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Why Is My Dog So Hard to Train?

Training a dog is hard work and we all make mistakes. Reading online, you might think most people’s dogs are perfect. Trust me, they’re not! Here is a story about MY dog…

Our five dogs wait in a down/stay at obedience class. We’ve done this dozens of times, maybe hundreds.

The class instructor tells us to drop the leashes and walk away.

“Keep going,” he says. “Past the tent. Go all the way to the posts.”

The posts are about 100 yards from our dogs. We train our dogs outdoors without a fence, and this is the first time we’ve tested them at this distance.

It takes us a few minutes to get there. The goal, of course, is for our dogs to remain in place, to stay until we return. They stare at us, attentive.

But then I glance up again and see a blur of gray muscle charging towards me. For a moment, I don’t recognize him. That couldn’t be my dog.

It is.

Not only is Remy running full speed across the field, but instead of running to me he darts to my left. He wants to keep going! I can see he’s proud of himself. He’s got that goofy weim grin. A free spirit.

I snag the leash.

He hits the end hard. My rugby days come in handy as a weim owner, turns out.

My dog and I walk across the field now, a walk of shame, back to the original position where four good dogs still wait. They gaze out at their owners in adoration.

I put Remy in place. I tell him “stay” but this time I only walk about 8 feet. I wait for the other dog owners so we can all return and praise our dogs together. I tell my dog he’s a good boy for staying.

I know we have work to do.

Now … I write this to show you one thing – dogs are not perfect. They’re dogs! And people are not perfect. Remy was not ready for that kind of challenge, clearly, and that’s OK. I learned from it.

Dog training is a lot of work. It takes time, patience and more time. I never want anyone to feel bad because their dog is having trouble with leash manners or coming when called or whatever it might be. We all have our own struggles.

The problems I have with Remy usually come down to the fact that he’s higher energy than almost all dogs. He brings “easily excitable” to a whole new level and on top of that he likes to have the last word. If Remy doesn’t want to do something, he nips or mumbles and grumbles. He’s got “personality.” I love him.

“How old is he?” people ask. They see this wiggly body and big, Dumbo ears.

“He’s 2.”

Them: “Wow! He acts like a puppy!”

But the thing is … Remy IS still a puppy. Weimaraners and plenty of other breeds are slow to mature. They’re puppies until at least 2.

A lot of 6-month-old puppies act more mature than my weim, especially smaller breeds. That’s just the way it is.

So I thought we could all share some stories of our REAL dogs. The good, the bad, the funny. Dogs are dogs! Training and raising them is an adventure, a work in progress.

Here are two more of my stories …

So my dog starts heaving in the living room. Like, this dog is gonna upchuck, big time!

I run forward to guide him off the rug. Only, this triggers a primal possessiveness in my dog. He holds in his puke, dashes to the corner and stands there like a demon. Hackles up. He’s holding his puke in his mouth, gagging, trying to guard it from me.

You can keep your puke, Remy. I’ll pick my battles.

This is my dog.

Or, when I pick him up from “doggy daycare” and he’s so hyper the staff can’t get a Gentle Leader or a prong collar on him.

They bring him out on a slip lead. He’s hopping on his hind legs, little front arms hanging like a T-Rex, eyes bugged out.

“He’s really sweet,” they tell me.


This is my life.

This is my dog.

Now it’s your turn!

Let me know a story about your REAL dog in the comments below. The good, the bad, the funny.

We want people to know that training a dog is hard work and we all make mistakes. Reading blogs and Instagram posts, you might think people’s dogs are perfect. Trust me, they’re not!

In the comments below, tell me about your dog!

Bruce Bolduc

Friday 3rd of August 2018

We were practicing place in a parking lot on yoga mats and Elly our patterdale terrier showed what she thought of the whole exercise by "marking" the mat. Luckily I am more stubborn than she is and we got a replacement mat and continued on a new mat.


Sunday 6th of March 2022

@Bruce Bolduc, My dog Cody is 18 months old and still a puppy. He won't learn the command "down". When I took him to group class the trainer took over and worked with him for 30 minutes. At the end she said "He is stubborn". She could not get him to "go down". He finally got over the Gentle Leader and now walks with a regular leash. When he acts up and starts pulling again he goes back on Gentle leader for a few days. He doesn't mind. I had taught him TO PLACE but quit working on that command and now he Won't PLACE. I'm a lousy trainer.


Friday 3rd of August 2018

My Tibetan Terrier will be 2 in Oct. Seems they mature about as quickly as your Weimeraner. Biggest challenge-he will be walking beautifully on-leash, will pass any number of other dogs with no reaction, and then will suddenly fixate on that perfectly calm dog across the street, his bark saying "I will kill you-just you watch!" Still working on that, and he is improving, but I never thought I'd have that particular issue. Have had him since he was a puppy, he's been socialized more than any other dog I've ever had-you just never know.

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 3rd of August 2018

You just never know why they are reacting sometimes! I wonder if something about the calm, quiet energy of those quiet dogs makes him nervous or something. Or maybe it's the distance and he gets frustrated he can't get closer. Who knows!


Tuesday 31st of July 2018

Training? Yes, I am trained. Dawg (a blue heeler)is not. He has to be ADD, OCD on crack. I had no idea one dog to run so much. When he was about 6 months, he got loose from me and had all my cows (80 of them) herded in a big circle before I could catch him. But I have not been able to teach him to single one cow out and put him up. Oh well, so he is a lap dog. He sits, shakes hands, and when you ask him if he would rather be Hillary or dead, he falls dead. I am in the process of teaching him to take a bow. He also gives kisses on command. Sweet little boy.


Tuesday 31st of July 2018

The similarities between Remy and our gsp/beagle mix Hixson are UNCANNY! The training gone wrong stories we have are numerous! The personality and high energy are why we love our boy so much though! And he loves to work!

Lindsay Stordahl

Tuesday 31st of July 2018

Haha! I'm glad you understand!


Tuesday 31st of July 2018

Danes aren’t as stupid as they let on to be. They are just STUBBORN! Posey knows all the commands sit, wait, place, crate, off and leave it. She knows them, but unless I have a piece of cheese in my hand she refuses to perform the command. She does walk on a loose leash, until we arrive at the dog park. She will “come” to me in the middle of play at the park, but not quite close enough I could touch her!

She just needs to be in the mood then she will do what I ask, at her leisure. I refuse to try a stay out in the real world. She would be gone in a flash.