Temperaments and Training
Your dog’s basic temperament is genetically encoded into his/her DNA. What follows is simple explanation of what type of training works best with each of the basic temperaments. For an explanation of temperament vs personality, and what to look for, see: Temperament vs Personality
SUBMISSIVE / fearful / combative
Can be a “fear biter,” must be handled carefully and calmly. Corrections must be firm but nonthreatening and impersonal. Lavish praise and gentle handling are very important. Can be very difficult to train.
SUBMISSIVE / sensitive / timid
Requires special handling, needs patience and understanding, but should not be coddled or spoiled. Too much coddling may turn this dog into a neurotic mess. Be firm, but use mild corrections. Lavish praise and a happy positive attitude goes a long way.
RESPONSIVE / sensitive / moderately submissive
Willing to please, eager to learn, quick to understand, responds well to mild corrections and generous praise. Care must be taken not to overly intimidate this type of dog. Can be quite bossy and naughty if spoiled.
RESPONSIVE / moderately aggressive
Willing to please, eager to learn, quick to understand, responds well to confident handling, firm corrections and generous praise. Easily spoiled. Can become a bratty “problem child” if not given rules and taught respect.
DOMINANT / strong minded / determined
Stubborn, does not like to submit to authority. Is sometimes willing to please, but not necessarily on your terms. Requires patient, persistent and firm handling, will take every opportunity to resist. Corrections should be vigorous and full of confidence. You must be assertive and demanding if you want this dog to respect and obey you. Generous praise is important, but it must be earned.
DOMINANT / aggressive
Resists learning, not eager to please. Requires special handling. You must be firm and strong minded with this dog. Avoid direct confrontations as a dog with this temperament will not be able to resist fighting back. Can be dangerous and difficult to train when fully matures.
Variations of the Basic Types
CALM / slow/ easy going
Willing to please, but not eager. Willing to learn, but not quick to respond. Praise, patience, and tolerance are needed. Go overboard with praise. Do not use harsh corrections with this dog.
EXCITABLE / high energy
This high energy type dog is easily distracted and excited about pretty much anything and everything. Requires firm but calm and patient handling, vigorous corrections, and quiet praise. Is often eager to learn and quick to understand, but may not be so willing to please.
INDEPENDENT / aloof
Self reliant and often mistrusting. Not a “people” dog. A good rapport is essential, corrections must be firm, but never harsh. Praise is very important. These dogs respond well to long walks, and a good run is an effective reward or form of praise. The more time you spend with this dog, the easier it will be to build the necessary rapport.
Written by: Shirley Janner
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