Dog Temperament Quiz

Perhaps your hyper dog is well-socialized and well-trained but still reacts adversely in certain situations. This may indicate a temperament problem, or it may indicate that she isn’t as well trained as you think she is. This quiz should help you evaluate the nuances of your dog’s temperament-and, in the long run, help you gain control over anything troublesome you discover.

As you go through it, keep a few things in mind:

* Even consistently “stable” responses may warrant special handling in certain circumstances, to guard against any of these behaviors escalating into potentially dangerous acts.

* It’s not uncommon for a dog to be adorable in all situations except one-being aggressive with food or toys, for instance, or insecure around strangers.

* Most dogs will eventually display the entire temperament spectrum to some degree, depending on the situation. For instance, even very timid dogs can sometimes become domineering, and ordinarily domineering dogs can occasionally shrink into a corner.

* As her director, your goal is to respond appropriately to the behavior your dog is displaying at the moment-not to her “normal” behavior.

The sentences in parentheses below will give you an indication of the probable cause of each reaction-and a head start on addressing any problems related to temperament. It’s definitely a thinking person’s game!

1. Sensitivity to noise

When there is a thunderstorm or fireworks, my dog:

a. Jumps in the bathtub, drools, and shakes. (He’s noise-sensitive, but if this behavior is strictly situational, it may not be a problem.)

b. Sits by the door waiting to run out and jump into a puddle. (A stable response-your dog must be a retriever!)

2. Emotional sensitivity

When I watch football games on television, I yell a lot. My dog:

a. Runs for cover. (It’s time to give your dog a break and quiet down.)

b. Waits for me to dump the popcorn bowl. (This is a stable reaction and also demonstrates that your dog is an opportunist.)

3. Sociability with people

When company arrives, my dog:

a. Is closeted in another room because I fear for my guests’ safety. (She is anti-social.)

b. Jumps on them and licks them all over if I give her the chance. (She’s a stable dog.)

c. Is suspicious and leery and growls if they attempt to make friends with her. (She is potentially insecure, potentially aggressive.)

d. Is suspicious and leery and runs away if they try to make friends with her. (She is insecure and lacks confidence.)

e. Seems just fine at first but can turn on a dime, for no apparent reason. (She’s definitely aggressive-unpredictably so.)

4. Sociability with other dogs

When I take my dog for a walk and we encounter another canine, my dog:

a. Always goes nuts, pulling, barking, growling, staring or lunging at her foe. (She is aggressive-perhaps dangerously so.)

b. Is fine unless the other dog is excited or has certain physical characteristics that seem to set her off. (More aggressive behavior. Just as in scenario a, it’s time to seriously work on control around distractions.)

c. Wants to investigate and play or acknowledges them and just keeps ambling along. (Good, stable dog!)

d. Wants to run away. (She’s timid and lacks confidence.)

5. Sociability with children

Around kids, my dog:

a. Is aware of them but shows no sign of uneasiness. (She is one sound canine.)

b. Tries to escape, her eyes big with fear. (Her confidence has deserted her.)

c. Barks and lunges at them. (She’s aggressive and must be controlled.)

d. Wants to jump, play, and lick schmutz off their faces. (She represents the epitome of stable dogdom.)

e. Seems fine but may jump or snap at them without warning. (This is potentially dangerous instability.)

6. Possessiveness

When my dog is around her toys or food and I approach, she:

a. Willingly relinquishes them to me. (She’s of sound temperament in this situation.)

b. Tenses up and uses her body to cover her most highly prized possessions. (She is territorial.)

c. May charge at me. (She’s aggressive and unstable.)

7. Reaction to strangers

When my dog encounters a stranger, she:

a. Won’t allow the stranger to touch her. (She’s aggressive and unstable.)

b. The harder the person tries to befriend her, the more suspicious she becomes. (She exhibits unstable tendencies.)

c. Accepts the person unquestioningly, just as she does my family and friends. (She is a stable pooch.)

8. Road trips

When my dog is in the car, she:

a. Barks with interest at the passing scene. (That’s stable but obnoxious and begs for reform.)

b. Charges if someone approaches the car. (This could demonstrate aggressiveness and territoriality.)

c. Bites at the windows during travel. (This, too, could indicate aggressiveness.)

9. Reaction to the environment

When encountering certain inanimate objects-street grates, open staircases, garbage cans, etc.-my dog:

a. Is unfazed. (She is stable.)

b. Hesitates, looks at the object, and continues on her way. (She’s cautiously stable.)

c. Barks and backs away with her hackles raised. (She lacks confidence.)

d. Stops dead in her tracks and will not proceed. (No confidence here at all.)

Source by Amy Ammen

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