Teens with dogs are a good idea, according to scientific research. During this uncertain, stressful, and thrilling time for the teenager, the dog is a continual source of support. A constant companion, even if the adolescent believes their parents or peers are not.
The pet dog is nonjudgmental and sensitive enough to need your teen’s care, resulting in a positive feedback relationship. Your adolescent is sensitive to other people’s feelings, and adolescence is an excellent time to commend your adolescent’s capacity to display loving sensitivity.
How Having teens with dogs is beneficial?
Adolescents who had a dog before maturity, regardless of whether they identified as pet owners or developed a relationship with the animal, benefited from having teens with dogs.
Adolescents who had family dogs benefited from a variety of psychosocial and physical consequences. Let’s start with the emotional advantages:
1. Anxiety Can Be Relieved
In teens, dogs can help with social anxiety and separation anxiety. Having a family dog can help teens expand their social networks and communicate with their friends.
2. Grow your child with Emotional closeness
Tweens and teens benefit from having pets, especially if the pet is hungry, unwell, afraid of thunderstorms or fireworks, or injured.
Having a cat or dog to snuggle, cry on, and play with provides unconditional affection and a secure environment for emotional closeness for teens, especially throughout the tumultuous tween and teen years.
In fact, according to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Applied Development Psychology, children often feel closer to their dogs than to their siblings, teens with dogs are good.
3. Intimacy with a dog is simple and uncomplicated.
When it comes to learning about other people’s relationships and developing closeness, a teenager is confronted with a plethora of complexity.
Sometimes they just want something simple. It’s simple to love a dog! When an adolescent is continuously judged and condemned by their friends, having a secure, nonjudgmental environment to retreat to is critical.
Even the most caring and well-intentioned parents might unintentionally make a teen feel chastised. They can get the safe, nonjudgmental interaction they need from a dog.
Teenagers who have a deep rapport with their dog frequently report that they can tell their dog anything and that it makes them feel better and more understanding. Some teenagers say they have a stronger affinity with their dog than they do with their friends or other family members, which isn’t always a bad thing.
4. Improve health and well-being
The stress hormone cortisol was lowered in teenagers after just a 10-minute contact with a pet, according to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing. Consider how having a pet in the house will affect your child’s health.
When we are in the presence of pets, our bodies undergo physiological changes. The blood pressure drops. The rate of breathing slows down, and the muscles relax. When you are in the presence of a pet with whom you feel close and devoted, your brain produces more oxytocin, the love hormone.
5. Become Depressed-Free
There was no direct link found between family dogs and lower levels of depression in teens. The findings were deemed to be more linked to the other psychological benefits of owning a dog, such as enhanced self-esteem, reduced loneliness, and reduced self-isolation.
6. Improve Socialization
Awkward discussions are a common occurrence in adolescence, and a dog is an excellent opener. Dogs and pets, in general, can act as a point of connection and provide something in common for children and teenagers to bond over.
Taking the dog for a walk or to the dog park allows teens to get out of the house and form new friendships with other dog owners.
7. Dogs can help your teen learn empathy
This one is especially true if you have a teen who is an only child! Although having a dog is not the same as having a sibling, it can provide some of the same benefits.
Having a dog can assist an only kid in learning to share time and resources with a family member. Getting a new puppy and having to train and care for it as a family can help foster teamwork, but perhaps most importantly, owning a dog can make your teen feel less lonely.
They have a playmate and confidant, and they receive more practice developing their social skills and empathy, which can be difficult if you don’t have many siblings.
8. Grow Self-esteem/self-respect
Adolescents with dogs showed greater self-esteem and self-concept than those who did not have pets. “Other research also indicate that pet ownership alone, regardless of pet attachment, is sufficient to have a favorable effect on self-esteem or self-concept,” Purewall et al. (2017) observed.
Having a family dog produced significant psychological benefits for adolescents’ self-esteem. These psychological benefits also aid in the development of resilience in adolescence, a lifelong coping skill that is critical for adult success.
9. Physical contact with dogs has a number of advantages
It’s pleasant to touch or pet an animal, just as it is to embrace another person.
Frontiers in Psychology published a study in 2012 that linked petting animals to the release of oxytocin in humans. This release relieves stress and improves pet owners’ feelings of well-being.
