The Surprising Reasons WHY Are Dogs Being Stubborn
Has this ever happened to you? You ask your dog to do something, and you get this face...
The face that speaks: Hmm. Whats in it for me?
So you start bribing, showing them what awesome treats you have THEN…
‘I’m GOOD!’ and the dog runs off doing the thing they wanted to do all long, whether that’s not getting in the car, chasing after another dog or being first out the door. Stubborn. Before we dive into the surprising reason to why dogs behave in a stubborn, it's important that we understand the definition of stubborn from a behaviour/psychological place because whilst our dogs are acting stubborn, it may not be what they are psychologically thinking... Definition: ‘having or showing dogged determination not to change one's attitude or position on something’ Going from this definition, I can tell you as a fact that not every dog who acts stubborn is choosing not to change their attitude towards something. For a dog to be truly stubborn, they must 100% know exactly what to do and choose to disobey it, most often this can be because there are other exciting choices available, which is more of training thing rather than a stubborn personality. So why do dog behave stubbornly?
In my experience it really does boil down to two things. 1. ‘What you want me to do?’ Most cases I see stubborn like behaviour is because the dog does not know what we want them to do, they are confused. This happened when me and my boyfriend fostered a dog for week, my boyfriend got him ready for his walk, and went to open the front door to which the dog stuck his nose in the gap as soon as it opened. My boyfriend did not want to be pulled down the steps, so he kept saying ‘wait’ or ‘back’. The dog did not budge. Was this stubborn? I explained to my boyfriend that he did not know the word or in fact what the word meant. No one has taught him that when a human says‘back’ that means walk behind me and wait. He never learnt the skill, behaviour and understanding of what he was asking. He was not stubborn, he just didn’t know what to do. The next day we started teaching him the exact movements, posture, and words so he could do it – and he did great! Another question is... 2) ‘Why do should I do this?’ If you know your dog knows the behaviour and word, for example, they've sat every time you've said sit, but when you outside, don't sit. Then next surprising reason to stubborn-like behaviour is because they not motivated to do thing you want. Motivation is the driving force behind why dogs make choices, respond to training because they want to know what’s in it for them. This comes up A LOT when trying to teach dogs to come back when called or to greet dogs calmly, especially dogs who are in their teen stages (6-18months) - they question everything, because ultimately the world is exciting. In your dogs mind they are like, why should I stop chasing a rabbit or playing with my dog friends for a tiny biscuit? This is like me saying to you, quit your £30K job and I will pay you £1 a day, you probably wouldn't think twice. Understanding what motivates your dog is extremely important in order to create a reward they WILL choose to work for, therefore completing washing away any stubbornness. The Bottom Line: The bottom line is that when are dogs are behaving in a stubborn like-way, there is nearly always something going on behind that. It could be reasons I shared with you today, it can also be lots of other reasons like pain, fear or wanting to avoid things. Start observing your dog when they are being stubborn, ask yourself the questions above and look at what else is going on in the area you are in. Alternatively, working with a professional trainer will help guide you through how to work through each of these steps, saving you the headache of figuring it out. Here’s what I want to leave you with, when your dog is being stubborn, ask yourself these questions? A) Does she/he know what I am asking to do? I.e. The movement, position, can he does this elsewhere
B) What can I do to help them understand what to do instead?
C) If she/he does know what to do, what is he/she focusing or doing that is not what I am asking? This will help identify where their motivation is, as this can change from moment to moment.
Keep a diary of your answers for one week, and you will have a whole new level of understanding of your dog and how to help be less stubborn and more focused on you! much love, Kayleigh xxx Do you want to discover what your dogs inner motivation so you can train them more easily, effectively without hitting the hurdles? Head to contact page and book in a free consultation with Kayleigh to discover your unique training plan.