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Dog Personalities

By Kelley Post

When we are attempting to understand our pets one of the areas that may be overlooked is their personality. Just like humans, a pet’s personality is influenced by many different aspects of that pet’s life. Some of the determining factors are type of animal, breed, genes, environment, experiences and the people and other animals that are around this pet.

Why does personality matter? If you have a basic understanding of a pet’s personality when you’re choosing a pet, you may be able to make a better-informed decision about which type of pet would best fit into your family’s situation.  If you look at a dog’s personality, it will help you to understand his behaviors and temperaments.

Which of the following personality traits can you pick out in your dog?

Responsiveness: Your dog is attentive, comes when called, and enjoys being around his human, it makes it easier for the dog and person to bond. This would be a positive trait, especially for a first-time dog owner.

Shyness: A shy dog may be an unpredictable dog. This dog may have separation anxiety, chewing issues, excessive barking. They may become more aggressive, only because they’re trying to protect themselves. For that reason, it may be difficult for a shy dog to be around small children. That does not mean you should ignore the shy dog; it just means that you may have to devote more time in getting him to trust you. When you gain that trust, the shyness will likely be replaced with loyalty. You also want to help the shy dog gain more confidence. One method would be to praise the dog when he shows confidence and avoid petting the dog when he is shying away from visitors. You may feel the need to comfort your dog when he’s being shy, by doing this you are promoting the behavior.

Aggressive: If your dog is aggressive, he is attempting to show dominance in some sort of area. This would be good if you’re looking for a guard dog, but would not be the best fit around children or other pets. To determine the reason behind the aggression, you may require a visit to the veterinarian a dog trainer or a behavioral specialist. It is also noted that every dog does have the potential to be aggressive. Aggression can be provoked by teasing or abuse. A medical condition in which the dog is feeling pain can also provide an insight into aggressive behavior.

Playfulness: If you are seeking an active dog for a growing family, you have many different breeds to choose from including the American Foxhound, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Mortar Goalie, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, and Jack Russell. These dogs all love to play, but they need a lot of exercise and a lot of attention. Some breeds that are not so high energy include St. Bernard Mastiff, Shiatzu, Chow and Basset Hound. However, this may not be true in every case.

Independence: If your dog is independent, he may not have difficulty being left alone, but he might be difficult to train. This dog may not show a lot of affection.

Jealousy: Some dogs can develop the trait of being jealous and possessive of their owner/family. This can cause some behavioral issues and problems within the home. This may occur if a new pet is brought into the home if the owner starts dating a new person or even if the owners just get a new interest. 

Confident: This dog is dominant and self-assured but can display some aggressive tendencies. He needs an owner that is assertive and firm with training and day-to-day activities. The confidant dog is a great working dog and can fit into families where the owner maintains a strong leadership role.

Outgoing: this dog is a social butterfly and loves to be around other animals and people. Her temperament adapts easily to different situations, she is friendly and fits well into many different types of households.

Adaptable:  The adaptable dog is easy to handle and usually trains very quickly. He can be submissive and is constantly looking to his owner for direction and leadership. He is good with children being gentle and kind. He can also be shy and somewhat of an introvert.

Insecure: This dog will be extremely submissive and lacks confidence. She clings to her owner and is fearful of anything or anyone new. This dog would do best in an environment that is predictable, and the owners are kind and patient.

No matter what type of personality traits your dog is showing, you, as the owner has the ability to encourage and motivate your dog to improve their behavior so that they are more comfortable within their current living situation.

If you have a pet story that you would like to share in the VoxAir, contact Kelley at

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