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Dogs Officially Go Through ‘Moody Teenage Phase’ During Puberty

Dogs Officially Go Through ‘Moody Teenage Phase’ During Puberty

New research has found that dogs go through emotional difficulties in puberty, just like humans.

Writing in journal, Biology Letters, Newcastle University researchers reported how they examined canine adolescence by looking at a selection of soon-to-be guide dogs, from German shepherds to golden retrievers to Labrador retrievers or crosses of the breeds - all of whom started puberty at around six to nine months.

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Dogs' naughty behaviour is linked to their age (Credit: Unsplash)
Dogs' naughty behaviour is linked to their age (Credit: Unsplash)

And, using 82 dogs aged five months and 80 dogs aged eight months old, they learnt that the adolescents were naughtier than young pups and nearly twice as likely to ignore carers' commands, like 'sit'.

Despite this, they found the same animals were actually more likely to be obedient to a stranger over the same period.

So, it's just the parents they play up around. Sound familiar?!

The study was further backed up by questionnaires from a group of 285 dog owners.

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Carers agreed that their dogs were less trainable during puberty (between five and eight months old) but dog trainers - who were less close with the animals in question - didn't encounter the same problem.

Explaining the findings to The Guardian, Dr Lucy Asher, co-author of the research, said: "Generally teenagers that have a less secure relationship with their parents are those that are more likely to show more conflict behaviour towards their parents.

"That's the same finding that we have [between adolescent dogs and their carers]."

She added that adolescent dogs often break the rules, like human teenagers, to test the strength of the bond with their carers, and help decide whether they should stay with them or follow their urges to be independent, and head off to find a mate.

Dogs test the bonds with their owners in adolescence (Credit: Unsplash)
Dogs test the bonds with their owners in adolescence (Credit: Unsplash)

"Perhaps they are not misbehaving just because they are naughty, but it is just like in humans - the hormones are raging and there are things going on in the brain," she suggested.

The study also went on to reveal that the dogs exhibited signs of separation behaviour at around eight months, which was linked to the lower obedience.

Plus, female dogs whose attachment to their carer was less secure often went into puberty earlier, similarly to humans.

So, there you have it. If your dog isn't playing ball, they are probably just being a moody teenager!

Featured Image Credit: Unsplash

Topics: Dog, Life News, News, Animals

Joanna Freedman

Joanna is a journalist at Tyla with a particular interest in highlighting women's issues and telling inspiring first person stories. She's also their resident foodie, and loves covering exciting new beauty launches, too. Contact her at [email protected]

 

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