Dog temperament is the underlying nature of your dog and is generally affected most by genetics (coat, and inheritance) while personality evolves and grows based on many factors such as socialization and environment.
Arguably personality is one of the most important factors in how a new member of your family will fit in.
So why do we offer puppy picks at 2 weeks when it is not yet possible to match a personality?
Personality is not set in stone at birth. In fact, personality does not even start to become apparent until 8-9 weeks. We can sometimes tell which ones will be more alpha temperament by 7 weeks but the majority of their personality has yet to bloom while still with us.
Early temperament tests are generally perceived as unreliable ways to predict a puppy’s personality into adulthood. Learning about how coat types, as well as parental personalities, and early socialization, affect budding personalities, will lead you in a more reliable direction when making your choice.
In our experience, puppies “inherit” similar temperament to one or the other parent even when not raised by either parent which is why we include details on each of our parent dog’s personalities on their personal pages to aid you in making the most educated choice you can.
Some of our dogs are most happy just laying around observing life while others have strong drive instincts and would much prefer to be outside smelling new things and meeting new people.
If you want a hiking buddy you may want to choose a puppy from parents that are more alpha temperament (Raven’s kin).
If you are hoping for a companion that will sit at home with you or enjoy traveling (long, low-energy drives) then what we call the “old souls” (Sprinkles kin) would likely be a closer fit for you.
There are always exceptions to the rule especially with two parents’ individual personalities melding together.
By offering pack socialization and daily human interaction we strive to positively influence future behavior a great deal, in the early weeks with us.
However, personalities will change drastically once their surrounding changes. You will have as much or more influence on the personality they will develop, by providing a loving, safe, yet engaging environment in which your puppy can thrive.
Like a young child, a puppy at 8 weeks is a sponge, soaking up information and experiences. It is very important to avoid frightening or painful experiences as much as possible. And, when such things do happen, “jolly” your pup through it, heap on the praise, and generally respond positively to distract your puppy’s fears.
It seems counterintuitive to bring your pup home at eight weeks, just when they are entering a fearful period but it is also the most impressionable period. This is your best opportunity to bond with and expose your pup to as many new people, new animals, and new situations as you think he/she can handle while still being mindful of germ exposure till after 16-week vaccinations.
Just like people, dogs can be shy or nervous about new things. Forcing your dog into situations that make him uncomfortable could have the opposite of your intended effect – while you’re trying to acclimate your dog to the world, he will interpret you as forcing him to do things that are extremely scary and could lead to mistrust.
It is best to watch your pup’s body language and if an activity is causing them to be frozen in place, avoiding eye contact, shaking, or trying to retreat then offer them a safe place in your arms (speaking cheerfully to them), or their crate with a high-value treat or toy until they start to open back up.
Learn more about continuing training with your puppy once it goes home with you