Best Behaved Dog Breeds: Does Breed Determine a Dog’s Personality?

Best-Behaved-Dog-Breeds-Does-Breed-Determine-a-Dogs-Personality-HEADLINEI often get asked the question, “What are the best behaved dog breeds?”

And here’s my answer…

The idea that a breed can determine a dog’s personality is one of the biggest dog myths in the world. There’s simply not such thing as a “best behaved dog breed.”

For example, people assume that if you own a Pit Bull, he’s definitely going to be tough and aggressive, and if you own a Chihuahua, she’s going to be a yappy princess.

But, the truth is, I’ve met many Pit Bulls who want nothing more than to cuddle with you on the couch, while I’ve also encountered several Chihuahuas who bark, growl and bite every time you go near them.

The bottom line is that a dog’s breed is NOT the most important thing in determining the personality traits or how that dog will behave in the big wide world.

So what factors influence your dog’s behaviour the most?

Today, I’m going to give you my best answer as to what I believe are the 8 most common dog personality traits, along with information on how to determine if that trait is a good match for you as a dog owner or not.

Please keep in mind that I’m picking these traits based on gut instinct and from what I know based on years of working with thousands of different types of dogs.

I also want to point out that none of these character traits are necessarily good or bad.

Yes, sometimes there is a trait, which will make it slightly easier to train a dog, such as having a dog who’s very food motivated versus having a dog who’s not interested in food or treats at all.

However, it’s also easy for a dog to have what may seem like a positive trait–being food motivated–that turns into a not so desirable trait if it goes too far. For example, a dog who will not stop hunting for food or who nips your fingers when you’re trying to give him a treat.

Typically, it’s best to have a dog whose traits fall within the middle ground.

However, there are always exceptions.

A dog with a high prey drive is generally not what people want. You’re probably not looking for a German Shepherd who’s trying to dart out the front door and chase cats down the road. However, sometimes prey drive is desirable. If you’re someone who lives on a farm who’s got a barn and it’s full of rats and mice, a high prey drive is desirable. If you get a Jack Russell who’s got a huge high prey drive and catches the rats like a pro, that’s perfect.

So, as you can see, there are good things and bad things about every trait a dog may have. I think you’ve got the point, so, without further ado, let’s jump into the different types of personality traits.

1. Tough Vs. Soft Dog Personality Traits

The first personality and character trait is what I call “Tough or Soft.” It’s a very simple trait.

How do you know which one your dog is? Easy…

If you shout at your dog or tell your dog off and he immediately cowers back and never does what he got yelled at before again, he’s probably soft.

And, if you shout at your dog or tap him on the nose and he isn’t bothered by it, or even likes it, he’s probably tough.

Note: I don’t ever advise that you yell at your dog, I prefer taking a kinder approach.

Think about it in terms of children.

Some children are very easy to push back into line. You just have to raise your voice a bit, and they don’t want to do anything wrong. Other kids are stubborn and are far more strong-minded. They’ll put up more of a physical fight with you.

This is a very important way to look at it.

If you have a very soft dog, he can be very easy for you to bully.

Again, I certainly don’t like the approach of using force to bully a dog into submission. I’m far more about trying to understand why the dog is doing what he’s doing and how we can help him.

On the other hand, you can’t really bully tough dogs because they push back so hard. So you really have to work a little bit harder and understand them better, how to motivate them, which I think is a great thing.

Being soft or tough also often determines the types of things a dog will enjoy doing.

A soft dog might be a little prince or princess who enjoys sitting on the velvet cushion in the sunshine, watching the world go by. A tougher dog who likes things a bit more rough and tumble may be happier running around a farm.

2. High Vs. Low Energy Dog Personality Traits

Another very important character or trait is how much energy your dog has.

Having the same energy level of your dog is very important.

If you have a dog who needs two hours of exercise per day and you really only like to go maybe twice a week for a little walk, it’s going to be a struggle.

One of the biggest issues I had when I got my little dog Inka was that she was energized and alert 24/7, 365 days a year, and was always in your face.

She would stand there looking at me just waiting, wanting something… usually pets, cuddles and affection.

I’d take her for a walk; she wouldn’t switch off. She’d wander around the house, stand there and look at me.

Now, there are ways to work with these sorts of dogs, which I share in my program, The Dog Calming Code. If you have a 24/7 dog, I urge you to go check it out!

For little Inka, I had to find a way of draining her energy. One thing that helps for her is throwing the chucker ball for half an hour.

It’s the same with kids.

Some kids love to play all day, and they’re still not exhausted while other kids get tired very quickly and need daily naps.

As I mentioned earlier, with all these issues, it’s not so much that it’s good or bad. You just need to find ways to taper your dog's energy one way or the other.

3. Food Vs Not Food Motivated Dog Personality Traits

The next trait is food motivated dogs vs those dogs that are not interested in treats.

There’s no doubt that dogs that are food motivated are easier to train.

Just think about it… you just use a recall and reward the dog with food when he comes to you. You can use that food so easily to train him.

Again, you can relate this back to kids. For some kids, you can use bribery, a little bit of chocolate to get them to do exactly what you want, like doing their homework.

For kids that don’t care about special treats, you have to be a bit smarter.

In terms of dogs, this might mean rewarding your dog with a special toy, head scratches, or a real special treat, like steak or cheese.

4. Prey Vs Non-Prey Drive Dog Personality Traits

Personality trait number 4 is prey drive.

Some dogs have a huge prey drive. It’s just built-in.

Generally speaking, most people don’t want a high prey drive in their dogs, whether they’re trying to chase cows or cats or anything that moves.

Although some people, like those who live on a farm, might want a dog with high prey drive instincts for specific purposes, such as getting rid of small rodents in a barn.

If you don’t want to worry about your dog pulling you on a leash or running out the door to chase anything that moves, seek out a dog that has a naturally low prey drive.

5. Confident Vs Fearful Dog Personality Traits

Okay, this personality trait is all about confidence.

If you have a dog who is confident and fearless, he’ll be happy to approach new situations. For example, the other day I was in the garage chopping firewood, and my dog Jack comes right up to me as I’m smashing pieces of wood. He doesn’t care.

Then I’m on the ride-on mower, and he’s outside. He’s lying there and the ride-on mower is passing him within about 2 meters, and he doesn’t move.

He lies there and he’s very happy with any strange thing that happens. He’s just curious whether it’s a person turning up who he’s never met before. He’s not scared. He doesn’t have a fearful bone in his body and that does make it easier in many ways.

He’s not going to be a jumpy dog who’s jumping and barking and scared and nervous of things. He’s far less likely to become a fear biter.

On the flip side, you have to manage dogs who are fearful more carefully.

You really have to become what I call the guiding force in their life, the decision maker, or as some people call it the ‘pack leader’.

It’s all about letting a fearful dog know, ‘Hey, I’m in charge. I’m the one that makes the decisions around here.’ That’s how you can really help those fearful dogs.

6. Dominant Vs Submissive Dog Personality Traits

Number 6 is dominant vs submissive.

My dog Jack is by nature the most dominant dog I’ve ever met.

He's just a born leader. When I watched him as a puppy, I said, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen a puppy so confident with big dogs in all my life.’

He was walking up to my dogs and jumping around like he knew the rules. He knew what the game was, and he said, ‘I can do this.’

The dominant dogs, in some ways, are easier. However, you need to be able to kind of cap them and make sure they don’t start thinking they run the whole house, because then it can go the other way as they start saying, ‘I’ll make the decisions’ or ‘I’m the protector of the home.’

You have to understand how to keep dominant dogs from becoming too dominant, thinking they’re the absolute king of the castle.

You want them to be your wingman or your wing lady– somebody who still listens to you and looks up to you. Jack is exactly that. He absolutely loves me, which is wonderful.

Submissive dogs, on the other hand, can be very easy.

If you know what you’re doing, they’re not so challenging. They’re happy to be submissive to you and to other dogs. They’re happy to clock into the pack, and they’re not always trying to lead.

The thing is, a lot of this is about survival. Sometimes, submissive dogs just find it easier. It’s easier for them to survive, to get through in life.

I often watch that program Survivor, where you can see the person who’s beating their chest and sticking their head out to speak out the whole time, making themselves a target saying, ‘I’m in charge, I’m running the show.’

They’re far more likely to get picked off and get challenged and get taken down. Whereas, people who hang back and don’t shout so much or make so much noise often come through at the end.

The other movie I watched on Netflix is called Vikings. Back in the day, it seems like as soon as you became king or queen, you were a marked man or woman. Everyone was trying to gun for you and take you down, and that’s what happens. The person who’s at the top gets taken down.

Survival is often about not sticking your head up too high, and that’s how it is in the dog world as well. Dogs instinctively know this and that’s why they are happy just being down at the bottom of the hierarchy–it’s easier for them!

7. Desire to Please Vs No Desire to Please Dog Personality Traits

Trait number 7 is desire to please–a trait that actually has more to do with humans.

