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Consider Your Dog’s Temperament for Successful Training

Brittany Randolph

Our resident Pet Training expert is back with this month’s Dog Training Tips!  

For best results when training your pup, it’s important to understand your dog's temperament. Having a full understanding of their temperament will help provide you with the tools and knowledge base for successful training sessions.

What’s Your Dog’s Temperament?

There are of course a whole variety of dog personalities, but your pup’s temperament can be divided into three main types: front of the line, middle of the line and back of the line.

Front of the Line Dogs or Alpha Dogs

Alpha dogs display a strong sense of self. The steadfastness of the alpha dog is not necessarily tied to the size of the dog - small dogs and large dogs alike can be alpha dogs. In order to train these pups, they need strong and consistent leadership so that they know you are the boss. Their overprotective or sometimes aggressive nature isn’t usually due to the dog being mean, but rather exercising dominance and leadership of their home. When you, as the masterful human, prove yourself as the one to fill this leadership role then these dogs will be free to show you their big personalities and how smart they are. 

Middle of the Line Dogs

Much like alpha dogs, middle of the line dogs benefit the most when they have a strong leader in their human owners so that they don’t feel like they have to step up and fill that roll. If middle of the pack dogs don’t feel the structure of a strong leader they can become over excited and anxious resulting in destructive behavior. However, if the human provides structure for them, these dogs are the easiest to train and will refrain from testing their limits because they already know them.

Back of the Line Dogs

These pups are more sensitive and cautious. Not meant to be alpha dogs they will always follow the lead of the alpha. With no alpha present these dogs become stressed or fearful.

Training and Temperament

Once you’ve identified what temperament your dog has, training techniques become much easier to master. Within the different temperaments of pups, each dog has different energy levels. Giving your dog an adequate amount of exercise every day will even out their temperament and allow for the best possible training outcomes.

As you learn your pup’s personality and energy level, give them lots of positive feedback for correct behavior. Name what they are doing, so that they will process it and treat the behavior on command. You also want to capture their interest – the intent is to make YOU the most interesting thing in their life, so they listen to you, and want to please you.

Most important, go slow – read your dog’s body language and adjust your training accordingly. Training for 15 minutes multiple times a day is ideal to ensure you don’t overstimulate them.