Temperament versus Personality
There are three basic temperaments:
For a guide on training the basic temperament types, see this post: Temperaments and Training
There is a wide variety of personality types:
Slow * Calm * Sedate * Hyperactive * Goofy * Easily Distracted * Sensitive * Responsive * Focused * Independent * Insensitive * Unresponsive * Shy * Timid * Fearful * Combative * Domineering * Strong minded * Outgoing * Cheerful * Bossy * Lazy * Curious * Industrious
Different breeds of dogs are noted for certain qualities:
- Terriers – Combative, strong minded, aggressive
- Afghans – Independent, sensitive, uncooperative
- Border Collies – Intelligent, energetic, focused, responsive
Read about and become familiar with your own dog’s breed or combination of breeds. Mixed breed dogs tend to exhibit the qualities of the breed they most resemble.
How to assess your puppy’s temperament and personality:
- How your puppy interacts with family members in a familiar environment will give you a good idea of the personality type.
- How your puppy reacts to strangers in an unfamiliar environment will give a more accurate account of your puppy’s temperament.
What to look for:
- Dominance/aggression – ears and tail up, body stiff, hackles raised, slow deliberate movements, direct eye contact, barking and moving towards.
- Fear / possible fear induced aggression – ears back but tail up, or ears up and tail down, or ears and tail down, body stiff, hackles raised, mouth stiff, barking and backing up, crouching down, tail tucked under tummy, the tighter the tuck, the higher the level of fear.
- Submission – ears and tail down, wiggling, tail wagging relaxed and down, crouching, rolling over, paw up, licking.
- Friendliness / interest / moderate response – tail straight out, or possibly up but not high and stiff, ears perky, mouth open, body relaxed, tail wagging in a relaxed happy way, playfulness, caution without fearfulness.
Written by: Shirley Gibson
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