Like us, dogs have a range of personalities. And, just like us, dogs display more than one personality type. Though one often dominates.
As a walker, chances are that you'll encounter a range of canines. And understanding the different characters can make a massive difference in the way you work and interact with them.
If you walk several dogs at one time, it can also help you manage the groups better, enhancing the daily walk for all.
Here we highlight the 5 major different doggy types and explain how each can affect the way you interact.
The Fearless Furbaby
Walking this confident dog is generally a breeze. They tend to be comfortable in any surroundings and be the natural-born leader.
In a group situation, they'll likely keep the other pooches in line and are definitely a team player.
You can usually tell this self-assured dog through their body language (tall and straight, with even weight on all paws). Watch out for that pushing forward with hackles up behavior, which is a more hostile stance.
Yet, these guys can display dominant behaviours which, when poorly handled, can lead to an aggressive reaction.
As a natural boss, this canine is the leader of the pack. So use positive reinforcement rather than trying to dominate them.
The Coy Canine
Lots of dogs can be shy or nervous by nature. And it’s never a good idea to force this reluctant furbaby into unfamiliar situations. Pushing this pooch out if their comfort zone only leads to mistrust.
Give a shy dog lots of praise, treats and encouragement. And be sure to introduce them slowly to new people, places and experiences. These pups don't do well in chaotic or loud environments. This can make them insecure, fearful, or even bring out some aggression.
The Detached Doggy
Many breeds live, act, and think autonomously of their owners. And those instincts remain to this day.
This independent dog will often bond well one person but tend to be standoffish with others. They like to buddy up with whoever they consider to be the leader of a group. And as a dog walker and not the owner, this may not be you.
So try not to force socialisation, which can cause aggression. The independent dog may need a little encouragement to do what you want. Find out what motivates them. It could be treats, toys or just some extra attention from you.
The Mellow Mutt
As you'd expect, this guy loves everybody. Typically, this mellow fellow gets along with people, dogs, cats and everything in between.
But don't be fooled by the laid back temperament, mellow mutts may at times be a little over-enthusiastic too. Particularly if they have no training and not enough exercise. In that case you may find this pup will jump all over you when you arrive to take them out.
Often Labradors and Golden Retrievers can be the mellow mutt which is often scary for small children. All that puppy love will need to be tempered with training to keep them calm.
The Helpful Hound
This pup is eager to please and unlike the mellow mutt able to control the enthusiasm a little better.
Generally easy to train because they need to make you happy, they are friendly and calm. Happy to hang out with people, dogs, and even cats, they are also the perfect therapy dog. And this adaptable pup can be the dog walkers dream.
There are heaps of breeds, big and small, that make excellent service dogs. From the border collie to the corgi. So you’ll likely come across more than your fair share of helpful hounds.
As a dog enthusiast, you probably already pay close attention to canine characteristics.
Whether a pup is a suitable addition comes down to the established dynamics in your group.
For instance, your puppy pack may already have a leader and need a mellow member to balance things out.
There are options to get to know a dog before you commit to regular walks. And you'll have the opportunity for an online chat plus a meet and greet before you accept new clients too.
So it's definitely helpful for you and your pooches to have an idea about who fits were into the doggy hierarchy.
Dogs want to please and protect us. They look to us for companionship. But even you have to earn your place within the group.
The dogs you care for will rely on you for many things, and you'll need to establish yourself in the pack hierarchy.
Asserting your authority with aggression is, of course, never ok. To earn their respect or trust, you'll need to get to know each dog individually, understand their personality and react accordingly.