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Top 9 easiest dogs to train

Jumping on visitors, barking at every falling leaf, lunging at other dogs while out walking—these are some of the most common actions that dog owners complain about. While all dogs, whether working dogs or family pets, need training, some breeds pick up on desired behaviors and skills more easily than others, making training a breeze. If you’re looking for an intelligent canine companion who will make a good student, consider one of these breeds.

Border collie

#1: Border collie

No couch potatoes, border collies are athletes bred to work. But, choose this breed if you’re looking for an uncannily intelligent and trainable dog. You’ll need to make time for training this smart pup, or you’ll find your border collie will create games and activities without your input—many of which you may not appreciate. Activities such as flyball, agility, rally obedience, herding, tracking, dock diving, and treibball will help keep your dog entertained, burn off mental and physical energy, and prevent problem behaviors.


German shepherd dog breed

#2: German shepherd

A popular family pet known for intense loyalty and unwavering devotion, German shepherds are also highly intelligent, and you will need to put all that brainpower to good use and enroll your pup in mentally stimulating courses. German shepherds are excellent working dogs, who can easily learn and retain a large number of commands needed to perform specialized jobs, including police work, search and rescue, and tracking duties.


Labrador retriever dog breed

#3: Labrador retriever

This breed—America’s most popular dog—is impressively intelligent, with an easy-going nature and a desire to please, making them wonderful family pets or working dogs. Labrador retrievers can achieve any goal they set their mind to, whether it’s snagging the bag of chips off the counter, or becoming a certified service dog. Put this pup’s quick wit to good use through training for nose work, hunting, service positions, or as the best family pet.


Golden retriever dog breed

#4: Golden retriever

Another family favorite, golden retrievers are cheerful, dutiful dogs who enjoy the close companionship of their people. With an intense desire to please, these dogs are easily trainable, patient, and take direction well. Rather than being dazzled by their impressive wit, you may be delighted more with your pup’s goofy antics.


An Australian Shepherd puppy dog walking in the grass

#5: Australian shepherd

Like the border collie, Australian shepherds need an active, experienced owner who thinks quickly and will not be outmatched by their dog’s sharp intelligence, and who can devise new activities and challenges for their canine companion. To prevent mischief, stay one step ahead of your Australian shepherd by engaging in daily, mentally stimulating training sessions.


Poodle dog breed

#6: Standard poodle

Standard poodles are intelligent and obedient, which may seem an unnatural combination compared with the herding breeds, but these dogs quickly and easily learn new skills. Poodles excel in agility and obedience, and make wonderful family pets with their innate trainability.


Doberman pinscher dog breed

#7: Doberman pinscher

While many people consider this breed an intimidating guard dog, Doberman pinschers are not only fiercely loyal to their families, but also loving and goofy. These sweet, devoted dogs can be easily trained, and can perform a variety of tasks, including guard work, obedience, and agility. One note about Dobermans—careless past breeding has given this breed a bad rap. Research breeders and rescues thoroughly before committing to the perfect loyal family dog.


Papillon dog breed

#8: Papillon

Although some small breeds can be difficult to train, since they can be stubborn and heavily pampered, papillons are intelligent little dogs with a desire to learn and please. An excellent choice for therapy work, papillons can easily pass the training courses required to enter hospitals and nursing homes and, with their happy nature and adorable perky ears, they always bring cheer.


An Australian Cattle Dog puppy sitting in the grass sticking his tongue out

#9: Australian cattle dog

A hard-working, courageous breed, Australian cattle dogs need owners who work as hard as they do, because they can quickly take over the top-dog position and be incredibly stubborn without an experienced trainer. Start your pup off on the right paw with extensive obedience training, and you’ll soon find a loyal companion with an unmatched wit whose clever antics will delight.

Training classes

If you adopt a dog who is already trained, you may need only to brush up on desired behaviors, although older dogs can benefit from advanced training courses and learning new skills. But, if you adopt a puppy, start your new best friend off on the right paw with training classes designed to build your bond, teach behaviors like good manners, and provide crate training, to lay the foundation for future training at home. Puppies need the socialization of training classes to become confident, balanced, happy dogs. Proper training will go a long way toward a happy, fulfilled pup, no matter their age.