11 AM | 03 Mar

Understanding a Dog’s Temperament

A dog will always be a man’s number one best friend and will always be the top choice when it comes to owning a pet. They are simply adorable and would love you unconditionally no matter what race you come from, what your religion is, your financial status or your political stance. Whatever or whoever you are, your dog will love you just the same. However, did you know that dogs, just like humans have different personalities too? These personalities are known to be temperament and each bread has a differing one.

Understanding your dog’s personality is very important as this will help both of you understand what to do in certain situation or which incident will make a dog tick and lose its patience. Understanding its personality will also help you be patient with your best friend. To help you understand your dog, below are the temperaments or personalities of a dog.

Understanding a Dog’s Temperament

Dependent or Independent

If you feel that your dog is independent, he may not require too much human interaction, affection, praise and companionship. While a dependent dog will need constant affection and craves for companionship and praise. A good indicator of a dependent dog is when he sticks like a leech to you and follows you everywhere around the house. A dependent dog who loves attention would be a miniature schnauzer.

Independent dogs are good especially if you need them to do certain tasks. Think of the hounds hunting in packs, or the sled dogs or if you are in a farm, you can opt for the herd-guarding breeds. If you give them too much attention and affection, they will not be able to do their job well.

Willing or Unwilling

A dog, just like humans, will willingly do a task if it’s something that interests him. He will eagerly do a task if it has intrinsic value to him. If none, it would require a good dose of persuasion on your end.

Ever wondered why a retriever would most likely oblige playing fetch than that of a terrier? That is because it is already the nature of a retriever to retrieve something. It is their innate desire to find and bring back something like birds. Terriers on the other hand have an innate desire to chase down and kill vermin. That is why the terrier happily chases a ball but will not give it back to you. Rather, it will just shake the ball and somehow kill it.

So, when training your dog, you must understand the intrinsic value it gives them. Just like humans, they tend to ask themselves “what is in it for me?” That is why you should always give your pet a reason why he should perform the trick. Now, once your dog will willingly do the task for you, never forget to reward him with a special treat. This way, he will most likely do it again for you.


A dog is never dominant. Rather, it is pushy and bratty. The dog is confident. If you feed this to your dog and let him have his way always, then you are most likely training your dog to be more pushy and bratty; thus the coined dominant dog because it owns the owner. To ensure that your dog will not be a dominant one, make him understand (just like that of a child) that not all the things he wants, he gets. You should learn how to discipline your dog and give punishment when it is due and reward as necessary.

Understanding a Dog’s Temperament


Just like humans, a submissive dog is a dog that lacks confidence. You may detect this on his behavior when you are angry at him. They usually display the body language of fear in an attempt to pacify you or calm down an aggressive behavior. To cure your dog’s lack of confidence, try engaging your dog in trainings and dog sports such as fly ball and agility training. Do not forget to praise your dog often too. Help him build his confidence by praising him more and rewarding him for every good deed.

Mentally Insensitive or Sensitive

A mentally sensitive dog is the one whose behavior changes when your mood also changes. When we are upset, anxious, angry, depressed, disappointed or feeling less than happy, a mentally sensitive dog will notice this. Mostly the dog’s reaction would be anxious too; especially if he does not understand your emotion. When your dog becomes anxious and does a bad thing, do not blame the dog for it and do not punish him. Most often than not, he is just anxious as to why you are feeling negative.

An insensitive dog on the other hand will not mind you. Even if you feel depressed or sad, he will most likely be continuing what he loves doing. He may still be playful and run around. He will not really be affected by your mood.

When dealing with a sensitive dog, never take out your frustration on him. Because when you do, he will then see you as frightening and unfair. A view that we do not really want our dog to see us and a relationship that we do not want to foster.

Drive or Energy

A dog’s energy level translates to your dog’s activity level. A high-energy dog will require an activity outlet. He needs to drain his energy somewhere or onto something. If left unattended, your dog may develop an undesirable habit of destructing your things. His energy outlet may result to digging, barking, destructive chewing and pestering behavior.

While it is best to pair an active dog with an active owner, mostly this is not the case. Owners of active dogs need to find a healthy outlet for his dog. You can drain his energy by taking him for a walk or a run around the village. You may also like to enroll him to agility training or go for fly ball sessions.

Owning a dog is just like taking care of a human being; you need to feed them, exercise with them, give dog wash, and etc. So be sure that you understand your dog well and your lifestyle matches that of your pet.