(Picture: Getty)Humans obviously evolve and change over time. And while we probably only notice physical changes in our dogs, a new study says our pets’ personalities also change. Just like ours.
We never question the goodness of our beloved pets (unless you have a cat, maybe) and when it comes to dogs, we expect them to be forever loyal and kind to us.
Researchers from Michigan State University found that doggo personalities aren’t set in stone though and just as humans are changed by experiences in life so too are our canines.
Just as children who are nurtured and loved in their childhood will be positively affected in their emotional development, dogs are also affected by how much time is spent with their owners.
The number of belly rubs you give dogs, whether they’re taken out for walks, playing fetch with them help to determine their mood, attachment, aggression, and ability to obey.
The study of over 1,600 dogs spanning 50 different breeds were included in the work – the biggest of its kind – and was published in the Journal of Research in Personality
Outgoing dogs had outgoing owners, the study found, while aggressive dogs tended to have negative owners.
And researchers also found that the saying ‘you can’t teach old dogs new tricks’ has some truth to it.
Like owner, like dog (Picture: Getty)‘When humans go through big changes in life, their personality traits can change,’ explained lead author William Chopik. ‘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.
‘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.
‘Older dogs are much harder to train; we found that the “sweet spot” for teaching a dog obedience is around the age of six when it outgrows its excitable puppy stage but before it’s too set in its ways.
‘There are a lot of things we can do with dogs – like obedience classes and training – that we can’t do with people. Exposure to obedience classes was associated with more positive personality traits across the dog’s lifespan. This gives us exciting opportunities to examine why personality changes in all sorts of animals.’
It’s good news too for those thinking to adopt a dog from a shelter, especially if you’re worried about previously aggressive pooches.
If you can put it in a new environment where it’s loved, walked and entertained often, the dog then might become a little more relaxed and sociable.
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