Being part of a Pack is a wonderful and truly special thing. It’s a great way to meet like-minded individuals who share your passion and love for dogs and animals in general. I’ve met some life-long friends through Pawtrait Ireland events but I know that attending an event should never come at the potential detriment of my dogs and/or any professional training I have done with them.
Knowing your dog’s personality type can help make sure your attendance goes off without a hitch! Before attending any dog-friendly event, it’s important to really think about whether your dog is capable of handling the situation and would be comfortable there for a couple of hours. At the end of the day, if your dog is stressed than so are you and then neither of you are enjoying yourself. We have plenty of Pack members who only attend specific types of events that are suited to their dog and some who attend without their dog altogether.
If you are thinking of heading to a Pawtrait Ireland or other dog-friendly event and wondering how best to prepare then check out my personality type guide below. These are 5 of the different “pawsonality” types I’ve met so far on this journey along with my top tip for each.
At the end of this article, you will find my Checklist and our Ribbon Code guide that we now use at all Pawtrait Ireland events (Thanks Hannah!).
The Pawsonality Guide
Knowing your dog’s personality type is the key to success
PAWSONALITY TYPE 1: THE FONZIE
“Totally chilled, eyyyyy.”
Nothing phases this pooch. There’s not a whole lot that needs to be said about The Fonzie. This is the type of dog you can bring anywhere.
They’re comfortable in their own fur and totally chill with new situations, humans and dogs. In fact, sometimes they can be so chill you might actually forget they’re there. They’ll usually sleep just about anywhere from under a table to a wooden bench and you’ll often find them doing just that at any of our Pawtrait Ireland events.
Top Tip: The Fonzie is the easiest personality type to handle at an event and they don’t need much to make them happy. Just make sure you have your dog when you’re leaving and that they’re not still asleep somewhere!
PAWSONALITY TYPE 2: THE LIONEL RICHIE
“Hello? Is it me you’re looking for?!”
Are you sure it’s not me? I really think it might be!
The type of pooch that just has to have their nose in everything!
They want to meet every dog at an event and every human that passes them by. To them, everybody loves them just as much as you do and you can’t convince them otherwise. Sometimes they might be accidentally forceful with their love by pushing against strangers or jumping up to say hello. The Lionel Richie will usually instigate play with other pooches by offering a paw to the head to get things started or a bounce around dance.
They’re a happy-go-lucky type of dog that sees you, other dogs and humans as the reward. As such, it’s important to make sure they display appropriate greeting behaviour before being rewarded with butt sniffs from other dogs or cuddles & kisses from humans.
Top Tip: If your dog is a jumper, let others know and ask them to get your dog to “sit” before they say a proper hello.
If your dog jumps up, ask human to turn their back away from them until they stop, then proceed to ask for a “sit” again. This works better if you can offer the human a treat to reward your dog with after successfully completing the task.
PAWSONALITY TYPE 3: THE BALLER
“Ball is life.”
For this pawsonality type, Ball is God (go figure, eh?!). They love nothing more than playing with balls or other toys, running around and being overly energetic in general. This dog is a super high energy pooch and will usually be of the working or herding class.
A notorious lead puller normally and a wannabe pack leader; on any of our Hair of the Dog Walks they’re usually leading the charge. Generally speaking, they tend not to have much interest in other dogs, because again, ball is everything. As a result, they can sometimes end up in a growling match because they have that “collie stare” and end up freaking out some other pooch who thinks they’re trying to start on them. If this happens, remove your Baller from the situation and allow them to have some space.
Suffers from the potential to get possessive over toys and can turn their bark box on if the ball is not thrown in a prompt and timely manner. As a high energy pooch, this dog requires a lot of exercise so if you are considering coming to an event, best practice is to give them a big solo run beforehand.
Top Tip: Bring extra toys so if your dog’s toy is “borrowed” by another dog, you have something to replace it with. This will help avoid any potential altercations.
It’s important to keep The Baller entertained and amused at all times so interactive toys (such as a frozen peanut butter filled Kong) can help also. As a Baller mum to Ozzie, my rule of thumb is whatever you think you need treats or toys wise, pack double because they never get bored and always need something to do!
PAWSONALITY TYPE 4: THE WALLFLOWER
“Ugh, anxiety! Where’s my bed?”
