Like us humans, dogs, too, have different temperaments.
In simple terms, temperaments are persons’ or animals’ nature that encompasses attributes that define their behavior. Ivan Pavlov, a Psychologist who is famous for his experiments involving dogs, formulated a theory on four types of temperaments: phlegmatic, choleric, sanguine, and melancholic. His observations of the dogs’ different behavioral responses to stimuli, led to the idea of having differences in excitatory and inhibitory activity in the nervous system. This discovery of the existence of different temperaments on dogs, confirm that, indeed, dogs have temperaments.
A dog’s temperament is its inborn attributes which controls its responses to stimuli and the environment. It also refers to a dog’s characteristic level of emotional intensity or excitability. Basically, temperament determines how a dog will respond to different events and stimuli in the environment. There are dogs that are submissive, and dogs that are stubborn. There are dogs that are easy-going, and dogs that are uptight. There are dogs that are on the front of the line, pushy and protective, and dogs that that stay at the back of the line, timid and cautious. There are dogs that are independent and would need less fondness and cuddles, and dogs that are dependent and would crave for attention and affection. There are dogs that need a sound and vibration barking collar and dogs that would need a sound and shock barking collar. There are dogs that need just a little stimulation to exude high energy, and dogs that need a lot of motivation to perform.
In Pavlov’s experiments and observations on dogs, he was able to categorize the dogs’ behavioral responses to stimuli into four different temperaments: calm imperturbable, weak inhibitory, strong excitatory, and lively. Dogs that have calm imperturbable temperament are those that have generally neutral response to stimuli, thus, neither become predominantly excited nor impassive. Dogs that have weak inhibitory temperament are those that show passivity in response to stimuli, thus may be lead to a state of great inactiveness and indifference when exposed to extreme levels of stimuli. In contrast to the two aforementioned “weak” temperaments, there are also two that are considered to be “strong” temperaments. Dogs with strong excitatory temperament are those that easily become aroused and excited with just little to moderate levels of stimuli. Dogs with lively temperament are similar, those that are also very responsive to stimuli, but not as easily and as intense as dogs that have strong excitatory temperaments.
Temperaments are important, for they direct the behaviors of dogs. Knowing the temperament of your dog – what makes and how your dog ticks – is essential, especially in determining how you should be treating and how you should be taking care of them, while keeping in mind their particular responses to stimuli. Understanding the uniqueness of their temperament may also help you appreciate your dog more, and may lead to greater patience when dealing with them, especially during training and in choosing the appropriate barking collar.
It is also, however, crucial to keep in mind that a dog’s temperament is not “the end” diagnosis and verdict of a dog. Norma Bennet Woolf, an advocate for dog training, stated that although temperament is inherited, it can still be modified and enhanced by the environment. This is why it very important to provide your dog a positively stimulating and pleasing environment.