Dogs, Like Humans, Change Personalities as They Age, Study Finds

Dogs, like humans, change personalities as they age, finds a new Michigan State University study. The study analyzed 1,681 dogs that ranged in age from one and a half weeks to 16 years old with about half of them being purebred.

Dog owners were asked to fill out questionnaires about their pet’s personalities. Owners were presented with 45 statements and were told to decide how much they agreed with each one by using a scale ranging from 1 being strongly disagree to 7 strongly agree.

The study found when it came to levels of fearfulness old and young dogs were the same. Maybe not surprisingly, younger dogs were found to be more active/excitable than older dogs. Interestingly, the study found a dog’s responsiveness to training rises from puppyhood until it reaches a peak at 7.44 years of age, when it then starts to taper off.  When it came to aggression, the research found dogs were most aggressive when they were 7.74 years of age. Younger and older dogs showed lower levels of aggression.