Petting animals lowers cortisol levels (a stress hormone that can harm your brain and heart if it becomes too high) while increasing oxytocin levels (the “love” hormone), which makes you feel wonderful. It’s similar to the effects of meditation or deep breathing, and it doesn’t take long.
10. Improve the bond between a child and his or her parents.
“Children who felt closer to their dogs were more securely bonded to their mothers and fathers, and reported more positive attributes and less conflict with friends,” according to a study conducted by Kent State University.
More research is needed to fully understand how dogs may play an important role in attachment, but it appears to me that there are a lot of good reasons why having a dog could help you be more bonded as a family, especially when you consider all of the other benefits that your child receives from having a dog (such as greater empathy, understanding, and more happy hormones).
11. Reduce the feeling of isolation
Pets reduced adolescent loneliness and social isolation, according to a 2018 study published in the PNAS journal, and made youngsters feel like they had a companion, especially if they lived in a metropolis.
It’s easy to see why when you see a child with their pet. It’s a nonjudgmental friend who offers consistent, unconditional love. Children will confess their secrets to dogs, converse with them, and dress them up. It allows children quick access to a world that is playful, creative, imaginative, and social—which they really need.
12. Improve Behavioral competency
Adolescents who identified as “pet owners” who had dogs had a higher likelihood of gaining autonomy and self-reliance. They were also able to respect their parents in roles other than that of parents. Increasing their awareness of life and preparing them for adulthood’s difficulties.
13. Gives your adolescent a reason to stay at home
With hectic schedules and an ever-increasing desire to be with friends or participate in other activities, a dog could be the anchor that forces your teen to check in at home on a regular basis to take care of the dog’s needs, such as feeding, walking, and playing with it.
This routine allows you, as a parent, to participate with your teen and foster dialogues with the presence of a furry neutral, and unbiased third party.
14. Your autistic teen will benefit from having a dog.
Many autistic teenagers have formed extraordinary ties with dogs. A therapy dog could assist children in learning routines, behavioral patterns, and even communication.
According to a study conducted by the University of Lincoln, children with autism have fewer meltdowns when they are with their dogs. In the company of their pet, their parents’ stress levels were also reduced.
15. Boost the immune system of your adolescent.
Teens may occasionally stay up late, eat junk food, spend a lot of time on devices, and experience a great deal of stress from school, parents, and classmates. Let’s face it, they could use all the immune support they can get, and a dog can provide it!
Do you know what a microbiome is? It’s your body’s approach to protecting you from dangerous bacteria by employing beneficial microorganisms. Dogs have a microbiome that is more diverse than ours, and studies demonstrate that they are willing to share it with humans.
As a result, our immune systems become more diversified, increasing our bodies’ ability to fight sickness and bacteria. I teach children new puppy lessons to help them determine whether or not they are ready to take on the responsibility of a new pet.
One of the topics we address is the advantages of owning a dog, and this is my Absolute favorite to tell them because it’s so unexpected, scientifically proven, and just plain wonderful!
16. Development of the Mind
Pet ownership and attachment, as well as parental supervision in pet care, have been shown to promote teenagers’ social cognitive development.
Problem-solving ability, perceptive taking, self-reliance, and independent decision-making were all part of social cognitive development. Teenagers who had a dog at home had greater self-reliance and ability to make autonomous decisions than their friends of the same age who did not have pets. 2017 (Purewall).
Researchers, on the other hand, seek additional data from future investigations. They wonder if the supportive family dynamics around dog ownership had a favorable impact on the teens’ self-reliance and decision-making abilities. Skills that were socially reproduced because they had already been well-rolled-modeled in the family.
Or does caring for the dog genuinely help teens develop self-reliance and independent decision-making skills? Adolescents who care for dogs will need to advocate for the family dog at some point in their lives, obtaining advanced skills will help them move to adulthood.
17. Bring safety to your adolescent
A dog, on the other hand, has a very good sense of danger, whereas a teenager, on the other hand, most of the time does not. Having a dog follow your adolescent not only gives you peace of mind about their safety, but it may also teach your adolescent how to be more aware of potential threats.
Understanding your dog’s regular behavior and teaching your teenager how to spot atypical behavior in your dog could save their life. This is a fantastic article about the fascinating ways that dogs detect danger.
18. Your teen with ADHD may benefit from the company of a dog.
As a mother of two children with ADHD, I am familiar with the challenges that come with this diagnosis. A well-trained dog can help a teenager or youngster relax by providing something to focus on, and touching and cuddling the dog releases stress-reducing chemicals.
