- Is your dog driven (motivated) by toys (Play drive) or food (Food drive)? Is he somewhere in between? Does he need a combination of the two?
- When given a correction is your dog likely to just give you a stare and get back to what it was doing (hard dog), or does it shut down completely and slink into a corner (soft dog)?
- Lastly, is your dog weak nerved? eg: apprehensive of strangers, new environments, easily scared. Or is it strong nerved? eg: seeks new smells/ sounds, is calm towards strangers and quite unflappable.
Think of your dog's temperament/ personality as a combination of these factors measured on a set of sliders. If you can get to understand your dog using these parameters, you can tailor your training experience to suit your pet. Your pet's drive determines what tools you use in training to motivate it. Its correction response will tell you the kind of corrections you need to give it when in training and lastly, its nerves will tell you whether you need to maintain a routine or create novelty in your training sessions.
I hope to be writing more about my experiences over the next few months. Sparky -- my lab is a dog with a strong food drive and tends to be a hard dog with weak nerves. For those of you who believe that training your dog is a chore or are avoiding getting one for the trouble you consider training to be; remember that training dogs generally tends to fun and is a great mental stimulation in itself. Its been a learning experience for me in the last few months and I am sure it'll be the same for anyone that's starting up around about now.