Aside from you – what’s your dog’s favorite thing in the whole wide world?
Least favorite (aside from a visit to the vet)?
Personality shines through
Dogs have likes and dislikes. We respect that. And we think most dog owners do, too.
Years ago we had a Brussels Griffon named Whimsy. He was, without doubt, the most adorable dog ever to walk the face of the planet. (Aside from yours, of course!) A non-dog-owning friend of ours couldn’t resist petting him on the top of his head. He hated that. We told her so. And her reaction was pretty much: “too bad. He’s a dog and I’ll do what I want.”
Needless to say, Whimsy wasn’t a fan and avoided her whenever possible. And, years later when our friend finally got a dog of her own, she finally understood. There were things that her dog didn’t like. So she found herself saying “But he doesn’t like that.”
People without pets, or unfamiliar with animals don’t really understand that they have personalities, just like people do. It’s more than not liking going to the doctor, or liking car rides, or hating the sound of thunder. They all have distinct personalities and it takes a while to get to know them.
Golly Gear is often an early stop after dogs are adopted from a local shelter. And we get to hear how amazing the new family member is – how sweet, cute, quiet, obedient, etc. We ask how long the new addition has been home, and it’s usually less than a month.
We’ve learned, through the years, to share a word or two of caution. Dogs’ real personalities come out when they know they’re secure. A newly-adopted dog is “testing the water” – not sure what’s going on, not sure he/she is staying, not sure who these people are.
Once the dog figures out that he/she is home, safe, and these people belong to him/her – things may change.
The previously angelic dog may turn into a naughty, scampy, mischief-maker. The dog who never put a paw wrong may start testing the rules, just like any teenagers starting to spread their wings.
Getting to know you
One of our favorite places on the planet is the Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key, Florida. We have many friends there, including the couple dozen dolphins, many of them born at the facility, who live there.
The reason we love it there is the emphasis on “research.” The dolphins are active participants in all kinds of training and research studies – from learning concepts like “less” and “more,” to imitating behaviors, to husbandry data.
DRC has developed “dolphinality” descriptions of all their resident dolphins. Each has a distinct personality, just as we do, just as our dogs do! And, if they don’t feel like playing that day, or that session, they don’t have to. Because, just like us, they not only have personalities, they have moods!
Dogs have moods, too. Today is a stormy, thundery day. Fortunately, none of our dogs is terrified by thunder-boomers, but Booker is a little bit on edge. Distracting him with little training games helps a bit, but he has focus issues at the best of times. That’s his personality.
What’s your dog’s personality?
According to experts, there are five dog personality types:
- Confident – the leader of the pack
- Shy or Timid – needs time and patience to blossom.
- Independent – a best friend who enjoys some alone time, too.
- Happy – loves everyone and everything, sometimes to excess
- Adaptable – up for anything you want to do, from adventures to chilling on the couch.
Acknowledging your dog’s personality type may help you understand how best to live happily together. A shy dog may not love going to the farmer’s market with you, while a happy dog may be too much. And that’s okay. If it’s important to you, you can get there in time.
Like us, most dogs are a mixture of personality types. Mostly this, with a little bit of that and the other thrown in.
What’s your dog’s personality type?