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Behaviour & Training

Adolescent Behaviour

"Adolescence" in puppies can start from about 10 weeks of age and lasts for several months. This can include:

Rise in level of aggression: consider the causes (more territorial, trying to assert dominance over owner)

Adult coat replaces puppy coat

Maturing sexually so the interaction between male and female dogs changes.

Like rebellious teens, adolescent dogs can be a handful – hyperactive, inattentive and hormonal. But that’s what you get when nature provides an immature brain with a body that’s nearly the size of an adult.

A fast growing dog needs guidance and patience during this difficult life stage.

Common Traits Of Adolescence

  • More adventurous and rebellious
  • More adventurous and interested in the big wide world than you
  • Test boundaries – physically and in the relationship
  • Become deaf to commands such as "come”
  • Chewing gets out of hand
  • Buckets of energy
  • Reach sexual maturity
  • Males often jump fences and take off in search of the babes
  • Males may mark in and around the house to claim their territory
  • Females will mark to advertise their availability to the local Romeo’s
  • Both can become aggressive with other dogs of the same sex.

Possibly become shy or frightened of things he or she took in stride just a few weeks before. Don't force your dog to confront something that frightens him or her, but don't coddle (and thereby reward) his or her fears, either.

  • Physical changes
  • Long, gangly and awkward
  • Lose the cottony puppy coat

Tips For Parents Of Adolescent Dogs

  • Keep them in a gated-off area so they can’t run away
  • Puppy-proof part of the house against the chewing machine
  • Get the family to spend time with them
  • Burn off that energy with loads of exercise
  • Keep training sessions short and fun to cater for a very short attention span
  • Be calm but consistent about house rules
  • Give kind, gentle commands
  • Perhaps enroll in another obedience class

Additionnal Information

The Merck Veterinary Manual

Veterinary Partner: The Canine Behaviour Series
By: Kathy Diamond Davis, Trainer

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