The 5 Dog Personality Traits & How to Anticipate Attacks - Mazow | McCullough, PC
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The 5 Dog Personality Traits & How to Anticipate Attacks

No two dogs are the exact same, especially when it comes to temperament and personality. The nuances of canine behavior have remained somewhat of a mystery to dog owners, but researchers have recently created a breakthrough in understanding with the Vienna Dog Personality Test.

This assessment includes 15 individual subtests and scores dogs in 5 different categories, providing data that can be used to determine a dog’s adaptability and response to stress. Here’s what to know and how Mazow | McCullough, PC can help you recover after a devastating dog attack.


Sociability-obedience refers to a dog’s eagerness to please and how willingly the animal follows cues and adheres to commands. Dogs scoring high in sociability-obedience are likely to thrive on human interaction and cooperation. They exhibit higher emotional intelligence and are intrinsically motivated to obey as opposed to doing so for the sole purpose of receiving treats or rewards.

Dogs scoring low in this area are less likely to follow commands consistently and are more inclined to place their needs and preferences above the direction of their owner. Dogs with less emotional attachment to people and less desire to please them may be more likely to bite someone, especially when faced with stress or anxiety.


Activity-independence is a measurement of how much activity a dog needs on a daily basis and how independent they can be while engaging in that activity. Dogs with high activity levels thrive on regular exercise, interactive play, and outdoor adventures.

They are often more energetic and require a lot of mental and physical stimulation to maintain a calm demeanor. If they are very independent, they can do these things autonomously without getting bored too quickly. Unfortunately, dogs with high activity-independence scores are also more likely to attack if they don’t get the stimulation they need.

Novelty Seeking

Curiosity is a defining trait for dogs and novelty seeking measures how adventurous and open to new experiences an individual dog is. This can help anticipate how the animal is likely to react in unfamiliar situations.

Dogs scoring high in novelty seeking are often characterized by their enthusiasm for new stimuli whether it be new environments, scents, toys, or interactions. These dogs thrive on variety and change and tend to approach unfamiliar situations with excitement.

Conversely, dogs with lower novelty-seeking scores may be more cautious and reserved in unfamiliar scenarios. Recognizing and respecting this trait is important since pushing a dog with lower novel-seeking tendencies without adequate preparation in advance can provoke it to attack.

Problem Orientation

Problem orientation is how well a dog is able to approach challenges and how confident they are when solving problems. They display an ability to assess and analyze situations before proactively seeking solutions, making them particularly adept at puzzle-solving and other cognitive challenges.

Dogs with lower scores in this area may get easily frustrated when presented with a problem and have greater difficulty with deescalating. They often require additional support when faced with higher-thinking tasks to prevent disappointment.

Frustration Tolerance

Every dog encounters moments of frustration and how well they can withstand setbacks and challenges without resorting to negative behaviors. Dogs with high frustration tolerance exhibit resilience in the face of obstacles. They can handle moments of disappointment or difficulty without becoming overly stressed or reactive.

On the other hand, dogs with lower frustration tolerance may be more prone to becoming defensive when faced with stressors and may need a gradual introduction to changes or potentially stressful situations.

How Understanding Dog Personality Traits Can Prevent Attacks

Understanding a dog’s personality and the traits they exhibit in different situations can help you anticipate and avoid attacks. If you can tell that a dog is apprehensive when meeting someone new, you can take steps to lower your risk of getting bit, like moving slowly and avoiding eye contact.

Or, if you can see that a dog has a low frustration tolerance or is hitting the upper limit of what they can endure, you can remove the dog from the situation or even keep them out of frustrating circumstances altogether.

Attacked by a Dog? We Can Help

If you or a loved one were harmed in a dog attack, Mazow | McCullough, PC is here to support you and your family during the recovery process. Our team of experienced dog bite lawyers understand the legal challenges of an attack and can provide you with the guidance needed to successfully obtain the full and fair compensation you deserve.

Contact us today to learn more or to book your free initial consultation at (978) 744-8000 or toll-free at (855) 693-9084.

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