Temperament...The Essence of a Lasting Friendship
Updated: Mar 18, 2021
My goal in this blog is to explain why we temperament test our goldendoodles and how to help you find your perfect match.
The goldendoodle may not look like his ancestor the wolf, but if you trace their lineages far enough back in time all dogs are descended from wolves. It has been said that the first wolves that befriended man had a friendly temperament. There was a study done in Russia involving foxes. This experiment bred foxes who were comfortable getting close to humans. Researchers discovered that these foxes were also good at picking up on human social cues. The majority of wolves would have been fearful and aggressive towards humans. It is their nature, but some had a friendlier disposition, which may have given them access to human hunters and their prey. Making these wolves opportunists, smart, friendly and clever. No one knows how man and wolf became friends. In my version of the first man/wolf friendship, I believe man’s first encounter with a wolf must have been with a lone wolf. I think even the strongest man would be intimidated by a pack of wolves. I also believe that this man and this lone wolf had similar temperaments. They both must have been opportunists, the man seeing the wolf as a hunting partner, the wolf seeing the man as an easy way to get a fast meal. Both were smart and clever to pair up this way. Both had to show friendship and trust to each other. The old adage that opposites attract, did not apply then nor does it apply now to our human/canine relationships.
DOMESTICATION & FRIENDSHIP
Thankfully dogs have been domesticated for a very long time. Domestication has made the dog more even-tempered, friendly and loyal. Even the domesticated alpha temperaments are able to live peacefully with his matching human. The temperament testing allows us to guide our puppy buyers to the right match for them. We do temperament testing because we want to MATCH puppies with people. Just like people, some dogs are hard to live with, and just like people, some dogs are easy to live with. That of course depends on how we match up. We want our clients to have the dog that will bring them life-long joy. So when they do all the naughty dog things... like eating your shoes or tearing up a rug, no worries, a little disruption in the friendship is nothing, he’s your BFF! Bahaha…it will happen. My favorite dog Kizzy does a lot of gross things…A LOT… But because she is my perfect match, I over look half eaten moles placed lovingly on my kitchen floor and my trash cans being plundered. She’s a dog. She’s my dog, she’s my best friend and I love her! Shout out for all you first time dog owners out there, this is the first dog I have ever owned that brought me half eaten dead animals. Please do not panic and think this is a common thing among dogs because it is not! I have had many dogs in my lifetime and this is the first one who has ever done this. Although my cats have left them for me at the backdoor. FYI: Trash plundering is common though. Moving on…
"A" IS FOR ALPHA
If you are a type A personality, confident, authoritative, in charge and love a good challenge, an alpha or an alpha-beta would be a great match. Especially if you have dog experience. These types of temperaments in dogs thrive with authority and discipline. The bond created is like no other. An alpha would drag their person from a burning building and alert your neighbors. Think of Rin Tin Tin. A beta-omega would crumple under your personality even when you speak gently to him. They would submissive pee and cower. Side note: Not all dogs that cower have been beaten. Dogs can “feel” your temperament. It is a beta-omega’s expression of submissiveness. They are telling you they will never challenge your authority. It would be very hard for a type A personality to train a beta-omega.
BETA STARTS WITH "B" AND ENDS IN "A"
Betas are the middle-of-the-road dogs. They can be matched with both type A’s and type B’s, basically anyone. They can tolerate a weaker personality leading them. As long as you give them direction and guidance, they can tolerate a strong personality as long as you pack your patience and inside voice. They will happily follow you. Think of Lassie. Any dog whether alpha or omega appreciates leadership and guidance. However the “no” command for an alpha is VERY different from an omega. Just like children, some need harsher discipline than others. The beta can handle any way their person delivers the “no” command. They are very tolerate of your mistakes. They are just very chill, dogs.
"B" IS FOR BETA-OMEGA
If you are a type B personality, calm, relaxed, very soft spoken and you do not like confrontation and conflict, I would highly recommend a beta-omega. They would do well with a softer touch. They would follow a quiet leader and a softer hand would create a strong and lasting bond. The beta-omega may lack the confidence and drive to pull you from the burning building like an alpha, but they would never leave you alone. Think of Toto. Type B's should never choose an alpha. An alpha would over-power you or protect you. They would either not respect your leadership or will think that you are weak and need protecting. So biting is inevitable with this match. Your alpha will either bite you or bite someone else or both. Sad but true, most dogs euthanized in animal shelters are alphas raised by type B/ no dog experience personalities.
THE TRUMP CARD
Someone with dog experience trumps all the typical match-ups. Someone who has a good understanding of dogs whether type A or type B can be matched with any dog. They can pick and choose the battles they want to take. Someone with a type A personality who understands dogs and wants to live with an easy going sweet and compliant dog can choose a beta-omega and do well with him. They know how to help the puppy build his confidence and then the pup becomes more beta than omega in his hands. A type B personality may want a challenge and as long as they have dog experience, a type B personality can rewardingly witness an alpha dog gladly hand over his position to him.
I grew up with dogs. I know them. I have owned all types within my lifetime and I have learned how to train and adapt to each temperament. I am getting older so when I was young, I would choose an alpha every time. I’m a type A an Aries. I am strong-willed and I LOVE a good challenge. Now that I have gotten older, an alpha exhausts me. I want a dog that will be more compliant without having to put forth much effort, so now my favorite personalities or temperaments are alpha-betas. They are the life of the party! Since I have a strong personality, they easily comply with my authority and are just so much fun to train. Kizzy is an alpha-beta. My perfect match. She is confident, outgoing, and friendly. She doesn’t need me and gives me my space. She was a breeze to train because she respects me and wants to please me. Can you tell that I LOVE a good alpha-beta?
WHO ARE YOU?
So now it’s up to you to evaluate yourself. Who are you? Are you a type A or a type B? If you don’t have dog experience and want a fun challenge, then choose an alpha-beta. If you are a type B without dog experience, you most definitely want a beta-omega. Betas may be a bit of challenge for you, and you may have to work out some kinks, but it will come. Like I said they are forgiving. I would caution a type A without dog experience from getting a beta-omega as their first dog. You will be very frustrated with the training and the reactions you get from your pup. As I would caution a type B with little dog experience from getting an alpha-beta as their first dog. You will most likely be returning him to us and we would have a very difficult time trying to bring him back to his natural state.
THE GUIDE TO A LASTING FRIENDSHIP
The Volhard Temperament testing should be used as a guide to let new puppy owners know what type of temperament their puppies will grow to be as adult dogs. Although this is a very good measurement of temperament, there is another factor that can change a puppy’s natural tendencies. It is the nurture effect. It is the way you raise your puppy. If you have been poorly matched, you can change a dog’s natural temperament. In my opinion it is very important to make sure you choose wisely. Please do not choose a puppy based on color, markings, or cuteness, but rather put temperament first on your list and then wait until that Parfait Mischen (Perfect Mix) comes along. You and your new puppy will have a bonding friendship and love that is second to none!