Think your dog is stubborn? Here's four reasons why they're not, according to an expert behaviorist

English Bulldog in a forest refusing to move
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Disclaimer: Unless specifically stated, any expert comments quoted in this news piece have been taken directly from the video cited below.

Do you consider your dog to be stubborn? If they refuse to walk well on a leash, ignore you when you try to recall them, or bark at everyone that wanders past, it's a label you may have understandably attached to your canine companion.

And while thinking your pup is stubborn may lead you to spend hours trying to figure out how to deal with a badly behaved dog, it turns out that it's highly unlikely that stubbornness is behind your dog's refusal to do what you ask them to do.

Expert trainer and behaviorist Louise Glazebrook recently shared a post to Instagram in which she set about debunking the myth that dogs are stubborn.

Instead, Glazebrook says that the reason your dog isn't doing what you ask them to do comes down to four reasons.

Read on to find out what they are...

1. You haven't taught them what you want them to do: "They can't do as you're asking as they have no understanding of what you're asking," Glazebrook explains.

2. You aren't using the right motivator: "Imagine that you love chocolate but I bring you broccoli. When we are using rewards, if your dog isn't motivated by it, it will be harder to train, play, learn etc."

3. Today is not the day: "We all have those days," says Glazebrook, "why do we think that dogs who are living creatures with emotions are not going to have off days? They aren't robots!"

4. They're feeling afraid: "They may actually be fearful or anxious and what you are asking of them is just too much." If your dog is refusing to do something that you've requested of them, consider whether what you're asking is something they're unable to deliver in that moment.

"I often hear people describe their dog as 'stubborn' but actually it tends to be because of one of these reasons that their dog doesn't want to do something," says Glazebrook.

So next time you think your dog is being stubborn, refer to Glazebrook's reasons above and see if one of them might be driving your dog's refusal to do what you're asking them to do.

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.