1:01 am   

Matching Training Styles to Temperament
Today's Dog Tip was contributed by Candy Hamner, who adopted her obedience school honor student Roxxy from PAW.

Did you know that your dog's temperament can affect her response to training?

Just as two people may respond differently to the same teaching methods, so do our dogs. Taking the time to assess your dog's temperament could be the key to successful training for you and your dog. According to Mordecai Siegal and Matthew Margolis in "The Ultimate Guide to Dog Training," there are six basic temperament types. Understanding your dog's temperament can help you to adjust your training approach to bring the best results for you and your pooch.

Try to identify your dog's temperament before you begin training. By doing that, you can start your training on a positive note. Regardless of temperament type, the underlying message in all training sessions is the same: praise is the motivator that will change your dog's behavior, not the correction. Dogs respond differently to various levels of praise as well as various levels of correction.

Here are the basic temperament types. Keep in mind that dogs often fall in more than one category, so you may need to use a combination approach for your dog.

* Responsive Dogs tend to be the easiest to train. These dogs want to please, learn quickly and seem to enjoy training. They respond best to moderate leash corrections and lively voice corrections. Harsh voice or too firm a leash correction can upset these dogs and derail training. Enthusiastic and happy praise is the best reward for them.

* Easy Going or Sedate dogs move at a slower pace. They are slower to respond to a command, take longer to teach and often just take longer to do things. A firm voice when giving commands is essential along with patience and lavish praise. These dogs respond better to voice corrections than leash corrections. They do not respond well to harshly given commands or noise corrections. Leash corrections are often not necessary. At most, a very light correction is all you should use.

* High Energy dogs are usually excitable, easily distracted and set off by the slightest thing. They are exuberant about everything from someone at the door to a simple compliment. They would rather play than train and will find every chance to entice you to play. Training requires firm handling, with a no-nonsense approach. You must be patient and subdued, or you will set him off. Praise is best given somewhat subdued, not enthusiastically as you would for the easy going dog. Leash corrections should be quick and firm, with no nonsense accepted. Keep training sessions short for these dogs and reward them with play afterwards.

* The Strong-Willed Dog is often called stubborn as she wants to do it her way or not at all. These dogs are a challenge to train, basically, because they do not want to be trained. Your approach needs to be firm, persistent but patient. You do not want the dog to see training as a challenge between the two of you to see who will win. Your voice should be firm, loud and demanding. Leash corrections must be firm. Convey the message that you expect the dog to learn. Give lots of praise for each accomplishment.

* Shy Dogs are often afraid of training, so too harsh a technique, sudden movements, loud voices or noises may frighten these dogs and thwart progress. Leash corrections should rarely, if ever, be used. Keep your voice soft and soothing when you correct, and follow with lavish praise. Love, praise and affection are the keys to training a shy dog. Keep the sessions short, positive and filled with praise.

* Aggressive Dogs are generally of two types: fear aggressive and dominant aggressive. These dogs usually need the help of a trainer.

By taking the time to determine if your dog is somewhat shy or timid, stubborn and head strong, or just slow to get going, it will help you to adjust your style so you will enhance his learning and make training positive and fun for both of you.

-----

For more Dog Tips about pet care, adoption and the work PAW does, visit our website at:
www.paw-rescue.org

Partnership for Animal Welfare, Inc.
P.O. Box 1074, Greenbelt, MD 20768