When humans experience important changes in life, their personality traits can change. We found that this also happens with dogs.
Dog owners will tell you that their furry pals have personalities, and new research from the University of Michigan suggests that those personalities are likely to change over time.
The study, available in the Journal of Research in Personality, found that dog's personality change very similar to that of humans.
"When people experience major changes in life, their personality traits can change," said lead author William Chopik in a college publication. "We discovered that this also happens with dogs, and to a surprisingly large degree."
"We anticipated the dog’s personalities to be quite stable because they do not experience wild lifestyle change humans do, but they actually change a lot," he added."We have discovered similarities with their owners, the best time for training and even a moment in their lives where they can be more aggressive with other animals."
The research was one of the first to observe changes in pooch’s personalities. It was also the largest, with Chopik gathering surveys from more than 1,600 dog owners. The participants in the study evaluated their dogs and answered questions about their personalities. The dogs included 50 breeds and ranged from a few weeks to 15 years in age.
"We found links in three key areas: personality, age, in a dog to human personality similarities between man and dog and in the influence of the dog's personality on the quality of his relationship with his owner," said Chopik. "Mature dogs are much harder to train, we have discovered that the" sweet spot "for teaching dogs obedience is around six years of age when it outgrows the stage of a puppy, but before it’s too set in its way.”
Chopick said the idea that dogs are similar to their owners was also supported by the research. For example, extroverted folks rated their dogs as more active and excitable. While folks who rated themselves as agreeable described their pups as aggressive and less fearful.
Chopik said he plans to study how the environment can influence a dog’s behavior.
"Now that we know that dog personalities can change, we would like to establish a strong relationship to understand why dogs behave, and change, the way they do," Chopik said.