A New Research Finds That Dogs' Personalities Can Change To Be Like Their Owners
Dogs apparently do become like their owners — and now there's research to prove it. A new study by psychologists at Michigan State University (MSU) found that dog personalities change over time and their owners play a part. Via: Fox News
“When humans go through big changes in life, their personality traits can change. We found that this also happens with dogs — and to a surprisingly large degree,” said William Chopik, a professor of psychology at MSU and the study’s lead author
"We expected the dogs' personalities to be fairly stable because they don't have the 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," he continued.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Research in Personality, is one of the first — and the largest — of its kind that looks at changes in dogs’ personalities.
Chopik and his colleagues surveyed owners of 1,681 dogs, including 50 breeds that ranged in age from a few weeks old to 15 years old. Owners were asked to evaluate their dog's personalities, answer questions about their dog's behavioral history and describe their own personalities.
The three main findings from the study were:
a correlation of the dog's age to its personality, a correlation of the owner's personality to their dog's personality and the influence a dog's personality has on its relationship to its owner, Chopik said.
Chopik’s research showed dogs and owners share specific personality traits.
Extroverted humans rated their dogs as more excitable and active, while owners high in negative emotions rated their dogs as more fearful, active and less responsive to training. Owners who rated themselves as agreeable rated their dogs as less fearful and less aggressive to people and animals. The owners who felt happiest about their relationships with their dogs reported active and excitable dogs, as well as dogs who were most responsive to training. Aggression and anxiety didn't matter as much in having a happy relationship, Chopik said.