What is the Hardest Command to Teach a Dog? Explained

Teaching a dog commands is an essential part of their training process. It not only enhances their behavior but also strengthens the bond between the dog and their owner. 

While some dogs may grasp commands easily, others may struggle with certain tasks. In this article, we will explore the question, “What is the hardest command to teach a dog?” and provide insights on the challenges and effective strategies to overcome them.

Understanding the Complexity of Dog Training

Dog training is a multi-faceted process that requires patience, consistency, and a deep understanding of canine behavior. 

Each dog is unique, with its own personality, intelligence, and learning capabilities. Consequently, the difficulty of teaching commands can vary greatly from one dog to another. 

However, certain commands tend to pose more challenges due to their complexity and the natural instincts of dogs.

The Hardest Command: “Come”

One of the most challenging commands to teach a dog is the “come” command, also known as the recall command. This command requires a dog to stop whatever they are doing and return to their owner’s side promptly. 

The difficulty lies in the fact that dogs are naturally curious and independent animals. They may find distractions, scents, or other animals more appealing, making it challenging to get their attention and obedience.

Reasons Behind the Difficulty

Several factors contribute to the difficulty of teaching the “come” command:

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Distractions: Dogs are easily distracted by their surroundings, especially in new environments or places with unfamiliar scents and sounds.

Prior Negative Experiences: If a dog associates coming to their owner with negative experiences, such as punishment, they may be hesitant to obey the command.

Prey Drive: Dogs with a strong prey drive, such as hunting breeds, may have a heightened instinct to chase after moving objects, making it challenging to get them to come back when called.

Lack of Motivation: If a dog does not see the benefits of coming to their owner, they may not find the command rewarding enough to follow.

Overcoming Challenges in Teaching the “Come” Command

Although teaching the “come” command may be challenging, it is not impossible. With the right approach and patience, dog owners can succeed in training their furry companions effectively:

Positive Reinforcement: Using positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats, praise, and toys, can encourage a dog to associate coming when called with positive experiences.

Start in a Controlled Environment: Begin training in a quiet and familiar environment to minimize distractions and gradually progress to more challenging locations.

Leash Training: Using a leash during training can give owners more control and prevent dogs from running away.

Consistency: Consistent training sessions and clear, concise commands are essential to reinforce the behavior.

Avoid Punishment: Never punish a dog for not obeying the “come” command, as it may create fear or anxiety around the command.

Other Challenging Commands

While the “come” command tops the list of challenging commands, several others can also be difficult for dogs to master:

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“Stay”: Teaching a dog to stay in one place until given a release command requires significant impulse control, which can be challenging for some dogs.

“Leave It”: The “leave it” command instructs a dog to ignore and avoid certain objects or items, which may be particularly difficult for dogs with a strong prey drive or a habit of scavenging.

“Heel”: Walking calmly beside their owner without pulling on the leash can be challenging for dogs, especially those with a lot of energy.

Tailoring Training to Individual Dogs

Recognizing that each dog is different is vital to successful training. Tailor the training approach to suit the dog’s personality, breed, and unique characteristics. 

Some dogs may be highly motivated by treats, while others respond better to praise and affection. Knowing the individual needs of the dog will lead to more effective training sessions.


Teaching commands to a dog is an integral part of their training and well-being. While some commands may be more challenging than others, with patience, positive reinforcement, and consistency, dog owners can overcome these difficulties. 

The “come” command, in particular, requires dedication and understanding of a dog’s natural instincts. 

Remember, training is a journey, and each step forward, no matter how small, contributes to building a strong, positive relationship with your beloved canine companion.