Monday, March 29, 2010


Just as there are many different personality types in people, so there are with dogs as well. When we talk about the German Shepherd Dog it’s not uncommon to hear this breed’s temperament come up in the discussion. You’ll hear of the ideal temperament as being aloof but approachable. You might hear others talk about the wonderful “tail wagging” temperament their dogs have comparing them to the Golden Retriever in personality. This means that their dog is very friendly and outgoing. You’ll hear about the spooks, the fear biters and the down right aggressive, “doesn’t need a reason to bite” type of dog as well. So if people can be mean and miserable, or friendly and easy going, why not the dog? Do we demand or place too much attention on our dog’s temperament? Is it alright for the dog to have an off day where he doesn’t feel like being friendly or approached? Why are we allowed to get away with being cranky once in awhile and not the German Shepherd Dog? Do we know if he’s experiencing a headache or he’s achy in a part of his body that he can’t communicate to us? Why do we expect our dogs to be 100% all the time? I know that I’m not and I don’t know anyone that is no matter how nice of a person they are! With this said, there is a difference between temperament and personality. Temperament I quickly mentioned above. Let’s take a look at the different personality traits some dogs may exhibit.

THE MS. PRISS (OR PRIMA DONNA) – This is the type of dog that is meticulous about herself and her surroundings. I live with one of them……thank God she’s my house dog! She won’t go off the back deck if it’s raining because she doesn’t want to get her precious little feet wet and muddy. I have to encourage her by opening the back door and telling her “Go do potties!” She gingerly goes down the back steps like there’s glass under her feet. When she comes into season, I would barely notice as she is so clean with herself, it’s rare to find a drop of blood on the floor. She is definitely an ideal house dog!

THE SLOB – Yup, unfortunately I own one of these as well. Surprisingly, she’s a daughter to the Prima Donna! She thinks nothing of helping herself to an “after dinner treat” in the form of her own stools. If she’s not eating it, she has a need to leave a trail of it up on the back deck and steps. She drinks water and you would think that she was from a Bull Dog pedigree instead of a German Shepherd. There’s always a trail of water from the bowl in the kitchen to my lap in the living room! When she’s in season, she never cleans up after herself and I’m lucky if she even cleans her own body.

THE GROUCH – This is the dog that is very protective of HIS belongings and doesn’t want anyone else to touch them. He might hide his toys and favorite bones and he expects to find them there when he looks for them again. Heaven forbid if anyone touches anything that he labels as HIS! If one of the other dogs has his favorite toy, he doesn’t think anything of retrieving it from him. He might bark at him, circle him or even nip at him. But he wants his toy back and if he doesn’t get it, he’ll lie in a corner sulking until the other dog “accidentally” looks the other way, and then the Grouch steals his “treasure” back again!

LAZY STUD DOG – Wouldn’t you think when a female comes into season that a young stud dog would be ripping everything apart to get to her? Now this writer believes that some uneducated, inexperienced breeders can make a young dog have problems because the breeder doesn’t know what they’re doing. But that’s another subject for another article. I’m talking about a proven stud dog that even if the bitch is ready to be bred……you caught her on her best days to be bred and the stud dog lies there just looking at her. Your bitch is flagging and is practically jumping on the stud dog. Nope, he doesn’t want her. I remember years ago flying with my champion bitch from New York to California to breed her to a popular stud dog. This bitch had had three litters already. She was very easy to breed. The male laid down in the living room and looked at us as if to say, “Wake me when it’s over.” The stud dog owner coaxed him and “koochie cooed” him……”Come on sweetheart, this lovely bitch came a long way to get puppies from you.” Yawn, Yawn. The dog wasn’t impressed. Anyway………..long story short, he finally did us all a favor, got up, bred my bitch and we had a large litter.

THE HYPER, NERVOUS WRECK – This is the type of dog that doesn’t know how to stay still. They jump, they twist, they turn, they run…..but they never lay down. This is definitely not a fun type of dog to live with. This is the type of dog that needs LOTS of exercise to help get rid of some of that nervous energy. This is a great dog to own if you need to lose some extra pounds. This dog gives you a reason to exercise everyday. Now you have no excuse!

THE ALPHA – This is the type of dog that wants to be in control of everything and everyone. Because the dog is a pack animal, they have a need for a leader. If you own dogs and especially a German Shepherd Dog, you better make sure that you are that pack leader or he will take over. Make no doubt about it, this breed will test you time and time again. If it’s in the nature of a particular dog to be alpha, then he will try to gain that position with you. The alpha dog always presents a challenge.

