Independent Dog Breeds: The Do-It-Yourselfers of the Canine World
Dogs sometimes get a bad rap for being completely dependent companions that merely exist to be at the beck and call of their owners. This is an unfair sentiment. Indeed, there are several breeds that thrive on independence - almost to a fault in some cases.
What Makes a Dog Independent?
As is the case with many dog breed traits, independence is a trait that has been selectively bred in certain pedigrees. These self-sufficient roots tend to tie into their original pre-domestication purposes, such as pack hunting, herd-guarding, and sled-pulling. These work-centric traits are oftentimes linked to other qualities that tend to be associated with independence all throughout the animal kingdom, such as leadership and discipline.
It makes perfect sense when you stop and think about things. These dogs were bred to be hard workers with an unwavering focus so that the task at hand could be completed efficiently. A dog that is always on the lookout for love, attention, and affection simply wouldn't be to handle this type of position.
Typical Independent Dog Traits
It goes without saying that the most prominent trait of an independent dog is self-sufficiency. Again, this goes back to their roots as a dog bred for hard, focus-driven work. Since they were designed to make it by themselves in demanding situations, you can bet that they do not need much help in surviving your living room.
Independent dogs can still be loving and affectionate; however, it is important to note that they will demonstrate these bursts of love on their own terms. They almost act cat-like in nature in this regard, as they have a tendency to come across as aloof when it comes to human-social interaction at times. In other words, don’t expect this dog to constantly nuzzle up against you in a happy, playful manner - you will be disappointed.
Brainpower is also a strong characteristic amongst independent breeds. A lot of tasks that they were initially bred for were rather complex, and they needed to be smart in order to carry out what was expected of them. These tasks may be gone, but the associated cleverness has not waned, which can sometimes lead to some mischief.
It can also lead to some very stubborn behavior that some owners may be taken aback by if not properly prepared. The combination of intelligence and inherent leadership traits can oftentimes lead to a pooch that thinks that he can do things better than you can. This is especially true if you do not work to cultivate a strong bond with him.
Independent Dogs are Tough to Train
There’s no dancing around the issue - the personality of an independent dog makes training him difficult. However, it’s not just tough because he’s self-sufficient. In fact, for all of his self-reliant toughness, an independent dog can be rather vulnerable.
An independent dog can easily buckle and feel intimidated if there is someone or something trying to create an overtly strong “alpha dog” presence. These types of dogs will respond to this situation by becoming even more aloof and further withdrawn. If he withdraws too much, he may grow to be even too independent for your tastes.
Therefore, when the time comes to train your independent dog, a balance between firmness, kindness, and deliberateness must be set at all times. His stubborn nature will require you to add a lot more patience to your training sessions, as you’ll need to win him over by convincing him your ways are good enough to become his ways. At the same time, if you constantly lose your cool during the training process, you run the risk of turning his nose up at you altogether.
They’re Not Easy, But They’re Worth All of the Work!
It may sound like a lot to take on owning an independent pooch. And when you consider that intelligence, stubbornness, and a self-sufficient spirit are all hallmarks of these types of dogs, there is admittedly some truth to that sentiment. But if you are looking for a breed that will give you a good amount of affection and respect without showing overt or constant signs of neediness, then bringing an independent dog into your home is worth all of the effort.