Here’s why…

I personally think it’s easier if you have a dog who’s easy to please or happy to please, because then you can use your pats and cuddles and affection as a valuable reward.

My little dog called Inker is a very nervous dog, very fearful.

She also has very high energy, which often made it hard to work with her because she always wants to go, go, go, and do more. She is jumpy.

However, what worked well was she was so keen to please. She’d do anything to make me happy, and it is adorable. Pats and cuddles are all she wants, lots of love.

But, if you have a dog who’s aloof and isn’t easy to please, he probably doesn’t really care for your pats and cuddles. This means you really have to establish yourself as somebody that he truly respects and will listen to.

8. Social Vs Nonsocial Dog Personality Traits

Number 8 is all about sociability with other dogs.

We’ve talked about whether dogs are aloof with humans, but this has to do with other dogs.

Think about this…

Does your dog love to play with other dogs? Is he relaxed and confident around other dogs?

Some dogs just love to play and are socialites, and this is great! It makes it much easier to take your dog out to the park because he is happy to interact with other dogs.

The down side…there is such a thing as a dog who likes to socialize or play too much. A dog who is too social might see another dog on the other side of the street and begin barking and pulling on the leash. The dog may also feed the need to sniff every dog and jump in their face, which can easily get them into trouble.

Sometimes it’s just as easy to have a dog who really isn’t that bothered with other dogs, and you can just go for a lovely, relaxing walk. It’s always good that they tolerate dogs, but too keen can be too much.

Which Dog Personality Traits Are Best?

To finish off, I want to remind you that it’s important to celebrate diversity.

Just like people, dogs are all different. There’s not one right or best way to be, It’s diversity and differences, that make both humans and dogs fascinating and interesting.

A lot of these traits also have to do with genetics, breeding, bloodlines and DNA. These things happen at birth.

Little Inker-Tinker was a nervous, fearful, high energy dog. It wasn’t something that we trained into her. It was more to do with nature than nurture. However, the nurture is the bit that we can affect, and now she’s a totally different dog–very confident, relaxed and absolutely adorable.

Once again you can see the similarity with children. Some children are sociable, some children try to please and some children are more confident, which for me just goes to show how similar we really are as animals. We have all these feelings and emotions and personality traits. Dog’s are not that different from humans when you really understand them.

A final note to finish on…

Notice that the breed of the dog doesn’t really have a big effect on personality traits. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a pedigree or a mutt. The personality and character varies within every breed and plays a very small part in how a dog behaves.

There are Collie dogs that don’t have high energy. Some do. In fact, a lot of them do…but some of them don’t. And yes, there are some aggressive Pit Bulls, but the majority are really lovely dogs who simply like to cuddle. It varies.

My other point I want to make is about how to determine character traits.

Traits become more apparent as dogs age, so it's far easier to spot these character traits later on in life.

So, if you’re thinking of getting a puppy, it’s much harder to spot what the personality and character of your dog is going to be at 8 weeks of age. It’s far easier, for a two-year-old dog.

So, that is the advantage of maybe having a look at a dog who’s older.

But like I said, with a little training, any character trait can be molded and formed. If you have a dog that you’re struggling with, I suggest you check my program, The Dog Calming Code, for some help!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. It’s been a lot of fun for me just thinking about dog behaviour traits. Have a great day and as always, love your dog.


P.S. Let me know your dog’s breed and any key personality traits below and let’s see what we find out about them 🙂

Also, if you're curious to know where your dog is in the most popular breeds list, you can download the full ranking list below (190 breeds):

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~Doggy Dan

Doggy Dan

Doggy Dan is the founder of The Online Dog Trainer, a wildly successful online training program for dog owners. His goal is to continue to share his unique approach to dog training with like-minded people who wish to make a difference in the world of dogs. His training methods focus on creating and building the connection between dogs and dog owners, and are shared and used around the world.

122 Responses

  1. Hi Doggy Dan. I have a female german shepherd who is 10 months old. Has always been extremely mouthing and biting, despite us discouraging it. We have worked super hard using all the tips from your videos and she has come a long way, especially with the pack leader training. Our biggest issues now are jumping up on my 5 year old and on visitors, and mouthing when she is too over excited. We are very consistent with time out, but it doesn’t seem to be improving now. I often have to keep her away from visitors as she can’t be trusted around them, and she is getting so big that she can knock people hard. This seems counter productive though, as I want her to become accustomed to being calm around them.
    She is definitely naturally dominant towards humans, but interestingly quite submissive at first with other dogs until she gets to know them well. She has the tough personality trait, and is quite confident in new situations unless there are too many new dogs all at the same time. High prey drive. Only responds to delicious treats like cheese or sausage. Not particularly affectionate, but becoming more so. She will not stop chasing the cats. We try to not give the cats too much attention near her, but it seems even a very little attention sets her off. I’ve had dogs in the past, but never one that has needed so much effort to train!

    1. Hi Melanie,
      Young dogs can find it really hard to control their impulses when they are a little too excited, and having you calmly intervene to help guide your dog’s behaviour will help. Make sure you avoid adding energy to those situations (no speaking to or eye contact) as this will only increase he excitement level. If you have guests over then have your dog on-leash initially so you have greater control and can calmly move her out of the room if she becomes too excited. Similarly, if she is getting excited around your children then having a short/long-line attached to her collar will mean that you can very quickly and calmly gain control to help calm her down. When dogs & children are interacting together supervision is vital, as it allows you to guide both as to how they should behave when together. If you can try to keep your dog’s excitement level lower, then she will be less likely to over-react and jump-up or nip/mouth.
      If you are a member of my website then remember that we have a fantastic Forum where you can ask for help any time you need it! All the Best, Doggy Dan

  2. Hi, I have just found your site and the resources look great. We adopted a 10 week old jack russell/yorkshire terrier puppy 5 days ago. She is a great little thing and we are putting huge time into giving her attention and exercise so she settles in.
    She gets very worked up and excited and as soon as she does she starts nipping/biting quite hard. She then finds it hard to stop! And bites everything she can get her mouth on.
    We’re trying to ignore her or leave the room when she bites us but she chases us nipping out ankles which means we often run out of the room and then she sees it as a game.
    I saw you suggested using a time out -removing her from the area rather than us.
    We are working on getting her used to her crate and playpen and the advice is not to use it as a punishment so I don’t know whether we should put her in there calmly (doing it in a way so it’s not like a punishment but just to cool off) or to use another room altogether like the bathroom?
    She’s still at the stage she gets very panicky when separated from us. However when we ignore her but stay in the room she really doesn’t calm down but stays worked up biting and snarling with toys/furniture. And as soon as we put our feet down she’s nipping at us again.
    For the first couple of days I had actually put her in her puppy bag and carried her around while I did my jobs as it sort of gave her time to calm down but kept her close. Should I keep doing this until she’s OK being left alone or is the being left alone the deterrent for the biting?
    Any advice would be great because we’re feeling a little lost. She’s a great dog but the nipping is quite hard going especially for my daughter. Thank you so much, Hannah

    1. Hi Hannah,
      Raising puppies can be great fun but it also requires owners to guide their behaviour so they understand what is acceptable and what is not, mouthing/biting being one of those. If your puppy is biting/mouthing you then try to avoid saying anything to her (even ‘no’ or ‘stop’, this is an attention seeking behaviour and if it works then your puppy will continue to do it. Instead, place her in her crate/puppy pen or in another room for a few minutes so that she understands there is a consequence for that behaviour that she may not like. Make sure you remain calm and be prepared to need to give her quite a few time-outs before she starts to use more self-control….particularly if she is over-excited!
      You may be interested in my ‘Perfect Puppy Program’, it’s a course I developed to help owners with raising happy and well behaved puppies. My website shows you very clearly how to achieve this…maybe take a quick look…its a $1USD trial for 3 days…All the Best, Doggy Dan

  3. I have a Teddy Bear.  High energy not food motivated unless it is chickenHates to ride in the car and usually throws up.   Thinks everyone wants to meet her and be her friend. Puts everything in her mouth and finds things I didn’t know I had.   She is usually on a leash but still runs and runs and runs.  Then comes in the house and runs all over the house.  Never leaves my side.  Love her but she is no lady.

