Personality Differences in Dogs and Altering Training Methods
All dogs, including puppies in training, have diverse personalities that affect their behavior. One prominent example is a dog’s preference for water, covered in a previous article, "Puppies in Training and Water". Puppy raisers must work with their club leaders and CFRs to adjust their training methods that best suit the dog.
By nature, there are calm dogs that are extremely easy to handle and to train certain concepts. They are more likely to learn to maintain a loose leash quickly and stay on focus (i.e. become less distracted). On the other hand, energetic dogs may require more reinforcement on what is acceptable behavior around human and dog distractions. Energetic dogs tend to make more mistakes inside the house, such as picking up things off the floor when bored. At the same time, energetic dogs are often passionate about training and going on outings with their handlers.
Another major variation among dogs is fearful behaviors. Some may be fearful of loud noises (such as sirens, busy streets, etc.), riding in a vehicle, large moving objects, or grates in the street. This usually correlates with the confidence of the dog. From my puppy raising experience, confident dogs are less intimidated by their surroundings and new environments.
Puppy raisers adjust their training methods according to these behavioral traits. A combination of food rewards, frequent praise, and corrections can easily translate to successful dogs regardless of their personality. If usual methods aren’t completely effective, CFR's can provide special protocols and advice to correct certain behaviors. The primary role of the puppy raiser is to always remain patient with the dogs and expose them to different environments so that puppies can increasingly become confident and eager to work.
Although the type of attention required for each dog changes drastically based on their personalities, these challenges make the puppy raising experience unique and somewhat addicting. Working with a team of supportive volunteers and seeing your dog succeed is the motivation for all puppy raisers.