lot of people spend more time picking out a new pair of shoes
or making a shopping list than they do selecting a puppy – a
living, breathing, very unique being who will be a special
member of the family for many years to come. Uncle Matty likes
to remind people, “Picking out your dog is one of the
few times you can actually select your own relative!”
you’ve never had a dog before, and even if you have,
you need to do your homework. Read books about breeds and
behaviors, and watch dog videos. Visit breeders and dog owners
your knowledge. Attend multi-breed dog shows. Consider your
lifestyle. Are you an active family or more sedate and passive?
When you have decided on the size and breed or mixed breed
that’s right for you, there is still work to be done.
All dogs are unique. They have different personalities and
attitudes, as many dog owners learn when their second dog
is the same breed as the first, yet the personalities are
different. Puppies within the same litter have very distinctive
and uniquely different personalities.
Need to Temperament-Test Your puppy
you will do this before picking out the new canine member
of the family. But if you already have
it is also important to conduct these easy, yet revealing
tests that can help you understand and better communicate
with your dog. Knowing who your puppy is will tell you
a lot about
who he will become. It also provides important insight
into communication during training. For example, yelling
commands or anything to a shy dog is not going to help the
shyness. A more quiet approach
will generate better results without making him afraid
of both you and
Basic Personality Types
dog’s ability to learn is affected by his personality
and your choice of solutions to problems as well as
the way you use your voice should be
based on temperament or personality. For the following, there
basic personality types. Remember, dogs are unique
and complex, so they may often have reactions that match more
than one personality.
Responsive – this dog wants to be a
people-pleaser. He is eager to learn and is a quick study. Handle him in
a normal manner and be very generous with your praise.
Leash, voice and corrections can be vigorous
but don’t overdo it – no more than necessary.
This is still a puppy.
High Energy – can be challenging because
this dog is easily distracted
and very excitable. You need to muster up extra patience
while being firm and determined when you handle him.
Subdue the praise so you won’t over-excite this little
one and have to start all over again.
Strong-Willed – or should we say "this
dog has a mind of his own" and can be resistant
to teaching? You must exercise patience and be
persistent in the process. Eventually he
will “get it.” In the meantime, be firm and somewhat assertive and
loud with your voice. Most important - lavish on the
praise when this doggy does what you want him to do.
Shy and Insecure – this timid little one
and kind patience. He may be timid or fear-ridden; afraid
of noises and sudden movements. Strange people, strange
places and new situations are troublesome. Use a soft tone of voice
and use a leash but no leash corrections or shake cans. Love, affection and quiet
enthusasm is important.
Calm and Easy Going – lives life
at a slower pace than most dogs and could be called
lethargic or sedate. Commands should be firm but loving and lavish
praise is essential. Patience and tolerance will get
the job done better than harsh tones of voice and harsh
corrections. No shake cans. Leash corrections in a
gentle manner only as a last resort.
Aggressive – this unwanted behavior is
primarily “Dominant” or “Fear”
based. A dominant
aggressive dog is frighteningly dangerous and can be menacing and controlling as they guard
their territory including those who live in the same
house. Don't confuse dominant aggression with
protection! Early training Is essential if behavior modification
is possible. Fear aggressive dogs can be just as frightening
but they are ruled by their own fears. If you know the
dog is aggressive or temperament
testing indicates any aggressiveness, DO NOT TEST. Go
immediately to the GRRRR! section
of this Training Center for vital information.
EACH TEST GRAPHIC BELOW FOR ACCESS TO A PRINTABLE PAGE
These tests are easy to administer and they reveal a lot about
the puppy you are thinking about bringing home – or the
puppy who is already part of the family.
Testing is featured in Uncle Matty’s
best-selling puppy book, I
Just Got a Puppy. What Do I Do? Published by
Simon & Schuster, 10th Anniversary Edition,
Is your puppy a social animal? Friendly? Responsive to
people? The results of this test will help you deal with
your dog when visitors come and when you
and your dog encounter strangers away from home.
||Noise Response Test:
Is your puppy afraid of noises? This is important to know
because it can lead to other problems. A noise-shy dog can
become a chewer or may dart into the street in front of
harm's way when a loud noise occurs.
Has your puppy been hit or punished by a hand or rolled up
newspaper? Hitting can cause biting and viewing your hand
as a threat. You need to know this so you won't frighten
your puppy with movements of the hand.
Knowing whether your dog is dominant or subordinate helps
you communicate. One type is not better than the
other. A dominant dog may be outgoing,
independent and tend to be protective. A subordinate dog may be very affectionate
and attentive but too clinging and timid.
||Physical Sensitivity Test:
This test is designed to determine your puppy’s tolerance
for pain and discomfort and can help avoid a biting dog.
A puppy with low pain tolerance is not recommended for
families with children.