    1. Hi Linda,
      There is a lot going on with your dog by the sounds of it! If you are feeling frustrated by her behaviour then my website is a great place to start as we do cover all of the issues you mentioned…maybe take a quick look…its a $1USD trial for 3 days…all the best Doggy Dan

  4. I have a 10 month old yellow lab puppy. If I get mad at her for having her paws up on the counter, etc. she barks back at me.
    Twice I have had little dogs yipping at her and she does not back down and we have had to pull her off.
    As she needs a tonne of exercise and lives to play with dogs, I am now at a dead end as to what to do as I can’t walk her on a leash as she leaps forward and I can barely hold on.
    in tears,
    Susan & Jordan pup

    1. Hi Susan,
      The best motto I have when dealing with unwanted behaviours are to use calm and consistent actions rather than words when responding! Giving too much attention, mainly verbal and eye contact, can actually teach a puppy that the behaviour is working for them. So my advice would be to calmly remove your Lab’s paws from the kitchen counter, without telling her off or making a big fuss. If she repeats the behaviour then maybe pop her outside for a few minutes so that she learns the behaviour backfires on her. It will also help to keep unattended food off counters to reduce temptation!
      In regards to her behaviour when she is on a walk my website shows you very clearly how to overcome this…maybe take a quick look…its a $1USD trial for 3 days…all the best Doggy Dan

  5. Hi, we have a Chow Chow and he has the best temperament. Recently he came off second best to a car & the vets & staff who have cared for him at Lort Smith And U Vet Werribee can’t believe how docile & gentle he is. even when manipulating a sore leg he doesn’t yelp snarl growl.

    They indicate that the breed has a reputation for being aggressive & territorial.

    1. Hi Kerry, I’m so sorry to hear about your dog! I hope he is ok and back to full health. Best, Doggy Dan

  6. Hi Dan, I adopted an ACD….or blue heeler earlier this year (2017). “Bleu” will be 10mos. old soon and he is one of the most loving and smartest dogs I have ever had the pleasure of being a guardian of. He is also deaf and I adopted him knowing this about him. I have no experience with his breed or his disability or limited ability if you prefer. But I wanted to let you and your readers know what a pleasure this entire learning experience has been for both me and my family! He is a 50lb. dog who was thinks he is a lapdog. He is quite silly and really enjoys watching television with me.
    The one question that I am hoping you can help me with is how best to introduce him to the outside world. He has lived a sheltered life as I was unable to spend much time away from my home with him when he was younger. Consequently he of course is fearful of things somewhat and can be aggressive to other dogs. Please advise me on how best to introduce the “outside world” to him. He is a bit much to handle on the leash as he is big and strong, but very treat motivated…….which I can use to my advantage I am sure! Thank you in advance for your help/advice.

    1. Hi Kathy,
      I thing the below blog will be the most help for you as it covers how to show Bleu that you are in control of the walk from the moment you even thinks about going. This is a step that most owners miss when it comes to correcting unwanted behaviours on the walk and it really can make a big difference. I also have some blogs about dogs who are reactive towards other dogs so be sure to check those out as well.
      If you wanted a bit more information then my website shows you very clearly how to achieve this…maybe take a quick look…its a $1 trial for 3 days…all the best Doggy Dan

  7. We have two rescue dogs (picked up the same day) and the could not be more different! Our female (Imogene) is a Treeing Tennessee Brindle. She’s one solid muscle and is as high strung as the day is long! Our male is a Black Lab mix who is so laid back I need to hold a mirror up to his nose now and then to be sure he’s still with us. 🙂 We had no clue about what their personalities would be like, but after a 3 1/2 hour drive home from picking them up and having them in the same vehicle all that time, I will say we were blessed! Imogene is trying on the best of days, but we have committed to give these two a home for the rest of their lives, so I work with your information and we give them plenty of unconditional love. 🙂

    1. Hi Karen,
      I had to Google the Treeing Tennessee Brindle as I have not come across too many of them in my work, in fact none! Probably because they are predominantly found in America and are not at all common in New Zealand! There is one thing I always remind owner of dogs who are a little challenging, they really do make us fare better dog owners! The reason being that they teach us just how important it is to be consistent in the way we respond to them and also how important giving them the right information is as well. They are both lucky to have found such a patient and loving home. All the best…Doggy Dan

  8. Hi Dan

    I have 3 dogs: a 10.5 yr old Rottie/Australian Shepherd, a 5 yr old Dachshund/Cocker Spaniel (?) mix & a 3 yr old Doberman.

    Teddie Bear (Rottie) is layed back, prefers women over men, listens well, and prefers to initiate affection. When we go to the dog park, she checks things out & then comes back to lie at my feet. Her main goal in life is to take care of Mommie. She is never far from my side.

    Bentley (mixed breed) is a very loving dog. He likes to sleep at my feet no matter where I am. He’s timid when it comes to doling out kisses & has a stubborn streak a mile wide. He doesn’t respond to verbal commands well.

    Atilla (Dobbie) is my problem child. He’s very high energy, acts like he’s starved for love & attention, and pushes the other dogs away in an effort to get all the attention. He can be grabby when treats are handed out. The most aggravating characteristic he has is using his head to demand attention. On the plus side, he is very well trained to verbal commands, is very loving, seldom meets a stranger, and most of all, he thinks he’s a lap dog.

    I also have 4 cats + a litter of 4 kittens (5 months old). The dogs are all tolerant and protective of the kittens, although occasionally one of them will get a wild hair & the chase is on.

    Any suggestions for a 69-year-old woman for how to live peacefully with this zoo?

    1. Hi Connee,
      It sounds like you have a really great group of dogs, and cats, in your home and have laid some really great foundations with their training. There are a few things you mentioned in your post, lets call them minor details, that when addressed can make a big difference in your dog’s behaviour. Maybe have a quick look at my website where we talk about this detail in great length…we have a $1 trial for 3 days…all the best Doggy Dan

  9. Hi Dan,

    We have a one year old Australian cattle dog. this is our first dog as a family. She is Nice to people, food motivated, high energy (which we love). She is social. Lives to plat with other dogs. She likes working for us (finding things we hide is her favorite)
    People warned us about the diffuculty of the breed but we don’t see the problem. The only thing, She is constantly trying to become the boss of our daughter. We try to learn our daughter a few tricks. Maybe this would be a good video 😉 (how to teach kids to become a leader and make them understand why this is important)

    Greetings Corrie (from the netherlands)

    1. Hi Corries, thanks for your post!
      Teaching children how to interact correctly with dogs is a really important skill to teach them. Not only will it allow them to create a really wonderful relationship with their own dogs but it will also help keep them safe around other strange dogs as well. If you feel that your dogs is getting a bit pushy with your daughter then it is fine for you to calmly step in and guide your dog’s behaviour. There’s no need to get upset or tell your dog off, if you’re consistent she will learn how to behave correctly around your daughter. Keep up the great work….Doggy Dan

    2. Hi, Doggydan….signed up for 6months but the forum is so hard for me to access????? this was what I had expected to view questions and answers just great often just to know you are not alone with a problem. Picot a 5 month red toy poodle….full on high energy….very confident…..for 9 weeks been working on daytime separation anxiety…..first break through today have golden rules in place but eating over his plate jumped and took sausage so obviously need to work on those????? I desperately need to be able to be able to leave him occasionally . Regards, Suzanne

      1. Hi Suzanne,
        If you are having technical issues with accessing the website then please get in touch with our Admin Team and they will be able to help you. Also remember that you can ask for guidance and help on the Forum if you need to. You can ask as many questions as you like and there is no such thing as a ‘silly’ question. We are not about judging anyone, we are there to help! Have you had a look at the section on the membership website relating to Separation Anxiety? Keep up the great work….Doggy Dan

  10. Hi Dan,

    I have two Chihuahua, short coat mix recused from a shelter. Once they were brought home both were very timid and would not enter the house. It took a little bit before they finally came around to walk in the house. But the issue I am having is that when I grab the leash to take them out for potty they act with fear at the sight of the leash and once I attach the leash they do not want to go out. I tried tempting them with treats (not giving it to them until potty is done) to get them to start walking out but they won’t budge. I’m afraid of taking them out to potty without the leash because our yard is not fenced in and I don’t them to run off. I think they may be afraid of the leash. So I have to pick them up just to get them outside, one at a time. Once they’re outside, they are ok. And it’s already been going on 4 days.

    1. Hi Rosa,
      The best way to help your dogs over their fear/anxiety of the leash is to practice the routine of putting it on them but break that process down into little steps, mastering each one before moving on to the next. For example practice bringing their leashes out regularly and just carrying them around then house with you, without involving your dogs in any way. This is aimed at desensitising them to their belief that the leash is a negative thing. If they seem calm then place their leash on the ground near you, grab a really high value treat, and call them over to receive it from you. Avoid touching the leash at this point but just get them used to coming to you with the leash in sight. Gradually you will be able to work up to picking up the leash and clipping it onto their collar and walking them a little. I know this may seem a like a painstaking way of working with this behaviour but if you plan to start off slowly then your dogs will likely progress quicker than you expect. Be patient though, they may have a very good reason in their mind to view the leash as a negative thing. Hope that helps! All the best…..Doggy Dan

  11. Hi Doggy-ity Dan!

    Absolutely love your online programme. Your book is awesome too.

