What is the difference between AussieDoodle temperament, personality, and behavior?
When do dogs start showing their personality? Below you will find definitions of each. You will also find information on how these three factors bleed into each other, as well as some tips on how you can shape the perfect dog.
Temperament: “a person’s or animal’s nature, especially as it permanently affects their behavior.”
The temperament of your dog is controlled by it’s genes. When I say, “poodles are very smart dogs,” or “Australian Shepherds love to swim,” these are descriptions of a dog’s temperament. Keep in mind, this is not the “rule” for dogs. For example, you may have an Aussie that will NOT get in the water, despite your attempts to acclimate it to your pool. In most cases, this is because you didn’t introduce the dog to water until it was over 6 months old. Another good example or “temperament” is that some dogs like to “hunt.” It is their instinct to follow a scent trail. On a side note, this is another reason I like AussieDoodles over Labradoodles. Aussies have a much lower “hunting” temperament, so they are usually more reliable off leash than Labradoodles.
Behavior: “the way in which an animal or person acts in response to a particular situation or stimulus.”
We give our puppies an A+ start, but once you get your puppy, YOU will directly shape the behavior of your dog. It is your responsibility to shape the behavior and mold your puppy into the dog you want. The way you interact with your puppy in the first 2-3 months, will directly affect it’s behavior for it’s entire life. For example, if your dog is “protective” of you, that’s a behavior that you shaped. If your dog won’t get off the couch, that’s a behavior YOU caused. If your dog barks often, again, that is a behavior you encouraged (by accident). It is incredibly easy to accidentally shape an undesirable behavior. A behavior is able to be “shaped” when your dog is a puppy, and it becomes increasingly more difficult as it gets 4 months old and older. For example, if you don’t socialize your AussieDoodle as a puppy, and you don’t treat your dog as if you are the pack leader, then your dog may take on a protective behavior. If your puppy jumps on the gate and barks, and then you look at your puppy (whether you tell it to stop barking or not), then you just taught it to bark. You rewarded the barking, by giving it attention. If your puppy jumps up on your leg and you pick it up, or talk to it, then you just taught it to jump on you. If your puppy is biting your feet and your give it a toy and start playing with it, then you rewarded it for biting your feet. If you wrestle and excite your puppy, you’re teaching it that life is about being hyper, rather than calm.
Personality: “the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character.”
The personality of your dog can be shaped a LITTLE bit. If you take two dogs from the same litter, raise them exactly the same way, each dog will have a VERY similar behavior and temperament, but they will still have their own, unique personalities. A good example of a “personality” would be to say, “Mini poochie loves to get her toy and walk around the house wiggling her butt and looking for someone to play fetch with her.” Or, “That Winnie, she always likes to ride in the back seat of the car.” Whatever our dog’s personality is, we grow to love it, just like if it was our child.