photo courtesy Bea Wachter
starts at sexual maturity in dogs as with humans. Your 5-6 month old pup is
like a 7th grader, beginning to have a sense of self and independence. He has
opinions. He complains about the rules and sometimes talks back. By 7-9 months
he is like a 16 year old, wanting a later curfew and the car keys. Your human
kid will take several years to get through this stage of life; your dog will
go through it in a matter of months. It only seems like an eternity!
on your dog's Developmental Stages.)
good news is, your dog will never learn
to drive and you can have him neutered!
He used to never stray far from your feet - now he runs down the street.
If your teenage dog could drive, he would. The "invisible umbilical cord" that used to compel your young puppy to have to know where you are at all times disappears at about 5 months, and so does his total reliance on you for security. He has a sudden upsurge in desire for exploration. "To boldly go where no dog has gone before" is his new motto.
He must not be allowed to find out that escape is possible or that running down the street is fun - once he does, he'll be looking for every chance to experience the thrill again. How? A tall enough, tight enough fence. A leash or long line are life insurance. Spaying and neutering EARLY will eliminate a large part of the urge to go exploring. By 7 months your male pup has FOUR TIMES the testosterone of an intact 2 year old male. When your female comes in season, she'll do anything to go find a mate and will attract suitors for miles. Neither of you need to deal with that!
used to chew shoes and socks, now it's couches and the siding off the house.
The puppy teeth are gone and he's breaking in a new set of stunning chompers. He's bright, he's easily frustrated, easily bored. The stress over wanting to get in, go out, do SOMETHING leads him to relieve his tension on whatever inanimate object is near, can be reached, or is in the way of where he wants to go. Don't be in a hurry to give him adult dog freedom in the house. He may look like an adult, but he still has a puppy brain. He needs confinement, supervision and a variety of appropriate things on which to satisfy his required need to chew.
grabs things, shows them to you and then RUNS with them!
He chooses things that he knows are guaranteed to get you out of your chair. He does it to get attention. But you're yelling and he "knows better"!? Good or bad, it's still attention. Chase and be chased, that's the best dog game ever. He's satisfying his need for attention and exercise. He's also experimenting with how he can control his world; how fast, how smart and how agile he can be. He's practicing a skill you don't want him to be good at - outsmarting and out maneuvering you! He needs a job. He must have a way to earn attention the RIGHT way.
When you see him with something he shouldn't have, teach him to "bring it here" and trade for something better- a treat or better toy. Teach him to clean the house or bring in the paper. Ignore displays and parading with your item and go "pounce" on one of his. When he drops your belonging to come join a game with his, have a rowsing game. The message is, if you want me to play, go get one of YOUR things and show it to me. And then remember to get excited when he DOES choose his own toy. He's only choosing your things because it works.
his need for exercise:
20 minutes of directed aerobic exercise a day - a leisurely walk around the block won't do it and neither will lying in a big yard all day with "room to run" - he'll more likely get his exercise digging up the lawn and tearing out your plants than running around. He needs to get his heart rate up. Dogs need to play and play hard. Fetch, hide and go seek, doggy playmates - Dog Daycare! Physically satisfied, tired dogs SLEEP!
barks AT you.
Bossy bossy bossy. I need, I want, give me, let me ... He has little or no impulse control and the world revolves around him, not you. This must change. Your dog needs structure, clear black and white house rules and accountability. This is no time for spoiling. He needs to work to earn: a clear understanding and expectation that he must do something you want to get what he wants and needs in life. Nothing in life is free. Leadership is essential - and it can be life and death at adolescence. Neutering will also have a big effect on this issue.
He needs to use his brain for good, not evil! Bright dogs are going to problem solve all over the place - best it be YOUR agenda, not his! Positive training builds a sound relationship.
your adolescent dog testing your patience? Don't give up!
This handout may be reprinted in its entirety for distribution free of charge and with full credit given:
© CAROL A. BYRNES "DIAMONDS IN THE RUFF" Training for Dogs & Their People -
ditr_training @ hotmail.com - http://www.diamondsintheruff.com