    My dog Anzac is a German Shepherd and going through all the points, he’s:

    High energy
    Not food motivated
    Prey drive
    Little desire to please (I say little as opposed to no, as he has a slight desire, but not much)

    Very interesting article, as are all your articles and videos.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Pandora! Our aim is to help dog owners understand their dogs a whole lot better, but more importantly we aim to overcome a lot of the common behavioural issues. The approach we use is all about education so that problems are resolved for the long-term and for any other dogs who come into your care. All the best…Doggy Dan

  12. I have a 6 month old standard schnauzer that I got when he was 3 months old. His name is Finn and I love him very much. He’s not exactly cuddly, but does love pets and snuggles as rewards. Also is very food motivated. What I am struggling with is a change in behaviour as he is getting older.

    When I first got him he was pretty mellow with other people and dogs. I’d take him to the dog park and he’d run and play. Only issue was that he would try to play too much with some of the dogs who would then back him off. My scottie could back him off immediately, although Finn would keep testing her anyway.

    At about 5 months he became fearful of just about everything outside. On walks he would bark at any person or dog, pulling back on the leash trying to get away. He’d jump at a truck driving by, or someone mowing their lawn. It was baffling. I used your techniques and have seen great improvement over the last 30 days (he can now walk right past my neighbors calmly, most of the time). He is better with guests at my home, but still barks if anyone makes a sudden move that startles him. By the way, he goes to doggy daycare once a week and has no problems at all.

    Now he is having accidents in the house a lot. Sometimes as many as 4 times before noon. He was completely housebroken before this, and when I left him for 5 days when on a trip, he had not one accident at doggy daycare. When I got him home the accidents continued. He is peeing only.

    Is this possibly fear-based? Is this a phase the dog is going through? It appeared suddenly independent of anything that was happening in our house. Vet checked him out for UTI and no infection. He thinks it is due to the fact that the dog is not yet neutered and that this is a behavioural problem. What are your thoughts?

    1. Hi Jessica,
      Peeing inside certainly can be a behavioural issue and if your dog was previously toilet trained then this is likely the case. It can be possible for dogs to regress a bit in this area around the 5 month age and so reinforcing the right toilet routine is a good idea. Proactively taking your dog out to toilet every couple of hours and praising the right behaviour is a good idea.
      Toileting indoors, especially if you are out of the house, can relate to Separation Anxiety, so make sure you review my notes on this topic if your are still a member on my website.
      Lastly, my advice is to get you to do a review of the 5GR’s to ensure you are still applying them consistently as advised. Remember that each rule is equally important in overcoming behavioural issues. if you are still a member on my website then remember that you can post questions on the Forum and we will answer them for you. All the best….Doggy Dan

  13. Dear DD – I have a husky who is 7yrs – rescued at 3. Extremely strong prey drive and food motivated; as a result we cannot let her off leash as she will find a away to escape if she smells something anywhere more appetising then what we have (ie bush turkeys, chickens, fish bait) & she will go to great lengths (she is also very, very clever) – we just accept when we go out she is our leash dog – which is a shame as she loves to stretch out and she’s beautiful to watch ie along a long stretch of beach. Our 2nd issue a German Shepard 4yrs. Wonderful recall, a pleaser and soft – but he lacks confidence (I think) + the protector = lunges (not bites) and barks frighteningly at other dogs, not people; particularly if the Husky is with us. He is my worry as it frightens people, other dogs and may end up with him getting hurt or hurting someone unintentionally. Cheers Deb

    1. Hi Deb,
      The behaviours you describe are ones that you can certainly improve on, so that you all enjoy going on a walk. My website shows you very clearly how to achieve this…maybe take a quick look…its a $1 trial for 3 days…all the best Doggy Dan

  14. We have 5 month old Shizon dog and have been following your website since we had him. He has masses of energy for such a little fellow and is loved by everyone he meets also gets on well with other dogs. He is starting to walk really well on the lead and his recall is amazing other dog owners can’t believe how well he responds to the whistle, due to your video I might say. He still has a tendency to jump up but we are working on that. Lots of friends have commented on how well behaved he is for such a young dog, fortunately he is very treat orientated. Just hope it continues into the ‘ teen ‘ years thanks for all your good advice love your blogs and videos

    1. Hi Ann,
      Really glad you have found The Online Dog Trainer program so helpful. Of course we know that it is but it does rely on owners applying the information we provide, consistently and as advised, which it sounds like you have done wonderfully. The biggest motivation for us has always been to allow owners to have the relationship they want with their happy and well behaved dog/s. Going into the teenage years means that you will likely be tested by your dog from time-to-time, just respond consistently in the right way and that will keep you on-track. Keep up the great work….Doggy Dan

  15. Hello DoggyDan, my puppy is Manolito and he’s a bodercollie cross mianiature poodle, thank you for the email about personality and Mano is definitely not a shy puppy and enjoys his training following all your guides, but still very very excited welcoming guests and especially with children jumping all over them, I’m kathleen from Melbourne Australia

    1. Hi Kathleen,
      My biggest piece of advice for dogs and puppies who get excited and jump up when visitors come over is to place them on a leash before you let your guest inside….or even place your puppy out of the way whilst you invite your guest in. Doing so means you can maintain more control and respond quickly to your puppy’s behaviour. It also means no-one gets jumped on! Once your puppy has calmed down you can let him off the leash but if he starts to get excited again just calmly place him back on. Consistency will show him how he is expected to behave….calmly! Just make sure you also ask your guests to wait until he is calm before they say ‘hi’. All the best….Doggy Dan

  16. Thank you Dan for being a champion to dogs. My Bill is a Maltese shizhu cross with black spots all over except on his underside which is silky white. I would describe him as soft and he loves nothing more than curling up next to me and having a snooze. He loves his walks especially when I let him off the leash. He is social with other dogs after some posturing that is so I am more relaxed about this. With humans though I’ve noticed he doesn’t do so well with some males. Not a problem with females. What do you think is happening?

    1. Thanks for the kind words Resina!
      It’s really hard to say exactly what is motivating Bill’s reaction towards males without actually seeing this behaviour. There are certainly many reasons he would behave this way and it’s just a matter of identifying what that is. At the end of the day though what is far more important in overcoming this behaviour (if you want to) is the information you give him when he reacts. My website shows you very clearly how to do this…maybe take a quick look…its a $1 trial for 3 days…all the best Doggy Dan

  17. I have a male Rottweiler. He was different to train after my shepherd staffy cross. He was food aggressive which we trained out of him by hand feeding him his biscuits. He is now a very loving dog who loves long walks & lots of company. Always wanting cuddles on the couch. He was a huge puller on the lead but with his easy lead much better. He loves people big or small & enjoys socialising with other dogs provided it is one at a time. Any more & he starts to back up to us for safety.

    1. Hi Lynn,
      What a great job you’ve done in helping your dog to relax and enjoy life! It’s natural that he may need a reminder about how to behave, or a little patience, from time-to-time. Just try to remain as consistent (and calm) as you can…’s my biggest tip. All the best…Doggy Dan

  18. We have a standard Xoloitzcuintli. He is two, and went through a spinal stoke (had to rehab him out of paralysis!) and leg amputation (severe fracture) in his first year. He is the reason we started your on-line training program! He is highly dominant and obsessed our other miniature coated xolo (she’s a gem of a dog, mild, eager to please, great with other dogs). He is tough, high energy, high prey drive, aggressive to other dogs and strangers, low care to please if our other dog is around, high food drive. With 7 kids, we had to get him under control fast! He has changed SO MUCH by following your program. He’s still not great on many issues, but is improving daily. He went from dangerous to our baby goats to out without a line ignoring them (if he is on a leash he still overreacts to them…). Still needs work with other dogs, but your program has changed our life with him. Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Leslie,
      I must say I had to Google this breed to remind me what they look like. We don;t get a lot of them in New Zealand!
      It sounds like he had a fairly hard start to life and I imagine it would have been pretty difficult time for you as well. Thank-you so much for your great feedback but more importantly I am really happy that you are seeing such a big change in your dog. Give yourselves a great big pat on the back for making the changes he needed you to make to allow him to relax. Keep up the great work…Doggy Dan

  19. We have a 7 month old male maltese. He is a very confident little guy, FULL of energy. We can tell he is very smart, but he is challenging. We are working on putting the 5 Golden Rules in place. Our biggest problem is mouthing/nipping. ANY time you try to pet him, touch him, etc. he responds with mouthing us. When he is feeling frisky he just comes up and nips and pulls. He thinks it is all a game. We are now trying a no 2nd chance policy and putting him immediately in time out. Last night (his friskiest time) he was in time out more than out.

    1. Hi Sherry,
      The challenging dogs are often the ones that make us better dog owners…they are great teachers!
      If your dog is mouthing and nipping you when you try to give him a pat then just make sure that you are inviting him to you to for that pat, rather than approaching him to do so. This may seem like a small detail but to many dogs it’s a big one. If he approaches you and nips for no reason then calmly deliver a time-out but remember not to tell him off first or get upset…and be consistent here. If you are a member of the website the remember that you can post questions on our Forum and we will answer them for you. All the best….Doggy Dan

  20. My dog is a very mixed breed, we think she has some german shepherd in her because of her size and markings, she has a high prey drive, is over protective and most of all very cheeky! she moans at you if you tell her no and she moans at you if she thinks your not giving her any attention! She will go so far as to nibble on my leg which I do my best to ignore. She was rescued from the streets as a feral pup and has always been anxious. But She is very loyal and very affectionate to those she loves. She is hilarious at times and she plays a great game of hide and seek. Mixed breed, Full of personality totally hard work but definitely the dog for me!

