How Much Do We Affect Our Dog’s Personality?

Have you ever looked at a photo of you and your dog together, then get a freaky thought that you kind of look alike? You’re not alone! It’s not all that that bad – provided your dog is not a hairless Chinese Crested. Of course, we all know it doesn’t end with looks – sometimes, our dogs even act like us! They’re either on a happy high, over-anxious, lazy, neurotic, chilled out, or they’re a snippity grump. Genetics are key factors of personality traits in our children – but what about our dogs? Is it just our imagination, or are there scientific facts behind it?

So, what do we know thus far about this crazy phenomenon? Well as for those creepy photos between you and your dog that take an uncanny twist of sibling-like resemblance – it’s not your imagination, and your spouse isn’t just picking on you. You and the dog really do bear similarities to each other. People actually tend to choose pets that share similar physical characteristics of themselves, including size and weight, shape of eyes and head, length of hair, etc.

There have been several studies completed throughout the years regarding how our personality and behavior affects our dogs. The most recent is currently underway by Dr. Nicholas H. Doddman and Dr. James A. Serpell PhD of the Center for Canine Behavior Studies located in Salisbury, Connecticut. The study will take place over a course of two years to answer these questions and more. One of the major objectives of the study is to reduce dog euthanasia and surrender due to problematic behavioral issues by increasing understanding.

Our individual personality, which defines the way in which we behave – and our emotional status – can drastically influence our dog’s personality. Dogs have an extraordinary innate ability to sense our emotional state and respond accordingly – making them susceptible to our personality traits and idiosyncrasies. For example: if you’re a spastic control freak in a constant state of anxiousness, so is the dog. Whereas a laid back, easy going owner tends to have a relaxed and carefree pooch. Ultimately, you can affect these five major personality traits in your dog:

  • Openness

  • Neuroticism

  • Extraversion

  • Agreeableness

  • Conscientiousness

These effects on our dog’s personality might be good in some situations. Often times, as we see in dog training, it can spell behavior problems for your dog because we – as pet owners – don’t realize how we have influenced our pets personalities negatively. Unfortunately, according to the CCBS, this ends in 4 million pet surrenders and 2.2 million euthanizations annually due to behavior problems.

As dog owners, we need to realize that we have a direct effect our dog’s personality and their behavior in most cases. Much like Children Learn What They Live by Dorothy Law Nolte PhD, we can proactively and consciously determine our pet’s demeanor. For more information on how you can make a positive affect your pooch’s personality, contact our professional staff of canine trainers and handlers.

Original Source:

This entry was posted in Dog Behavior & Training. Bookmark the permalink.