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Personality Plus

What do people mean when they talk about their dog’s personality? I look at Charlie, my dog, and I try to define it. I’d say he’s a very social little dude. Everyone’s friend. He likes cats, not so much puppies. He’s a bit of a momma’s boy. He’s a moderate adventure seeker. Smart enough, but he’s no rocket scientist. He’s a sweet dog, a pleasant, happy, beautiful soul.

So what do you mean when you say “my dog’s personality?” Do you mean his energy level? Or do you mean he doesn’t listen? Is it about her ability to concentrate, how well she rallies when tired, her sweet bouncy walk? Or do you mean she tears up furniture when she’s bored? Or how she likes to steal food?

I hear a lot of owner’s talk about their dog’s personality when what they really mean is their dog’s issues. If it’s helpful, think of it in terms of a child. If a kid throws regular tantrums, do you call that personality? If a kid has a problem with fighting, is afraid to leave the house, has violent mood swings, is that just “personality” or is something wrong? Does the kid, maybe, need some help?

I’m not trying to bust anyone’s chops, but next time you talk personality, stop and think. Are you using that word to avoid addressing your dog’s fears, insecurities, anxieties? Every dog has his or her own personality, and it deserves to be loved, celebrated. But let’s not use the word as a hiding place. Be brave for them. Be honest. Address your dog’s issues head on. That way they can shine their real self on the world, without any issues obstructing that glorious glow.

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