Want to know someone better? Get to know their dog

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Anyone who has a dog for a pet probably won’t be surprised by a study from Michigan State University that dogs and their owners have more in common than they think.

Are you a couch potato? Do you generally distrust strangers? Are you perky and energetic? Most likely, your dog follows suit.

Published last month in the Journal of Research in Personality, the study by Dr. William Chopik and Dr. Jonathan Weaver of MSU’s Department of Psychology found that canines’ personalities are shaped by their owners.

The study took two months and looked at 1,600 dogs from 50 breeds, divided evenly between male and female, ages a few weeks to 15 years old. The owners answered questions about their pets’ personalities along with their own.

Chopik saw correlations between dogs and their owners in three areas: human-to-dog personality similarities, age and personality and the quality of an owner’s relationship to their dog having an influence on the dog’s personality.

True to reputation, older dogs are harder to train, with dogs easiest to influence around age 6, after they have grown out of the puppy stage. Other traits, such as being conscientious, peak around a dog’s midlife.

You’ve probably seen social media memes or bumper stickers: Love me, love my dog. If you really want to get to know someone, spend some time with their dog.


Do you look like your dog?

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