Last week, I discussed the myriad of tricks a Samoyed can learn, but to you, your pup seems lightyears away from mastering those. They haven’t even gotten the basic downs yet. You’ve put some time into training them, but it hasn’t been the most fruitful endeavour. Is it something you’re doing wrong or are Samoyeds just hard to train?

Samoyeds do have a reputation for stubbornness and a taste for freedom, thus making them somewhat difficult to train. That said, you can train them by yourself (or with the help of a pro). You do have to be willing to put the time and effort into it. Then you can develop your Sammy into the good family dog they’re meant to be.

My Samoyed Middle can do sit, stay, down, shake, and she can even beg and go-off leash with no problems. With time, yours can, too. This is the article to start with, as I’ll discuss why Samoyed training is tough, how to overcome those hurdles, and what to do if your Samoyed isn’t learning after weeks or months of training.

What Makes Samoyeds Hard to Train?

As an obvious Samoyed lover, even I have to admit this breed doesn’t train super easily. The same rich personality that makes a Sammy such a loveable dog can act as a roadblock, preventing you from attaining training success. Here are a few personality traits this breed possesses that you need to stay aware of.

Stubbornness

As far as dogs go, Samoyeds are some of the most stubborn bunch. If they don’t want to do something, then it’s tough to make them. Since training encompasses you getting your dog to do a task or trick through vocal encouragement, your Sammy’s stubborn streak can make training them a frustrating experience.

Boredom

Samoyeds need frequent exercise and stimulation, and they don’t always get that when training. If you’re trying to get your dog to learn to sit, for instance, your Sammy might deem this task too boring. Thus, they wander off, go play with some chew toys, or even beg you to take them on a walk. Again, you don’t get very far with your training.

Sense of Freedom

Speaking of going outside, Samoyeds love their freedom. If they feel like it’s getting taken away from them, then they might start exhibiting bad behaviour during training sessions. Combined with their stubbornness and their likelihood for boredom, you feel like training your dog is all but hopeless.

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Can I Train My Samoyed Myself?

Luckily, that’s not the case at all. You can indeed train your Samoyed by yourself, but don’t feel like you have to. For instance, the Samoyed Club of America recommends you sign your Sammy up for a class where they can learn to socialize. Think of this as a kindergarten for puppies. An obedience course or two may also help.

You know the old saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” right? It’s not true, but it was derived from somewhere. As your dog gets older, they become more set in their ways. Thus, they’re more difficult to train. When you factor in a Samoyed’s stubbornness as well, it’s much better to train your dog when they’re puppies.

At this point, your Samoyed is still growing and developing their personality. They’re like a blob of clay. You can mould the clay every which way, in this case, into a good, obedient family dog that loves to make its people happy. Compare that to an older dog. Sticking with the clay analogy, a grown Sammy would be like a partially finished clay sculpture. You’re not starting from scratch anymore, only adding on. This makes it harder to get the finished product you want.

How Much Time Should I Put into Training?

While I’ve mentioned several personality traits of Samoyeds that make them a little difficult to train, it’s not always their fault. For example, how much time do you, the dog owner, put into training your Sammy? Do you do it every day or only a few times a week? Maybe it’s even more seldom.

Dogs are intelligent animals, but it takes time for them to understand and retain tasks and tricks. If you show them something once but never again and then expect them to remember it, don’t be surprised when that doesn’t happen. The same goes if you only train your Samoyed like once or twice a month and they’re not getting it. It’s not entirely on them. You must take responsibility as well.

How often should you train your dog? The more frequent, the better, but not to the point of overloading or stressing out the Samoyed. You might stick to every other day or even every two days, but training frequency matters in helping your canine companion retain what you’re teaching them.

According to Virginia-based training company Off-Leash K9 Training, don’t exceed 45 minutes no matter how often you train your pup. Even your energetic Samoyed will get tired and want to do something else after about an hour. If your Sammy has taken well to training, you can increase the length of the sessions to about 60 minutes, but not over that.

Keep the training playful, too. The less your dog feels like they’re working and the more they’re having fun, the better your training sessions will go.

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What If My Samoyed Just Isn’t Learning?

Okay, so let’s say you’ve spent considerable time with your Samoyed, training them every day or close to it. You followed all the guidelines in this article, and you’ve stuck with it for months. Still, your Samoyed continues to misbehave.

In such a situation, it’s time for you to enroll your Sammy in another obedience class. Those aren’t just for puppies, you know. Adult dogs can benefit from some professional guidance, too. These training courses should close the gaps in your Samoyed’s training knowledge in the span of a few weeks, sometimes longer. You’ll then have the sweet, obedient Sammy you always wanted.

Don’t feel like you’re a bad dog owner if you have to bring your Samoyed in for behavioural or obedience classes. Dogs of almost any breed may be very difficult to train. It’s sometimes also more about their personality than their breed, in that there are many factors that can make some dogs tough to work with. Maybe they’re older. Perhaps they had a rough upbringing before they found you. In those cases, professional training can really make your life and the life of your Samoyed much better. Give it a try!

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Related Questions

Q: What is the best age to train a dog?

A: I mentioned in this article that training your Samoyed when they’re younger works best, but just how young are we talking?

If your Sammy has turned seven or eight weeks old, then you can begin with the very basics. These include stay, down, and sit. Some dog owners wait until their pup is six months old. Dogs enter what’s known as the juvenile stage at this point.

Waiting until the juvenile stage to train means you have a lot to catch your Samoyed upon in a short amount of time. Also, you have to be careful. What dogs learn in the juvenile stage can get carried over into adulthood. If they don’t quite grasp a task or trick then, that might not change in all the years you get with your Sammy. Well, at least not without some serious training.

That white little ball of fluff that is your Samoyed puppy has more brains than you may give him or her credit for. Start training your dog at about seven weeks old and see what they can learn. They may just amaze you.

Q: What should you look for in a dog trainer?

A: If you think your Samoyed needs more than your guidance to learn and behave, then you’ll probably decide to enroll them in a doggy obedience class. How do you find a dog trainer to entrust your beloved Samoyed to? Here are some pointers:

  • A good dog trainer should never exclude members of the family from being a part of the training. Yes, this goes for children as well. While the trainer might ask only the adults to get involved at first, with time, they’ll invite the whole family on board. This is the only way to ensure everyone at home can manage the Samoyed.
  • You want a trainer that has a great grasp on the way dogs understand and learn tasks, how canines communicate, and how and why they behave how they do. This knowledge goes a long way towards making training classwork.
  • Find a trainer that seems friendly and easy to work with from a person-to-person perspective. You will see a lot of your trainer for a while, so it’s best if you two get along well.
  • Never work with a trainer that doesn’t have a background in dog training. Some will even have a Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers to show you, which should really give you peace of mind that you’re making a good choice for your Sammy’s training.

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