Wonder Contributors

Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Grant from Lincoln, Nebraska.  Grant Wonders, “Why are my dogs always crazy wild when I get home?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Grant! 

Do you have a pet at home? Many children have a dog that they love to play with when they get home from school. Others might have a cat that they snuggle with when they go to bed at night. Still others may have a more unique pet, such as a fish, a turtle or a sugar glider!

Do you like to talk to your pet like it was a sibling? Does your pet “talk” back to you? How does it communicate with you about its wants and needs? Has it ever acted somewhat like a human being?

Does your pet ever act in ways you can predict? Maybe it has an attitude from time to time? Or perhaps it likes to tease you when you’re playing? Or does it show you love in a special way that’s just too cute for words? If so, then you’d probably agree that your pet definitely has a personality that’s all its own.

Personality is something that we usually attribute to other human beings. You may be funny. Or smart. Or caring. Or mean. Or sad. There are as many different personalities as there are people in the world. It’s a way we use to describe the ways in which people usually behave.

Scientists have learned that many animals, including common pets like dogs and cats, can exhibit personality traits in similar ways that humans do. For example, dog owners can see the happiness in their pets’ eyes — and tails! — when they arrive home after school or work. Likewise, they can see the disappointment in their eyes when they don’t get to go with the rest of the family for a ride in the car.

Pets can be much more than just happy or sad, though. Like humans, they can display a variety of personality traits. Have you ever met a cat you could describe as irritable or neurotic? How about a dog that’s adventurous or happy-go-lucky?

Scientists who study animal personality have had to overcome many doubters within the scientific community. After all, dogs and cats can’t tell us about their feelings or explain their behavior. Instead, scientists must rely on detailed observations over time.

Their work is slowly gaining acceptance, though. Plus, there is more than enough anecdotal evidence from pet owners, who are perhaps the most qualified to discuss their own detailed observations over the course of many years with their pets.

Some scientists hope that their work will one day have very practical applications. For example, if scientists can learn more about dog personalities, they may be able to help people choose the right dog as a pet. More importantly, though, they might also be able to identify dogs that would make particularly good workers, such as guide dogs and search and rescue dogs.

14 Join the Discussion

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  1. Our parakeet is full of personality as is our little Yorkie. A good example of that would be in the evening when it’s bed time. The dog loves to be tucked in at the same time and makes this abundantly clear by barking excessively while wagging her tail until we get it. The bird, who has deep regard for the dog tries to cover the dog’s crate by pulling the blanket over the top of the crate with her beak! People, who have seen this are amazed at the devotion the bird feels toward the dog. My husband always says, “Our pet’s have a lot of soul.”

    • We love learning about our Wonder Friends’ WONDERful pets, Kathy! Thank you for sharing your comment with us today! It sounds like your parakeet and your Yorkie are the best of friends- they must live with some really WONDERful folks! We think your husband is spot-on… they sure do have a lot of soul! :)

  2. Hi! I like this wonder a lot! Me and my family have a beagle named Bella and she has a very unique personality. She is sweet, funny, and pretty. She knows how pretty she is, and she loves to look in the mirror at herself. When we take her to the vet, people look at her and say how pretty she is. :) The other day, me and my family were at the park and Bella saw a little girl with two stuffed dogs, and they had belts wrapped around them as leashes, and Bella started howling at them! It was so funny!!! :) She is very, very lucky because she gets a LOT of attention, more than most dogs. She loves to play, and she has scheduled naps, one short one in the morning after breakfast, and a longer one in the afternoon, when she is not playing outside, chasing squirrels and getting attention from us. I have the responsibility of taking care of her, like bathing her, feeding her, and giving her water. She gets a lot of love, too, so she has everything she needs! My daddy says that she is spoiled, because she gets so much attention and she is allowed on most if the furniture, and she sleeps on my older sister’s bed. I have trained her to do tricks, like jumping up in the air and catching a kibble in her mouth, and sitting on her hind legs and raising up in the air and balancing on her hind legs and getting a treat. Dogs are my very favorite animal! I love Bella very, very, very, very much and she is my pride and joy! :) This is one of the best wonders yet! Thank you for today’s wonder!!! :) ;) ;)

