Often people talk about how much work puppies but then assume after puppyhood you get a full grown dog. Just like with humans there are more stages than just being a baby. There is a lot of learning and growing to do before you become an adult.
Teenage years in dogs is usually classified starting around 8 months to 1 year where your dog is going through hormone development. Their bodies are changing and they have a lot of new feelings and have trouble processing all their emotions. It can often last until 2 or 3 years old depending on dog breed, gender, and indiviual dog.
Teenagers are frustrating. They might act like they don’t know a trick, like sit, they have been doing since 4 months old. They get distracted easily by other dogs, smells, people, or anything. They often try a new naughty behavior they haven’t tried before, maybe like stealing food off the counter.
Just because you pup is no longer a tiny little puppy doesn’t mean they are fully grown. Training needs to continue so you support them through this time and keep showing them what good behavior you want to see.
It might feel like you are back slidding at times but that isn’t true. Teenagers are just dealing with a lot. If I am gettign frustrated in a training session I will stop early. If we tried to go to a dog friendly store and my dog is getting too excited, call it quits and try again another day.
What can you do if you have a teenager dog
- Reinforce paying attention to you instead of all the distractions in the world
- Go back to basics if you are struggling
- End a training session if you are getting frustrated
- Use mangement to prevent bad behaviors
- Have compassion for your dog who is struggling
Just like the puppy phase the teenager phase will end too but if are noticing a lot of bad behavior or are getting really frustrated seek out a trainer to help you through this time.