Teenage Mutant Ninja Dogs

IMG_0504“It’s difficult to decide whether growing pains are something teenagers have – or are.”

Adolescence is a difficult time – for both canines and humans.  There has been research that has found actual brain changes in a teenager’s brain; it’s not a big leap to imagine the same occurs in dogs.

An adolescent dog (typically between 8 months and 3 years) is most at risk of being turned in to the dog shelters.   This is because this is the age where most ‘problem behaviours’ become apparent.  You may find your dog more stubborn, pulling on the leash, jumping on guests, testing you, or not obeying the commands he always used to obey.  The perfect dog you had is suddenly a mutant dog!

If you have a an adolescent dog, please don’t give up at this stage.  Get all the help you need.  Take your dog for obedience training.   Exercise your dog adequately to tire him out.  If you have not neutered your dog, do so.  Research “Nothing In Life is Free” (see link below). For serious behavioural issues, you need the help of a good dog trainer.

Most importantly, just ride it out.  Because if you can get past this time, you can have a beautiful and loving dog on your hands.

As well as looking at your dog’s behaviours, look at the environment in which your dog lives. Are you and your partner constantly fighting? Does your dog get little in the way of exercise or stimulation?  These sort of factors contribute to and exacerbate adolescent issues as the dog becomes more anxious.

Here are some links which might help:

http://www.dogstardaily.com/blogs/it’s-all-about-adolescence

  http://shibashake.com/dog/nothing-in-life-is-free-dog-training

(another way to think about Nothing In Life Is Free is that it is teaching your dog to ‘say please’).

Did you have any challenges when your dog became an adolescent? What do you think helped?

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