Evaluating Homestead Dog Behavior by Breed



There are certain natural characteristics in animals that don't change much. For example: coyotes run with their tails down, dogs run with their tails up and wolves run with their tails straight out. Some dog breeds have certain characteristics that differ between breeds. If we are aware of these characteristics it will enable us to better understand our canine family members. 

Breed Preference for Homesteaders

We personally prefer the German Shepherd breed; however we have had in the past a Border Collie/Australian Shepherd mix and a Basset Hound/Golden Retriever mix. The former is on a par with the intelligence of the German Shepherd. With highly intelligent breeds like the German shepherd, training needs to be positive and carefully done. A harsh word to a German shepherd can be detrimental  as they try so hard to please. We train our dogs with a gentle voice. Harsh treatment or a loud angry voice can cause the dog to be aggressive or neurotic. 

Not All Breeds Have Same Characteristics

It is best to know the breed or mix that you have adopted into your family to effectively train them. Highly intelligent breeds pick up what you desire quickly and have good focus. Therefore, short intense training sessions may work best for them. Some other breeds may take short sessions over a longer period of time. We limit our training sessions to a few minutes and only one subject. We reward success with a small treat and much praise. There are several ways to train that can be found online or a professional trainer can be used.  

Watch for Past Training Mistakes

We adopt rescues and therefore don’t have experience with puppy training. By adopting we have found many times that the new family member has already had some training. We carefully observe our new family member for signs or traits that may have happened before we adopted him/her. Signs of maltreatment, abuse, sharp criticism, etc. which a previous owner may have employed may need to be addressed. No training leads to out-of-control dogs that lack structure in their lives; dogs need structure and routine. 

Be Consistent But Flexible

Our training techniques over the years have been slightly different depending on the dog. For example we adopted one dog that had serious fear issues. Another one was deaf. We had to adjust the training to each dog according to its situation. With fear issues we had to be careful to keep a calm voice, and be patient and gentle. Her self-confidence was so damaged that it took us two years to restore her self-confidence. What a delightful family member she turned out to be. We had to work out hand signals with the deaf girl. 

8/12/2021 10:30:24 PM

like Robin mentioned my dog as did all dogs except the little one, love to R-I-D-E. like my previous dogs she even loves long road trips. she sits straight in the front passenger seat like a human. i haven't trained her to do this, she has naturally adapted to this. people in town can easily identify my car with the dog in the front seat and often with her head out the window. i think much of the training a dog can get is being with their master..

8/12/2021 10:29:52 PM

i love it when people consider their dogs (cats too) as family members . i have had had four dogs, all large breeds except one. i always think of my dogs as family. i even jokingly referred my Golden Retriever as my son. i got strange looks from those who couldn't take a joke.. the dog i have now is a mix of German Shepherd, Dutch Shepherd and Mastiff. she thrives on praise and play. i live in a one bedroom apartment and she adapts to it just fine. she loves being with me. i had her when i lived on a farm for about a year. she adapted to that quite well. the neighbors were nasty over her but she never caused an incident. it was probably because there was a spot where i could turn her loose to go hunting. occasionally she catches something. in this apartment i make it a point to bring her to a place where she can run and swim. its a beautiful sight to watch this dog (who resembles a small wolf) run free. it is part of what makes her a good dog. i usually praise her and talk to her like my child. that might be another factor that makes her so self confident. i hesitate to say she is the best dog i have had, even though it may be true. all of my dogs have been special to me.. my dog now seems to respond to her treatment well. she is always friendly to friends and neighbors. occasionally she seems shy toward people. they are often ones i soon find not the friendliest. she still listens when i tell her to stop. at times i speak to her in a stern voice. in learned how to belt out the commands in the Army. i try to praise her after she responds to my discipline..it could be the breed does well with praise but also with firmness.

7/8/2021 7:58:55 PM

I love the intelligence of German shepherds but a bit surprised they are your top recommendation. In my experience, GSDs are too intelligent for many people lol! Unfortunately some people do not do their research before choosing a dog to make sure the breed of dog is the right choice for the task they need to be done. Also, the future owner needs to be honest about their training ability/experience and take this into consideration when choosing a dog for guarding purposes. One only needs to look at all the young dogs 1-3 yrs old which are abandoned or end up in shelters to understand the importance of choosing wisely. GSDs, as your article mentioned, are super smart and not the best choice for someone without alot of dog training under their belt. Almost any breed will protect their home & family if they bond with you and are treated with love patience & consistency.

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