fun and creative way to training is the only way to get through to Lakeland Terriers.

Scottish Terriers Will Test Their Owners

Scottish Terrier
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A “thinker” breed, Scottish Terriers, do best in short, 15-minute training sessions. Any longer and this breed will get very bored with the repetition since their instinct is to figure things out on their own.

They are known to test their owners’ limits yet will be a bit emotional if snapped at for doing something wrong since they’re very attuned to vocal tones. According to the American Kennel Club, “Just be persistent, and reward good behavior.”

Borzois Are Strong-Willed

Borzois
Ingo Wagner/picture alliance via Getty Images
Ingo Wagner/picture alliance via Getty Images

Borzois are very strong-willed, a touch stubborn, and independent, making training a bit hard for owners. And the fact that their instincts scream at them to chase any small animal while out on a walk makes leash training nearly an impossible feat.

According to the American Kennel Club, when it comes to training this breed, “Patience and consistency are key. Overall they are usually gentle, well-mannered companions.” Early training classes are the best for Borzois.

Saint Bernards Need To Learn Their Size Early On

Saint Bernards Need To Learn Their Size Early On
Dukas/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Dukas/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Saint Bernards are family dogs, but it takes some time for them to realize they’re a bit bigger than the average house pet. This breed needs to be put into obedience training right out of the gate, so they learn not to take food off the table, knock children over, and otherwise take advantage of their size.

It might take some time, but Saint Bernards want nothing more than to please their humans.

Rottweilers Need To Learn On A Day-To-Day Basis

Rottweilers
Ralf Graner/picture alliance via Getty Images
Ralf Graner/picture alliance via Getty Images

Rottweilers might be people-pleasers, but they require a lot of time and energy to become well-trained and well-behaved dogs. While some consider the breed to be very trainable, they have a stubborn streak that might make some days trickier than others.

The key to a well-trained Rottie is daily activity and training sessions, starting when they are young puppies. For this breed, it’s a matter of how much the owner puts into the dog.