Thoughts of a Canine Therapist – Teenagers

I’m not a puppy trainer, I’ve done it and it bored the life out of me 😳

As much as I don’t believe that behaviours should be ‘fixed’ by training it out of them, I do believe that just like humans, dogs need to have manners and need to learn boundaries. They need to walk on a lead for safety and they need to come back when called if they’re out and about. I just don’t want to be the one to ‘train’ them to do it.

When I did run puppy training sessions there was one thing I always used to say to new doggy parents at the start of the first session

“You’re gonna need to train these dogs twice!! Once now and then once when they get past their teenage years because they will go backwards and it will be like you’ve never trained them”

This still makes me chuckle now 😃 clients come to me wanting to know why their perfectly behaved puppy has suddenly gone rogue 😂😂

Just like with humans, hormonal changes in the dog mean that they’re a lot more confused and conflicted and they will do stupid things and test your patience to the max in their teenage years.

If you try to train them out of the things they’re doing in this time then all you’re gonna do is cause yourself a whole lot of stress. Think about what it’s like parenting a teenager and then relate that to your dog. They’re gonna be stubborn and pig headed and you’ll end up falling out of love with your dog for reasons that aren’t actually their fault. That’s why so many dogs end up in rescues in their teenage years 💔💔💔

The best way to manage the teenage years is with patience, understanding and a hell of a lot of emotional release techniques!!
That’s what I’m having to do with Odin at the minute, he’s so over aroused constantly that I’m having to manage his emotional energy to limit extra excitement, stress, frustration etc. because any excess emotion will tip him over the edge and trigger a reaction!!

It’s not easy either. He’s a full grown dog and very strong and when I’m dealing with the stubbornness, the lack of understanding and the constant repetition of the same nightmare behaviours, it can be really difficult to remember that it’s only because he’s a teenager 😩😩

If you have a small dog the teenage period starts earlier but also doesn’t tend to last as long. A chihuahua for example will reach adulthood at 9-12 months of age so you get the puppy and teenage periods out of the way within a year. Whereas the larger breeds like my Dogue de Bordeaux’s can be going through it right up until they’re 2-3 years of age 😵‍💫😵‍💫

Obviously the Smaller dogs are usually easier to manage during this period as well, we’ve all seen the people who just pick their dogs up and walk them past us, you can’t really do that with a 50+kg beast 😂😂

So if your gorgeous little puppy has suddenly turned into the devil with no warning and you’ve been fretting about where you’ve gone wrong, now you know!!! It’s not you at all……. you’re just now the proud parent of a teenager ❤️🐾

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