Here’s a bit of fun for you!
Just like humans, dogs have their own unique personality formed as a combination of inborn temperament and accumulated life experiences. For some dogs and for some people, training comes more naturally. Knowing your dog’s personality can really help with your training!
Take the following quiz to help you fine-tune your training and achieve the method best suited to your dog and his or her stage of growth. Answer Yes or No to the following questions.
Joe’s Canine Personality Quiz
#1: My dog loves me, but loves food more. If I move his food dish while he is eating, he might growl at me. YES/NO
#2: My dog will sit or stay, but grumbles and shakes her head while doing so. YES/NO
#3: My dog is smart, but takes a lot of training to perform even simple commands YES/NO
#4: My dog is afraid of loud noises or strangers. YES/NO
#5: My dog fools around and rolls on his back every time I ask him to sit or come YES/NO
#6: My dog moves away and keeps her tail between her legs when I try to fuss and pet her YES/NO
#7: My dog won’t stop jumping up on me or other people. YES/NO
#8: My dog gets so excited when I come home, he urinates on the floor. YES/NO
#9: My dog is so obsessed with racing around or getting petted that he/she ignores my commands. YES/NO
#10: My dog and I understand each other with simple eye contact. YES/NO
#11: My dog will do pretty much anything I ask. YES/NO
#12: I have to use obedience commands to stop my dog from following along with everything my family and I are doing. YES/NO
Your dog may be one of four main personality types or combination of types. If your dog shows a combination of the major personality traits, try to recognise the strongest tendency. The personality types are:
#: Dominant/Assertive – if you answered ‘Yes’ to any of questions 1 – 3
#: Submissive/Shy/Fearful – if you answered ‘Yes’ to any of questions 4 – 6
#: Hyperactive/Excitable – if you answered ‘Yes’ to any of questions 7 – 9
#: Respectful/Responsive – if you answered ‘Yes’ to any of questions 10 – 12
Check out the characteristics of the different types and training tips below!
A dominant dog is usually very intelligent and, when properly trained to follow your leadership, makes a loyal and confident companion. Training is an absolute MUST to avoid overly assertive or even aggressive behaviour developing.
These types of dogs can also be trained to be wonderful protectors but don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed. There are important concepts to understand about everyday actions like eating, playing and personal space and a good trainer will help you with leadership exercises – be thinking relationship program rather than training program with this type of dog.
Leaders are fair, kind and consistent teachers. Be on the lookout for any attempt by your dog to exert his/her desires over yours, and put an end to it each time in a kind but firm manner.
A submissive, shy, even fearful personality type will be ultra-sensitive to a raised voice or direct stare, and you should avoid either extreme, intense commands or profuse praise. While some dogs are naturally shy, those who are especially fearful may have been improperly socialised as puppies or, in the case of rescue dogs, abused in the past.
These dogs can be properly trained to be friendly, willing and eager to please. Focus on earning the dog’s trust first and be very undemanding. Gentleness combined with firm consistency, repetition, and reassurance will coax the self-confidence out of a submissive dog.
Agility training (working as a team with the handler to negotiate a series of obstacle challenges like jumps and tunnels and Nosework (a rapidly growing fun dog sport which hones the dog’s natural ability and drive to find the source of an odour) are fantastic confidence builders. These sports engage the dog’s natural chase and hunt drives. These drives access the parts of the dogs brain that help to both stimulate and focus the dog. It’s a way of decreasing stress and at the same time tiring the mind and body (great for high energy pups!)
High-energy and always ready to play, your excitable dog can wear you out in no time!
They need a firm command and an attention-getting tone of voice combined with a direct look to submit and calm down. However, a dog who is so excited it constantly wets the floor actually needs less attention and eye contact when you first come in. Try keeping the dog in a place where he/she can’t get right to you when you come home. Greet the dog in a pleasant but neutral tone, avoid eye contact and generally ignore him/her, calmly following your own routine.
These dogs need plenty of exercise to take the edge off. Play with and exercise your dog before commencing short training sessions. The vast majority of dogs that are over excitable are dogs that need to learn how to slow down long enough to use their brains. If a dog can then use its head their energy can be channelled more appropriately.
Is the excitement down to attention seeking? In this case – patience & ignoring are your key elements to follow. Wait for the desired behaviour with minimum interaction with your dog to achieve your aim.
If your dog constantly leaps up to try and seek eye contact, this is a way of saying “Me! Me! Me! Me!”. Try blocking your dog’s eye contact with you, place a hand on his collar and then plant your dog into a sit. Don’t look at your dog. If necessary put your dog on the lead to do this so you are in control.
Over excitement can be very trying, as the focus is not on you but everything surrounding the dog which can make it very hard to get your dog to look at you. Reduce your training expectation level to an obtainable goal. Once the goal is reached you can then broaden your expectations and don’t ever be afraid to go back to basics if you have problems.
There is no force in the method but consistency (i.e. repetition ) is what does enable your dog to get an idea of what’s required.
First practice exercises where your dog has to learn to be still (sit-stay, down-stay). The second aim is to then get to the stage where the dog is focused on you.
Heelwork is especially useful, particularly heeling in a square or unpredictable pattern, the aim being to get your dog to focus on you. He/she won’t have any idea the direction you are walking in and eventually the penny will drop he/she has to pay attention to you to get it right. Consistently help the dog and correct the dogs position – he/she must not be more than one pace ahead of you and the nose should be by your leg, with you having a nice slack lead.
Probably the easiest type of dog to train! The respectful dog cheerfully accepts his/her place in the family pack and is determined to please you. You will find your respectful dog will respond well to nearly any type of training program as long as your praise and attention are the reward. This type of dog will thrive on training sessions as another way to prove his/her devotion to you! Consistent, calm tones, and happy praise will be nearly all you need to achieve the basic obedience commands.