Just like people, every single dog has its own unique personality, preferences, likes and dislikes. Learning to understand how your dog thinks, what they like and do not like and their general demeanour will take you a long way towards best being able to cater for your dog’s own unique viewpoint on life, and how they feel about it.
If you were asked to describe your dog in just one or two words, what words would you choose? Energetic? Intelligent? Sedentary? Independent? Shy? Think of some words that best describe your dog, then read on for some tips on how to best cater for the unique personality traits that your dog displays.
Dealing with a dog that needs a significant amount of physical exercise is not for everyone, and busy, lively dogs need a significant amount of exercise time and attention to keep them happy and well trained.
If you find that your lively dog is acting out, such as by chewing inappropriately or otherwise misbehaving, your first stop should be considering if he is receiving enough exercise and physical activity. As well as of course plenty of walks, you can help to keep an active dog busy with off the lead play, and time in the garden, although these things alone are not sufficient to take the place of plenty of walks.
You can also help your bundle of energy to relax and calm down somewhat by a variety of means; spend time at the end of each walk gradually calming them down and lowering their excitement levels. Spend plenty of time with them at home doing quiet activities that will make them feel loved and wanted, and somewhat divert their attention from a constant need to be on the move.
Highly intelligent dogs need plenty of mental stimulation in order to thrive, and there are a never ending selection of games and activities that you can undertake with particularly smart dogs.
As well as lots of exercise and teaching games such as fetch, why don’t you really see what your dog can do? Try teaching them some higher-level training commands, or complex games such as hide and seek. Problem solving toys, such as those with a treat trapped in a puzzle are always popular with intelligent dogs, and can help to keep their attention focused and away from inappropriate sources of stimulation!
You might even want to consider trying out a canine sport that requires a high degree of intelligence, such as agility or heelwork to music.
Sedentary dogs can be easier to cater for than their more lively relations, and half of the challenge in keeping a dog of this type can be encouraging them to exercise enough! There is a definite appeal to having a dog whose main pleasure in life is lazing about on the sofa and watching TV with you, but it is important to walk your couch potato every day too!
If your dog is reluctant or unwilling to go walking, there are a few factors you may need to address, such as weight management or what you feed to your dog. Similarly, if you push your dog too much when walking, they may be reluctant to go again in future, so keep walks short and fun, replacing one long walk a day with several shorter ones to cater to your dog’s exercise aversion!
While many dogs are outgoing, friendly, personable, and always keen to meet new people, some dogs are distinctly more shy and reserved! A dog that is nervous or shy may well be uncomfortable in new situations, or afraid of new people and dogs. While it can be tempting to avoid situations like these altogether and keep your dog close to you at all times, this can actually exacerbate the matter and increase your dog’s anxiety levels.
There is nothing wrong with having a dog who is simply a little shy and caring for them accordingly. However, if there are any specific problems associated with this (such as separation anxiety or defensive aggression in new situations) you should take steps to train your dog slowly by exposure to common situations that they will face, which in the long run will make them more confident and happy.
While all dogs bond with their owners in time and appreciate their presence, some dogs nevertheless remain rather more independent and outgoing than others.
This may manifest as a bold, confident attitude outside of the house and an open relaxed manner with other people, or as is sometimes the case with dogs such as huskies, a willingness to go off with the first person that speaks to them and a propensity to take themselves out walking if not closely watched!
It is certainly not appropriate to discourage or knock the confidence of a bold, independent dog, although you might find yourself wishing that you could curb their roaming or single-minded instincts! Take plenty of time to work with your dog one on one, walking together on the lead and playing together in an interactive way.
You can increase your bond with your dog through activities such as grooming sessions, a regular routine, and hand feeding. Eventually, independent loners should begin to react to this, looking to you for direction and becoming less keen to go off and do their own thing without you.