The Samoyed is a loving, playful, and fun dog breed. It integrates well into most families, although it does best as part of an active family that can give the breed plenty of attention and lots of outdoor exercise. While there is no doubting the breed’s intelligence, the Samoyed is known to be very independent, has huge stores of energy that need releasing, and relies on instinct—this can result in a challenge when it comes to training.
There is no secret unlock code for training a Sammie. The best results come from patience, persistence, and consistency. Below, we provide 12 tips to help ensure you have the best chance of success when training this working breed.
About the Samoyed Breed
The Samoyed is an ancient breed, first reared by the Samoyede people of Siberia. The dog was raised to herd cattle, pull sleds, and perform other tasks as required by families. They would have even been used for some hunting duties.
As well as being a working dog, the Samoyed also had to live in very close quarters to the family, often sleeping with their handlers to keep the family warm at night. While the Samoyed’s duties may be a little different today, the breed has retained many of the attributes that made it such an important part of the Samoyede family.
Are Samoyeds Easy to Train?
Having been raised as sled-pulling dogs, Samoyeds are full of energy. They are also very independent, typically looking for jobs and tasks to entertain themselves. This combination means training needs to be well structured and owners need to provide tasks and reinforce positive actions with positive rewards. However, they are intelligent and loving, so they will work for their owners. If you can overcome that independent streak, Sammies can be trained.
The independent streak and high demands of the breed mean that the Samoyed is not usually recommended for first-time owners, however.
The 12 Samoyed Training Tips
Training any dog requires similar patterns. Stop unwanted behavior, reward positive behavior, and be consistent and persistent with your training efforts. Below are some tips to help ensure that your efforts are properly rewarded.
1. Start Young
Dogs are at their most receptive when they are young puppies. They will be more likely to learn and remember the commands you teach, and the training you undertake when your Samoyed is young will set you up for a lifetime of positive behavior.
Ideally, you should start basic training as soon as a puppy leaves its mother, and you take it home. Failing this, start as soon as possible, even with very basic training. Litter training, teaching your puppy not to jump up, and discouraging unwanted behaviors are some of the first training steps you will take.
Socialization means introducing your puppy to other dogs, new people, and new situations. Not only does this mean that your dog gets used to other types of animals and other people, but it also means they will be less likely to become scared or anxious when they face something new.
Like training, socialization should start when your puppy is very young, and it should continue throughout your pup’s life. Puppy classes are a great place to start.
3. Regular Exercise
Samoyeds have a lot of energy, and if you don’t exercise this energy out of your Sammie, it can lead to behavioral issues that are difficult to train out of your dog. As the saying goes, a tired dog is a good dog.
Provide a minimum of 90 minutes of exercise every day. While some of this can include intense indoor play, Samoyeds prefer time outdoors, so expect to go on long walks. And look for outdoor activities that offer more intensive forms of exercise.
Samoyeds are natural sled pullers, so look for traditional or dry sledding classes.
4. Be Consistent
Consistency is key to positive training. If you want to stop your dog from getting up on furniture, you need to consistently tell them no and consistently praise them when they sit or lay calmly next to the furniture. Similarly, you will need to consistently praise positive actions like sitting and being patient.
5. Be Clear
Your commands need to be clear, and you need to stick to the same commands each time. While “sit” is a common command that is used by most dog owners, confusion can arise around some other commands. If you use “down” as a command to have your dog lay down, you can’t use it as a command to get off furniture or to stop jumping up.
Choose your commands, use them consistently, and ensure that you speak them clearly so they are easy to understand.
6. Be Patient
Collies can learn new commands in just a few repetitions, and they will obey known commands virtually every single time, in most cases. However, Collies are considered one of the easiest breeds to train, and few other breeds offer similar levels of trainability.
Whatever age your Samoyed is, be prepared for the fact that training will not be successful overnight. You will need to put in the house to enjoy the results so don’t get frustrated if your Sammie doesn’t pick up a new command in the first session. This is especially true when working with a puppy.
You can teach a dog the “stop” or “no” command, but you can also reinforce this with distraction. If your puppy nips at your feet say “no” and then offer a toy to play with instead, and heap plenty of rewards on the puppy when it plays with the toy. Distraction is a powerful training tool.
8. Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement means praising your dog when it does something you want to encourage. This includes rewarding and praising your puppy when it listens to commands, but you can also reinforce any positive action. If your dog sits when meeting a new person, praise the action even if you didn’t ask for it. Eventually, your dog will associate that action with getting a positive reward.
9. Don’t Punish
You can teach “no” and “stop” commands, and you can use them when your Sammie is doing something you don’t want, but they shouldn’t be used as a punishment. Rather, they should be used as a correction and a means of encouraging positive behavior that can then be rewarded. Don’t scold your dog, and don’t punish them.
10. Daily Training
Training is most effective when it is undertaken regularly and consistently. You should aim to indulge in training sessions every day, even if you can only spare a few minutes. You will likely be training your dog throughout the day, encouraging good behavior and preventing bad behavior, but you should also work on commands and intentional training.
Make training part of your routine, and it will become part of your Samoyed’s routine, too.
11. Keep It Short
Embarking on a long training session is essentially setting your dog up for failure. They will become distracted and bored, eventually looking for other things to do or just walking away from you. And they will be less inclined to take part in training next time.
Keep sessions short, especially when your dog is a young puppy, and try to make the sessions fun and enjoyable so that they keep your dog’s attention as well as yours.
12. Give Them Tasks
Samoyeds were raised as working dogs, and they respond well to being given tasks to do. You may not need your dog to pull a sled, but you can provide tasks in other ways. Give them puzzle toys and games at home and sign up for dry-sledding or flyball. Tasks like these will tax your dog’s brain, keep them active, and help with your ongoing training efforts.
Is the Samoyed a Good Beginner Dog?
The Samoyed is an independent breed that needs a lot of physical exercise and mental stimulation. As such, it is not generally recommended for first-time owners. However, as long as you are prepared to put in a lot of time training and socializing, and are willing to enlist training help, you could enjoy success with this breed even as a novice owner.
Is the Samoyed Hard to Take Care Of?
Samoyeds do have a lot of demands. They need plenty of exercise, socialization, and training, and that thick double coat needs regular care, too. However, the breed is loving and loyal, as well as intelligent, so while it is a difficult breed in some respects, it is a joy in many others.
The Samoyed is a working dog breed that has an independent streak. But that doesn’t mean training is impossible. Start young, be consistent, and use positive reinforcement training techniques to have the greatest chance of training success. Sign up for puppy classes when your dog is young and consider taking part in canine sports and activities like flyball, agility, or sled pulling.
Featured Image Credit: Chendongshan, Shutterstock