    1. Hi Natalie,
      Your dogs sounds like a real character with lots of personality! She is also very lucky to have found such a wonderful home where she is given the direction she needs. Thanks for sharing…Doggy Dan

  21. I have two 13 month old border collies. Although they are brothers, they couldn’t be more different in personality. Zeke is very high energy with no “off” button. He loves attention, pats and hugs. Toys motivate him and a good game of Frisbee is one of his favorite things. He’s intelligent and learns quickly. He can be fearful, is cautious of strangers and will bark at them. His brother, Zack, is more laid back, although he loves to run after squirrels and his brother. Food is his motivator. Our biggest concern with him is that he has shown aggression to animals that challenge him, unfortunately one was a porcupine. I’ve been working hard with him to gain his trust and establish my role as leader. He’s smart, but will be disobedient or lazy about obeying as in “OK, I’m coming when I’m done over here.”

    1. Hi Barb,
      I have seen pictures on the internet of dogs who came out second best after a confrontation with a porcupine….it look very painful! The way we ‘parent’ our dogs does require a little more consistency and patience in some cases and knowing what their leverage (food,toys,praise etc) can be vital to doing this. When working with more stubborn and intelligent dogs my advice is to always remain calm and consistent and to pay attention to the detail in how you respond……these are the dogs who notice the details! Thanks for posting….Doggy Dan

  22. Hi Dan, My son’s dog is a husky/lab mix, a gorgeous looking dog. He loves all dogs and definitely borders on the ‘too sociable’ character trait, but he’s learnt to lay down and wait for dogs to come to him, though he still sometimes runs off when he sees one in the distance, but now he will come back. He can be quite stubborn and cheeky with it. I can actually see it in his face when he’s choosing whether to obey me or not. He is a big dog and though he loves running and wrestling he can tire easily, which surprised me as being part husky I thought he’d have lots of stamina.

  23. “Drummer” is an Irish Setter. He darts with full force at every animal that moves: rabbits, seagulls, birds, rats etc. He is 7 month old 25″ and 54lbs .
    It’s the force with which he darts off and if it catches you off guard… I’ve landed flat on the beach
    Thanks for your continued advice and support. Drummer has so many super qualities and we love him. Would a “gentle led”
    be advisable?

    1. Hi Jutta,
      A Gentle Lead/Easy Walk harness can be really helpful with big strong dogs who can sometimes lunge suddenly and have a tendency to be hard to keep hold of when they do. The reason being that the leash clips to the chest area of the harness and so when a dog lunges forward, with you behind them, their momentum and tether point turns them back towards you. All the best….Doggy Dan

  24. Hi Dan, We have 2 labradors: Our pet Lewis (6) and a guide dog puppy (14-15 weeks). The young one appears to be soft, low prey drive, non-appeasing and dominant,social and quite food-driven, but surprisingly not very confident…taking her for a walk the other day, I did a little jogging circle and she urinated…so no more unexpected behaviour from the human on walks!!!
    Fortunately Lewis the older dog is a bit tough, low energy, VERY food driven, medium energy… prey drive and both confident and dominant, appeasing and social!
    Phew, that’s a mouthful! Anyhow he increases her confidence,so that’s great! I’m enjoying your stories and look forward to reading the blog to glean any tips to make me a better Puppy Raiser!

    1. Hi Fiona,
      Lewis will be very helpful in giving your puppy a little more confidence when out in the big wide world. If she is only new to your home then she will still be settling in and so may be quicker to startle at things going on around her. Just take things slowly and calmly and she will start to relax. If she seems genuinely afraid then think about shortening her walks to keep things positive and prevent her from becoming over-whelmed. Keep up the great work…Doggy Dan

  25. We have a 9 month old Chug. She is high energy, then crashes and calm. She is extremely social, loves all other dogs, and people, and food driven, which makes her easy to distract when people or animals need space. The only problem we have is her biting, every night for about an hour, she chews on me, my hands, my feet my legs as I walk, and my clothing. Working on it, but it is a long daily struggle.

    1. Hi Wendy,
      The behaviour you describe is most likely an attempt by your dog to gain attention and so if you tell her off for it, make eye contact or make a big fuss then it is counterproductive. If she bites/chews on you then calmly and gently move her out of your personal space and hold her at arms length until you feel her relax a bit. Let her go and if she returns to chew you then calmly repeat the technique but if she does it a third time either get up and walk away from her or place her in time-out. This is essentially a room where she is on her own (laundry/bathroom/utility room) for a few minutes and it’s a consequence for not using some self-control. You may need to follow through a few times, she may be stubborn, but consistency will get you there. Hope that helps….Doggy Dan

  26. Rocksie is a 3 yr old Staffordshire (smaller size – 45 lbs) rescue. We’ve had her for 2 years now and she displays a lot of different characteristics. Very smart, high energy, but a complete couch potato and cuddler when inside and has had exercise. But she is also fearful, afraid of wind, rain, noises, the dark, sudden movements, etc. She is over protective against anyone she doesn’t know and has been known to nip a couple people if they make any move she doesn’t like. Thankfully she shows no tendency to bite…just a quick nip, usually from behind as a fearful dog will do. But she snarls like she’s a wolf ready to take you apart! She will ignore other dogs as long as they don’t come too near her space but once they do she becomes aggressive. She has a strong prey drive and is food motivated. We have to manage her at all times and have spent the better part of the two years in training. She’s come a long way, and learns fast, but she has a definite mind of her own. With all these different traits I’d like to think she is well rounded…but in fact she is a trial. We know what an awesome dog she is though and it’s our decision to stick by her and just make sure she and others are safe. I am a member of the Dog Training site so I’m always working with her. I do wonder, however, if we will ever overcome some of her traits.

    1. Hi Jeanne,
      There really is no doubt that some dogs require far more patience and consistency than others and with these dogs the devil is usually always in the detail. Responding calmly and consistently when required is also key to overcoming this behaviour. I’m not sure if you saw my recent Blog about dogs who are aggressive, but have a look as it may be helpful for you.
      If you are a member of the website then make sure you ask for guidance on our Forum whenever you need it. We are always there to help you! All the best….Doggy Dan

  27. Hi Dan I love your blog! we have Penny 18 month old bull-on high energy Bitza she is currently pacing waiting to go for a walk and swim and yes will come home FULL of energy. We have to get her brain working to tire her out – hide and seek etc, and she is a real tease, her favourite trick is to try get you to chase her whether you are human or dog! for each of us she has worked out the thing that will get us going, my daughter it her shoes, me it is my socks, Pete it is a piece of kindling when lighting the fire, our other dog his favourite toy etc… she is sooo clever and funny.
    Again alway enjoy reading your blog, thanks Cathryn

    1. Thanks Cathryn, glad you like the Blog!
      Mental stimulation is equally helpful in burning excess energy in dogs. A game of fetch can also be effective if Penny enjoys that game. She sounds like a load of fun to have in the family! All the best, Doggy Dan

  28. My puppy is a Morkie. Mother a maltese, father a Yorkie. But she is only 8 weeks. So I’ll have to see what happens. I have high hopes.

    1. Hi Joyce,
      No matter what personality your Morkie has the most important thing in raising a happy and well behaved puppy is the quality of the information you give her and also being consistent and calm when doing so. If you need guidance my website has quite an extensive Puppy Training section…maybe take a quick look…its a $1 trial for 3 days. All the best…Doggy Dan

  29. HI Dan, we have a wonderful 1 yr old male cavapoo named Smoochy, he is very smart, everyones best friend and gives the best kisses in the world. Smoochy is on his way to be a therapy dog helping me as a Life Coach with my clients. He loves to lay at your feet like his Cavalier dad and is smart and fun like his poodle mom. I think this hybred is the best family dog. They pick up your energy and will go from slow and steady to full of energy keeping up on a hike or walk in the park. We used your program when he was a puppy and we are very thankful to you, Keep up your great work.

  30. Dexter is an 18 month old Bull Terrier. He adores people but other dogs, forget about it. He gets overly excited when he sees another dog and starts to whine which eventually turns into loud barking and howling. We thought at first that he just wanted to play but it turns out he is very aggressive toward other dogs.

