Determining Your Dogs Personality Profile

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To help you understand how to approach your dog's training, we created Volhards' Canine Personality Profile. The profile catalogs ten behaviors in each drive that influence a dog's responses and that are useful in training. The ten behaviors chosen are those that most closely represent the dog's strengths in each of the drives. The profile doesn't pretend to include all behaviors seen in a dog, nor the complexity of their interaction. For example, what drive is Buddy in when he's sleeping? For purposes of training, we don't care. Although our Personality Profile is an admittedly crude tool for predicting Buddy's behavior, you'll find it surprisingly accurate.

The results of the profile can give you a better understanding of why Buddy is the way he is and the most successful way to train him. You can then make use of his strengths, avoid needless confusion, and greatly reduce training time.

When completing the profile, keep in mind that we devised it for a house dog or pet with an enriched environment, perhaps even a little training, and not a dog tied out in the yard or kept solely in a kennel — such dogs have fewer opportunities to express as many behaviors as a house dog. Answers should indicate those behaviors Buddy would exhibit if he'd not already been trained to do otherwise. For example, did he jump on people to greet them or jump on the counter to steal food before he was trained not to do so?

The possible answers and their corresponding point values are as follows:

1 Almost always — 10 1 Sometimes — 5 to 9 1 Hardly ever — 0 to 4

For example, if Buddy is a Beagle, the answer to the question "When presented with the opportunity, does your dog sniff the ground or air?" is probably "almost always," giving him a score of 10.

You're now ready to find out who Buddy really is. You may not have had the chance to observe all these behaviors, in which case you leave the answer blank.

When presented with the opportunity, does your dog

1. Sniff the ground or air?

2. Get along with other dogs?

3. Stand his ground or show curiosity in strange objects or sounds?

4. Run away from new situations?

5. Get excited by moving objects, such as bikes or squirrels?

6. Get along with people?

7. Like to play tug-of-war games to win?

8. Hide behind you when he feels he can't cope?

9. Stalk cats, other dogs, or things in the grass?

10. Bark when left alone?

11. Bark or growl in a deep tone of voice?

12. Act fearfully in unfamiliar situations?

13. Bark in a high-pitched voice when excited?

14. Solicit petting, or like to snuggle with you?

15. Guard his territory?

16. Tremble or whine when unsure?

17. Pounce on his toys?

18. Like to be groomed?

19. Guard his food or toys?

20. Cower or turn upside down when reprimanded?

21. Shake and "kill" his toys?

22. Seek eye contact with you?

23. Dislike being petted?

24. Act reluctant to come close to you when called?

25. Steal food or garbage?

26. Follow you around like a shadow?

28. Have difficulty standing still when groomed?

29. Like to carry things in his mouth?

30. Play a lot with other dogs?

31. Dislike being groomed or petted?

32. Cower or cringe when a stranger bends over him?

33. Wolf down his food?

34. Jump up to greet people?

35. Like to fight other dogs?

36. Urinate during greeting behavior?

37. Like to dig and/or bury things?

38. Show reproductive behaviors, such as mounting other dogs?

39. Get picked on by older dogs when he was a young dog?

40. Tend to bite when cornered?

Score your answers by using Table 5-1.

Table 5-1

Scoring the Profile

Prey

Pack

Fight

Flight

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

11.

12.

13.

14.

15.

16.

17.

18.

19.

20.

21.

22.

23.

24.

25.

26.

27.

28.

29.

30.

31.

32.

33.

34.

35.

36.

37.

38.

39.

40.

Total Prey

Total Pack

Total Fight

Total Flight

After you've obtained the totals, enter them into the appropriate column of the profile at a glance that's shown in Table 5-1. (Check out Figure 5-3 to see your dog's profile at a glance.)

To make best use of the concept of drives in your training, you need to know what you want Buddy to do or stop doing. Usually, you want him to be in pack drive, and he wants to be in prey. After you've mastered how to get him out of prey and into pack, you have a well-trained dog.

Profile at a Glance

Prey Pack Fight Flight

Figure 5-3:

Your dog's profile at a glance.

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