Understanding Dog Temperaments
Do you understand who your dog is as an individual? We don’t mean how they fit in with your family, but rather how his or her temperament affects who they are. Your dog acts in a particular way because of the characteristics they were born with, along with their distinct personality. Understanding their temperament can help you avoid training problems, aggression issues, separation anxiety, and other behavior problems.
W. Handel, German Police Dog Trainer, in his article, “The Psychological Basis of Temperament Testing” defines temperament as “the sum total of all inborn and acquired physical and mental traits and talents which determines, forms and regulates behavior in the environment”.
Due to the negative publicity surrounding dog attacks from certain breeds, and breed-specific laws, or BSL, in many states including Florida , individuals might assume that they only time they need to be concerned about their dog’s temperament is if they are that particular breed. It’s important to remember that any dog has the potential to attack, and a dog bite can come from being territorial or simply being fearful. The ASPCA actually opposes all types of BSL, maintaining that there isn’t any scientific evidence to support one breed being more dangerous than the other.
So, what actions can you take to determine your dog’s temperament, and better understand it? The American Temperament Test Society, or the ATTS, works to provide breeders a means for evaluating temperament, and also gives pet owners insight into their dog’s behavior. The test they provide measures different aspects of temperament such as stability, shyness, aggressiveness, and friendliness as well as the dog’s instinct for protectiveness towards its handler and/or self-preservation in the face of a threat. If you are interested in having your dog tested, all ATTS tests are sponsored by recognized dog clubs and organizations that are listed on the ATTS website.
F.I.D.O., the Federation of Insured Dog Owners, Inc., now offers the Covered Canine Policy, an exclusive product and benefit for F.I.D.O. members only. This dog bite liability insurance policy is available in California, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wisconsin. It will protect you should your dog bite an individual and cause harm. It does not exclude any breed of dog and starts as low as $75 per dog, per year.
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