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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-15-2010, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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Determining your puppy's temperament

I read somewhere that a puppy's personality really forms between weeks 14 - 16. Eli, who I've had for 2 weeks now, is in that critical stage. I've definitely seen some significant changes in his temperament. I have a trainer coming and was putting together a list to describe his personality and what we might work on aside from the usual training commands. How do I know if he has separation anxiety? Sometimes he's totally fine on his own and sometimes he isn't. How do I know if he's afraid of strangers? He has very different responses; usually he's oblivious, sometimes he notices and barks at them (not sure if it's aggressive or not), and sometimes he's friendly. Generally speaking, he is super sweet, quiet, calm, inquisitive. He comes easily to me and the kids but avoids or runs from my husband who absolutely adores him and is very gentle with him. He's also become very stubborn, especially during his walks. He just stops and refuses to move. I think he's waiting to be carried!

Is there a diagnostic somewhere that may be useful? Can the trainer get a good sense in the 90 minutes he/she is with us? How much will his personality continue to form/change?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-15-2010, 01:53 PM
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Ooo! Ooo! I remember reading something on the forum about this. There is a temperament test but you have to rope a 'stranger' into doing it.

http://www.volhard.com/pages/pat.php

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-15-2010, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Ooo! Ooo! I remember reading something on the forum about this. There is a temperament test but you have to rope a 'stranger' into doing it.

http://www.volhard.com/pages/pat.php
Awesome! Thank you! I'm going to ask the trainer to administer the test when they arrive. It's a bit late but still really good information to have.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-15-2010, 02:29 PM
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Awesome! Thank you! I'm going to ask the trainer to administer the test when they arrive. It's a bit late but still really good information to have.
Your puppy is really too old for the Volhard. But any trainer worth his/her salt should be able to get a very good handle on Eli's temperament in 90 minutes. Also, see my post in your ex-pen thread re: nature vs. nurture. The puppy you have is the puppy you have. We know he's a Hav, which means that he is most likely a friendly dog with a "soft", biddable temperament. There are certainly variations within that range, but a good trainer should be able to work with you and with him to determine how best to make him the best little dog he can be!

Do remember, though, that training is a L-O-N-G process. SO many people attend a 6 week puppy kindergarten class and think their dog is "trained". That's the BARE beginning. And if you don't have a lot of experience training dogs, you are most likely going to need some on-going help for a LONG time.

Kodi is 16 months old and has been in training since he was about 14 weeks old. While I have competitive training goals for him, I would say that he was close to a year old before I felt we had reached the point where he was everything I expected of a "pet dog"... That I can take him anywhere and expect that he will behave appropriately, that he is friendly toward other dogs and strangers, that he has an absolutely reliable recall, that he walks consistently on a loose lead, but can also be trusted off-leash on long walks/runs in the woods, that he travels well, either in a hotel room or in our camper, is polite and cooperative with the groomer and the vet... in other words, an easy to be with member of our family!

Now... If I could JUST keep him from shredding paper... oh, I forgot, that's a genetic predisposition in Havs!


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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-15-2010, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback. It's consistent with the training books I've read. Consistency and reinforcement is life-long with dogs.

Puppy kindergarten is probably not for me given my doggy allergies. Fortunately, my close group of friends own hypo allergenic dogs (one owns a Havanese) that I tolerate really well so when the time is right Eli will have no lack of friends. I am curious as to how often you've used a trainer? I was thinking we'd probably need him/her several times in the first year to teach the basics and only for correction as Eli got older, assuming he needed any and we couldn't handle the issue ourselves.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-15-2010, 04:42 PM
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I think its a good sign that he is happily independent at times this young, believe me, if it was SA, you'd know..you wouldn't be able to take a shower or leave the room without a crying fit. With the effort you are putting into it and having a trainer help you, it can only be beneficial. They *do* develop many of their habits as puppies.

Keep in mind that they are really intuitive to what you are feeling, even if you are in a bad mood, or frustrated over 'work' or some other area of life, they pick up on it. Case and point..a neighbor, that I happen to like, came over one day to talk to my husband and I was in 'no mood' to have company and annoyed at the interruption, and Gucci picked right up on that and would not stop barking at him, lol...My husband was perplexed, because she never acts this way to strangers, but I knew she was reading me and following my lead of emotion, so if you interact with strangers, with him, and your mood is apprehension, fear, etc..he will sense it, so I would socialize him with people whom you love and are comfortable with.