Because kids must stick to a rigorous schedule to feed and walk their dog, a dog can also help your youngster acquire time management skills. I’ve also witnessed how exercising and playing with a dog may assist in channeling some of the excitability into something constructive.
19. Educational Advantages
Multiple studies have proven that having a companion animal motivates kids’ academic progress and learning development. Dogs and teenagers frequently participate in reciprocal play that is both verbal and physical, resulting in a unique attachment between the teen and the animal.
This seemingly simple connection is a catalyst for teenagers’ achievement with complicated developmental attainment as they transition into adulthood.
By maximizing adolescents’ cognitive executive performance and emotional stability, dogs indirectly boost educational gains. Having a family dog has also been demonstrated to help kids learn biology in both humans and animals.
They often have a better awareness of the factual anatomy because they grew up with a family dog. They learned about their own anatomy and that of an animal by direct experience, even if the learning was not always purposeful at the moment.
More research is needed to see if having a dog directly correlates with improved academic accomplishment, or if having a dog helps strengthen some aspects of emotional intelligence without improving academic achievement compared to peers of the same age who do not have a dog.
Adolescents are more open to learning about issues that they are interested in, in general, and owning a family dog provides various academic and experiential benefits for all teenagers.
20. Your teen will gain experience teaching things by having a dog.
The majority of parents want their adolescents to learn new skills and talents. Learning how to care for a new puppy or dog, as well as how to train a new dog using positive reinforcement, is a life skill that will assist your teen for a long time.
It will require some effort on your behalf as their parent or caregiver, as well as a significant amount of effort on your teen’s part, but the benefits of having your dog give you a high five or a kiss on command are incalculably valuable!
21. Assist your teen is getting more exercise.
Some kids who participate in sports may get enough exercise to stay healthy, but what about others who engage in more sedentary activities such as painting, music, or gaming?
Teens report having a little more than 5 1/2 hours of free time per day, much of which is spent in front of screens. What better way to spend that time than walking and playing with a dog? Dog owners have found that going for a stroll with their four-legged buddies is more effective than going for a walk with friends.
According to the American Journal of Public Health, dog owners walk 300 minutes more each week than non-dog owners.
22. Social Benefits
Adolescents who grew up with a family dog were found to have higher social competency than their classmates of the same age who did not have a family dog.
Having a family dog expanded the teens’ social networks, provided discussion subjects, and provided a means for them to be similar to or distinct from their friends. In either case, having a family dog at home enhanced peer social contact among teenagers who had one compared to peers who did not.
Teenagers who have family dogs spend more time out in the community walking or being out with the dog than teenagers who do not have a family dog.
23. A dog can assist your adolescent in learning responsibility
This is probably the one you’ve heard the most, and while it’s true that having a dog gives children a better chance to learn responsibility, it must be addressed correctly.
Feeding, exercising, brushing, and expressing affection to their dog on a regular basis can teach youngsters the value of dedication and consistency, as well as an understanding of the benefits of proper pet ownership.
While these are excellent things for our teenagers to learn, acquiring them a dog requires a great deal of thought, planning, and consideration.
Coming of Age for Adolescents
Adolescent growth is intriguing and challenging. Despite the fact that this is a stressful time for parents, the end result is a well-balanced, well-socialized adult.
An adult who is self-sufficient and resilient in the face of adversity, with little need for parental assistance and a willingness to collaborate with others. I found this fantastic video on what happens during this phase to help us better understand adolescent behavior.
Puberty, mood swings, stress, and some defiance of regulations are all visible changes. Many neurological and hormonal alterations are also undetectable.
Teenagers are honing their minds for the rest of their lives, and growing up with dogs has social, emotional, and psychological benefits, therefore, teens with dogs are awesome.
We addressed how growing up with a family dog benefits teenagers in this post. Having a dog has numerous advantages for teenagers, including emotional, cognitive, behavioral, educational, and social benefits.
This is a fast-paced period of change in your teenager’s life. It’s tough on you as well, as you see them mature and build significant relationships outside the family.
They become less like the child they were and more like the adult they are. Their assets and skills are getting more specialized and defined. They are pursuing their interests and deciding on a career path. A dog provides them with comfort, support, and reassurance, as well as vital abilities for building long-term resilience.
We hope this article on teens with dogs was worth reading.
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