Like Owner, Like Dog: Study Proves Dogs Pick Up Our Behavior

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
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It seems that if Fido is not a good boy, you have only yourself to blame.

For ages, people have been noticing that pets tend to resemble their owners, but, according to a recent study, our similarities are not only skin deep. Not only that our fur babies pick up our behavior, but they’re also affected by our personality traits.

The paper, published in the PLOS journal, investigated the connection between canine behavior issues and personalities, emotional states, and training methods of their pawrents. With data gathered from more than 1,550 participants from US, UK, and Canada, a team of researchers from Pensylvania was able to find a few intriguing patterns. The two most important findings were:

  • Aversive and confrontational methods of training lead to dogs having behavioral problems, often severe, ranging from aggression to anxiety.
  • Dogs owned by people with low scores on four of the ‘Big Five’ personality dimensions were more likely to have owner-directed aggression, separation anxiety or be fearful of strangers.

What this means, essentially, is that the way we interact with our pooches (and behave around them) will immensely influence their personality and behavior. Additionally, a better understanding of the link between our own behavior and those of our pets can help weed out any behavioral problems, often even before they arise.

The study, however, leaves room for further research, as it was based on self-assessment through an anonymous 100-question questionnaire. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait long before the link between our personality and our pet’s behavior is clarified.

After all, this is not useful only for pet parents looking to resolve their furball’s behavior issues: knowing the correlation between our psychological profile and those of our canine companions could vastly improve matching in adoption cases. Just imagine how pawesome if everyone could find their furry soulmate on their first try!

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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