We often hear that dogs and their owners become alike, and new research proves just how much. A recent study, carried out at Michigan State University surveyed 1600 dogs and their owners. It found that a dog’s personality can change over time, often mimicking that of their owner’s.
In the study led by Michigan State University, researchers surveyed owners of more than 1,500 dogs. They included 50 different breeds, both male and female dogs aged just a few weeks to 15 years old. Researchers tasked dog owners to fill out a questionnaire about their own as well as their dog’s personality. The concept of the research was tied around the idea of ‘nature vs nurture’.
‘Say you adopt a dog from the shelter. Some traits are likely tied to biology and resistant to change but you then put it in a new environment where it’s loved, walked, and entertained often,’ – lead author William Chopik, professor of psychology at Michigan State University.
Researchers found correlations in three main areas. Age and personality, similarities in human and dog personality, and the influence a dog’s personality has on the quality of its relationship with its owner
According to another study carried out in 2017, Austrian researchers found that dogs and their owners shared similar personality traits. Based on their findings, dogs and owners’ temperament often influence each other.
We usually expect dog’s personalities to be fairly stable.They don’t go through huge lifestyle changes as we humans do. However, dogs change over the course of time, often adjusting their personality to that of their owners. In the research humans with extroverted personalities tended to describe their dogs as excitable and active. On the other hand, people with higher rates of negative emotions rated their dogs fearful and less responsive to training. Agreeable dog owners reported to have pups that are less aggressive towards both other animals and people.
This study shows incredible connections between human and canine behavior. On the other hand, we often subconsciously match our personalities to the dog’s when buying or adopting them. Either way, dogs are incredibly sensitive and susceptible to human emotions, and I believe we can expect big changes to come from our four legged besties.
Do you have a pup with a personality matching yours? Have you noticed big changes in your dog’s behavior as they age? Let us know in the comments. Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this article share, like and comment!