Traits that may impact training

6April 2011

There are many traits a dog may inherently have that can impact training.  A dog’s various behavior drives have a huge impact on training.

Other traits that may impact training include a dog’s harness and independence.

Independence is a dog’s need to govern himself.  Some dogs that do not easily take direction may be born leaders.  Dog’s like this are usually unresponsive and may seem pushy.  To modify a dog with strong independence, owners must develop a training drive.

Most dogs will easily take direction given the proper motivation.  Many people think their dogs are highly independent when really they only took the leadership role because their owner did not.  Keep in mind that training a dog always includes reminding him who’s in charge.  This does not mean you should yell at or abuse your dog, but that you should remain firm while being gentle.

Hardness refers to a dog’s pain tolerance and ability to recover from pain.  A hard dog is able to accept large amounts of pain without seeming to notice.  People sometimes describe these dogs as having “tough hides.”  Harsh corrections will not usually work on a hard dog.  Training should be focused on proper motivation and positive reinforcement.
A soft dog cannot tolerate pain at all and will cry or cower at the tiniest provocation.  When training a very soft dog, owners must remember to go very slow and always remain calm.  Often it is helpful to be extra aware of your body language and movement.  Moving to quickly around a soft dog can frighten him and hinder your training.

Being aware of where your dog is within all of these traits (behavior drives, independence, & hardness) will help you design a personalized and more appropriate training program for you and your dog.