Temperament

Most people readily agree that good temperament is the most important quality for pets. Unfortunately, the explanation of exactly what good temperament means is often vague and elusive, and sometimes contradictory. The official breed standard of most breeds makes a statement to the effect that the dog you're considering is loyal, loving, intelligent, good with children, and easy to train. If only it were true!

Simply defined, temperament is having the personality traits suitable for the job you want the dog to do. If you want your dog to be good with children, and your dog has that personality trait, then he has good temperament. He may not do so well in other areas, such as guarding or herding, but that may not have been what you were looking for.

Similarly vague and elusive have been attempts to define the dog's intelligence. Again, it goes back to function. We define a dog's intelligence as the ease with which he can be trained for the function the dog was bred for. For example, teaching a Labrador Retriever to retrieve is very easy. After all, that's what he was bred to do. On the other hand, you'd be dead wrong to think that an Afghan Hound is stupid just because he has no interest in that task. That's not what he was bred to do; it's not his job.

^fBEH

You need to recognize and be aware of your dog's strengths and limitations. They have a profound influence on the ease or difficulty of teaching your dog a particular task. Circus trainers have an old saying: "Get the dog for the trick and not the trick for the dog." Exploit your dog's strengths.

Dog Potty Training

Dog Potty Training

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