If you’ve owned a dog, then you are acutely aware of the personality traits that bind them to your family. Watching your Dachshund, Duke, gobble down his dog chow without taking a breath reminds you of your Uncle Buck at Thanksgiving. You marvel at the regal twin-like pose of Daffodil, the silky gray Weimaraner, and your Aunt Daphne as they drive the Mercedes golf cart around her country club neighborhood. What canine consortium causes your animal to emulate human personality traits? Or are we a pre-selective species destined to end up with man’s best friend reflective of our own psychological makeup? These questions are the mysterious minutiae pondered by Plato and Socrates. But scoff not. There are in-depth studies that suggest this rubbish has some validity. So the big question of the day is: Which of these 5 dog personalities do you and Fifi share?

Neuroticism Does your giant Black Lab slink over to the corner when, in dramatic fashion, you throw your hands in the air and screech loudly about the water bowl she tipped onto your Terrazzo tile in the kitchen? Does she nervously lick her paws over and over after you just wore down a pacing rut in the carpet during your latest Sex in the City marathon phone call with your sister? Or maybe Maximillian is quietly curled up on the loveseat while you watch The Sound of Music for the 10th time snacking on your popcorn. Neuroticism is considered the strongest association personality trait between dogs and their human. So next time you evaluate your dog’s nervous/confident/sensitivity quotient, you may need a healthy dose of self-analysis first.

Conscientiousness There are many breeds of dogs that are considered “working” dogs. Does your Shaggy DA heard you around the house while you try in vain to corral the kids into your suburbanite minivan for your morning slog to public school? This is a perfect example of instinctual behavior, not personality.  However, if you rake the leaves, hand wash your car, and trim the edges of your lawn with a pair of scissors, don’t be surprised at Shaggy’s behavior.  He is likely to run the length of the fence repeatedly checking for intruders. He may even gather all his squeaky toys into one pile while you obsessively clean your house. These may be signs that your dog is a conscientious canine similar to his human. (Sierra The Writer Dog has never emulated this last trait, as she has never actually seen someone mop or vacuum before.)

Extraversion You’re at the dog park with your little yapper snapper, Queeny. While you keep your distance from all the other cute soccer moms playing “catch the soccer ball” with their fur babies, you are busy scowling at how clingy Queeny has become. You think to yourself ‘Why won’t she go play? I didn’t drove all the way to the dog park so she can pout next to me.’ Your dog is likely imitating you. But, however, if you are the cute soccer mom interacting with your pet, then Queeny is far more likely to socialize and possibly sniff out some kingly butt. Please spay or neuter your pets.

Intellect We all have that one dog-owner friend that consistently comments about how smart his dog is. “He went to the door and waited for me to let him out.” There may be some truth to the fact that canines exhibit elevated levels of intellect when owned by humans that exhibit the same trait. Your dog gathers information in her walnut-sized brain and repeats what she learns by repetition. If you take Fido out every time you wake up, get home from work, and before you go to bed, then he has learned intellectual behaviors from your consistent lessons. It is reported that Einstein’s dog solved the Pythagorean theorem just by emulating Albert himself. [This is not true, but if you believed me, you should shop for a pet with Extraversion traits instead – Bless your heart.]

Agreeableness You are cooing in the drooling face of your neighbor’s 9-month old human. Your dog, Lady, gently sneaks up behind you and licks little Rickie Bobby’s piggy toes. That tramp! If you socialize your dog with regularity, Lady will begin to make friends on her own. You reinforce this personality trait by being social yourself. So, if you are basically selfish and want to hog all of Lady’s affection, you may be more suited to Lizard ownership – They rarely step out on their owners.

Since you probably own a dog, or are really a cat-owner spying on the competition, make note of the above personality traits to determine which ones fit both you and your mutt. Dogs, similar to children, copy personalities. So when shopping at your local rescue society for your new best friend, pay heed to your own idiosyncrasies. You may find a match made in dog heaven


Sherrie’s Always Write

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