    • We feel like we know Bella, Berkleigh, she is quite an awesome pet! We love learning all about her… she sure does have a great personality! We are so happy you have told us how much you and your family loves Bella and how you take care of her! She’s a WONDERful part of your family and we’re glad to Wonder about her today! :)

  3. By now you already know my two dogs but if you don’t then I’ll tell you they might be small but cute, fluffy, and smart they are Snowy and Ramona. I can identify their personalities; when Snowy and Ramona bark like crazy that means there are animals and people nearby, but nobody is a lover he licks a lot of people he sees an Ramona sniffs a lot of things because she is curious. But when they both whimper that means they miss us and want to be with us. :) ;)

    • Snowy and Ramona are super cool members of your family, Carlos, and we’re so glad you shared your comment with us! They have fun personalities and we know they make you giggle from time to time, too! Pets are WONDERful members of our families, aren’t they?! :)

  4. Hi Wonderopolis!! We have dogs and cats of our own! We also see personalities in our animals. For example, Lily’s dog barks once for yes, barks twice for no, and 17 times if it has to go outside. Ian’s dog whines when it has to go outside. Heather’s dog barks many times when it has to go to the bathroom! Matt’s cat follows him around!! It is crazy how many personalities our animals have! Thanks for sharing this wonder.

    Miss Serritella’s Class

    • Thanks for telling us all about your own pets, Miss Serritella’s Class! We love learning about your pets, Lilly, Ian, Heather, and Matt. It sounds like you each have a furry or fluffy family member that makes you smile! What cool and different personalities!

      We look forward to WONDERing with you again, Wonder Friends! Have you tried to guess tomorrow’s Wonder… “Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day might just be finger-lickin’ good!” :)

    • Alright, Zeke and Abe! We love learning about our Wonder Friends’ furry family members – PETS! We hope your awesome pets make you laugh and giggle with delight! What kinds of pets do you have? :)

  5. Oh my my dog is very smart okay her name is Abby she loves playing with her stuffed animals that I bought her 2 days ago and I just love them all abby jojo and asia

    • Thanks for telling us all about your awesome pets, Lindsey! It sounds like Abby, Jojo, and Asia are WONDERful furry members of your family! Thanks for sharing your connection to our pet Wonder! :)

  6. Hi, Wonderopolis. We really liked this wonder. We learned that different animals have different personalities. I have 2 hamsters. Hope you have a wonderful day.

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Does your pet have a personality?
  • Can animals have personalities?
  • What things do your pets do to show off their personalities?

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Try It Out

Do you have a personality? How about your pet? Grab a few friends or family members to check out one or more of the following activities:

  • How would you describe your personality? Are you happy? Sad? Outgoing? Grumpy? How do others describe you? Test it out! Write down five words that you believe describe your personality. Now ask five friends or family members to do the same thing. Compare your words to theirs. Who knows you better? Yourself or your friends and family?
  • If you could have a pet with any personality, what would it be? Take some time today to observe some pets and their personalities. Take a field trip to a local dog park, for example, to watch dogs and their owners in action. How do they behave? Do some dogs look adventurous while others look shy? Write down as many words as you can think of to describe the pets that you see.
  • So do you have a pet? If so, what kind of pet do you have? Does it have a personality? We bet it does! In fact, we bet you could tell us all kinds of great stories about how your pet shows off its personality. Talk with a friend or family member and share some of your favorite memories of your pet. What do you remember best? What ways does your pet show off its personality? Pick your favorite pet personality story and share it with your Wonder Friends on the Wonder Wall or Facebook. If you can, upload a picture of your pet, too. We can’t wait to see your pets and read your stories!

Still Wondering

In EconEdLink’s A Perfect Pet lesson, children are reminded that pet owners are responsible for keeping their pets safe, healthy and happy. A discussion of pet owners’ desires to provide the best for their pets leads to an exploration of people’s wants. The activities that follow challenge children to explore the wants of pet owners and their desire to provide the best for their pets.

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