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Canine Personality Quiz

"The average dog is a nicer person than the average person."
-Andrew A. Rooney

Although no dog obeys its master without training, for some dogs and for some people, training comes more naturally.  Why is this?  What is it that influences how a dog learns?  Personality can play a lager roll than intelligence, and many trainers believe that you can get a sense of how to best train your dog if you first understand the dog’s unique personality.  Your dog’s personality is a combination of inborn temperament and accumulated life experiences.  While you can’t modify genetic breeding, you can work to overcome any trauma your dog may have experienced.  Once you identify your dog’s personality, try to avoid wishing he/she were different.  Whatever your dog’s personality, you’ll be able to win the right level of respect and obedience by taking into account your dog’s natural behavioral traits.

To get started on the road of better understanding your canine companion, take the following quiz to help you fine-tune your training and achieve the method best suited to your dog and his or her stage of growth.  Answer Yes or No to the following questions.  Score the results on a separate piece of paper.

  1. My dog loves me, but loves food more.  If I move his food dish while he is eating, he growls.  ( ) Yes  (  ) No
  2. My dog will sit or stay, but grumbles and shakes her head while doing so.  ( )  Yes  (  ) No
  3. My dog is smart, but takes a lot of training to perform even simple commands.     (  ) Yes  (  ) No
  4. My dog is afraid of loud noises and strangers. (  )Yes  ( ) No
  5. My dog rolls on his back every time I ask him to sit or come (  ) Yes ( ) No
  6. My dog runs away and keeps her tail between her legs when I try to pet her (  ) Yes (  ) No
  7. My dog won’t stop jumping up on me or other people.  (  ) Yes (  ) No
  8. My dog gets so excited when I come home, he urinates on the floor (  ) Yes (  ) No
  9. My dog is so obsessed with racing in circles or getting petted that he/she ignores my commands. (  )Yes (  ) No
  10. My dog and I understand each other with simple eye contact.  (  ) Yes (  ) No
  11. My dog will do anything to please me.  (  ) Yes (  ) No
  12. I have to use obedience commands to stop my dog from following along with everything my family and I are doing. ( ) Yes  (  ) No  


Quiz Results

Your dog may be one of four main personality types or combination of types.  If your dog shows a combination of the major personality traits, try to recognize the strongest tendency.  The personality types are:


Dominant/Aggressive Characteristics

If you answered yes to one or more of the first three questions, our dog may have a dominant/aggressive personality.  A dominant dog can be overly aggressive or trained to be a wonderful protector.  Don’t hesitate to take your dog to a professional trainer if he/she tries to bite you or anyone else, growls threateningly or lunges at strangers.  A dominant dog is usually very intelligent and, when properly trained to follow your leadership, makes a loyal and confident companion.

Dominant/Aggressive Training Techniques

Your first priority is to establish yourself as the leader of the family pack.  Be on the lookout for any attempt by your dog to exert his/her desires over yours, and put an end to it each time in a firm manner.  When training, your voice will need to be loud without yelling and your demeanor should be firm without causing harm. 

Submissive/Shy/Fearful Characteristics

If you answered yes to any of questions four through six, your dog may be submissive, shy and even fearful personality type.  While your dog needs to obey you and recognize his/her place in the family pack, an overly submissive dog that cowers when you walk into the room is a sad case.  While some dogs are naturally shy, those who are especially fearful may have been abused in the past or improperly socialized as puppies.  However, a submissive dog can be properly trained to be friendly, willing and eager to please.

Submissive/Shy/Fearful Training Techniques

A submissive dog will be ultra-sensitive to a raised voice or direct stare, and you should avoid either extreme, intense commands or profuse praise.  Gentleness combined with firm consistency, repetition, and reassurance will coax the self-confidence out of a submissive dog.  It may take some time for your submissive dog to trust you enough to even allow you to sit near him/her.  Do so quietly, demanding nothing of the dog, until he/she becomes used to you.  When you have earned the dog’s trust, you can proceed slowly with training basics.  If your dog growls or snaps unpredictably, however, it is best to consult a professional trainer.

Hyperactive/Excitable Characteristics

Answering yes to any of questions seven through nine means your dog tends to be hyper-active and excitable.  High-energy and always ready to play, your excitable dog can wear you out with constant tail-wagging, racing around the house, or even uncontrollable urination.

Hyperactive/Excitable Training Techniques

A hyperactive/excitable dog needs plenty of exercise to take the edge off its nervous energy.  Short training sessions mixed with exercise and play will be more effective than long sessions that will leave you exhausted while your dog is still raring to go.  A dog who is this excitable needs a firm command and an attention-getting tone of voice combined with a direct look to submit and calm down.  But a dog who is so excited constantly wets the floor actually needs less attention and eye contact when you first come in.  Try keeping the dog in a place where he/she can’t get right to you when you come home.  Greet the dog in a pleasant but neutral tone – a high-pitched, happy hello can send this type of dog into a frenzy.  Avoid eye contact and generally ignore him/her, calmly following your own routine.  When you’ve been home a few minutes, casually let your dog come to you and give calm praise.  Then take the dog outside right away to avoid an accident.

Respectful/Responsive Characteristics

Finally, if you answered yes to any of the last three questions, you have a dog with overall respectful, responsive tendencies.  This is probably the easiest type of dog to train.  The respectful dog cheerfully accepts his/her place in the family pack and is determined to please you.


Respectful/Responsive Training Techniques

You will find your respectful dog response well to nearly any type of training program as long as your praise and attention are the reward.  This type of dog will thrive on training sessions as another way to prove his/her devotion to you.  Consistent, calm tones, and happy, high-pitched praise will be nearly all you need to achieve the basic obedience commands.