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  • Writer's pictureTeaching Tails

The Teenage Phase!

When will it happen?

The adolescent phase will vary between breeds and individual dogs. As a guide, dogs will become teenage between 5-6 months and this stage will continue until around 18 months to 2 years of age.

What is happening to our dogs during this period?

Well just like human teenagers they are experiencing lots of physical, biological, and psychological changes that may result in some challenging behaviours.

What can you expect?

Here are some commonly reported adolescent struggles.

- All that awesome puppy training seems to have vanished.

- Temporary and periodic DEAFNESS. They can't hear you recall them anymore but still hear a crisp packet open from downstairs.

- Easily distracted by everything and anything or it could just be their newly developed selective hearing that makes them always look distracted.

- More Energy, They like to seize the day so wakening a 4:30 seems the best way to do it.

- They seem to spook easily with new things appearing in the environment. Even with things that never worried them before.

- Your super social puppy may start to challenge other dogs.

- Teething can be an issue as your pizzle will only last 5 minutes now the big adult teeth are all in.

So what can you do?

Develop a sense of humour to start with. Your rebellious early riser is not intentionally trying to annoy you. Their body is flooded with hormones and their brain is developing so fast they can't help themselves. So try to breathe and relax.

Training, go back to basics, concentrate on rewarding the good stuff you want to see more of. Practice the things we learn in puppy class keeping any training session short and fun.

If you have joined the wide awake club, I'm sorry, it's so tiring. Think about adding some fun feeding enrichment and brain games. I bet you are doing your best to tire them out physically. It's not going to happen they are in the prime of their youth they need more mental stimulation in their day to help them settle.

Keep socialising them. I don't mean dog-on-dog play. Keep going to and exploring different places. If your dog is barking at other dogs that get too close make sure you create more space for them so they don't have to shout about it. Most importantly you remain calm don't tell them off for being worried you just need to help them feel safe and confident when out and about.

Time for the longline to help with their selective hearing. Don't be offended, they still adore you they are just genetically predisposed to explore. Pop on the longline so you can continue to give them freedom but you can also stop them from getting themselves into any trouble . Practise recalling them periodically always rewarding them for getting it right.

The good news is this doesn't last forever so breathe, keep training, keep rewarding and you will get through it, after all, it is just a phase.

Comment below if you have noticed any of these changes?

Cathy 🐾

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Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
Aug 17, 2022

Oh yes, Archie is going through a number of these 😀 Recall is fine so long as there are no distractions, however the list of things that count as distractions is very, very long...


Aug 11, 2022

Last night I was getting so confused. This was definitely the perfect timing to all my questions!

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