Is Your Dog Rebellious?

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Introduction

Baby dogs are warm, cuddly, and so cute, but, like kids, can give their pet -parents some challenging times. Adolescent pups appear to be revolutionaries determined to change the status quo and have the hierarchy of the house tearing their hair out. 

That adorable puppy you brought home might have plans of their own as they terrorize the family, peeing on the new carpet you waited years to afford and chewing your favorite work shoes. Puppy mania is akin to having a toddler running riot and needs careful management. If you’re in the throes of baby-dog anarchy, perhaps we can help!

Signs Your Puppy is Rebelling

Picking up that little ball of fluff, you feel instantly maternal and can’t wait to get your baby Jack Russell home. You named him Leo because he was born in August and somehow it just seemed to suit this little guy

This is your first dog, so you’re googling like mad looking for articles about how to raise an upstanding pup. Potty training, you read, should start around 12 weeks and Pets recommends you get your little tyke out first-thing in the morning, then every 30 minutes plus at night before he gets his well-earned beauty sleep.

You work, so you consult The Housebreaking Bible that boggles your mind with litter boxes, puppy pads and heartfelt advice about helping Leo to "go" in the appropriate place. Leo has an open crate with a pet bed covered in cute paws illustrations, a water-bowl, and all the toys you could find in the pet store. You’ve put the crate in the spare room and start to spread the puppy pads around. 

Following a cue from Victoria Stilwell, you tell Leo to “go potty.” You’re immediately met with a blank expression, so you repeat the request. Leo whines, his pretty, puppy eyes staring into yours, as his head tilts trying to understand the human.

The best is yet to come when you walk through the door after work to find round two has taken place. Leo has been a busy-wee boy and spent the day exploring his new home. As you inspect your own personal Armageddon, you hear barking and find the cute culprit going to town on your shag-pile rug. Leo has had a field day waging war on shoes from the closet, the curtains, and sadly, your brand new turquoise rug. The new boarder’s reaction is a whimper and woof as he sits alertly, wondering what all the fuss is about. 

A few months down the track, Leo has mastered the art, but now he’s a rebellious teenager who loves to outwit his guardian. Back to Google and you learn the Fox Terrier has a few naughty traits. They are stubborn and like things their own way. This would explain his “I won’t do that,” stance when you ask him to sit. Your sweet, baby pup is now a rebel rousing mutt.

Body Language

Signs a dog is feeling rebellious may include:
  • Staring
  • Alert
  • Barking
  • Head tilting
  • Whining
  • Head bobbing

Other Signs

More signs your dog is a rebellious teenager are:
  • Peeing on the floor
  • Destroying furniture or possessions
  • Blanking their owners requests
  • Running riot in the home

History of Rebellious Dogs

Leo originates from a grey wolf that was 40 million years in the making. Although his DNA is 98% in cohesion with his wolf forefathers, his genes have evolved from living with people. Dog breeds have varying looks, while most wolves appear similar. The wolf has a stronger jaw for chewing and they only breed once annually. Dogs can have puppies twice a year. Wolves are paws-on predators while pooches have a filled-up food bowl.

Wolf-pups are inherently suspicious of people. Dog puppies seem to instinctively know humans are okay. The fact is, wolves are wild animals and are, therefore, not pets. Over the course of domestication, our dogs have become more entwined with each other, leaving their wolfy-cousins behind in the wild. Dogs are part of the human evolutionary chain as we co-exist in a unique, friendly way.

Wolf-puppies are playful like dog babies who love tearing their toys apart or picking on their guardian's socks. At the age of 6 months, when wolf-pups are getting ready to accompany the pack on hunts, our teen woofers are getting ready to drive their owners mad. Hormones are bouncing all over their paws while they feel the need to challenge their pet-parents. Too often, they end up in a shelter.

A researcher at the University of Nottingham, School of Veterinary medicine says during adolescent years the brain is literally rearranging itself, so upheavals and erratic behavior is likely. Experiences on a social level can impact on the adult life of a dog, so introducing your Boxer or Shih Tzu puppy to the world we live in is an essential part of building trust and respect.

Older dogs with rebellious personalities are said to have issues, formulated in their youthful days. Their “rebel with a cause," attitude can lead to serious problems.

Science Behind Dog Rebellion

The Daily Mail appears to like dogs a lot, as they featured another wagging tale about the similarities between pups and teenagers. It seems both go through a nightmarish teenage phase.

A study initiated by researchers at Oregan State University involving humanized wolves and dogs found domesticated woofers have genetic markers or DNA sequences you might expect to find in a person with Williams Beuren syndrome. This is a mental disorder that makes people ultra-friendly. In an experiment to see how dogs and wolves reacted to human company, it was found the hand-reared wolves were standoffish, while our sociable mutts were ready to play ball.

Mother Nature has had a lot to say about dogs siding up to humans and thrown a few genetic surprises into the mix. Puppies are terror-bugs during their teenage phase, while insubordinate kids test the tolerance of parents. No wonder dogs are man’s best friend. They are walking in our footsteps!

Training Your Rebellious Dog

Every pupster needs to feel safe and in tune with the family dynamic. A little puppy etiquette goes a long way to refining manners needed to socialize with other pups and people. Potty training is the first port of call, as your junior dog learns peeing on the floor gets a negative reaction. That’s not to say you punish your furry-friend for messing on the rug, as this would instill a fear that might later result in aggression.

As the proud pet-parent, your job is is to instill confidence while initiating boundaries. It’s pretty much the same as raising kids, the only difference is your puppy doesn’t say “dadda,” they bark.

Socializing with everything in sight is a “must do,” if your pup is to be well behaved. You don’t want them growing up with phobias about the way some people look.

From the age of 6-18 months, your puppy is analyzing everything. Their hormones have flipped them on their ear and suddenly your sweety-pie pup is a teenager with attitude. Life’s a blast for this tearaway pup, whose brain is on steroids as they tug on your clothes (while you’re wearing them) and ignore every command.

Victoria Stilwell has a common sense approach to training an unruly teenage pup. She believes consistency and a positive attitude are the keystones to helping dog owners get back control.

A tired, youthful dog might not have the energy for mischief, so make sure your teen-mutt gets plenty of exercise and interaction with other dogs. Learning to behave in the company of others, four-legged or two, will make your woofer a well-liked pup.

Teach your pup “impulse control” so they don’t just react like a rude person who pushes people out of the way. Bully dogs are no fun and have the potential to hurt someone. How much have you contributed to your woofer's impolite behavior?

Your cheeky Chihuahua jumps up for affection and you think it’s nice, but now your new Mastiff pup is mimicking their doggy-mate, as they knock you to the ground. The things we allow our dogs to do as puppies can shape a problematic adult dog.

How to React to a Rebellious Dog:

  • Don't reward bad behavior.
  • Be consistent with their routine.
  • Make sure they get lots of exercise.
  • Socialize your puppy with people and other dogs.
  • Consult an experienced dog trainer.
  • Read articles about rebellious dogs!
  • Teach your dog manners.

Tell Us About Your Rebellious Pooch!