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. 

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