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Why Living With an 8-Month-Old Dog Can Be Rough

In a word: puberty
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2020 1:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – It turns out living with a dog that's going through puberty might not be much fun, either. Research out of England has found parallels between human teens and their parents and adolescent dogs and their owners when it comes to an uptick in conflict. It's potentially something dog owners subconsciously know: Co-author Dr. Lucy Asher of Newcastle University tells the Guardian that once dogs hit puberty, there tends to be a jump in the number taken by their owners to shelters. What's going on, per Asher: The study found dogs who were 8 months old—in the midst of adolescence—were tougher to train and more likely to disregard their owners' commands as compared to 5-month-olds. The behavior was exaggerated in dogs who had shakier attachments with their owner.

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A press release calling the study "the first to find evidence of adolescent behavior in dogs" explains the research involved 69 Labradors, golden retrievers, and cross breeds of the two at the aforementioned ages. They found that the adolescent dogs were more likely that the younger ones to listen to "sit" commands from strangers—but more likely to repeatedly ignore the command from their owners. A similar pattern was repeated when the trainability of 285 Labs, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and crossbreeds was rated by their owners and trainers. The trainers found that between 5 and 8 months, the dogs' trainability increased, while owners rated that period as a less trainable one compared to ages 5 and 12 months—i.e., outside adolescence. (Read more discoveries stories.)

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