One of the most common mistakes that dog moms make is fundamentally misunderstanding their dog’s behavior. Your dog has an innate personality and unique needs. When these get misinterpreted, it can lead to your dog responding in a negative way.
A misunderstood dog can be very difficult to live with. They may show anxious, defensive, or withdrawn behaviors like guard-barking or being on excessive alert. They can become worried about leaving you, suspicious of strangers, or shut down when they face pressure.
A misunderstood dog’s behavior can feel very extreme. However, there are some practical steps that you can take to avoid these difficulties and restore peace and calm.
“When dogs are misunderstood, they can become defensive, anxious, intolerant, agitated, worried, overprotective, withdrawn, impatient, timid, fearful, or suspicious.”
How to understand your dog’s personality
There’s a common misconception in the dog training world that the same approach will be effective for all dogs. If the standard approach doesn’t work for your dog, then there’s something wrong with either you or your dog. This way of thinking can make us feel like our dogs deliberately choose to give us a hard time. But the truth is, our dogs are having a hard time not giving us a hard time!
So, how can you remedy this? The answer lies in clarity, understanding, and acceptance. When you shift your perspective and see what’s really going on, you can reestablish a trusting bond with your dog.
Gaining clarity about your dog’s personality is a key step you can take on the road to understanding and trust … which leads to better behavior and a dog that is attentive and responsive!!
The five personality types are fire, earth, water, metal, and wood.
The fire-type personality: Dogs with this personality are all about heart and joy. They’re happy, social, extroverted, excitable, hyperactive, funny, curious, sensitive, and love to be loved. If your dog has a fire personality, they’ll have a quick stimulus-response and are usually a lot of fun!
The earth-type personality: Earth types are mothering, nurturing, generous, kind, sweet-natured, willing to please, patient, compassionate, and easygoing. Dogs with this personality type have a much slower stimulus-response, so they’re not usually easily excited or reactive. If your dog is an earth-type, they likely enjoy comforting you or others.
The water-type personality: You’ll know if your dog has a water-type personality if it takes a while to gain their trust, but once you do, you’re stuck for life! Dogs with this personality are dreamers, quiet, introverted, good listeners, easygoing, attentive, very observant, self-sufficient, and resilient.
The metal-type personality: Dogs with a metal personality type are independent, intelligent, introverted, perfectionists, prefer routines, and are quick to learn. These dogs follow the rules and organize others to do the same. If your dog has a metal-type personality, they like to be alone but form strong bonds once they’ve established trust.
The wood-type personality: If your dog has a wood-type personality, they’ll be strong, assertive, confident, energetic, adaptable, and competitive. These personality types have a quick stimulus-response. Police dogs and sheepdogs are generally good examples of wood types as they’re often strong, assertive leaders.
Which personality type is your dog?
“Behavior is communication. A dog who feels unheard can quickly escalate from a whisper, to a scream.”
How personality affects behavior
Behavior is communication. A dog who feels like their attempts to communicate aren’t being adequately listened to or understood may display unruly behavior. As your dog’s behavior escalates, it creates a buildup of stress hormones in their system, making them even more difficult to live with.
Understanding how your dog’s innate personality traits affect their behavior can help you better prepare for their communication. It also helps you accept your dog’s unique needs, and grow your trust, leading to feeling safe, calm, and happy.
These five personality types are based on Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM, five element theory. Each personality type corresponds to the five elements or phases of nature. In a nutshell, this theory shows that everything in nature is connected. When we understand how these elements work together and their strengths and weaknesses, that’s when you can achieve balance.
Misunderstanding leads to imbalanced behavior
In terms of personality types, we can see these elements as archetypes. These are how we walk through life. Our personality is our natural, innate way of expressing ourselves. This applies to both you and your dog! But there is a yin yang balance that you can achieve to strengthen your partnership relationship.
Fire-types are magnetic and exciting. They seek to inspire dreams and have the faith that dreams can come true. Fire-types take action with little hesitation. But they perceive gratification as the end goal of any situation and can demand it exactly when they want it.
Earth-types are stable, centered, and grounded. They love to be in service of harmony and unity. Earth-types feel most comfortable when everyone is working together cheerfully. If an earth-type can’t get a group to work together in balance in harmony, it can neutralize any movement or progress.
Metal-types observe, study, analyze, and seek fundamental principles in the service of universal order. They appreciate order and routine. However, they’ll adhere to rules and protocols, even when they’re a hindrance.
Water-types seek truth and explore the mysteries through their imaginative mind. They prefer having time to think things through before acting. But this can be detrimental, as they may take too long to decide and miss the opportunity to reach their dreams.
Wood-types have a bold, adventurous spirit. They want to break new ground, overcome difficulty, conquer the unknown, and are very action-oriented. Wood-types perform extremely well under competitive pressure.
So, what strengths and weaknesses does your dog have? How do they correspond to your own? By simply knowing a bit more about your dog’s personality, you’ll be well on your way to understanding more about why your dog behaves the way that they do. With this knowledge and acceptance, you can build your trust once more and enjoy a stronger, happier partnership lifestyle.
The bottom line is that there are five personality profile types. Understanding how your dog’s personality affects their behavior begins by answering this question…
What is your dog’s personality profile type?
If you’re a BPA member, you have your own special link to take the quiz. Check your inbox, head to the HUB, or go to the ‘Guides’ section in our private Facebook group to get your link and special report. Plus, access the 3-masterclass series where we dive deep into everything personality. Learn about your own personality type, the relationship and communication struggles between different personality combinations, the foods and specific holistic tools that best support your dog’s balance, and much, much more.
If you’re not a BPA member – I’ve got you!
Go to dancinghearts.link/personalityquiz to take my free 90-second quiz, and find out your dog’s personality profile type. You’ll also get a report with all of the details! And you’ll get invited to a free training class, where I’ll teach you the framework for your Brilliant Partnership lifestyle plan.
And of course, I would love to coach you inside the Brilliant Partners Academy, so I hope you join us!
Start your quiz now, and let me know the insights about your dog. I love to hear from you! I may not be able to respond to every email, message, comment or post, but I love reading as many as I can!
If you’d like to work with me and learn how to create a partnership lifestyle for you and your dog, you can request an invitation to join us in the Brilliant Partners Academy when the doors open for the next enrollment!
You can listen to everything I talked about in this blog post over on my podcast – Enlightened By Dogs. It’s episode 147, which you can listen to here.