Based on my experience over the years working with countless numbers of dogs, I’ve noticed that most dogs fit into one of six character types. Identify your dog’s character type and remember it as you work through the training posts later in this blog.
These creatures will do whatever it takes to make you happy, though they can be difficult and manic if their training is ignored. They want to please so much they stick to whatever gets attention. If you like to toss the ball, they’ll bring it back 500 times. If you encourage them to jump, they’ll jump on you, and everyone else, whenever excitement builds. If you encourage them to sit and settle down on command, that’s what they’ll do. With this dog, all you have to do is decide what you want. There is no need to use harsh training techniques.
Laidback and relaxed, they have control of every situation and seem to be less focused on you than their image. Give these fellows a command and they’ll look at you as if to say, “in a minute,” and then they’ll forget. Organize a lesson and they’ll fall asleep. Though they’re quite funny and easy to live with, training is essential. Without it, they may not respond to you off the lead. They may also be unmanageable in social situations. Diligent and patient training techniques are necessary.
I’ve owned a little comedian. A quick-minded perfectionist, Calvin taught me more about dog training than a lot of books I read. The reason? Comedians have revved up Wonder Dogs who’ll get into a lot of trouble if they’re not directed. Dancing on the edge of good behavior, they’re the biggest accolade is laughter and they must be firmly persuaded to cooperate. Laughter, after all, is attention—trust me, it’s hard not to laugh at a dog prancing around with an oversized gourd in his mouth. Given clear, consistent, and stern instruction, comedians take to training well. Their puppyhood will test your patience, but they make wonderful dogs if trained.
These dogs take themselves far too seriously. In a group of dogs, these dogs would have been destined to lead, and your home is no different. Unless you’re experienced, dogs of this nature can be difficult to train. Aggression, physical leaning, and mounting are common. Training must be consistent and firm and should begin in puppyhood. If this is your dog, you must lay down the law now. Professional training may be needed. Do not proceed with training if your dog threatens you.
Docile and mild, these dogs like to observe situations rather than control them. They adore the people they love and must be trained under a soft hand. If you yell at them, or even at one another, they’ll crumble. There is little to say against these dear dogs. It’s easy to skip overtraining for these dogs, but it’s essential for their safety.
These dogs like to view the world from behind your legs. Soothe this behavior and you’ll make it worse. Unlike children, who might feel relieved, soothing actually reinforces the dog’s fear and makes it worse. You must act confident and relaxed in new and startling situations. Step away if the dog ducks behind you and only reinforce her if she calms down. Training is essential to help them feel more secure. These dogs respond best to a gentle hand.