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Many people think that all dogs should gladly accept attention from people and other dogs at any time, no matter what. And some dogs are indeed that way. They are in your face – and everyone else’s – and can’t get enough attention.

On the other hand, some dogs are more aloof and appreciate a little space. This does not mean that they aren’t wonderful companions; they just show their devotion in different, more subtle ways.

Some personality traits are breed specific and are a big part of why a breed is successful at the job it was meant to do. There are always exceptions in every breed, but it’s important to do careful research and try to meet lots of dogs if you are looking for a particular personality type.

Think about how you, as a human, would feel if a stranger came up to you and started hugging you, patting the top of your head, and even messing up your hair. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a stranger, either! Or what if you were having dinner in a nice restaurant, and a rambunctious toddler came over and started playing with the food on your plate?

Having someone get into his face or a puppy climb all over him while he’s on a walk with his person, minding his own business, might make a dog feel the same way. And if you have a gregarious dog, don’t assume the one coming toward you with her owner is dying to have your dog jump all over her. Keep your dog, and yourself, under control until you get the okay to interact with the other one.

Appreciate your dog as the individual he or she is and respect their wishes. Some dogs can’t get enough attention, pets and hugs, and others prefer to lie quietly beside you.

If your dog is more reserved, appreciate the loyalty and friendship that he shows just by coming to be in the same room with you, even though he isn’t sitting on your lap!

Get more tips, advice and information about your dog from the AKC team of dog trainers on the AKC GoodDog! Helpline, a seven-day-a-week telephone support service:
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What’s he thinking?

Dogs exhibit all sorts of bewildering, funny, and sometimes worrisome, quirky behaviors. Ever wonder what he's thinking and where the behaviors come from? Download this e-book to find out.
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