Dogs Experience an Adolescence Similar to Humansadmin
Man’s best friend may have more in common with their owners than we initially thought, with a new study finding that, much like humans, “dogs experience a non-cooperative stage as they reach puberty, often refusing to listen to their caregivers,” IFLScience.com.
Researchers studied a group of 69 dogs to see how obedience varied with age. They realized once dogs reached puberty at the age of eight months old dogs were more disobedient, “taking longer to sit when the instruction was given by a caregiver but still complying with the same demands made by strangers.” The team also found this behavior was more pronounced in dogs who had an insecure attachment to their owner.
“This is a very important time in a dog’s life,” Dr. Lucy Asher from Newcastle University said in a statement. “This is when dogs are often rehomed because they are no longer a cute little puppy and suddenly, their owners find they are more challenging and they can no longer control them or train them. But as with human teenage children, owners need to be aware that their dog is going through a phase and it will pass.”
The team then went on to look at a larger group of 285 dogs, asking owners and a trainer less familiar with each dog to fill out a questionnaire looking at “trainability”, asking participants to rate statements related to a dog’s ability to obey commands. They found caregivers gave lower scores of trainability to dogs around adolescence, while trainers reported an increase in trainability during this age range.
“Many dog owners and professionals have long known or suspected that dog behavior can become more difficult when they go through puberty,” Dr. Naomi Harvey, co-author of the research from the University of Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science said. “But until now there has been no empirical record of this. Our results show that the behavior changes seen in dogs closely parallel that of parent-child relationships, as dog-owner conflict is specific to the dog’s primary caregiver and just as with human teenagers, this is a passing phase.”