When our Scottish collie puppy reached doggie adolescence, she suddenly stopped obeying my commands. Previously, if I called “come,” Annie would fly across our yard to my arms. Now, the 8-month-old gave me a defiant “make me” look and ran the other way.
Our dog trainer advised us to stop fretting. “She’s a teenager,” she said. “She’ll grow out of it.” Now, a new study is backing that up: Dogs, it says, experience a hypersensitive period at the onset of puberty that makes them act out, just like human teenagers.
“There is abundant folk knowledge … that the behavior of adolescents differs from younger or older dogs,” says Barbara Smuts, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, who was not involved in the research. This “very welcome” study, she says, is the first to back that up.
Puppies bond with humans much as children do. “But owners often feel like they’re failing when their puppies reach adolescence,” about 8 months for most dogs, says Lucy Asher, a behavioral ethologist at Newcastle University and lead author of the new study, out today in Biology Letters. Like teenagers—whose bodies flood with hormones and whose brains are rewired during puberty—adolescent dogs can disregard and disobey their owners
Read the full article at Science.