If you own a puppy, or perhaps just love dogs, then you most definitely know how easily distracted and difficult they can be — just like humans! You’ve probably had moments with your pup where you’ve thought to yourself: "We were just playing. Why are you so grumpy all of a sudden?"
Well, a discovery by Nottingham Trent University has found that puppies, in fact, have moody teenage phases, too. The aim of the research was to spot canines who would be suitable to train as guide dogs. However, scientists discovered much more than they intended as hundreds of the dog owners reported "adolescent" behavior among their pups at eight months old.
Naomi Harvey, a research associate at the University of Nottingham’s veterinary school, told the U.K.'s The Times: "Many owners will tell you their dog went through a ‘teenage’ phase, typically around eight months. Most owners report that previously learned commands are forgotten, their dogs become very impulsive and easily distracted, and their behavior becomes a bit erratic."
Scientists concluded that a dog's behavior as an adult was more dependent on how it was treated as a puppy, rather than it's breed or DNA.
"Little is known about the effects of a dog's environment between three and 12 months of age on its behavior as an adult dog," Harvey said. "But our results suggest social factors may be the most important with regards to shaping dog behavior."
Researchers found that dogs had a "period of socialization" that lasted between three and 12 weeks, which helped determine which behaviors were normal or not.
"Anything they haven't seen in that period — whether it's cyclists, horses, people of different races from their owner, or just traffic cones — could be perceived as abnormal later and so lead to aggression," said Harvey.
Still, Harvey reassuringly added that in most cases: "The thing to remember is that [the teen phase] won’t last for ever."
Wow, who knew dogs could be just as moody as us humans?
This post was written by Latifah Davis-Cole. For more, check out our sister site The Debrief.