Dogs are loyal and sociable creatures that love to shower affection on the people they trust. They’re also remarkably intelligent and determined animals that can be trained for work in industries like healthcare, agriculture, and security. But for the most part, many dogs are quite content to be ordinary pets and live out the role of “man’s best friend.”
All the same, raising a new dog can be quite a challenge, even for longtime dog owners. One thing every dog owner should remember when welcoming a new fur baby into their household is the role that the dog’s temperament will play into their everyday life. Below is a briefer on what exactly dog temperament is, what the three common canine temperaments are, and how to raise dogs of specific temperaments so that they have happy relationships with their owners.
What Is Dog Temperament?
Dog temperament is defined as a dog’s general attitude towards people, animals, objects, and situations. It can also be used to describe a dog’s personality, therefore helping an owner understand their mannerisms. There are three types of canine temperament: neutral, assertive, and submissive. Depending on the type of temperament the dog has, raising them successfully will require a certain level of dog ownership experience.
The Neutral Temperament
Dogs that have a neutral temperament are often described as easy-going, happy-go-lucky pups. They’re social butterflies that get along well with other dogs and enjoy playing with children and adults. A dog with a neutral temperament is also typically a self-confident dog that can easily entertain themselves, so they won’t mind being left alone in the house for a few hours. They are also more likely to use non-destructive ways to cope with stress.
As such, dogs with neutral temperaments make excellent pets for first-time dog owners, households with children, and people who are looking for dogs with well-balanced characters that can meld well with those of other pets. Given that neutral dogs typically have a mellow nature, they’re fairly easy to train as long as the owner has proper guidance and access to basic equipment like customizable dog collars.
However, many dogs of this temperament are also quite eager to have their owners’ attention on them, so they can be demanding as well. Their enthusiasm towards their owners may be seen as rowdy behavior. That’s what makes it important to teach pups with neutral temperaments to observe boundaries and to avoid inappropriate canine behaviors like getting on the furniture, begging for food at the table, or bolting out the door.
The Assertive Temperament
Assertive dogs are often seen as the frontrunners of their pack. They’re known to be confident, fearless, and headstrong. They’re the types of dogs that will assert their dominance in any given space, and as such, they aren’t afraid to challenge any other dogs they encounter.
Of the three dog temperaments, assertive dogs have the highest prey drive. This means that their levels of excitement and motivation to perform a task are intense, which often makes them surprisingly easy to train. Given their common character trait of being eager to please, assertive dogs are often the perfect candidates for utility and service jobs as well as competitions.
Because of their commanding personality, dogs with assertive temperaments also tend to be aggressive. They love to play rough with other dogs and are more likely to destroy their toys and damage their owner’s property when stressed. They also won’t hesitate to test their owner’s patience to assert their dominance.
That being said, dog owners who have pups with more assertive temperaments have to put in the extra time and effort to train them properly. Owners should also be able to establish their authority so that their dogs know who the true leader of the pack is. With enough determination and proper use of positive reinforcement techniques, even you can successfully raise an assertive dog with love and care.
The Submissive Temperament
Finally, there are dogs who possess what’s called a submissive temperament. Dogs with this temperament are typically timid, overly cautious, sensitive, and nervous around other people and dogs. They’re also the types of dogs who would rather run away than confront uncomfortable situations head-on.
Due to their timidness, submissive dogs can easily become fearful. They may not be very interested in socializing with others or participating in typical dog activities like going out for a walk or visiting the park. They can also easily become dependent and too attached to their owners. If their temperament isn’t engaged with the right approach, submissive dogs can develop severe attachment issues, submissive urinating issues, and fearful aggression towards other people and animals.
A submissive dog will need a lot of training to overcome their fears, build their confidence, and come out of their shell. If you’re raising a dog with this temperament, remember to be extra calm and patient when training your pup. Aim to create a positive learning environment for them so that they can associate their training with a good experience.
Identifying a dog’s temperament is essential if you have plans to welcome one into your home. Though temperament isn’t the only thing that dictates how your relationship with your dog will go, it can give you a pretty good idea of how they’ll initially approach and behave around you. Take the time to learn about your dog’s temperament and how it manifests in their behaviors so that you’ll know the right steps for their training and overall care.