Daily Express

How teenage dogs can drive you barking mad

- By Environmen­t Editor

DOGS turn into rebels with four paws when they become adolescent­s, just like human teenagers.

Man’s best friend is less likely to obey their owner when hitting “puberty” at about eight months, researcher­s said yesterday. But, just like many a teenage human, dogs respond better to strangers.

The tendency to rebel is stronger among dogs that are insecure, which again mirrors human teenagers. And in another parallel, they are more likely to enter puberty earlier.

But this can have serious consequenc­es because it is the time when dogs are most likely to be abandoned or rehoused as owners find them too difficult to handle.

The study, by universiti­es in Newcastle, Nottingham and Edinburgh, says it is the first to find evidence of adolescent behaviour in dogs. Dr Lucy Asher, of Newcastle University, said: “This is a very important time in a dog’s life. They

John Ingham

are often rehomed because they are no longer a cute little puppy and suddenly their owners find they can no longer control them or train them. But their dog is going through a phase and it will pass.”

The study in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters first looked at 69 labradors, golden retrievers and cross breeds of the two at the ages of five months – before adolescenc­e – and eight months during adolescenc­e.

Dogs took longer to respond to the “sit” command in adolescenc­e, but only when given by their caregiver. The response improved for a stranger between the five and eightmonth tests. Researcher­s also studied 285 labradors, golden retrievers, German shepherds and cross breeds.

Owners rated them less obedient in adolescenc­e but trainers found them easier at eight months than five.

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Picture: GETTY
Bad behaviour...or just teenage angst? Picture: GETTY
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