Surviving Canine Adolescence

There's this strange time between puppy and adult that no one talks about.

Those sweet puppy features you fell in love with start to fade, but there's still so much puppy behavior left to age out of and work through.

People talk about how it's hard to have a puppy.

They keep you up at night, they chew on stuff, and they potty in the house. But they're small, they're cute, and it feels like a phase you can survive.

But no one really talks about adolescence.

They don't talk about the frustrations, the doubts, and the struggles that come with having a "teenage" dog.

Adolescent dogs can be rude, impulsive, and disengaged. They can embody all the bad stuff of puppyhood, but in a larger and more confident body.

It's the reason why dogs are frequently rehomed or relinquished to shelters between the ages of 6-10 months.

It's the reason we get many desperate calls from people struggling with their adolescent dogs.

But it doesn't have to be this way.

When you get a puppy, you sign up for all your dog's life stages, good and bad.

Along the way, you're going to feel every emotion possible, from joy to downright exasperation.

Adolescence is a phase like any other; it comes and it goes.

So how do you come through it (relatively) unscathed?

1. Reward what you like, and be sure you aren't reinforcing what you don't like. If an unwanted behavior is continuing, it's getting reinforced. Figure out what's reinforcing it.

2. Invest in good veterinary care, quality training, and be consistent with rules and boundaries right from the start.

3. Keep your pup mentally and physically engaged, but also require that they self-entertain at times.

4. Ideally, start training as soon as you get your pup.

Eventually, you'll look back on this phase with a smile, and maybe a sigh of relief.

But most of all, don't give up on that goofy, awkward adolescent pup of yours.

You'll be glad you stayed.

Need professional guidance on your adolescent dog issues? We offer private and group online dog training that's accessible from anywhere in the world. More details here, or contact us.

3 thoughts on “Surviving Canine Adolescence

  1. I have a lovely 6 month old male American Pit Bull puppy. He is loving, smart, and a joy to have except for. He has started to grab people, as they pass by in the room, We are in, Their clothes, and sometimes a wrist, at the end of a sleeve of clothing or a leg, bare or with clothes covering it. other than that He is great. how do I get Him to stop doing this? He does it mostly to the other two who live with me, not Myself..I have successfully potty trained him, knows basic commands and is a friendly and beautiful dog. got him fixed two days back. now he is in the recovery stage with the e-collar on. what do You suggest I do.? I can not afford to pay for professional trainer classes. I'm on S.S. and not much per month do I get. I might add, the breeder got rid of Him at 6 weeks of age. not My idea, His. it was take Him today or not.I know he missed out on the extra two weeks worth of initial life's pleasure of interacting with His Mother and siblings, Her teaching Him, etc. The play between the puppies and all that. I feel I have some pretty good dog sense, having had dogs, My entire life for 47 years. None of My other puppies I ever had did this?

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