After years of studying dogs, I’ve learned that the easiest dogs to train are those that were bred to be trained.
But what breeds are those?
And how do we train a dog that isn’t one of them?
You want your dog to respond well to training regardless of what breed they are.
So whatever kind of dog you have, it sits when you tell it to sit, and stays when it sees a cat on the other side of the road.
Before looking into how to train dogs, let’s answer a couple of common questions about different trainable breeds.
Is it easier to train small dog breeds? Or is bigger better?
In general, trainable breeds are mid-large sized. Often smaller dog breeds like terriers and pugs are said to be some of the hardest dogs to train. However, the answer is that it really depends. Just like every dog breed is different, every dog is too. So just because you have a little pug doesn’t mean they’ll be a little riot. And just because you have a poodle, doesn’t mean they’ll act all classy either.
The best easy-to-train dogs are those that were specially bred as working dogs—breeds able to respond and obey quickly to whatever task they have been set.
The Top 5 Easiest Dog Breeds to Train
Dogs that were bred as working dogs are generally the most trainable dog breeds. They are low-maintenance dogs and most of them are also friendly and well-behaved too, making them some of the best family dogs to have.
Canine psychologist Stanley Coren wrote a book called ‘The Intelligence of Dogs’. In it, he listed dog breeds from the easiest to hardest to train. Taken from a survey of 199 dog obedience judges, all these breeds are listed as being top-performers in that book. All obey 95% of the time and learn new commands in under 5 training sessions.
1. The Border Collie – Bright and Energetic
Voted as the smartest and easy-to-train dog breed, Border Collies were specifically bred for intelligence and obedience. Border Collies were bred to herd sheep on the Scottish border, and are considered to be one of the best herding dogs in the world.
While they may be the easiest dogs to train, they are also very high maintenance. A Border Collie who doesn’t get a good walk every day, no matter the weather, will be a nightmare to live with. When this breed doesn’t get the opportunity to use its brain, then behavior problems begin to emerge.
2. The Golden Retriever – Happy and Active
Golden retrievers are another dog that is bred to work. It’s in the name—they were bred to retrieve ducks shot during hunts. Although some golden retrievers are bad at retrieving things, they are still great for training with new tricks. They are also one of the best family dogs to own.
3. The German Shepherd – Loyal and Gentle
German shepherds: like golden retrievers, their breed name is quite descriptive. They were bred to be herd dogs in Germany, having to listen well, see threats, and react quickly. Being easy to train is why German shepherds are still used as police dogs to this day.
4. The Poodle – Popular and Elegant
Poodles are the 2nd most intelligent dog breed. They are good for telling you what they want, so Poodles are dogs that are easy to potty train and don’t shed too much hair either. Poodles are considered one of the easiest dogs to house train.
5. The Papillon – Affectionate and Playful
The Papillion is one of the easiest small dogs to train: the Papillion is low-maintenance and well-behaved and 8th on the most intelligent list. They’re very clean dogs too, which make them great for house training. Papillions are intelligent lapdogs that enjoy being with their owners. They are affectionate, playful dogs that love to be involved in whatever is going on and they love to cuddle up on your lap and watch TV.
How To Train Any Dog
Even if you don’t own one of these dog breeds, don’t worry.
Training any dog takes time, patience, and the right sources of information. If you’re looking for a quality dog training book, we recommend Daniel Stevens’ book Secrets to Dog Training: Stop your Dog’s Behavior Problems! It contains a full-proof system for how to train any dog—regardless of age and breed. The dog training techniques it recommends:
Start with the more basic commands and slowly progress
The best way to train a dog is to start with specific commands that are easy to teach. In Steven’s book, the progression generally goes like this:
· Sit/stand (beginner)
· Come/Leave (beginner)
· Stay/Down (beginner)
· Paw/Shake (intermediate)
· Fetch/Catch (intermediate)
· Heel/Seek (intermediate)
· Crawl/Jump (advanced)
· Climb ladders (advanced)
· Stand/Beg (advanced)
These take their own processes and techniques to teach, so study them and, with time, progress onto the more difficult ones. The more obedience training sessions you do with your dog, the easier it will become.
Repetition is the mother of learning. So keep doing these dog-training sessions as often as possible. Training for 5 or 10 minutes a day is better than training for 70 minutes once a week. So aim to do training sessions as frequently as possible.
Deal with any dog problems
It’ll be a lot harder to train your dog if there are any behavioral or health problems stopping your dog from progressing. Look out for any dog behavioral problems like aggression, chewing, excessive barking, unwanted digging, or separation anxiety. These can be symptoms of other underlying problems with your dog’s general quality of life, so be sure to fix them. Also, sort any health problems: if anything is affecting your dog’s overall wellbeing, it needs to be dealt with before progressing with training.
The easiest dog breeds to train are those bred to be working dogs. Still, you can train any dog to become house trained and obedient. With the proper method and dog training techniques, you can take any breed and make them easy to train, family-friendly dogs, so that they don’t rip up your sofa ever again.