Dogs go through 'stroppy phase' in their teenage years

15 Mai, 2020, 04:00 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • German Shepherds were among the breeds studied by the researchers

Speak to many dog owners and they will tell you that their once perfectly behaved puppy started to become "difficult" at around six to 12 months of age.

They monitored obedience in the labradors, golden retrievers and cross breeds of the two, at the ages of five months (before adolescence) and eight months (during adolescence).

Dr Harvey, who is also research manager in canine behaviour at the Dogs Trust charity, said: "Many dog owners and professionals have long known or suspected dog behaviour can become more hard when they go through puberty".

The researchers found that for most dogs, adolescent naughtiness was a passing phase, but the consequences could be lasting as many were rehomed to shelters around that age.

She said: "This is a very important time in a dog's life". There are articles all over the internet that advise owners on how to cope with teenage dogs.

The research from the Newcastle and Nottingham universities in the United Kingdom has found that as dogs hit puberty, they are likely to become more rebellious and listen more to strangers, rather than their carers.

"It's very important that owners don't punish their dogs for disobedience or start to pull away from them emotionally at this time" added Dr Asher.

A study by England's Newcastle University has found that dogs are less responsive to instructions from owners during its adolescence. The dogs' caregivers gave lower "trainability" scores to the dogs during adolescence, but the trainers that the dogs are less familiar with reported improvements in trainability between five and eight months.

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The owner-dog relationship has many similarities to the parent-child relationship, being based upon similar behavioural and hormonal bonding mechanisms.

The researchers also found that dogs took longer to respond to the "sit" command during adolescence, but only when the command was given by their caregiver, not a stranger.

'Conflict in human teenagers is thought to be an attempt to test or re-establish their bond with their parental figures'.

Researchers from Newcastle and Nottingham universities observed and scored responses by Golden Retriever and Labrador breeds and cross breeds to an established command given by their primary carer and a stranger in a controlled setting.

This is similar to girls, who often hit puberty early if they have insecure parental relationships, previous research suggests.

While it's believed the adolescent stage of a dog's development is only temporary, and much like with teenagers, the rebellion won't last, there's concern for ongoing impacts on the animal's welfare.

In a final parallel with human biology, female dogs became reproductively mature (indicated by when they first became "in heat") earlier if they had more insecure attachments to their caregivers.

They were asked to rate statements such as: "Refuses to obey commands, which in the past it was proven it has learned" and "responds immediately to the recall command when off lead".

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