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Study Discovers Dogs’ Personalities Change Over Time


Anyone who owns dogs will tell you that their pets have personalities. However, what they may not tell you is what a new Michigan State University study that was published in the Journal of Research in Personality discovered: These personalities are very likely to change over the course of their dogs’ lifetime. According to this study dogs and humans share something in common here when it comes to their personalities.

How Dogs and Humans’ Personalities are Alike

Any major change in a human’s life is likely to change their personality traits is a statement that was put forth by the lead author of this study, professor William Chopik. He then continued on to say that this is something that also happens with your canine companion. However, while most of us are willing to accept that this happens with people, we are surprised to learn that this can also happen to our pets, especially since this has been shown to happen to a large degree.

Most of us believe that our dogs have fairly stable personalities. This belief comes from the fact that they don’t have as drastic of lifestyle changes as we ourselves do. Nevertheless, their personalities still change a lot. In fact, when you look at this you’ll find that there’s actually an optimal time at which to train your dog and there’s also a time in your pet’s life during which they are more prone to grow increasingly more aggressive toward other animals.

A Look at the Study Itself

This is one of the first and largest studies to look at how life can change the personalities of dogs. Herein Chopik surveyed the owners of over 1,600 dogs. These owners not only answered questions about their pet’s personality, but also about their own. In this poll were over 50 breeds of dogs between the ages of a few weeks old to 15-years-old.

When Chopik reviewed the surveys, he found correlations in age and personality, similarities between humans and their pet’s personalities, and he also found that these things impacted the quality of the relationship between humans and pets. For instance, he found that an increase in age made training more difficult with the “sweet spot” being around 6-years-old – a time when the puppy stage is over and yet your canine isn’t set in their ways.

The study also supports the idea that pets resemble their owners. For instance, if someone is extroverted, their canine is more likely to be excited and active. Additionally, people who saw themselves as agreeable said their canines weren’t very fearful or aggressive.

Chopik says in the future he’ll study the impact of the environment on behavior. He wants to understand why actions and changes occur. In the meantime, if you need any help dealing with your pets personalities or managing their health overall, you should know that Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Care Center is there for you. Ask any of their canine owners and you’ll find that this is an experienced vet team you’ll want to have on your side.

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Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Care Center


1501A Belcher Road South Largo, FL 33771

Clinic Hours

Specialty Hours Monday 8:30a - 5:00p Tuesday 8:30a - 5:00p Wednesday 8:30a - 5:00p Thursday 8:30a - 5:00p Friday 8:30a - 5:00p Saturday Closed Sunday Closed Emergency Care Center (ECC) Monday 10a-10p Tuesday 10a-10p Wednesday 10a-10p Thursday 10a-10p Friday, Saturday, Sunday 24 Hours