A New Study Finds That Dogs May Mimic the Personalities of Their Owners
Your pooch could be learning a lot from you.
If you thought it was just cats who mimicked their owners' behavior, research says the same could be true for man's best friend, too. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Research in Personality, dogs are just as likely to mirror the personality traits of their owners. Led by researchers at Michigan State University, the study surveyed owners of over 1,600 dogs, who ranged across 50 breeds, both sexes, and all ages. Participants were asked questions about their own personality traits as well as the behavioral tendencies of their canines.
The findings? More active individuals tended to have more energetic dogs, while owners who described themselves as pessimistic often had dogs who didn't respond well to training. And if you consider yourself a homebody, there's a good chance your pup is likely to be more laid-back and low-key.
As for the reasoning behind these findings: William Chopnik, psychology researcher and lead author of the study tells Discover that "people probably pick dogs that match their lifestyles, or that shared lifestyles can cause dog and human personalities to meld over time."
While the study didn't note any findings specific to certain dog breeds, it did find that purebred dogs tended to be less fearful and aggressive overall. Researchers also examined the development of dog personalities over time, finding that dogs ages six to eight tended to have the highest levels of aggression towards people and other animals, but were also the most responsive to training. Aside from the relationship to their owners and other humans, factors associated to a dog's personality also included their health and biting history.