    1. Hi,
      It is really common for dogs to behave this way towards other dogs. The reason it happens is that strange people/dogs are a potential danger to your dog and he is over-reacting with his sense of fear or responsibility to keep his family safe. I have a Blog relating to this issue that you may find helpful, link below, but my website shows you very clearly how to overcome this behaviour…maybe take a quick look…its a $1 trial for 3 days…all the best Doggy Dan

  31. Mowgli is an 18 month Yorkie Chihuahua mix. I got him at 3 months and I was 69. Checking out the character traits he appears to be tough (must have the last word and thinks everything is a game), is high energy, but loves pets and cuddles, is fearful, social and has a desire to please (most the time). He has a very high pitched barked when excited and barks a lot at other dogs and some people from window and when on walks. We live in a condo so this close environment can be a challenge as there are many dogs and people. He also jumps like he has springs for legs (he even resembles a little Joey). He is a dear little dog and a lovely companion, but some of his excitable behaviour is not always well received by neighbours and visitors. I look forward to reading more of your tips on training and applying some of them to our situation. Thank you so much for this post and your encouragement.

    1. Hi Darlene,
      I do have a Blog that may help you with Mowgli’s barking, the link is posted below.If he is a bit of a jumper when guest arrive then try popping him on a leash before they enter your house. It will enable you to keep him under control but he is also likely to calm down quicker. Juts avoid telling him off or getting upset/annoyed as it rarely calms things down.
      Hope that helps….Doggy Dan

  32. my age 51/2 brittany boxer mix has begun growling and periodically beating up our age 12 jack russel who is always overly excited to see her. i appreciate your insight as to the possible reason for her negative behavior as coming of age and the jack russel being 12. i have been using the time-out and the calm freeze both of which seem to work but i still have fear for the possible negative encounter.

    1. Hi Susen,
      You may be right in that there may be a bit of a transition occurring between your dogs, it’s really a very natural thing to happen in multiple dog homes and the key to keeping everything respectful is to ensure that all dogs are receiving the right information. As a dog ages they become slower, stiffer, weaker and can also lose their sense of sight/hearing, and this means the other dogs in the house may view them as more vulnerable. It sounds like you are stepping in when you need to and restoring calm, which is great, but it is important you do keep an eye out to ensure the behaviour doesn’t escalate.
      I have a Blog that you might find helpful and informative
      All the best…Doggy Dan

  33. Dexter is a 5 year old Parsons Jack Russell Terrier. We have had him just over two years. He loves people and wants everyone who comes to the house to make a fuss of him, but he is not so keen on other dogs and barks at them especially if they are larger than him. He loves to roll onto his back, have his tummy tickled and cuddle up with my husband on the sofa when he is watching television. He is quite obedient and will come when called except when he picks up a fox scent. He loves squeaky toys and playing games, is very intelligent, good at communicating with us and learns new tricks easily.

    1. Hi Sheila,
      Have you tried using Dexter’s love of his squeaky toy to encourage him to come back to you when he is on a scent? In many occasions if you give a dog a really good reason to return, the thought of a game in Dexter’s case, they will choose to leave the distraction and come back. High value treats can work well also.Have a look at this Blog I did about barking, it may be helpful for you.
      He sounds like a really fun personality to have in your home! All the best…Doggy Dan

  34. So true Dan! Before i got my first Blue Heeler, i read all the books on the breed and they all stated that Australuan Cattle Dogs are not good with strangers. That puppy obviously didnt read the books because every person she met was her new best friend!

    1. Haha, yes Linda, reality does often disprove the ‘myths’ of breed stereotyping! All the best….Doggy Dan

  35. I have a near two yr old female collie/kelpie/blue heeler. Soft, high energy but fearful. Very socially inappropriate outside the yard, when walking, barks and snaps,pulls at other dogs, try’s to jump at bikes. Have tried your methods with small improvement. Doesn’t bark at home and loves pats, chasing balls. Live her but difficult to walk.

    1. I have a near two yr old female collie/kelpie/blue heeler. Soft, high energy but fearful. Very socially inappropriate outside the yard, when walking, barks and snaps,pulls at other dogs, try’s to jump at bikes. Have tried your methods with small improvement. Doesn’t bark at home and loves pats, chasing balls. Live her but difficult to walk.

  36. Dan,
    I have a beautiful red-tri Aussie. She is about to turn 1. She is super confident and overly social. Absolutely fearless and high energy. She likes T-storms. I introduced a clicker to her last week and it made a world of difference. 1 click sit, 2 clicks lay down. Super smart dog. Learned it in 1 day. Now if she is acting like a nut, give a click and a treat. She is now under control. My biggest issue is she is a jumper. She jumps on other dogs and every person she meets anew. Click. I have watched many videos where trainers do not like clickers. I swear by them now.

    1. Hi Wayne,
      A clicker can be a handy training tool if used correctly and in conjunction with providing consistent information to a dog. If you have found it to be successful and it works effectively over the long term then keep it up! All the best….Doggy Dan

  37. We have two 6 year old mutts – mostly golden retriever/lab/rhodesian ridgeback as far as we can tell. They are siblings from the same litter that we got at about 4 months old from a rescue. They were raised the same way, in the same environment, and their personalities couldn’t be more different! One is a pleaser but more on the unconfident side and is more anxious/fearful of new things and situations. The other is more dominant, stubborn, confident, and LAZY. Both are very food motivated (took quite some time to get them past their counter-surfing days) and have a high prey-drive. The less confident one likes to be cuddly and affectionate on his terms (don’t bother him while he’s sleeping kind of dog) and the other you can literally throw him around and move him whether sleeping or not and he doesn’t mind – in fact, his favorite thing in the world is big hugs!! The only real downfall to either dog is their standoffishness with strangers, but we have been working hard to overcome that. Mutts are the best breed out there!!!

    1. Hi Nicole,
      I must say I am also pretty partial to the ‘mutt’ breed but obviously all dogs are pretty great in my opinion! You’ve raised a really great point that I bring up when trying to steer people away from breed equalling personality. I liken it to being no different to a human family with children who have exactly the same parents (breeding) but they can all have very different personalities to each other. The reality overcomes the myth pretty convincingly in my mind! All the best…Doggy Dan

  38. I have a male Shetland Sheepdog who gets very upset if something in his environment changes. The change can be someone coming into the house/yard or even rearranging furniture. He barks non-stop at the object and runs around neurotically. He is fine outside his domain and is very friendly to strangers and other dogs. Is he just too territorial? How can I help him? Thanks, Cyndi

    1. Hi Cyndi,
      Some dogs are very sensitive to change in their environment and generally the reason it happens is motivated from a feeling of the dog feeling that they can’t predict the outcome of that change. Some dogs love nothing more than routine, because it enables them to predict what happens next, but for some dogs when they feel this ability has been impaired they can panic a little. I’m certainly not saying that you have to stick to a strict routine with your dog and never change anything in your environment, I only mention it to help you understand your dog’s point of view. You can help him calm relax again by giving him good information and we describe this on my website …maybe take a quick look…its a $1 trial for 3 days…all the best Doggy Dan

  39. I own a 2 year old German shepherd/ pit bull mix
    Fear aggressive , high anxiety, Dominant at times
    High prey drive you name it and it relates to my Roxy
    Spent thousands of dollars in training with minimal results
    Now just started her on medication to see if I can give her some peace and not being so fearful ,alert and anxious all the time
    She can not be around other animals only her brother 7 year old husky mix and is very reactive to him
    No children even adults she must be controlled till calms down
    Reactive to everything and everyone
    Poor girl can be laying comfortably on floor and we bump something and she almost jumps out of her fur
    No relaxation for her
    At wits end how to help her

    1. Hi Theresa,
      It sounds very much like Roxy is one of those dogs that requires consistency and a lot of patience. Whilst medication can be one solution it doesn’t generally deal with the reasons she is behaving the way she is, and that’s the best way to help her (and you) in the long term. Have you had a chance to look at my website We deal with many of the behaviours you mention but we deal with them from the root cause, meaning you solve them more effectively. Maybe take a quick look…its a $1 trial for 3 days…all the best Doggy Dan

  40. We have an Alaskan Klee Kai female 18 month old puppy dog. Her name is Ryder and she is a sweetheart. Her personality traits include tough, high energy, food motivated, non-prey, confident, dominant, desire to please, and social. Our continued challenge is her coming when she is called. She thinks it is a game and she runs when being called. With a raised strong, stern voice she will eventually get in her bed (kennel) when told; however; if she gets out of the house, it’s like ‘free’ and she resist coming when called. It’s scary because we are afraid she will run into the street and/or down the street away from the house. My daughter just relocated to San Diego with her and she barks every time my daughter leaves her in the apartment by herself. This is new behavior, as she did not bark continuously when we left the house before. She could be left kennel-free in the house for 4-6 house alone and she did not bark when we left and she was happy when we returned, often asleep. Your help with these two behavior challenges would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Brenda and daughter Romajean.

