By Claudia Bensimoun
Image Credit: BarkUpTodayDog
Each and every dog has a unique personality based upon past experience, environmental factors and inherited genes.
Developing a great relationship with your dog encourages one to seek out his behavioral quirks, personality traits and of course, past history.
All canines express emotion and many of these emotions may be fear, shyness, aggressiveness or pure happiness. One especially becomes aware of these negative emotions right after an adoption or after a stressful event that a dog has been subjected to such as a hurricane, car accident or traumatic injury. These negative emotions can be replaced with positive ones, if you as the dog parent create a positive environment and help replace the negative memories with positive ones every single day.
Interpreting your canine’s facial expressions, pitch and frequency of barks as well as body posture and eye expression, will allow for all dog parents to analyze their dog’s moods and what their canine is trying to express at that particular moment.
You may very well be thinking if personality can be changed?
Personality is a set of attributes such sociability, happiness, aggressivity and ability to adapt to new situations and handle stress effectively. As a dog parent, one can influence your dog’s behavior by being calm, happy and rewarding your dog for the behaviors that you want to reinforce.
Dog parents are often impressed by the differences in personalities among their many dogs.
Does a dogs’ personality change depending on circumstances? Or is his personality fixed genetically according to breed and depending on environmental factors?
Does a dog’s personality change, pending on the circumstances of his environment, home life, affection, frequency of contact with other dogs and training?
In 2002, Svartberg and Forkman identified the main variables describing personality in dogs.
- Desire to chase
They mention that a single “broad” personality dimension influences all the first four factors, with aggressiveness working separately. Wilsson and Sundgren show that dog personalities have substantial heritable components.
Personality in dogs is real, measurable and seems to be strongly influenced by genes and variability in personality is genetic variability. Tests show that behavioral reactions of canine and small children are similar. This is because the same biochemical processes are at work in humans and canines. Some dogs are more prone to depression than others, just as in humans while some dogs are more prone to separation anxiety and other forms of stress. This can show up in cases of whining, lethargy, panic attacks and even aggression towards humans and other dogs. What about dogs that plan their escape route as soon as the front door is opened?
If we can accurately assess a dog’s personality, then people and families who are looking to buy or adopt a dog will be able to find one that matches their own tastes and temperaments.
Unfortunately, assessing a dog’s personality takes time and what often seems to be a personality trait is simply a behavior that has been induced by stressful situations such as being placed at a dog shelter. These “temporary” behaviors can be modified in the right environment with positive reinforcement and tons of love and affection.
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