Debunking the popular myth that 1 dog year = 7 human years, researchers at the University of California San Diego’s school of medicine studied epigenetic changes to DNA – modifications that don’t change the DNA sequence but can switch genes on or off. They looks at how methyl groups, accumulated in certain areas of the human genome over time and compared them with how they accumulated in similar areas in the dog genome.
Dogs show far more rapid accumulation of methyl groups in their genome than humans within their first year or so, suggesting they age at a much faster rate. However, as time passes, the rate of ageing in dogs, compared with humans, slows down.
The findings suggest a one-year-old dog would have a “human age” of about 30, while by the age of four they’d be about 54 in “human years”, and by 14 they would be on a par with a human in their mid-70s. ... See MoreSee Less
Parent–child relationships share a surprising number of similarities with owner–dog relationships, including analogous behavioural and hormonal bonding mechanisms. Researchers found evidence to suggest that the human–dog attachment may in turn influence dog behaviour and reproductive physiology during puberty. They found an association between earlier puberty and an insecure attachment to a human carer. Additionally, when dogs reached puberty, they were less likely to follow commands given by their carer, but not by others. The socially-specific nature of this behaviour in dogs (reduced obedience for their carer only) suggests this behaviour reflects more than just generalized hormonal, brain and reward pathway changes that happen during adolescence. They also found a reduction in obedience to the carer and not an ‘other’ person to be specific to the dog's developmental stage and more pronounced in dogs with insecure attachments. ... See MoreSee Less