Dogs go through the “terrible teens” too!

Dogs go through the “terrible teens” too!

Source: Dr Lucy Asher, co-author of the research, with her dog Martha, and Nicola Davis @NicolaKSDavis | Published on Tue 12 May 2020 | The Guardian | Read article here

Moody, unpredictable and with a striking disregard for the rules, teenagers can be hard to handle. Now it turns out the same is true for adolescent dogs.

Researchers say they have found that pooches become less responsive to instructions from their carer during adolescence.

And the parallels go further.

“Generally teenagers that have a less secure relationship with their parents are those that are more likely to show more conflict behaviour towards their parents,” said Dr Lucy Asher, co-author of the research at Newcastle University. “That’s the same finding that we have [between adolescent dogs and their carers].”

Asher suggests that, as in humans, dogs who are less secure about their bond with their carer may “play up” to test its strength. In dogs, she said, that could help the animal weigh up whether it is better to stay with its carer – or follow its reproductive urges to find a mate.

Asher said she hoped the findings would help owners be more understanding of their dogs and cut them some slack, noting there is a spike in owners taking their dogs to shelters when the animals hit puberty.

“Perhaps they are not misbehaving just because they are naughty, but it is just like in humans – the hormones are raging and there are things going on in the brain,” she said.

Writing in the journal Biology Letters, Asher and colleagues report how they explored canine adolescence by looking at the behaviour of would-be guide dogs: German shepherds, golden retrievers, labrador retrievers or crosses of the these breeds. Such breeds, said Asher, start puberty – the transition from immature to mature – at about six to nine months old.

“We know that there are hormonal changes and we know there is a big reorganisation of the brain that occurs around that time across mammals, so we are fairly confident that is something that is going on in dogs,” said Asher. But, she added, until now it was not clear how this period related to canine behaviour.

Among the experiments the team looked at how obedient dogs of both sexes were to commands such as “sit” at different ages.

The results from 82 dogs aged five months, and 80 dogs aged eight months revealed that adolescents were less obedient than young pups to commands from their carers.

“They are nearly twice as likely to ignore the ‘sit’ command when they are eight months as compared to when they are five months,” said Asher.

However the animals’ obedience to a given stranger increased over the same period.

The findings were backed up by questionnaire responses regarding a wider group of 285 dogs, with a drop in trainability reported by carers, but not dog trainers – who were less familiar to the animals – between five and eight months old.

Further work revealed signs of separation behaviour – such as shaking when left alone – increased around eight months of age, and was associated with lower obedience at that age. What’s more Asher noted female dogs with a less secure attachment to their carer started puberty earlier – as seen in humans, potentially offering new ways to study this – although cause and effect remains unclear.

Dr Claudia Fugazza of the Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary, who was not involved in the research, said the study is important as there is little work into canine adolescence.

But, she added, the research has limitations, including that much of the work is based on questionnaires, while it is not clear how deep the similarities go between parent and child, and dog and carer when it comes to different styles of attachment, and the mechanisms behind them.

However Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, professor of psychology and cognitive neuroscience at the University of Cambridge described the study as fascinating.

“In humans, adolescence is often associated with increased risk taking, peer influence and conflict with parents. This is probably due to multiple factors including hormonal changes, brain and cognitive development and changes in the social environment,” she said. “The [canine] research suggests certain behaviours that we associate with teenagers are not unique to humans.”

Source: Dr Lucy Asher, co-author of the research, with her dog Martha, and Nicola Davis @NicolaKSDavis | Published on Tue 12 May 2020 | The Guardian | Read article here

Jeanne Taylor Photography

Jeanne Taylor Photography

Jeanne is a special friend to Hallie Hill and to many shelters across the tri-county area! As a talented photographer she is committed to helping shelters put their ‘best paws forward’ with beautiful portraits that help to get our dogs adopted into their ‘fur-ever’ homes! Thank you, Jeanne, for capturing the special personalities of our animals so well!

Ryan Hallie Hill Animal Sanctuary Jeanne Taylor Photography Red Hallie Hill Animal Sanctuary Jeanne Taylor Photography Surcee Hallie Hill Animal Sanctuary Jeanne Taylor Photography

Bella Hallie Hill Animal Sanctuary Jeanne Taylor Photography Ray Hallie Hill Animal Sanctuary Jeanne Taylor Photography Bogart Hallie Hill Animal Sanctuary Jeanne Taylor Photography

See Jeanne’s work at!

Natalie Parker Bluestein

Natalie Parker Bluestein is our Board Vice President. Natalie grew up in Charleston and is a founding partner in the Family Law firm Bluestein & Douglas, LLC. She volunteers for a number of organizations, including the Junior League of Charleston, Inc., the Women’s Council at the Gibbes Museum of Art, and Friends of the Library, and has held Board positions with the Jewish Community Center of Charleston, Synagogue Emanu-el, Charleston Stage Company, Florence Crittenton, The Charleston County Bar Association, the SC Women Lawyers Association, and Family Recovery Court. She has been president or chair of the SC Women Lawyers Association, The Charleston County Bar Association, and the Charleston County Family Court Liaison Committee. She and her husband live on Sullivan’s Island with their two English Springer Spaniels, Pippa and Paddington, four cats, Edgar Allan Paw, Annabel Lee, Dear Prudence, and Vivi, and many fish and corals.