    1. Hi Brenda,
      It is a really big adjustment for dogs to relocate homes and it can throw them completely out of their comfort zone. If you think about things from Ryder’s perspective she is in a totally new environment where everything is unfamiliar and she will be feeling vulnerable. It’s really common for this behaviour to happen and your daughter can get things back on track by giving Ryder the right information. Maybe get her to have a quick look at my membership website where we show very clearly how to overcome these behaviours…its a $1 trial for 3 days…all the best Doggy Dan

  41. I have a Bichon Frise rescue who is one of the best-behaved dogs I have ever had. He is pretty much right in the middle of all of your pet personality traits, with the exception of treat motivation which is very high! I love reading your blog, but I haven’t signed up for your training videos because I really can’t think of any behavior I need to help him change. I think from the beginning he saw me as his protector, which has made our relationship so easy. But I love your take on things and recommend you to all my dog friends who I think could use the help. You are the best!

    1. Hi Linda,
      Thanks for your kind words…and for recommending us to your friends! It sounds like your dog is very lucky to have found such a loving home to call his own. All the best….Doggy Dan

  42. I have a 2 year old Rat Terrier cross Chihuahua rescue dog. When we got him we were told he was found in a dumpster in a garbage bag…the other dog was dead that was in with him. The garbage man went to open the bag and he bolted. It took a week for the rescue society to capture him. Apparently I was the only person that Rocky would go to when we went to adopt him, so we became his forever home. He bit and drew blood on my husband, but after 3 days has nothing but love for him. He loves to be cuddled. He does not like humans until he gets to know you…usually the 3 days. When people come around he barks uncontrollably…I just can’t stop him, and if people extend their hand to him he bites them! He loves other dogs and kids…just does not like ‘big’ people! He loves to sit around and cuddle and loves his treats. I have taught him a few ‘tricks’. He comes when he is called, but if there are people or other dogs around it’s like he doesn’t hear me! We have been taking him out camping and walking with us and he is not barking as much when he sees people pass by, just then they come into our area or stop to talk…especially if they make eye contact with him or talk to him…he barks like a crazy dog! Once I settle him down somewhat, he will then stand up beside me and wrap his front legs around me. Just need some guidance on how to control his barking as he has a very LOUD bark and doesn’t listen to me when people are around. Love following you…:)

    1. Hi Donna,
      Wow, what a horrific start to life Rocky has had…no wonder he mistrusts people! It sounds like you’ve made some really great progress with him and his barking and fear of humans is something you can overcome by giving him the right information. My advice would be that if you have guests over ask then to delay greeting him (no eye contact or speaking to) until he has relaxed in their presence. If he is calm and they do want to try to give him a pat then they should invite him to them to do so, rather than approach him. We do cover these issues on my membership website ( and we have a $1 trial for 3 days if you’re interested. Otherwise have a look at the below Block for some ideas to help with barking
      All the best….Doggy Dan

  43. We have a tall, strong Newfoundland who just turned two. A lovely family farm dog, confident, intelligent, everybody’s friend. He’s getting pretty obedient too, although instant obedience is not in his nature unless he senses that I feel there’s an emergency (ie broken glass on the floor, yes; “not every dog wants to play with you” getting better; a surprising squirrel showing up in the dining room yesterday, no; K. Pryor practice-50-times training, no, he goes to sleep). Usually, he thinks a second first, tries a new thing a couple of times, and never forgets. I’m a teacher and I like the way he thinks things through; for instance, he figured out on his own that not every guest of ours likes sloppy Newfy kisses, so now he comes close and slurps! Big slurp! He started out his life with various classes and trainers, but the biggest influence by far was Doggy Dan’s program, starting when he was 12 weeks old. The most important thing I learned from Doggy Dan was how my calmness and confidence would transfer to Nicky. Still learning! Thank you, Dan, he’s a wonderful dog, my heart dog!
    Looking at your traits, I’d say he started out as a rather dominant, highly social dog, medium in other respects. Great breeder/trainer in his early weeks. Wonderful mother, which is why I picked him. He was a singleton puppy, so there goes that myth!

    1. Hi Suzanne,
      There are many myths when it comes to dogs and dog training and they can be easily disproved with facts! Nicky sounds like a really fun dogs to have around and I love being able to see them think things through, it can be pretty entertaining to watch at times too. Often this is where their personality shines through. Glad you found our training system so helpful, we think it’s pretty great (obviously)! All the best….Doggy Dan

  44. I have a 6 week old mini schnauzer male who is confident and seems to be food driven. His mom weaned the litter a bit early it seems. How long can/should I space out his meals? I’m currently offering food 4x/day and 1x at night.

    1. Hi Sara,
      I am assuming that your puppy is no longer with Mum and is not getting any additional nutrition from her. With young puppies I generally advise to feed them 3-4 times a day and your puppy being even a bit younger I would be tempted to increase your current feeding routine to 4 times a day. I am no expert in the nutritional requirements of really young puppies (below 8 weeks) though as i usually rely on a puppy’s Mum to handle this, so if you are concerned then perhaps get in touch with your Vet just to be sure everything is on track. All the best…Doggy Dan!

  45. Hi Dan,
    Our dog Zoe is a 6 year old Pointer mix whom we adopted just over a year ago from a shelter. Extremely loving with us, and almost everyone, and very food and cuddle orientated. She has a high prey drive as she was previously kept as a hunting dog, and mistreated (therefore rescued), for the first 5 years of her life. I have worked extremely hard with her, including using many of your methods over the months, and also other positive training games. From zero recall, she is much better, but still now and again goes off after a deer and can be gone for 2 hours. Worrying for us – although touch wood she has always come home thus far (we live in the French Pyrenees), so quite wild in places. However I am determined to crack this problem, and at the moment she is on leash again mainly 🙁 Apart from that, she is over-reactive to other dogs, and can go for them if in too close proximity, though she does now have some canine friends. Can be the same with our 2 cats, though this is much better – all work in progress…again I’m concerned to sort this out if possible. Am debating whether to rejoin your website – of your 5 golden rules, the hardest for me was ignoring her on meeting – just too difficult, and almost impossible to convince anyone else to do…..any thoughts? Thank you!

    1. Hi Anya,
      Big thumbs up for taking on a rescue dog and being so patient with her. Zoe will continue to improve over time, given the right information. I do understand what you mean with struggling to implement all of the 5GR’s, many of our members do struggle with delaying the greeting after a separation! The one thing I will say is that it is probably one of the most important rules because it is a key time where every dog looks to re-establish where they fit in the family and whether or not the humans are still capable of taking care of everyone. My advice would be to review the 5Gr’s and anything you are currently not doing, or doing inconsistently, start to tighten up. Small details can make a BIG difference and each rule is equally important in overcoming behavioural issues.
      When it comes to recall, have you seen my Whistle Training? Have a look at the following link
      All the best…Doggy Dan!

  46. Hi Dan I have a dog that I got from a German Shepard rescue site in Scotland she likes her greets but I can’t get her to come back to me if I let her off the lead and if she sees an other dog she has to bolt over to it she is not vicious but she thinks she should meet all dogs and if she is on the lead she pulls me all the time to try and get over to the other dog I have tried everything I know to get her to stop it but with no success please can you help me

    1. Hi John,
      Recall is one of the common issue we get questions about. I’m not sure what you’ve tried but having really high value treats, or a beloved ball/stick, and practicing the recall process when there are not a lot of distractions can help. Doing so reinforces that good things result if they come back to you when you call them, and so they are more likely to do it when distractions are high. Practice makes perfect! The following Blog post may also help…
      We do also cover this issue on my membership website …maybe take a quick look…its a $1 trial for 3 days…all the best Doggy Dan

  47. Zeus is an 88 lb Bull Boxer. Well behaved now after using your training tips and tricks. Loves to cuddle and has a very high prey drive. Easy to control and a great friend although his looks scare some people into giving a fear response due to his Pitt head and perfect boxer body. He really is a teddy bear wrapped in a dog body! Thanks for the great advice all the time!

    1. Hi Stan,
      Zeus sounds like a really cool dog to have in your family. I’m trying to imagine what he looks like being part Pit part Boxer and I do imagine it startles people a bit when they see him. Some of the softest dogs I’ve seen have been Rottweilers and larger breed dogs and I think the reason they are so memorable is because of the contrast in how tough they look versus how soft/cuddly they are! Keep up the great work…All the best, Doggy Dan

  48. Chili is a Pitbull who loves to cuddle. He actually runs right down the middle in the personality traits. He was so easy to train that I didn’t even realize I trained him. When we sat down to eat , I would act like I was eating his food then give it to him, like you suggest to do. Well one crazy day we sat down to eat and he sat by his bowl whining and dancing. I forgot to “eat ” his food first and he wasn’t going to eat unless I did. After that I realized how that act , of eating first, has changed his behavior all the way around. Thank you!

    1. Hi Janet,
      Haha, well done Chili! He sounds like an awesome dog and if ever a dog could speak, in that scenario he would have said ‘excuse me, aren’t you forgetting something?!’ Well done and keep up the great work!…All the best, Doggy Dan

  49. Dan, we have a super high energy confident fearless terrier mix (maybe Norwich, with a touch of bishon frieze and schnauzer) rescue. Cutest little guy but really stubborn. Food motivated but the attention span of a gnat! Time outs work to some degree but his worst trait (besides thinking he’s ALPHA!) is teasing and nipping at the elderly and slightly ill Jack Russell. Not aggressive just a little boy annoying the heck out of grandpa. Again time outs work sometimes, distractions with offers of toys and treats work sometimes. Should I just keep repeating this method or us there another secret? Incidentally, amongst two very close relatives and myself, we have six dogs-all different breeds/sizes. Only this little stinker Chase doesn’t agree that I am the leader of the pack, controller of food and treats, and the biggest dispenser of pats, cuddles and affection! Thanks !! Love your program!

