Adolescence is just as tough on dogs as it is on humans, researchers have found. What’s more, family dynamics can make it tougher still. A team led by Lucy Asher at the Centre for Behaviour and Evolution at Newcastle University found that when dogs hit puberty at around eight months of age, they get rebellious.
Asher suspects this is down to the conflict between the dogs’ urge to seek out mates of their own kind, and their attachment to human families. Researchers found that, as with human teens, when that attachment is already weak, puberty in dogs sets in earlier, and triggers more conflict. It’s temporary—and yet, more adolescent dogs are handed in to animal shelters than any other age group.