Michelle Fifield

Michelle Fifield is our Board Secretary. Michelle is the managing partner of The Ad Agency, Charleston and has been in the marketing and advertising industry for over 28 years. After serving as Director of Sales with a major media and entertainment entity, Michelle began working directly with locally owned businesses creating marketing and advertising strategies.

A University of South Carolina graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, Michelle also obtained a Masters of Education in 1991. She is also a graduate of both the Leadership Columbia and Leadership Charleston Chamber of Commerce programs. Michelle is passionate about giving back to the community and serves on numerous civic and charitable organizations: Palmetto Military Support Group Board Member (Secretary 2015-2017, President 2017-2019); Joint Base Charleston Honorary Commander Program 2011-2013; JBC Advisory Council 2014; Charleston Metro Chamber Total Resource Campaign Vice Chair and Ambassador; Special Olympics of The Lowcountry Volunteer Board Member, Marketing Chair; North Charleston Business Expo Planning Committee; Charleston Leaders Board of Directors, Secretary; Communities in Schools Chocolate Affair Planning Committee, Marketing Chair; Hallie Hill Animal Sanctuary Board Member.

Michelle lives in Stono Ferry Plantation, Hollywood, SC with her husband Rob and their dogs Gracie Kelly and Tupelo Honey.

Ambassadors of Conservation visit Hallie Hill

Ambassadors of Conservation visit Hallie Hill

Ambassadors of Conservation Hallie Hill Animal Sanctuary

Ambassadors of Conservation made a very gracious donation to Hallie Hill! Representatives from SC, Texas, and Georgia spent a few hours touring our sanctuary. We thank them for supporting our mission and for furthering the conservation message in the USA and around the world!

Ambassadors of Conservation Hallie Hill Animal Sanctuary

How COVID-19 Has Affected Us

How COVID-19 Has Affected Us

Dear friends of Hallie Hill,

We want to express how grateful and humbled we are that so many have asked how they can help with our mission during these difficult times. We want to share with you how COVID-19 is affecting us:

Events being cancelled/postponed:

  • Putting for Paws Annual Golf Tournament: Postponed until November 16th.
  • ‘Pawp Up’ Yard Sale: Postponed, new date to be determined.
  • Several community engagements: Cancelled.
  • The volunteer program has been suspended for their safety and that of the staff.
  • Our regular vet, West Ashley Veterinary Clinic, is only taking emergency cases, so we have had to postpone a few surgeries and check ups.
  • We are still admitting cats and dogs from our waitlist as spaces become available.
  • We are still conducting adoptions under a more controlled environment using the recommended practice of social distancing.

This unprecedented pandemic event has everyone understandably anxious. It is frustrating to battle an invisible foe where the only defense is seclusion. Here at Hallie Hill, we too are worried because several of our upcoming fundraisers have been postponed. As the Executive Director, I have reached a point of desperation and have agreed to be a runner in our Bridge the Gap Fundraiser. In previous years, I only served as a fundraiser for the event and it has raised as much as $15,000 for the animals of Hallie Hill! This year, the event has been rescheduled during the heat of August and our pledges are down. We have decided to still run the bridge, just not with the big crowds! Instead, most of us will run on April 11th. While some people may enjoy running, anyone who knows me, knows I have the lungs of an 80-year-old chain smoker. I would rather be poked in the eye with a sharp stick than to run uphill. This is a sacrifice I am willing to make for the dogs and cats of HH! I make no promises of speed, grace, or agility, but if you sponsor me in this run, I pledge to make it completely over the bridge. Video on the day of the run should be amusing to some and will serve as my memorial for my family if I die in the attempt!

[Edit: Want to see the video of the run? Click here!]

Stay safe, everyone, and be happy your pets can’t give you Coronavirus, or visa versa! Because how could we stay 6 feet away from them?!!


Dinner with Peter Zheutlin

Dinner with Peter Zheutlin

We were overjoyed to have New York Times Bestselling Author Peter Zheutlin visit the sanctuary. He also joined us for a night of delicious food and story telling. We are so grateful for you, Peter!

Woofstock 2020 Recap

Woofstock 2020 Recap

We had SUCH a wonderful time at Lowcountry Dog Magazine’s Woofstock!

Here are some photos from the event.



Microchips are so very important. They ensure that your animal can make its way home if they were to ever be lost.

Concerned about cost? Find a low-cost or free option in your area by searching google: “Low Cost or Free Microchipping [your city]”.