This poor neighbor.....Gucci still barks at him, 1.5 years post the incident, she doesn't like him and its my fault I was in a pissy mood that day.

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-15-2010, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Ellie NY View Post
Thanks for the feedback. It's consistent with the training books I've read. Consistency and reinforcement is life-long with dogs.

Puppy kindergarten is probably not for me given my doggy allergies. Fortunately, my close group of friends own hypo allergenic dogs (one owns a Havanese) that I tolerate really well so when the time is right Eli will have no lack of friends. I am curious as to how often you've used a trainer? I was thinking we'd probably need him/her several times in the first year to teach the basics and only for correction as Eli got older, assuming he needed any and we couldn't handle the issue ourselves.
If you aren't going to do puppy kindergarten, you are going to have to work really REALLY hard, starting RIGHT NOW to keep your pup properly socialized. He should be meeting at least one new dog and person (people of ALL ages) each day right now, if you can POSSIBLY arrange it. The critical period for socializing a puppy is closing by 16 weeks. After that, it gets harder and harder. Sometimes with improperly socialized older dogs you can NEVER fully socialize them. You can get them, at best, to the point that they tolerate people outside the family and/or dogs that don't try to interact with them. That's a shame for such a social, happy breed as a Hav, but it happens even with them sometimes. Read some of the threads about rescue puppy mill Havs and how difficult it can be sometimes to fully socialize them. Our training center offers what they call "real life" classes that are held out doors in various places. Maybe a class like that would work for you.

As far as how often I've used a trainer? I can't begin to count! At home, I've worked with a trainer maybe half a dozen times, most of those while I was waiting for the puppy class to start. At the training center, I have taken AT LEAST one class a week, usually two, plus occasional private lessons to work on specific issues. Then I also do obedience and rally run-thoughs, which are practice, but you still get tips from the instructors at the same time.

This is obviously more than you HAVE to do... Again, my goals go beyond pet obedience. Talk to your trainer and see what they suggest. Unless your expectations are very low, I think you will find that you need the feedback of an instructor fairly often during the first few months. After that, you can spread things out. If you have to do it at home, maybe a schedule of a lesson every couple of weeks for 3 months or so and then reassess at that point?

Also, don't totally rule out training centers until you visit some. The one I go to is kept very clean. It is a very high ceiling, spacious building with good ventilation. Classes are generally small... often no more than 4-6 dogs in a BIG ring at the same time. I have significant dog allergies too, but as long as I don't touch other peoples' dogs, the most I get is a drippy nose there. When Kodi was in puppy classes, it was a different story... a BIG part of puppy classes should be play/socialization time. That means your hypoallergenic dog comes home covered with the dander and saliva of all the other (sometimes much bigger) pups. To me, it wsa SO important for him to get this socialization that I lived with it for the few weeks of puppy class, and brought him home for a bath when we got done. He learned SO much (as well as having so much fun!!!) that I don't regret it at all.


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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-15-2010, 05:43 PM
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They *do* develop many of their habits as puppies.
I agree with that completely. "Habits" can develop quickly (sometimes at any age, but particularly as puppies) but their "personality" or "temperament" is built-in.

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Keep in mind that they are really intuitive to what you are feeling, even if you are in a bad mood, or frustrated over 'work' or some other area of life, they pick up on it. Case and point..a neighbor, that I happen to like, came over one day to talk to my husband and I was in 'no mood' to have company and annoyed at the interruption, and Gucci picked right up on that and would not stop barking at him, lol..
That's absolutely true, and IMO, is a big part of feeding into, if not causing, SA. If the owner is very nervous about leaving the puppy, or feels really sorry for the puppy when they return, a puppy picks up on that quickly. And similar to your story, if tensions are running high around here, particularly between our teenagers and us, Kodi gets more and more wound up and barky. The kids then tend to yell at HIM. I have to point out to them that if THEY'D settle down, he would too!

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This poor neighbor.....Gucci still barks at him, 1.5 years post the incident, she doesn't like him and its my fault I was in a pissy mood that day.

