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Dog Personalities

Similar to a human being the dog has numerous personality types within their species. This can alter the way in which you administer basic training considerably from dog to dog.

If you have an especially sensitive breed of dog, such as a Whippet or Golden Retriever, you will need to adopt a particularly calm method of dog training. If you are too assertive with these breeds you will gain absolutely nothing but a dog that has learnt how to be scared of you.

Throughout the canine world there are six main personalities of dog:

1. Strong-Willed
2. High Energy
3. Responsive & Intelligent
4. Shy, Sensitive & Insecure
5. Aggressive & Dominant
6. Calm & Easy-Going

If you were to take a breed group, say the Border collie, and study the individual dogs you will inevitably discover that each separate dog possesses a completely different personality to the next one. You can categorize most of them into particular personality types initially due to stereotyping of the breed as a whole.

So you would say most would be ‘members’ of personality types, two and three and you would probably be correct in your assumption. However there are some individual Border collies that might also be aggressive or very strong-willed along with their other types.

You need to be knowledgeable of the type of personality your dog has and then you can decide which kind of training to implement. An especially shy, sensitive and insecure dog requires lots of patience and understanding; you must not rush these dogs. You need to adopt a success and reward basic dog training programme for this particular personality type and definitely never display disapproval or inflict a punishment regime.

If your dog happens to fall into the fifth personality type, aggressive and dominant, then the training programme will be completely different again. You will have your work cut out for you with this particular personality type, which is not to say that it is impossible, just that you will have to work that extra bit harder than most.

The main issue with a dominant dog is the control, they will attempt to control you and not be controlled by you. They are generally very ’pushy’ with you. Perhaps your dog is always first through a door, first to pick its spot on ‘your’ bed and basically first in the queue for just about everything that occurs.

This is what you need to change first; you need to turn the tables on your dominant canine friend.

Never permit your dog to jump on beds, laps or chairs as this will immediately bring him/her to your level and just reinforces your dog’s social ranking. If your dog attempts to initiate any kind of activity from or with you, even if it is just attention you must ignore him/her. Simply walk away and when you are ready, then call the dog to your side. You are then showing that you are in control, the activity is through your choosing and not through your dog demanding.

So there will always be a different training method for each varying dog personality. If you are at all unsure of your dog’s personality type I would suggest taking him/her along to classes as the trainer will be able to assist you in an assessment of your dog.

If you have an inclination that your dog is an aggressive, dominant type then please seek an individual, one to one session with a dog trainer. It is unfair on the other dogs within the group, along with being unfair on your own dog and the trainer to put a dog with dominant or aggressive tendencies into a normal training class.

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