Some people might assume that a dog’s breed might be the sole indicator to pay attention to when trying to get an idea of what it’s personality might be like.
But, various sources indicated that there might be several more factors that influence personality, temperament and behavior than just breed.
In this guide, we outline those factors.
(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)
Factors That Might Affect A Dog’s Personality, Temperament Or Behavior
A Clarification – Personality vs Temperament vs Behavior
Each of these terms can mean something different.
For example, behavior might involve behavior related to a short term or isolated event – such as a dog reacting to a loud noise.
In this guide – we are moreso referring to a dog’s long term/permanent behavioral traits – i.e. what might be referred to commonly as their individual personality and temperament.
With that clarification in mind – let’s look at some of the factors that might impact personality and temperament …
The DNA from a dog’s parents, but also throughout their family tree play a role.
DNA might pass on positive traits like stability or intelligence, but may also pass on certain defects.
The individual parents and breeding line of an individual dog can mean that it turns out different that other dogs from the same breed.
2. Dog Breed
Different breeds of dog might have a prevalence towards a certain set of traits within their gene pool that impact temperament or personality.
As one example, some dog’s might have it in their breed to be a guardian dog, which may heighten their protective instinct.
3. Experience As A Newborn, & In The Litter
Experiences between the newborn puppy and it’s mother, as well as it’s littermates, may influence behavioral traits to some extent.
4. Experience During Socialization, & As A Puppy
The socialization stage between about 4 weeks to 4 months is when a puppy is heavily learning about the world, experiencing new things, and should also be meeting other dogs and humans.
Puppies that aren’t properly socialized and introduced to different stimulus and situations at this point in their lives may develop certain socialization problems, anxieties, or fears.
A health change may contribute to a change in behavior of the dog.
Health conditions may cause a dog pain and discomfort – which may result in some aggression. But also, there may be changes to parts of a dog’s body such as the brain or spine, which might impact behavior.
6. General Environment & Experiences
One off, or prolonged exposure to trauma, mistreatment, extreme stimulus and other things in a dog’s environment, or in the things they experience, might impact behavior.
A few examples that aren’t mentioned as widely as perhaps they should be are spending too much time with a dog (which can mean they develop separation anxiety issues when the owner is gone), or spending too much time away from a dog (which might cause general loneliness and anxiety issues)
How Might You Ensure You Get A Dog With Desirable Behavioral Traits
Some considerations might be to:
- Buy from a reputable breeder who can provide a guarantee on the pedigree and quality of the breeding line
- Visit the parents and littermates of the puppy before buying, as well as the puppy itself
- Make sure a puppy is socialized properly, attends basic obedience lessons, is exercised and walked, and is taught the right behavioral habits early
- Make sure a dog is positively disciplined and has positive boundaries and obedience reminders communicated to them throughout their life (by a loving respectful owner)
- Spend a healthy amount of time both in a dog’s presence at home and exercising each day
Dog’s that are exhibiting hazardous or out of the normal behavior might be taken to an animal behavioral expert, or a vet (for a recommendation), for assessment and further advice.
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