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Study Finds Dogs Have Personalities That Change Over Time

Huffington Post:–  Dog owners will tell you that their canine companions have personalities, and a new study from Michigan State University says those personalities are likely to change over time.

The study, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, found that dogs’ personality change, much like humans.

“When humans go through big changes in life, their personality traits can change,” the lead author, professor William Chopik, said in a university release. “We found that this also happens with dogs ― and to a surprisingly large degree.”

“We expected the dogs’ personalities to be fairly stable because they don’t have wild lifestyle changes humans do, but they actually change a lot,” he added. “We uncovered similarities to their owners, the optimal time for training and even a time in their lives that they can get more aggressive toward other animals.”

The study was one of the first to look at changes in dogs’ personalities. It was also the largest, with Chopik collecting surveys from owners of more than 1,600 dogs. Participants in the study evaluated their dogs and answered questions about their own personalities. The dogs included 50 breeds and ranged in age from a few weeks to 15 years old.

“We found correlations in three main areas: age and personality, in human-to-dog personality similarities and in the influence a dog’s personality has on the quality of its relationship with its owner,” Chopik said. “Older dogs are much harder to train; we found that the ‘sweet spot’ for teaching a dog obedience is around the age of 6, when it outgrows its excitable puppy stage but before it’s too set in its ways.”

Chopik said the notion that dogs resemble their owners was also supported by the study. For example, extroverted people rated their dogs as more excitable and active. People who rated themselves as agreeable described their dogs as less fearful and aggressive.

Chopik said he plans to study how environment can affect dogs’ behavior.

“Now that we know dogs’ personalities can change, next we want to make strong connection to understand why dogs act – and change – the way they do,” Chopik said.

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. Dogs were created first for hunting then for working and the toy dogs.Dogs live to an age of 15 years,We love hunting dogs and working dogs,that will never get a chance to run free or hunt.There normal instincts will be repressed for ever.they start getting white hair on their face as they age after 10 years same as humans and they get grumpy when aging,some get agressive when old and you have to put them down for safety.

  2. Of course they do. First they start off nicely. Always well kept, fur and paws well done, everything on point. Polite and never argue. They are generous and share their food. They are happy to be around you, tails always up and wagging away when their see you. You fall for that expecting it to continue. So you decide to put that dog on a leash ignoring all other dogs. Things nice for a few months then hell starts unravelling. Complaining all the time when you hang out with your dawgs claiming you have no time for them. But you hang out with your dawgs because all that leashed dog does is argue and stress you out and your dawgs is the only escape. Your dog miraculously forgets how to groom its fur and paws. Your dog can no longer cook. Your dog’s tail is no longer up around you. Yet you still go to work hunting, trying your best for that dog to put food in its bowl. The you start hearing stories about the plumber dog and cable repair dog spending time with your dog. At the same time you notice your dog starting to spruce up again. Fur and paws on point again. Out at all hours hanging out with friends. Friends you know that tied up with their own family. A dog that is no longer in heat suddenly doing everything it can to lok sexy…

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