In parts one, two, and three of this series Puppy Personalities on Parade I shared the different traits of my dogs. Knowledge of the personalities helps me understand my furry babies better. I’d like to share what I’ve learned about handling my dogs with the hope that it will help you with yours.
The Sanguine Bundle of Energy
Kramer, our sanguine pup, is a handful. When I adopted him last December, I was looking for a nice phlegmatic pet. Kramer appeared to be just that – he was the only dog not barking or jumping up as I walked through the rows of shelter kennels. He was controlled and poised when we played in the outside pens and seemed like the perfect little lap dog.
However, upon arrival in his new home he turned into a little flash of white lightning; he was sanguine! Most sanguine dogs are full of energy and high maintenance. When pestered by boredom, they make their own fun such as digging, chewing, and basic destruction.
All puppies, no matter their personality type, will do doggie things, but sanguine dogs tend to do them on a more long-term basis. We enlisted the assistance of a professional dog trainer to help with Kramer. She provided many wonderful training tools to help channel our active dog’s abundant energy.
When picking a dog, understand that a sanguine pup is full of energy. If you are an active family this type of dog may be a great fit. However, if you are a family full of low-key melancholy/phlegmatic humans, a sanguine dog will probably require a higher level of activity than your family is willing (or able) to provide.
Kramer works in our family because we are willing to invest the time and energy to channel wiggles and giggles.
The Choleric Canine
This is a broad category. A trained guard or attack dog may be what some people envision when I say “choleric”. However, I’m talking about the typical house pet: the ones who, like my Newman, are more intense than the average dog.
Understanding Newman’s choleric tendencies helps me know what types of situations to avoid. For example, when there are children who want to pet one of our dogs, I am especially careful with Newman because I know his intensity may cause him to bowl over a child in his efforts to lick him or her. In such circumstances we let the phlegmatic Cooper be the Neff Family ambassador. I also know that I cannot run to the phone if Newman is in the room. He sees that as a game and dances dangerously around my feet and could easily trip me.
We have never sought professional training with Newman because he responds well to our basic commands. He is a sweet dog with good manners, but we understand his intense nature occasionally requires extra attention. Newman doesn’t like other dogs as much as our sanguine Kramer or phlegmatic Cooper, so his intense nature tell us that it is best to avoid situations where there are he will encounter strange dogs. Also, when we pull out some toys we put Newman in other room because he is far more serious in his play than our other dogs.
The Low-Key Phlegmatic and Melancholy Pups
These dogs easily fit into most families. People with active lifestyles may want to avoid this low-key pet; a lively sanguine would probably be a better match.
When we were adopting Kramer from the shelter, a dog was brought back by a lady who adopted him earlier in the week. I wasn’t privy to the specifics, but overheard the volunteers talking. The active little dog caught the attention of a quiet elderly woman and, after a couple of days, it became obvious that the dog was too much for her. This lady needed a pet with a phlegmatic or melancholy temperament.
Cooper has been one of the best dogs we’ve ever had. He is obedient, he is the perfect little cuddle bug, and loves everyone. AND, everyone loves him. Cooper is comfortable with toddlers. He loves other dogs and never forces himself on others like our sanguine Kramer. He is well adjusted and goes with the flow.
Any time you invite a dog into your home it is a commitment. I hope this personality information will be a useful tool as you develop relationships with some of the most faithful companions in the world.