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Surviving The Adolescent Dog

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Surviving the Adolescent Dog

Adolescence is a period of time in a young dog’s development when hormones are flooding their system. No longer considered a puppy, but still exhibiting many puppy like behaviors. Behaviors that will likely be exaggerated by the flood of hormones. This hormonal surge typically begins around 7-9 months of age, although some giant breeds mature more slowly. Surviving the adolescent dog is no joke.

Your cute, cuddly, amenable little puppy transforms into a pushy, bratty, crazy, jumping, mouthing, counter surfing monster.

Not listening, running away, not towards you, pulling on leash in every direction, not to mention, humping anything in sight. You get the picture? What happened??? Think teenager. Not realizing what is happening, this is the age when many owners re-home their dogs.

Take heart, it’s temporary, to a degree. Mostly depending on how you handle it. Structure, training and patience are your best defense. This is a perfect time to reinforce those obedience commands you have been teaching. What? You haven’t been training your dog??? Well now’s the time to start.

Keep a leash on your dog even in the house so you have better control. Spend time daily doing obedience drills (sit, down, place, heel, come). Then use these commands throughout your day. You will be amazed at how this can focus and calm your dog. Fifteen minutes worth of sit and down drills is quite a workout for your dog!

Crate train your dog and crate them when you are not actively engaged with them. This keeps them from practicing negative behaviors when you are unable to be engaged with them. Remember, when you are training them, you are teaching them positive behaviors they can choose to do in the future when you begin to give them some supervised freedom.

Many adolescent dogs behave badly in a demand for attention. Daily training provides them your undivided attention in a more positive and productive way.

Daily structured walks promote leadership, focus and, burn more energy than allowing your dog to lead you from pillar to post. Do NOT allow your dog to mark everywhere as this becomes an annoying habit and can lead to territorial behaviors later.

Surviving the adolescent dog is a lot of work. Take time out for you! Remember, this is a short period of time in your dog’s lifespan. Do some research, watch videos or hire a trainer if you need support.


Terie Hansen is the Owner of Good Dog! Coaching & Pet Care. More information at

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