There are many aspects of a dog's personality that make up the dog's temperament. Of course, the temperament varies with each individual dog, but in general there are temperaments that are characteristic of each breed. And as this is true, there are personality aspects that are common to the breed that make up the temperament. For the Portuguese Water Dog, the common traits a new owner should be aware of are intelligence, the need for exercise, and the need for human companionship. No matter your individual dog's temperament, these three traits combine in the Portuguese Water Dog to create either a wonderful pet, or a canine terror.
Intelligence in any dog is a wonderful thing. They can learn all sorts of tricks and tasks, and can be taught to do jobs, especially if, like the Portuguese Water Dog, they are working dogs. However, even such a great trait in a dog can become problematic if not taken into consideration by the owner.
Intelligence in any dog, specifically the Portuguese Water Dog, can become a negative thing when it is not used properly. The Portuguese Water Dog needs to use his brain often, and he needs to be given regular, daily tasks to exercise his brain. If he doesn't learn new things and use these skills, he can become bored; and a bored dog like the Portuguese Water Dog will turn to bad behaviors.
With an animal like the Portuguese Water Dog, intelligence and boredom can lead him to learn inappropriate and sometimes destructive behaviors. For example, there are many bored Portuguese Water Dogs who have taught themselves how to open cupboards, and as a result, have eaten human food or ruined the items in the cupboard. Also, a Portuguese Water Dog with nothing else to do would gladly steal the steak you have thawing on your kitchen counter.
So how does the conscientious owner prevent such behaviors in the Portuguese Water Dog? Well, all he or she really needs to do is train the dog, spend time with the dog, and, most importantly, exercise the dog. Portuguese Water Dogs tend to chew and destroy objects to burn off excess energy. A daily walk or run will use up this energy and also give you some quality time with your dog, thereby taking care of two of the dog's needs simultaneously.
Spending time training your Portuguese Water Dog will also feed his need for exercise and time with you, plus it will stimulate his mind. Using positive training methods like a clicker, you can train your Portuguese Water Dog to do almost anything. If you have the time, you can even train him to compete in water sports or dog shows. Anything is possible with this breed if the owner is simply willing to take the time and commit to the dog.