Can a Dog’s Personality Change?

By Claudia Bensimoun

Why Dog Park Sundays are important to your dog?


Image credit: Claudia Bensimoun


A 2019 study at Michigan State University studied over 1,600 dogs with 50 breeds. Ages ranged from a  few weeks to 15 years, and male and female dogs were matched equally.

The study adds that “When dog-parents spend extra time scratching their dogs’ bellies, take their dogs out for long walks and games of fetch, or even when they feel constant frustration over their dogs’ naughty chewing habits, they are gradually shaping their dogs’ personalities.”

According to the study, when pet parents spend extra time with their dogs offering them plenty of affection, long walks or even being annoyed by their dog’s naughty chewing behaviors, they are modifying their dog’s behavior.

 The study says that  “Dogs, like people, have moods and personality traits that shape how they react in certain situations. New findings from Michigan State University went where few researchers have gone before to reveal that, also like humans, dogs’ personalities likely change over time.”

We’re all aware of this, but not really as to how much we can change our dog’s personality!

“When humans go through big changes in life, their personality traits can change. We found that this also happens with dogs — and to a surprisingly large degree,” said William Chopik, professor of psychology and lead author, via Science Daily.

“We expected the dogs’ personalities to be fairly stable because they don’t have wild lifestyle changes humans do, but they actually change a lot. We uncovered similarities to their owners, the optimal time for training and even a time in their lives that they can get more aggressive toward other animals.”

The study goes on to add that a dog’s personality will be a good indicator as to how close a bond you’ll have with your dog, if he’s prone to chronic illnesses, and his biting behavior.

Correlations were found in three areas

. Age and personality

. Human to dog personality similarities

. How much a dog’s personality affected his or her pet parent

The study concluded that “Chopik’s findings prove how much power humans have over influencing a dog’s personality. He explained that many of the reasons a dog’s personality changes are a result of the “nature versus nurture” theory associated with humans’ personalities.”

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Image credit: Claudia Bensimoun

For more information on this study, visit:

Copyright © Claudia Bensimoun 2019

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