By Celebrity Dog Trainer, Joel Silverman
It is a fact that the reason there are so many dogs returned back to animal shelters and humane societies is that a large percentage of them were not the right match. Understanding how important it is to take the time to do research on certain breeds, and take into consideration the change in personalities will help you the next time you are thinking of adopting a new four-legged friend.
Taking into consideration the dog’s personality as the first priority. The dog could be the cutest looking dog, be the right size, and could even be hypoallergenic, but if the dog’s temperament and disposition is not what you are looking for, then all the other prerequisites mean absolutely nothing. There are a number of things that can be trained out of a dog with a certain personality, but the truth is, the dog’s natural personality will change very little, but can change with training. To make it easy to understand, there are two extreme personalities, and the others all vary somewhat between those two. If you look at my What Color is Your Dog?® color chart, you will see that we have the warmer colored dogs and the cooler colored dogs.
The red and orange dogs are the warmer colored dogs, and the blue and green dogs are the cooler colored dogs. The yellow dog is right in the middle, and is the mellow yellow laid back dog. I would say that about 25-30% of all dogs in animal shelters and humane societies are orange dogs, and the good news is that orange dogs can change colors. If you notice where orange dogs sit on the color spectrum, they are between the red and yellow dogs. When you first adopt an orange dog, quite often these dogs are going to have a higher prey drive. A dog’s prey drive is defined by a dog’s natural desire to after prey. Often with these kinds of dogs, sights, sounds, and odors are elevated. If you let an orange dog with high prey drive fixate on things, and play out those actions like barking and lunging, the dog can change colors, and move away from the center of the color spectrum towards a red dog, which is not a good thing. But if you begin to desensitize him to things that can increase those reactions, he can change colors, and move towards the middle of the spectrum, becoming a yellow dog.
In animal shelters, there are certain breeds or mixes or may have a majority of one breed, who’s predominant breed’s characteristic may be dogs with a lot of energy such as an orange dog. One of the breeds that come to mind when we talk about high-strung dogs is Jack Russell Terriers. In general, this warmer breed has a lot of energy, and often has a higher prey drive. So my tip to you is to make sure if you see a dog with a lot of energy that has a predominant breed, either ask someone at the shelter about the breed, or do your own research before adopting that dog. Although red and orange dogs can make absolutely great pets, remember a large percentage of dogs are in animal shelters because owners did not ask questions or do the proper research.
Joel Silverman has trained animals for Hollywood films, TV, amusement parks, and he now devotes his forty years of professional experience to helping thousands of pet owners train their dogs. Joel has worked behind the scenes on lots of shows and films, but he’s best known for Good Dog U—his top-rated Animal Planet series that ran from 1999 to 2009. Joel has also authored three books to share his expertise: What Color Is Your Dog?®, Take 2 – Training Solutions for Rescued Dogs, and Bond With Your Heart; Train With Your Brain®.