An interesting study on dog personalities and what some call canine-alities from researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) was recently published in the Journal of Research in Psychology.

An article in a site called informs us about their research.  The researchers at MSU found that dogs like humans have moods, I think those of us who have or had dogs knew that.  They said they also found that their personalities actually change over time and that their owners have a lot of influence over their dog’s traits.  Dog’s personalities change as a response to an owner’s personality or mental state.

William Chopik, a professor of psychology at MSU and the lead author of the study stated in a university release:

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…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.

They study surveyed the owners of approximately 1,600 dogs.  The dogs included 50 breeds with ages ranging from just a few weeks to 15 years and were evenly split between male and female dogs.

The study stated:

We found correlations in three main areas: age and personality, in human-to-dog personality similarities and in the influence a dog’s personality has on the quality of its relationship with its owner…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 its too set in its ways.

What was also an interesting find was that our dogs’ personalities changed over time based on the quality of their relationships with their owners. They went on to say that our dog’s age had a profound effect on its personality and:

while many behaviors can be corrected, those stemming from fear and aggression are more difficult to correct for pet parents. Previous research has shown how dogs can actually read their owners’ facial expressions and become more stressed when they’re in a bad mood.

So our dogs do have canine-alities and those canine-alities are affected by us humans.  Maybe that is why many dog owners find that their dogs do end up having traits like us and we perhaps our to blame for some of their behavior both bad and good.

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