It might sound a little bit crazy, but according to British researchers dogs become less obedient to commands from their carer during adolescence just like teenage kids. Experiments showed that dogs who just his puberty (8 months)were more likely to ignore commands given by their caregiver and were harder to train.
But rest assured, they are just going through a passing phase.
‘Many dog owners and professionals have long known or suspected that dog behaviour can become more difficult when they go through puberty, but until now there has been no empirical record of this,’ said Dr Naomi Harvey, co-author of the research from the University of Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science.
‘Our results show that the behaviour changes seen in dogs closely parallel that of parent-child relationships, as dog-owner conflict is specific to the dog’s primary caregiver and just as with human teenagers, this is a passing phase.’
The research team say it’s important not to punish pubescent dogs for disobedience or ‘start to pull away from them emotionally at this time’.
‘This would be likely to make any problem behaviour worse, as it does in human teens,’ said lead author of the study Dr Lucy Asher from Newcastle University.
Dr Asher said adolescence can be a vulnerable time for dogs as many are taken to shelters at this age due to behavioural difficulties – especially those bought as presents for children.
‘This is when dogs are often rehomed because they are no longer a cute little puppy and suddenly, their owners find they are more challenging and they can no longer control them or train them,’ Dr Asher said.
Besides that, female dogs were found to hit puberty earlier and be more disobedient during puberty if they have less secure attachments to their caregiver.
This is similar to girls, who often hit puberty early if they have insecure parental relationships, previous research suggests.
The study has been published in Biology Letters.