Remember when your dog was just a puppy and anything they did was super adorable and you couldn’t stop laughing? That can sometimes change when your dog enters their teenage years. They can become sassy and brazen; a la dog diva! This usually tends to occur when your dog is between the ages of 6 months and 1 year, i.e., their adolescent or puppy ‘teenage’ phase, and go through various hormonal, psychological, and physical changes. Let’s find out about these changes and how to deal with them.
Changes in an adolescent dog
You will notice that when your dog reaches puberty or their puppy teenage phase, they tend to become more ignorant and sassy. They may not come bounding to you when you call out to them like they used to. They are also prone to sudden mood swings.
Upon reaching the puppy adolescence phase, dogs can become more argumentative and tend to ignore your instructions. They may start to ‘backtalk’ and incessantly bark if something is not as per their liking.
3. BEHAVIORAL CHANGES
Puppies are curious about their surroundings but go about their exploration in a milder manner. Teenage dogs however, are curious and excited about new things and environments and usually go about their exploration in an excited state. They are always eager to make new friends and play with them. This is a good thing but it might also get out of hand if your dog tends to get overly aggressive or boisterous. Other dogs might see it as disrespectful and become aggressive in response as well.
Although adolescent dogs are excited and curious about new surroundings, they are also prone to becoming anxious or stressed out in those surroundings. In such cases, you must try and make them feel comfortable by showing your support and unconditional love until they begin to let go of that anxiety and get used to the surroundings.
Dealing with adolescent dogs
1. MENTAL AND PHYSICAL EXERCISE
A lot of dogs’ excitement and boundless energy comes from having pent-up energy. Make sure your dog is getting their physical exercise every day and have them settle into a routine to work off that energy. Apart from this, it is also important to exercise your dog mentally such as embarking on obedience training, walking, etc. These are best to be done with some tasty and healthy bite-sized treats as these treats work as a form of positive reinforcement and encourage your dog to behave.
2. CHEW TREATS
Although your little bundle of joy may not be a puppy in the truest sense, it is better if you keep chew treats and chew toys handy. They might not be teething, but dogs go through a second phase of excessive chewing around the time they are 6 to 8 months of age. These dental chews help during such times. The more long-lasting the treat is, the better.
If you have had your doggo since they were a puppy, training them in their adolescence should not be too difficult. You’ve created a special bond with them since they were a baby and you’ve already made essential headway training them with the basics. That does not mean that you should stop. It is important that you continue training them. But if you haven’t created a bong with your dog and are just starting to train them during their adolescence, you might want to consult a trainer and stock up on training treats that will help you during the training.
Start teaching your dog the importance of self-control. Make them understand the meaning of “drop it” or “leave it”. This goes a long way in ensuring your dog knows the difference between right and wrong. As they grow into their teenage years, there could be some changes in their behavior, but training them in self-control will help in them not acting out around other people or dogs, so you could address their behavioural issues in the secure environment of your home.
It might seem a little difficult and tiring to try and understand the various changes in your dog as they grow into their teenage years, but with a little patience and a lot of love, it will take you no more than a minute to come up with a solution and fall in love with their emerging personality all over again.