If you were in trouble, how would your dog react? Would they attack? Would they protect? Many dog owners feel they know exactly what their canine would do but it may not be that simple.
The Bettendorf Crow Creek Dog Park is the favorite hangout spot of Joe the boxer, Tater Tot the chihuahua and Faith and Hope the standard poodles. They all get along but they all have very different personalities.
Joe, who just turned two is known for his aggressive behavior. His owner Marilyn Chernetsky says he is always barking and jumping to make his presence known.
“He can also be very gentle but when somebody comes and that doorbell rings, he just goes nuts.”
Marilyn says that is why she got him.
Tater Tot has the same protective mentality, his owner Karen Johnson says.
“If I was to hold him in my arms and you were to act like you were going to grab you, he would attack you.”
Though some dogs are known to be aggressive when a stranger approaches, others greet you with tender love and care.
Walt Schawn, owner of two standard poodles, Faith and Hope say his canines are never aggressive towards humans. He says they are more concerned with the small rodent variety than the threat of a human.
He says a smart squirrel will get up a tree very quickly.
But what makes a dog behave this way?
“I would say 85% of it comes down to how they are bred and then the next part comes in to that nature/nurture thing and what they do with it,” Lindquist says.
Dog trainer and owner of Contented Canine, Kim Lindquist says though dogs have breed tendencies, the way a dog reacts has much to do with their mother and father and less to do with their actual breed.
She says when breeders put together two personalities that are not good together it can cause puppies that have more aggressive, more dominant or more fearful personalities.
So if you are looking for a dog to protect you, Kim says you may get lucky, but with dogs nothing’s guaranteed.
“Dogs pretty much have control of what they are going to do and they are going to do what they are going to do.”
Kim says a dog can be trained to protect similar to a police k9 but that takes years of training and a variety of personality testing.
But whether they will keep you safe or just keep you company almost all dog owners can agree with Marilyn on at least one thing.
“He's the love of my life.”