Ah, the reluctant type. Be that from shyness, uncertainty or overwhelm. Accustomed to the creature comforts of home, this pooch usually needs some time to adjust to new humans, different surroundings or meeting furry friends. It can take going to multiple events of the same kind to get them used to things. They like to know the running order of things and are a sucker for habit.
You’ll usually find them on the outskirts of the Pack till their confidence grows. If they’re a smallie, they generally tend to be in their furparents arms and will never stray too far from the comfort of mum’s cuddles.
They’ll occasionally give the stink eye to any new dog who approaches if they’ve not fully adjusted to the fact that they’re out of their warm bed yet. This pawsonality type doesn’t mind being around others, once their personal space is respected until they’re ready to broaden it…potentially.
Top Tip: Keep an eye on your Wallflower’s behaviour to make sure they are not getting stressed in a situation. Drooling and panting, among other things, can be a sign of anxiety. Be sure to make sure you choose a spot at an event where they have space to relax. If the event is taking place outdoors, make sure you take some time out on your own together, every so often, to reassure your dog. They cherish that 1-2-1 time with you.
PAWSONALITY TYPE 5: THE SOPRANO
“Let me siiiiiiiing you the song of my peeeeeoooooppppllllleeee.”
The Chatterbox that’s easily overstimulated. Anything that’s happening, they want to be a part of it. Be that playing with other dogs, stealing dog’s toys or joining in a singing chorus. The Soprano tends to be a mid-energy dog meaning they have bouts of spontaneity and exuberance and then they need to recharge the batteries in couch potato mode.
Sopranoes don’t like being left out and will often “sing” if something is happening, or at least they think something is happening, that they’re not included in. It’s basically Centre of Attention Syndrome. Generally speaking, this musically gifted pooch needs one of two things at an event, to be removed from the situation that’s causing over-excitement for a “cooling off” period or to be distracted with something else that’s shiny and new.
A lot of times, this pooch will have no idea what they are singing at but they’re determined to let everyone know they’re there and they’re aware of whatever it is that’s going on of which they have no clue. The song is usually of a high-pitched variety, some have likened it to a turkey being strangled. Don’t be fooled though, some Sopranos have a lower tone Bark Box and will just use a loud sounding bark for attention.
Top Tip: Bring plenty of distractions and you can never have enough treats. As the mum of the most graciously talented Soprano Slug, I find interactive toys and distractions work best. A Snuffle Mat, Wobble Kong or other brain toys are some of my regular go-to’s.
It’s always best to remove your Soprano from a situation if they are getting too wound up, as it lets them settle back down and in addition, lets them know that their singing is not always appreciated.
Headache tablets are never a bad idea either!
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
At any dog-friendly event, your dog is your responsibility. As such, it’s up to you that they behave appropriately and do not cause any disruption or harm.
Life can get busy but you can always make your life easier by practising and working with your dog in between events. “Leave it” and a good “Recall” are invaluable to making your day run as smoothly as possible in case of any situations, such as a dog off lead coming up to you or a toy being thrown in your dog’s direction.
Remember to keep your stress levels down, as your dog can sense it and will to become stressed. If you are getting frustrated with your dog’s behaviour at any point, simply take 5-10 minutes away from the group or event to chill out and spend 1-2-1 time with your dog to reconnect.
I often find lessening my dogs’ feed before an event makes them more co-operative when it comes to commands as they are hungry and more willing to work with me for reward.
The above is just a fun guide. If your dog has any specific behavioural issues that concern you, I cannot recommend enough the benefit of speaking to a professional dog trainer. Professional trainers offer a number of different options from 1-2-1 training to socialisation classes that will help your best friend live a happier and more fulfilled life.
Remember, some dogs (just like people) aren’t cut out for big events or meeting lots of other dogs at once. And that’s ok. It’s important to always do what’s best for your dog. As much as you might like them to attend an event, sometimes you will have a better time leaving them at home and attending solo. You can always bring them back a tasty treat from your adventure!
✅ Lead (preferably non-retractable) + collar (safety clasp is always best)
✅ Up to date dog tag information + micro-chip information
✅ Poop bags
✅ Plenty of fresh water + a bowl
✅ A number of different toys, both interactive and normal
✅ A variety of treats from high reward (cheese, ham, chicken) to low (training treats etc)
Pawtrait Ireland Ribbon Code