Dog Personalities

This article, Dog Personalities, investigates the different types of dog temperaments and how to handle them.

As with humans, there are much, quite different, dog personalities. Much of this is governed by breed, but it is a fallacy to believe that all dogs of a certain breed are calm, or hyper-active, or aggressive.

In truth, all dogs are different. Rather than making assumptions about dog personalities based solely on breed, it’s important to identify what your dog’s temperament is. This will allow you to tailor your training methods to be effective.


dog personalities

Dog Personalities: Types

Let’s begin by looking at some basic canine personality types. Bear in mind that your dog may not fit exactly into any of the categories below. There are dozens of variations and those listed here are just a guide.

Compliant Dogs – A compliant dog is eager to please, and generally learns quickly. They work best when training is kept upbeat and positive. Try to be too harsh or firm and you’ll upset them, making training a lot more difficult.

Relaxed Dogs – Relaxed dogs do things on their own (generally slow) pace. They generally take longer to train but get there in the end if you treat them properly.

You’ll need to be firm, but patient, giving lots of praise when they get something right. Avoid harsh commands or you’ll upset them.

High Energy Dogs – These dogs are highly excitable, and easily distracted. They’d much rather play than do any kind of training.

A firm hand is important, but it is important to remain relaxed, or you’ll just get them wound up. Patience is a virtue with these guys, but keep sessions short as they tend to have a short attention span.

Avoid any form of harshness and give praise in a subdued, relaxed voice.

Stubborn Dogs – Stubborn dogs are often thought of as lacking intelligence, but actually the opposite is true. These are often highly intelligent dogs, who know exactly how far they can push the boundaries. They’ll turn their back on you and flatly ignore your commands, and wander off if you let them.

It goes without saying that you’ll need to be incredibly patient and persistent with these dogs. But don’t try to turn it into a battle of wills because you’ll lose.

Shy Dogs – A shy dog requires very careful handling. These dogs tend to be the fearful and harsh treatment or a loud voice will just turn them into a quivering mess.

Keep your tone soft and gentle and give lots of praise and encouragement. Training is often an excellent way to bring these dogs out of their shell and build their confidence.

Aggressive Dogs – Training an aggressive dog is best left to a professional. They’ll respond to any command with aggression, growling, bristling, even attacking if you persist. My advice is, don’t chance it.

Bear in mind that these dog personalities are only a guide and that every dog, regardless of breed, size or gender, is an individual.