Dog Personality Test: How Well Do You Know Your Dog?

By on June 19, 2016

We know that every dog is different but it’s also a widely held belief that there are certain tests you can do yourself which work by compartmentalising certain aspects of their personality to give you a general idea of what ‘type’ of character they are.

Dog Personality Test

For those who don’t know, psychometric testing is the process of measuring character traits, examining a person’s reactions to certain scenarios, analysing a person’s answers to a specific question which may or may not contain a right or wrong answer and other forms of quizzing which aims to uncover a general picture of what ‘type’ of personality someone may possess. Psychometric testing is very common amongst recruiters who are trying to establish if a person is well suited to a particular job.

So, are you ready to discover more about your dog's personality and what makes them tick?

Drives are something which fit into four basic categories for dogs, they are: Prey Drive, Pack Drive, Defence Drive (Fight) and Defence Drive (Flight). Every dog is born with these drives but as the dog develops and gets older, their drive levels change. As an owner, your life will be helped if you can measure which drives are the most dominant in your dog’s individual character make up – and we’re here to help you do it.

When it comes to giving a quiz to you dog you might find they’ll be more inclined to eat the test paper rather than answer the questions so you’re going to have to answer on their behalf!

dog photo

What Are The Drives:

Prey Drive: The dog’s hunting instincts are governed by their prey drive. Dogs who are excited, really excited, by anything and everything that moves. Dogs who never tire of chasing, chasing, chasing. Dogs who love to chase and who struggle to resist the temptation to run off and pursue anything they can see in motion, no matter how far away – this would indicate a strong prey drive. High prey drive dogs are usually harder to train, especially in the hands of less experienced owners. However, as dog’s with this nature are so keen to be working, if their code can be cracked and the energy correctly channeled, high prey dogs tend to excel at obedience, working trials and anything which requires large amounts of mental and physical stimulation.

Pack Drive: All dogs are pack animals; some are better at pack life than others though. Dogs with a strong pack drive take their position in the family very seriously. They thrive if pack order is clear; they enjoy their individual role within the pack whether it be as a protector of the pack or being protected by the pack. Pack dogs don’t want do things which may disturb pack life therefore they are normally very calm, very adaptable, non confrontational and content, family dogs. Pack dogs rarely, if ever, need to be dominated and they are perfectly happy to do as they are told, when they are told in order to keep pack harmony in tact.

Defence Drive (Flight): If you are ever in a position where you are faced with a dog who is barking directly at you and who is clearly not happy at you being in their way, if it so happens that this is a high defence drive dog with a flight instinct then there’s every chance the moment you take strong, confident strides forward, showing no aggression toward the dog but lots of assurance in your own actions, they will probably make a run for it, trying hard to get as far out of your way as possible. So long as you don’t trap a dog of this nature in a corner, they will nearly always make a break to get as far away from you as they can. They are very nervous of new things; they don’t like anything at all which could even remotely threaten their personal being. They will almost always bark in a fast, almost panicky fashion when presented with what they consider to be a real threat. If they are trapped or confined they WILL bite, usually very hard very fast and very often and they do it because they are scared for themselves. This character trait can be diminished by nurturing the dog, not confusing the apparent signs of aggression as the dog being particularly bold (or in fact, particularly aggressive), they must be re-assured regularly and above all there fears should never be used against them. Everyone knows it can be quite amusing to see a dog jump on the sofa when the vacuum cleaner starts up but overstepping the mark with a dog of this nature will greatly enhance the problem for years to come.

Defence Drive (Fight): This is the dog that won’t run when confronted. This is the dog that won’t jump on the sofa when teased with the vacuum cleaner. This is the dog that, when presented with a threat to their personal wellbeing, will attack, will bite (hard) without a second’s thought and will adopt the kill or be killed attitude (not literally) in situations of conflict. Dogs of this disposition will challenge for pack leadership, they are usually dominant by nature, defensive yes, fearful rarely. Strong ownership is required, curbing a fighting instinct, it could be argued, is a lot tougher than appeasing a flight-type response to confrontational situations. If you own this dog, you MUST win all challenges, you MUST never back down, you MUST be aware that a fun game to you, if he wins, will represent weakness on your behalf and that will be a big problem for you as the dog develops. If you can be consistent and can read all the tell-tale signs of a high fight-defence drive as well as your own dog’s body language you won’t have a problem. Strong personality, leadership and consistency from you is the key and you will have a dog to be very, very proud of rather than a potentially ticking time bomb.

How To Test Your Dog’s Drives

Here are some personality traits all categorised under their appropriate drive headings. The more yes answers you give for each question will give you an idea of your own dog’s individual drive levels. For example: If you answer yes to 85% of the questions in the prey drive category, your dog clearly displays a strong prey drive instinct and you can assess that against the advice given previously for high prey drive dogs and so on.

We've put together a Canine Personality Test document that you can use to score your dog against a set of criteria along with information on how to interpret the results. The document is free for members to download (if you are not yet a K9 Magazine member, join today and get this, along with a whole lot of other great features!)



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One Comment

  1. Tess

    March 8, 2013 at 11:45 am

    I am puzzled by this as most of the dogs I have known and worked with, as a professional behaviour advisor, show varying degrees of these traits. It also varies in terms of how strong the behaviour is. For instance one male labrador who is very gentle and laid back, is exceptionally stubborn: he will not move if he doesn’t want to but never growls or shows aggression. Unless it is towards a cat, but even then he has no aggressive signals towards a human, even when you stop him getting the cat. My own dog can be reactive and will show what you would term high prey drive, but she only does this when more stressed than usual. I think these generalused terms can be very counter productive.

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