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Studying and understanding each dog’s unique personality has been a special interest of mine and something I have studied a long time.

As dog owners, we all know that our dog has a personality. And there has been quite a bit of research done on animal personalities. In humans, the most accepted model of personality is called the Five Factor Model. This includes five dimensions that describe people’s personalities with subdimensions that further divide it. Dogs are not people, and there are different opinions as to what dimensions would apply, but the FFM is a good starting point.

At our dog lifestyle center, we understand the importance of taking personality dimensions into account when tailoring care for each individual dog. The five personality dimensions that we consider are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion/energy, agreeableness/frustration tolerance, and neuroticism. Let's break down each of these dimensions and look at how they impact our approach to caring for your dog.

First, let's talk about openness. This dimension refers to a dog's willingness to experience new things and their level of curiosity. Just like with people, this trait is most pronounced in younger dogs and declines when they get older. Dogs who score high in openness tend to enjoy exploring new environments and trying out new toys and games. At our center, we make sure to provide plenty of opportunities for these dogs to explore and engage in new experiences.

Next up is conscientiousness. This dimension relates to a dog's level of self-discipline and their willingness to follow rules and routines. Dogs who score high in conscientiousness tend to be well-behaved and obedient. We take this into account when designing training programs for these dogs, focusing on reinforcing positive behaviors and setting clear expectations.

The third dimension is extraversion/energy, which refers to a dog's level of enthusiasm and energy. Dogs who score high in extraversion tend to be outgoing and energetic, while those who score low may be more introverted and calm. We make sure to provide plenty of exercise and playtime for high-energy dogs, while also providing a more relaxed environment for dogs who prefer a quieter lifestyle.

Fourth is agreeableness/frustration tolerance, which relates to a dog's level of social harmony and their ability to tolerate frustration and stress. Dogs who score high in agreeableness tend to be friendly and cooperative, while those who score lower may struggle with social situations and become easily frustrated. We provide a supportive and understanding environment for dogs who may need extra help adjusting to new people and situations.

Finally, there is neuroticism, which refers to a dog's level of emotional stability and anxiety. Dogs who score high in neuroticism may struggle with separation anxiety or become easily stressed in unfamiliar situations. We take extra care to provide a calm and stable environment for these dogs, working with them to build confidence and reduce anxiety.

By taking these personality dimensions into account, we are able to tailor our care and training programs to meet the unique needs of each individual dog. Whether your furry friend is outgoing and energetic or more introverted and calm, we are dedicated to providing the best possible care to help them thrive.

Dirk Broersma