Kara
That's pretty funny, but it's also a great example of how impressionable they are! Tom King has mentioned that they are like training Arabian horses. As another person with a LOT of experience training Arabs, I agree with Tom completely. They are very smart and they don't forget. So don't make mistakes training them, or you'll live to regret it!


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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-15-2010, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Ellie NY View Post
I read somewhere that a puppy's personality really forms between weeks 14 - 16. Eli, who I've had for 2 weeks now, is in that critical stage. I've definitely seen some significant changes in his temperament. I have a trainer coming and was putting together a list to describe his personality and what we might work on aside from the usual training commands. How do I know if he has separation anxiety? Sometimes he's totally fine on his own and sometimes he isn't. How do I know if he's afraid of strangers? He has very different responses; usually he's oblivious, sometimes he notices and barks at them (not sure if it's aggressive or not), and sometimes he's friendly. Generally speaking, he is super sweet, quiet, calm, inquisitive. He comes easily to me and the kids but avoids or runs from my husband who absolutely adores him and is very gentle with him. He's also become very stubborn, especially during his walks. He just stops and refuses to move. I think he's waiting to be carried!

Is there a diagnostic somewhere that may be useful? Can the trainer get a good sense in the 90 minutes he/she is with us? How much will his personality continue to form/change?
Your only concern should be socialization at this time. Their personality forms from the day they are born. A better option than a trainer coming would be pupppy classes. By the time four months is up , they have passed the critical socialization period. Here's a couple of articles. http://www.dogstardaily.com/training...ome-8-12-weeks and another one http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/puppy-classes

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Last edited by davetgabby; 09-15-2010 at 08:57 PM.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-16-2010, 06:45 AM
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That's absolutely true, and IMO, is a big part of feeding into, if not causing, SA. If the owner is very nervous about leaving the puppy, or feels really sorry for the puppy when they return, a puppy picks up on that quickly. And similar to your story, if tensions are running high around here, particularly between our teenagers and us, Kodi gets more and more wound up and barky. The kids then tend to yell at HIM. I have to point out to them that if THEY'D settle down, he would too
Ehh, IDK If I attributed to her SA, I think she may have developed it by being so attached to her breeder? Her breeder's description of her personality, was/is very much like her personality now...she'd often ditch her littermates to go hang out with the humans and cuddle up with them. If I have a playdate at my house, she will go introduce herself, but always ends up back at my side.

I wanted to do everything right, I did my homework researching breeds, temperament, read a ton of books, read this forum in its entirety (it was smaller at the time) and even implemented quite a few of Tom King's training suggestions (which worked out great) but I do think the SA was already a part of her, maybe it was from leaving the breeder.....IDK. I did practice the whole 'not being upset', crate training by the book, 10 minutes at a time and working up, etc..the book didn't exactly work..one size fits all did not fit us, with that said..as in any relationship, human or canine, there has to be rules and consistencies and there has to be some 'compromise' (I know that's a sticky wicket kind of comment and I don't mean let your dog run wild and rule the house, but in a more specific sense of being flexible to trying new things (ie. my changing the crating to an xpen, hanging bells on the door for her to ring when she needed to go outside, etc....worked much better, for both of us...than some of the other suggestions put out there as being the be all and end all of training advice.)

And housebreaking, well, I think its a bit harder for those of us with a single dog, because we don't have the benefit of the pack, or other older dogs showing them what to do, I think they 'get it' at the breeders but then put them in a whole new environment, they have some relearning to do.

Quote:
That's pretty funny, but it's also a great example of how impressionable they are! Tom King has mentioned that they are like training Arabian horses. As another person with a LOT of experience training Arabs, I agree with Tom completely. They are very smart and they don't forget. So don't make mistakes training them, or you'll live to regret it!
They *are* very smart and they have memories better than mine, lol..whoever said that dogs only have a short term memory need to meet my dog, she doesn't forget a thing and can spot ANYthing in this house that is out of place, or moved a foot in the other direction..she'll bark or whine at it to let me know its not supposed to be there, its amazing. My DH who has had other breeds says she is by far the smartest dog he's ever seen, and in some ways..the most stubborn. lol

Kara

Last edited by Thumper; 09-16-2010 at 06:47 AM.
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