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How to Correctly Understand Rebellious Behaviors of Dogs in Adolescence?

How to Correctly Understand Rebellious Behaviors of Dogs in Adolescence?

How to Correctly Understand Rebellious Behaviors of Dogs in Adolescence?
  • Progress in Research on the Psychological Problems of Pet Dogs
  • Research on Adolescent Rebellion of Dogs
  • Why Do Dogs Behave Rebelliously in Adolescence?
  • How to Deal with the Rebellious Behaviors of Pet Dogs?


Progress in Research on the Psychological Problems of Pet Dogs

Many people assume that dogs' psychological problems are closely related to their breeds, but this is not true. In 2020, Hannes Lohi and his colleagues published a research report on the psychological issues of pet dogs in Scientific Reports.

The results suggest that dogs may go through behavioral problems such as fear and anxiety regardless of different breeds. According to the questionnaire survey of dog owners, 7 anxiety characteristics of more than 13,000 Finnish pet dogs were studied, including noise sensitivity, fear of other dogs, strangers or new environments, fear of heights, inattention, separation anxiety, and aggressive behavior. Studies show that 72% of pet dogs have severe problems with at least one behavior. Many pet dogs have multiple different issues simultaneously.

The most common anxiety of pet dogs is their sensitivity to noise. 32% of pet dogs are scared of at least one kind of noise. Besides, dogs also fear other dogs, strangers, and new environments.  These fears are typical anxiety features.

The research shows that as the age increases, pet dogs will grow more sensitive to noise, fear of specific planes and heights. For example, they show anxiety or worry when walking on the smooth ground or on a metal net. Professor S. Roche said: We have observed some differences. Male dogs are more likely to be aggressive in behavior, while female dogs are more likely to feel afraid or fearful. Dogs of different ages also perform differently. For example, it is more common for elderly dogs to be sensitive to noise. At the same time, puppies are more likely to conduct destructive behavior to houses because they cannot adapt to being alone at home.

The research also points out that dogs' genes and living environment greatly influence their behavior. Therefore, to improve the pet dog's psychological problems, the pet dog needs some frequent benign interactions with the breeder or owner and some non-compulsive and learning guidance.


Research on Adolescent Rebellion of Dogs

In addition to paying attention to the mental health of pet dogs, what else should we know? A study published by Dr. Lucy Asher of Newcastle University in Biological Letters in 2020 showed that pet dogs have adolescent rebellious behaviors as they grow up. Dr. LucyAsher and his colleagues studied Labrador, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, and the offspring of these breeds. They found that the average puberty of pet dogs occurs at the age of 7 to 8 months. During this period, pet dogs are more likely to ignore the owner's instructions and become more challenging to train.

Owners of the pet dogs and dog trainers who are not familiar with the pet dogs respectively filled out a questionnaire about the trainability survey. They scored the narrative in the questionnaire, such as dogs refusing to execute the orders they have already learned, responding to the recall order immediately with no rope. 

According to the survey results, the owners give low trainability scores for pet dogs during puberty (7 to 8 months). However, dogs 5 months before or 10 months later than puberty receive high trainability scores from their owners. The dog trainers not familiar with the pet dogs instead give higher trainability scores for the pet dog of 5-8 months than the owners.

Dr. Naomi Harvey, the co-author of this study, said that pet dogs' behavioral changes during adolescence are similar to parent-child relationships. Pet dogs only have behavior conflicts with their owners. In other words, this kind of behavior is only aimed at people who mainly care for them.


Why Do Dogs Behave Rebelliously in Adolescence?

Dogs also have rebellious behaviors similar to adolescence when they become adults. The reason for this is that the dogs don't complete the socialization process in growing up. Dog socialization is the same as human socialization. If a dog grows up with other dogs, it can learn how to get along with its companions and retain some fixed behaviors and habits from older dogs. Suppose a dog has been accustomed to household appliances such as air conditioners and vacuum cleaners since he was a child and was accustomed to roads, crowds, and cars. In that case, it is accustomed and will not feel anxious about these things. However, suppose a dog lacks companionship since he was young, and no one ever took him out to learn about the vast world, the dog cannot adapt to social life when it grows up. It is easily irritated by other dogs and frightened by large objects, leading to anxiety and intense behavior. So the education of dogs during adolescence is essential. If your dog misses adolescent education and its socialization level is not high as an adult. Don't be anxious. As long as you are patient enough and use the correct methods and additional tools, your dog can still become a good citizen when it grows up.

People have unique connections with their dogs. This may be one of the most unique and precious relationships in the world. Faced with the rebellious youth period of dogs, please do not alienate them emotionally, give them more care, and approach them with a tolerant attitude. As long as dog owners adopt proper methods, dogs can go through puberty smoothly and become good partners.


How to Deal with the Rebellious Behaviors of Pet Dogs?

It's definitely not smart for owners to indulge their dogs and show extreme behaviors, such as loud intimidation or violence. These wrong actions through beating and scolding will make the pet dog's behavior even worse. Just like the rebellious period of mankind, puberty dogs are crazy about things they are not allowed to do. So the correct way to deal with this is to know how to soothe your pet dog's emotions. You can take them out to exercise more. Your dog will be less over-energetic after playing tired. In addition, when the pet dog makes a mistake, the owner's attitude must be firm but never try to use intimidation or violence to solve the problem. It is suggested to implement a reward and punishment system. Reward pet dogs with food when they perform well and punish when they commit poor. But remember to punish must not be through violence or intimidation.

Although pet dogs often annoy their owners during the rebellious period, remember not to vent destructive emotions to the pet dogs. This will only lead to more problems. For adolescent male pet dogs, dog owners mainly need to observe whether dogs are aggressive and prevent them from attacking others when taking them out. You should pay more attention to their close relationship with male pet dogs to avoid the pregnant issue for female pet dogs.

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