From adorable Pup to terror Teenager
Congratulations, you and your puppy have learnt and grown together after attending Puppy School or you've adopted an adolescent dog.
Your Pup loves hanging around you and everyone remarks on how cute they are when you ask them to sit or fetch. You are understandably proud of your Pup and the training effort so far.
However, as time progresses and your Pup continues to develop you notice a change in their behaviour. They appear to only listen to you when they want to. That command to sit goes ignored. They aren't coming back to you when called and seem to be more pre-occupied with everything else other than you! They may become reactive to people or other dogs. No matter, what sort of treats you try and entice them with or how many times you call their name, you might as well be talking to a brick wall.
You're thinking what's happened to the Pup that adored me and did everything I asked? Do I now have a dog that's gone rogue? Is there something wrong with me? Have I failed as a fur kid parent? Why do they like and listen to other people and not me anymore?
It's okay, all that time and effort is not lost. Firstly it's important to understand this change you may be witnessing is typically normal. They have likely entered the "Teenage" phase (aged 6 to 18 months old). Let's go back in time and remember what it was like to be a teenager ourselves. Ah yes, the teenage years! That period in life moving from when they looked at their parents with adulation and hung off their every word to all of a sudden waking up and the last thing they want is to be seen are those same parents!
Guess what? Puppies go through a similar developmental journey and turn into the equivalent of teenagers (and then into adults). Brain and hormonal changes occur just like humans. Unfortunately, for some dogs, this is also the vulnerable period of their life in which some owners simply give up because they didn't understand (or like) this change from cuteness to rebellion. It is not unusual to learn of dogs at this age sometimes being abandoned or handed over to shelters.
At K9 FUNdamentals, we believe that a strong bond between owner and fur kid is fundamental right from the start of the relationship. Having this strong bond means that heading into those teenage years can be more easily managed with the right guidance. This is where practice, persistence & patience are going to be your greatest test and asset.
Many of our One-on-one training sessions are with owners who have become concerned or frustrated with their teenage dog's behaviour. What we are able to do is reassure them that there is an opportunity to remedy the situation. For owners, training with dogs at this age can almost feel like taking a step backward. However, going back to fundamental commands and learning more about the change phase is important to rebuilding & then moving forward.
If you would like to know more as to how we can help you and your fur kid on how to get through the teenage phase, please get in touch & take a look at our website. We offer various classes and also hold One-on-one sessions. To finish off on a positive note, teenage dogs go through this phase over a period of a few months (while human teenagers will take years!) before moving into adulthood. The reward of the right type of training results in both owner and fur kid better adapting to the change during this stage of the life cycle.