Like humans, dogs’ personalities likely change over time, according to new research.
When dog owners spend extra time scratching their dogs’ bellies, take their dogs out for long walks and games of fetch, or even when they feel constant frustration over their dogs’ naughty chewing habits, they are gradually shaping their pets’ personalities. Dogs, like people, have moods and personality traits that shape how they react in certain situations.
“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,” says lead author William Chopik, professor of psychology at Michigan State University and lead author of the study, which appears in the Journal of Research in Personality.