THE FOLLOWER – Where there is an alpha dog, there is always one that follows. The follower sometimes doesn’t seem to have his own personality. He’s too busy following the other dogs or the alpha. This is a dog that is easily influenced by the more powerful or controlling alpha dog. If the alpha dog jumps up on the counters, the follower jumps up on the counters. If the alpha dog barks at people, so does the follower. He may not know why he’s doing it, but the alpha is doing it. Some dog’s personalities fit in fine being a follower. Then there are others that are looking for the opportunity to de-throne the alpha!

THE BORE – This might be a dog that is dull in personality. He might be very content just lying around all day long on the sofa. Playing ball outside isn’t his favorite thing to do, and in fact, he might not do it all. He needs to be coaxed to move off of his favorite place to lounge. He doesn’t make a good show dog because he has no “get up and go” to him. It’s rare to see a German Shepherd have this kind of personality. If he does, I would have my vet check his thyroid.

THE TOO SMART FOR HIS OWN GOOD TYPE OF DOG – This is the type of dog that is always one step ahead of you. It’s like he can detect what you’re going to do BEFORE you even do it. Many German Shepherds would fall into this category. They can tell by your motions, your movements, your eyes…….they know how to read you to determine what it is you’re planning on doing next. All I have to do is change from my slippers to my sneakers and that’s an indication that I’m getting ready to go outside and my dog is up on her feet pacing and whining as if to remind me that she wants to come too. These types of dogs are very in tune to their owners every move.

THE NOSY, DOESN’T MISS A TRICK TYPE OF DOG – Here again, most German Shepherds are inquisitive and some more so then others. I have a dog that if I received a VERY SMALL package in the mail (and I don’t care where I put it), she will know something new came into the house. She’s not satisfied until she finds it. And you know what, she always does. I may have forgotten about it, and I’ll turn around and there she is smelling the new “intruder” in the house! She must investigate every room because her senses are so keen. If I’ve been somewhere and change out of those clothes that I wore, she must smell those clothes ten different times. The places I wore them must smell so delicious because I’ll find her nose buried in them.

MOAN, GROAN, WHINE & COMPLAIN – This is the type of dog that drives me crazy. Maybe it’s me, but I like a quiet, peaceful home environment. Not when you’re living with one of these types. They’re talking, their complaining, they’re always trying to get your attention. Don’t talk on the telephone too long, or you will have them moaning as they circle the chair you’re sitting on. Two hours or so BEFORE it’s time to feed your dog, she’s reminding you by pacing and whining in case you forgot! Or how about the “charming” dog that screams at the top of her lungs as soon as she hears your feet hit the floor when you get out of bed in the morning. Look at it this way, she’s doing you a favor…….you don’t need to invest in an alarm clock. That’s what she’s there for!

So as you can see, when they say that a German Shepherd Dog is versatile…….they really mean it. You will never be bored with them……unless you own one of the rarities……the boring German Shepherd. Now you may better understand why the German Shepherd is always one of the most popular breeds of dogs. There are so many faces he can wear. There are so many different types of personalities. There’s bound to be one to suit your personality. Aren’t we the lucky ones for they are always educating us, entertaining us and ever challenging us to be more than we are!

My rating: different personalities types: (4)

From the book: FOR THE LOVE OF A DOG: UNDERSTANDING EMOTION IN YOU AND YOUR BEST FRIEND - Animal behaviorist, dog trainer, syndicated radio talk show host and prolific author on all things canine, McConnell (The Other End of the Leash) presents a compelling combination of stories, science and practical advice to show how understanding emotions in both people and dogs can improve owners' relationships with their pets. This is more than a simple dog-training book: much of what McConnell discusses concerns how dog owners can learn "the language" of dog by recognizing important signals and reading them correctly. She provides numerous helpful examples of how owners can observe dog behavior, especially differences in posture and facial expressions, in order to help dogs be better behaved and help dog owners to be better handlers; her discussion of the meaning of a dog's "tongue flicks" is alone worth the price of the book. Her overall goal is to help owners provide their pets with "a sense of calm, peaceful benevolence," and she skewers current dog-training fads that emphasize "dominance" over a dog. "Don't fool yourself: if you yell at your dog for something he did twenty seconds ago, you're not training him; you're merely expressing your own anger."

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