We hear a lot about teenage dogs being more disobedient, stubborn and forgetting all the cues they once knew. Adolescence is as difficult for dogs as it is for humans. They have to deal with lots of new hormones, the quick emergence of a much stronger sense of smell and almost overnight they become unaware of their much larger bodies. People often see the sudden change in the teenage dog’s behaviour as naughtiness, I like to see it as an inability to do what we ask them to.
By adolescence, we are referring to anywhere between 16 weeks to around 18 months. This is the period in between puppyhood and adulthood when reproduction begins. Adolescence is when they mature a lot both mentally and physically through the secretion of hormones. This is a very quick process which only takes a year and two months to complete.
Dogs become much bigger during this period. Have you ever seen a big dog trying to fit into a really small space? This might be a teenage dog who hasn’t quite gotten used to the size of their own body. Teenage dogs normally have problems with balance and have no idea where their hind legs are or what they’re stepping on. This is often why at this point, many dogs are unable to do what we ask of them.
Their sense of smell also really starts to kick in during adolescence and gets a lot stronger. So you might find recall takes a little longer whilst your dog sniffs out a fox or another mysterious object. Just think of it like when you’re so focused on reading or watching something that you don’t hear someone talking to you. But on top of that, you can’t really control what you smell so you can imagine how it must be hard to ignore the urgent nose calls.
So does this mean it’s all over for our training then? Knowing all this, we might feel like giving up on the boundaries we are trying to put in place for our dogs. But don’t give up just yet because it is possible to strike a balance between setting looser boundaries and at the same time not being too permissive with our teenage dogs.
Train your teenage dog to have more balance
Teach your dog how to jump, walk-in narrow places and train turns
Teach tasks that require coordination
Train body awareness so your teenager knows where each part of their body is
Do scent work
Train recall and lead walking
And last but not least, sign up to our Pawsome Teenager Class in Clissold Park.
If this article helped you, share with friends and family members that need some help with their beasts.