    1. Hi Sharon,
      There is no doubt that some dogs are a little more work than others, but the really great thing is that these dogs make us better dog owners (as frustrating as they can be at times!). It may just be that Chase requires a little more consistency and attention to detail than your other dog. With his pestering behaviour I like to give a couple of warnings before I deliver a time-out, it allows a dog to use some self-control and moderate their own behaviour. So if he is bothering your other dog then calmly move him away by the collar and hold him still until he relaxes and when he does let him go again. Try to do all of this without speaking to him or making eye contact, just be very matter-of-fact. If you let him go and he returns to your other dog then repeat the technique, but if he does it a third time then give him a time-out for a few minutes. If you let him out of time-out and he repeats that behaviour relatively quickly then just place him straight back into time-out for a slightly longer duration than the last time-out. If you are consistent (and calm) he will soon realise there is no point continuing on with this behaviour. Of course if he does get a bit too rough then give him an immediate time-out rather a few warnings. Hope that helps!….All the best, Doggy Dan

  50. I have a Karelian Bear Dog whose energy level is through the roof. I’m retired and we walk 5-10 miles per day and he still has energy left over. This is not a breed for someone who doesn’t have the time to exercise this dog daily.

    1. Hi Dave,
      I haven’t seen too many Karelian Bear dogs so I had to Google the breed. They are a stunning looking dog! Just remember that mental stimulation can be just as effective in burning excess energy as exercise can, so try throwing in some command training sessions or games and see how you go. Fetch is a really good one for burning excess energy because it’s high intensity, but obviously not all dogs like to play the game. Thanks for your post!……All the best, Doggy Dan

  51. Hi, I have a wheaton/cairin terrier mix and she has other terrier breeds we don’t know. She is a 10 month old rescue and is very sweet. She has a lot of energy but does settle down and cuddle when you tell her. She follows you everywhere in the house and is very food motivated. However, when first encountering a dog outside, she can bark very aggressively. Thanks to some of your tips and videos, we can calm her down and in minutes, she becomes best buddies with the dog. When we leave her, she does cry a bit but we are working on it. We have only had her for about 3 weeks but we are having so much fun with her.

    1. Hi Roseann,
      Really happy to hear you are working your dog through your dog’s behaviour and seeing success! You’re off to a really great start with her and she is very lucky to have found such a loving home. All the best….Doggy Dan

  52. Our family has a White German Sheperd named Blizzard. He’s about 4 years old and he is fairly soft in the sense that he gets very ashamed when he has done something wrong. He also has high energy and is food motivated, although he doesn’t have a very strong desire to please–as he is often more interested in the situation around him than obeying commands. He has a relatively strong prey drive, although, he is pretty good at subduing it when told to. He’s rather confident I would say, but doesn’t much like loud noises and is always barking in the garage when a car drives past. I would say he’s submissive, although only with certain family members, such as my dad and me. He seems to like being around other dogs, although sometimes struggles to get along with them as he is very awkward in those kinds of situations.

    1. Hi Brianna,
      What a great name for a White Shepherd! When it comes to Blizzard feeling guilty or ashamed about his behaviour it may actually be his reaction to your body language rather than him knowing he has done something wrong. Dogs are very good at reading when we are angry or annoyed and they respond accordingly (avoiding eye contact, cowering down, turning away and more) to try and avoid being the target. Thanks for your post! Doggy Dan

  53. Lovely descriptions of personality traits. German shepherd puppy 10 months old has strong prey drive and is high energy. I keep discovering that she is a mix of every other trait. The most amazing discovery is that increasing touch–pats, strokes, cuddles–especially of ears, chest, sides, inner thighs–is beginning to tone down toughness and increase eye contact. She is a daily challenge, but all your posts and encouragement are helping, thank you!

  54. Cody is a Border Collie, 19 months… high energy, can be food orientated if it is chicken, very social and thinks every person, dog and other creature wants to meet him and be his friend, he can try to dominate but he does want to please and is learning to be well behaved – slowly!

    1. Hi Maxine,
      Cody sounds like my kind of dog! I love dogs that are a bit of a challenge and keep you on your toes, they make us better dog owners. My big tip is to be consistent and calm when responding to Cody’s behaviour, that way he knows exactly what’s expected of him. All the best…Doggy Dan

  55. I have a one year old cavoodle she is crazy, has a lot of energy, she runs away like to play all
    The time and won’t come for a pat. Only time is when she is tired. She barks and growls a lot as well.

    1. Hi Tammy,
      At 1 year old you have an adolescent on your hands and so the behaviours you describe are really common. At this stage of life it’s really important to be consistent in how you respond, not to mention calm, but also to be giving your dog the right information at the right time. Thanks for sharing….Doggy Dan

  56. I have a Belgian Sheepdog. She is a “one person” dog and sticks to me like glue. She is high energy and not a food motivated dog. I have been able to teach her everything except recall. She just loves to run. The only thing she likes better is to ride. So when she runs I have to get in the van and the minute I turn it on she comes back and she jumps in and then I feel compelled to take her for a ride as a reward for recalling. I don’t have a fenced in place for her to run so she lives inside and is only allowed outside on a run or a leash so she bolts every chance she gets. I love watching her run so often I watch her a few minutes before getting the keys to the van and fetching her back. Also, she is not sociable to other female dogs as much as male dogs. She is rarely around other animals so this has not been a big problem for me but I wonder what it has stolen from her. She is not 12 years old but still seems young. She is not much of an eater but never has been. She only seems to like her food when the cat ventures too close to her bowl. Then she wants every morsel.

    1. Hi Jewelia,
      It may seem a little strange but your dog may feel absolutely no sense of longing for other dogs in her life, every dog is different here as well. Whilst some dogs adore playing and socialising with other dogs there are just as many who are quite happy to do their own thing. Some of the behaviours you mention we do cover on my membership website ( and if you wanted to address any of them then maybe take a look. We have a trial offer of $1 for 3 days…..Thanks for sharing!…..Doggy Dan

  57. I have 4 Golden Retrievers, 3 x 3yr old girls and a 5 yr old boy. All have lived together, eaten together and played together until recently. They all are very social and get along well with other dogs anywhere and anytime. All of a sudden two of the girls keep attacking the third and while I am trying to pull them apart, the boy dives in and has a go at the closest dog. I can keep them in pairs in any combination but when all four are together the fights starts again. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Mary,
      When dogs start to fight amongst one anther the general cause is confusion and uncertainty about where they fit in the family or what their role is. This can commonly happen after a change in their environment either internally or externally. Some common examples can be dogs who are reaching maturity or are aging and getting weaker, general illness, change in their home environment, an external encounter that may have affected them, but really anything can cause a change like this. It is absolutely possible to get things back on track and the best way to do this is ensure that you are giving all of your dogs consistent and calm information about how they are to behave together. Safety is of course paramount so separating your dogs when you can’t supervise them is a good idea. There is a lot going on under the surface here and if you have a look at my membership website TheOnlineDogTrainer.comyou will get a good understanding about how to solve the issue…maybe take a quick look…its a $1 trial for 3 days…all the best Doggy Dan

  58. Maxx is a 10 month old male Rottweiler. He looks scary to strangers and sometimes acts as if he is aggressive (which I am training out of him). At home he is very cuddly and affectionate to me and my wife.

    1. Hi Stephen,
      Rottweilers are certainly one of those breeds that often gets a bad name purely because of their size and appearance. Some of the gentlest dogs I’ve encountered have been been Rottweilers! Thanks for sharing….All the best, Doggy Dan

  59. I have a little Rottweiler which is 8 weeks but am yet to dictate its personality but presently its cool headed and a times it might be stubborn. Am here in Nigeria and am 1st timer dog owner. I have another question to ask, what dog is best to start with as 1st timer.

    1. Hi,
      This is a really hard question to answer as there are so many factors that determine what the best breed is for a first time dog owner. Practical things to consider would be the size of the dog and the physical traits like coat length and grooming requirements. Dogs that are higher maintenance can be a little overwhelming for a novice dog owner. As far as what breed is temperamentally the best then this relying on breed alone is somewhat of a false economy. A key consideration in determining behaviour is the personality of the dog, but the most vital part of the equation is how the owner raises that dog. Provided that the dog receives the correct information from their owner then behavioural issues can be avoided and a calm/happy dog is the result. My membership website shows owners how to achieve that from the very beginning…maybe take a quick look…its a $1 trial for 3 days…all the best Doggy Dan

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