Adolescent Dogs or Teenage Dogs can be hard work.
Speaking to Natalie from NK9 Dog Training & Behaviour Specialist and Ruby from World Online Dog Show (Ruby, Betsy and Milo too) recently and both was saying how it's a struggle raising an adolescent Dog and how you go from having a super puppy who seems exceptionally talented to having a complete unpredictable lunatic pup on your hands.
I have three adolescent dogs and those who work with me know that I talk about adolescents all the time and how the wonderful puppy will soon give behaviours you might not want or are shocked by and the relationship can become strained.
People get upset that their puppy changes in their behaviour and show different behaviours which can be difficult to manage or come as a complete shock.
Some people even compare their adolescent dog to puppies or much older dogs in their Dogs competency and behaviour or Training abilities. I always explain this is an unfair comparison and it wasn't so long ago the owner of the adolescent dream was the smug puppy owner.
Adolescents don't have to be nightmares they can be a dream. For me adolescents and their behaviour teaches us so much. They teach us patience and acceptance. They make us more alert and less complacent, they help us to become better handlers. They teach us about management skills, they teach us to be aware of their communications their sleep deprivation, their arousal and frustration levels. Their fears and their joys as well as their interests in the world.
Puppies tend to be easier to train as the world is scary and staying close to us provides an unspoken safety. As adolescence comes so does courage and curiously and hormones and new fears and development and maturity.
Some days you might have a training plan in mind and your adolescent might have other ideas. That's OK. They might be communicating that they are over tired, over aroused, frustrated, uncomfortable or just having a bad day. We all feel like this from time to time and that's absolutely fine.
When humans struggle we say self care, take a break, you deserve a rest, go relax.
With dogs we don't we want to push through it and without humanising them we need to understand they have their own needs and agendas. They have their own personality and emotions.
My guys had an off day the other day and we worked on boundaries and settling and encouraging much needed sleep instead of winding eachother up, stealing each others toys for attention from one another or grabbing each others legs to get another to play who wasn't interested.
You can also work on things like snuffle mats, Kongs, puzzle games, freework, play with flirt poles or tug toys, paddling pool games or even ball pool pit games. Or you can just cuddle and enjoy your dog.
Dogs aren't in this rat race humans are in and dogs have a totally different view and focus of the world. When humans are teenagers human teenagers aren't particularly fun to be around or wanting to follow rules. They push boundaries, can be rude, slam doors and blast out the music.
When Dogs are being adolescents and giving adolescent behaviour this is completely natural and normal they are slamming the door and blasting out the music.
Its up to us how we handle them and what we put in place for them to get through these times and when we do this we have a much more harmonious and enjoyable relationship with them. This video is the day after a full on adolescent day. Great things can happen when we can work with them rather than against them. They enjoy it more and we enjoy it more too.
Adolescence is temporary and some days may feel really hard but it's about what we put in place during these days to help them. But adolescents also teach us and make us better and that is a gift in itself 💜