Every dog has its own unique personality, just like us humans. Your dog might have a mix of a few different personalities, but recognizing the main personality in your dog can go a long way to successful training and communication. Remember that all dogs can learn no matter their age or breed. Look over these 6 common personalities and see if you can pick out what most fits your dog or puppy!
Happy-Go-Lucky-This is the dog or puppy that has never met a stranger and is happy no matter what situation he might be in.
Fearful-If your dog fits into this category, you have seen her exhibit signs of excessive fear around new objects or situations. Lucy might be terrified of the vacuum, flags, toaster, or other common household objects.
Shy-Many times a shy dog is very timid around new people or children. Your shy dog could possibly still be fearful of people that it has seen many times.
Dominant-The dominant dog feels that it owns the house, yard, and all people he lives with. Many times a very dominant dog shows how he feels through aggressive or pushy behavior.
Basket Case– Puppy mill dogs are the classic example of a basket case dog. This is a dog that has never learned how to live happily in the human world. These dogs can exhibit very odd and unusual behavior.
Hyperactive-This personality explains itself. Dogs that fit this personality are at this moment jumping from couch to couch and running crazily around the house – of course all after a hour walk around the neighborhood.
Did you see the personality that fits your dog or puppy? You may notice that your dog is a mix of a couple of different personalities. Note that each personality comes with its own unique learning style and challenges.
Happy-Go-Lucky– Many dogs have a Happy-Go-Lucky personality. Labradors and Golden Retrievers tend to be great examples of this paticular personality. They love everyone and are very excited to experience new situations. If your Jack fits into this group, you will find that he learns very quickly and happily. Jack will be eager to learn all that you can teach him, from basic obedience to dog sports such as Agility or Flyball. This personality sounds perfect right? When you are working with your Happy-Go-Lucky dog, you will likely find a unique challenge. Even though they learn things quickly, there comes a point in training that they figure out commands are expected all of the time – not just as tricks to be performed. When this happens many Happy-Go-Lucky dogs will go through a very stubborn point. Don’t be discouraged! Continue working your Jack through this stage of learning. Once Jack realizes that commands are not optional, he will go back to being a happy and willing worker.
Fearful-This personality can be very challenging to work with. Why? If Lucy has this personality, then you will have many setbacks as well as successes. The key to helping Lucy is to remember to not dwell on a situation that has scared Lucy, but work through it and move on. Many of us unintentionally praise and encourage Lucy’s fearful tendencies. If Lucy is deathly afraid of the ducks at the park, don’t coddle her and tell her it is okay. To Lucy that is praising her fearful behavior. Instead, use your commands to raise her confidence level. Move Lucy to a distance that she is comfortable and use her commands to take her mind off of the scary object. Praise for nice Sits and Downs, and slowly work her back to the scary thing. Even though Lucy might still be timid, she is now being praised for her nice Sit instead of her fearful behavior.
Shy– Many shy dogs show excessive wariness towards new people, they might even be fearful of a person they have met many times. To remedy this, teach Ralph commands to raise his confidence level. Use your commands in the presence of new people. It is very important that Ralph is not allowed to pace or fret over the person. The longer Ralph paces and frets, the harder it is for him to get out of his fearful mindset. Instead, put Ralph’s leash on him when a new person comes over, keep him with you but do not console or coddle him. If he is afraid of the guest, then everyone needs to ignore him until he is more comfortable. If no one is paying attention to him, it will give him a chance to look and smell the new person and therefore grow comfortable with them.
Dominant– Dogs will fall into this category in varying degrees. Many dominant dogs only exhibit this behavior at home or in the presence of their humans. Others show dominant traits no matter the situation or people involved. Your dominant Chaco might try to push the family around by demanding petting, food, water, and other resources. If you think your dog might fall under the dominant category, consult a professional trainer before you begin to work with him. A dominant dog is usually very intelligent and makes a wonderful family companion once he understands his proper place in the family. He will protect his family and is smart enough to reason through problems and situations. Just remember even though Chaco is going to make a great family companion after training, he can be very difficult and even dangerous to handle without proper obedience training.
Basket Case– There are many reasons why a dog might fall into this category. The most common is extreme neglect for an extended period of time. A basket case dog can be very challenging to work with. Many times, you have to teach little Angel how to be a dog before you can start training. For example, basket case dogs exhibit strange and unexpected behaviors. I have witnessed them not wanting to walk more than a couple of feet or not at all. They might be terrified of everyday objects and situations, and many times they resort to shutting down (refusing to acknowledge the outside world). Angel might completely freak out when taken outside or put on a leash. Even though Angel has extreme behavior issues, once you break through and connect with her, you will find a bond like no other! These dogs tend to recognize that you have saved them and little Angel will be your most loyal companion once she learns how to function wholly in the world.
Hyperactive– I am sure that many of you are pointing to this personality and saying a loud, “Yes, that is my dog!” Many small dogs and larger working breeds lean towards being hyperactive. A hyperactive dog seems to never tire, but instead the more they go the more excited and hyper they get. If your Calvin is a hyperactive dog, obedience and advanced training will help you calm your whirlwind of fur and paws. These hyperactive dogs need to exhaust their great supply of mental energy and obedience work is best way to do this. Including challenging obedience exercises on daily walks and interactions can teach your hyperactive dog how to control his endless energy.
As you are looking at your dog and trying to figure out her personality, remember that each dog is unique. Your dog might even show different personalities depending on the situation. No matter your dog’s personality, she can learn how to live and interact with her human pack (your family) in a happy and well-balanced manner. If your dog has a challenging personality, don’t give up. Many times these dogs are the ones that develop the greatest drive to please you and work with you.
Let me know if you have any questions or issues I can help you with!
Katie’s Dog Training offers private, in-home training sessions so that you can experience the loyalty and companionship that a well balanced dog offers. Even though she has graduated numerous training schools, the dogs themselves tend to be her most beneficial teachers. She and her husband share their home with three wonderful dogs, Luka, Jazzy and Honey as well as a crazy cat named D’Angelo.