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Puppy adolescence is a crucial time during your dog's development, and it can be both a challenging and rewarding experience.

From the age of about 6 months to 1-2 year, dogs go through dramatic physical, mental and emotional changes that are similar to those experienced by human teenagers. If you're not prepared for these changes - or if you don't know how to help your pup navigate them - puppy adolescence can test even the most patient pet owner!

In this blog post we'll explore what puppy adolescence looks like in more detail, as well as offering some valuable tips on how to manage this sometimes-difficult stage of their life so that you can enjoy an even better relationship with your teenage pooch once they make it out the other side.

When does dog adolescence start and how long does it last?

Adolescent dogs, also known as young dogs or teen dogs, go through a period of growth and development that is similar to human adolescence. This stage of a dog's life typically begins around six months of age and can last up to two years.

During this time, adolescent dogs may experience hormonal changes, increased energy, and a desire to explore and push boundaries. It's important for owners to be patient and consistent with their training during this period to help their dog develop into a well-behaved adult.

Though adolescent dogs can be challenging, their youthful energy and curiosity can also make them a joy to be around.

How to deal with puppy adolescence - teenage puppy training

Puppy adolescence can be a challenging time for any dog owner, but with the right tools and training, it can also be a rewarding experience.

During this time, you might notice changes in your dog's behaviour as they begin to explore their independence and test their boundaries.

To help your puppy navigate this transition, it's important to understand their desires and provide them with appropriate outlets for their energy.

Offering plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, socialization, chew toys & trick training can go a long way in preventing destructive behaviour and establishing healthy habits for the future.

With patience and consistency, teenage puppy training can set your dog up for a lifetime of success and happiness.

Train Your Puppy

An adolescent German Shepherd puppy being trained with a clicker

Training a puppy can be a fun and rewarding experience for both owner and the young dog.

Whether you have a teen dog or a new puppy, it's important to incorporate regular training and brain games into their routine. Puzzle toys can provide mental stimulation and promote problem-solving skills, while basic obedience training sets the foundation for good behaviour.

Consistency is key, so it's important to schedule regular training sessions and gradually increase the difficulty of exercises. With patience and dedication, your puppy will become a well-behaved and intelligent companion for years to come.

Bonding with your teenage dog is important

As puppyhood fades and your furry companion enters adolescence, bonding with your teenage dog becomes increasingly important. An adolescent dog, much like a teenage human, can be rambunctious, impulsive, and unpredictable.

These physical and behavioural changes can make your once obedient pup seem like a completely different animal.

Fortunately, bonding with your adolescent puppy can help establish trust and a deeper connection between the both of you.

Physical exercise is a great way to bond with your canine companion, as it not only helps expel pent-up energy, but also provides a shared experience. Whether it's going on a long walk, playing fetch or wrestling around, there are endless opportunities to help reinforce your adolescent dog's trust and loyalty to you.

Play time

During the adolescent period, puppies can experience a surge of energy and desire to play endlessly. And while this can be endearing, it can also be quite exhausting for a dog owner. The good news is that playtime can actually be a great way to calm down an adolescent puppy. It's perfectly natural for dogs to want to play, and not allowing them to do so can result in pent-up energy and frustration. Engaging in play with your pup can not only help them release that energy in a healthy way, but it can also strengthen your bond and provide important mental stimulation. So the next time your adolescent puppy is bouncing off the walls, grab a toy and join in on the fun - this exuberance won't last forever!

Puppy Chewing and Teething

An adolescent teething dog chewing on its owner's finger

Puppy chewing and teething can be a frustrating experience. As your puppy grows from a cute little ball of fur to an adolescent dog, they start to lose their baby teeth and grow in their adult teeth.

The process of gaining their adult teeth can take a few months and during which your pup will be irresistibly drawn to anything they can chew on. Don't worry; it's perfectly normal!

One thing that might help is to redirect them to an appropriate chew toy so they don't start munching on your favourite piece of furniture or pair of shoes.

Another is to let them socialize with an adult dog who can teach them some good chewing manners.

Just like teenage humans, teenage dogs need gentle guidance and patience as they grow through this phase of development. Trust us, your table legs will thank you for it!

When puppies become adults

As puppies grow up, they finally mature into adult dogs, but this transition is not always easy for them or their owners. Just like humans, dogs go through an adolescence stage, commonly referred to as their 'teenage years'.

During this time, dogs may exhibit stubborn behaviour and have mood swings, much like a human teenager.

It's important to remember that this phase will pass, and with patience and training, your dog will become a well-behaved and loyal companion.

As your dog becomes an adult, they may also interact differently with other dogs. It's important to continue socialization during this time to prevent any potential aggression or fear towards other dogs.

With proper training and care, your canine adolescent can go on to live a happy and fulfilling life.

Behaviour around other dogs

Understanding your adolescent dog's behaviour around other dogs is crucial for their development.

Most dogs go through a teenage phase where they experience a surge of energy and assertiveness that can manifest during social interactions with other canines. It's important to recognize that this period is normal and doesn't necessarily mean that your dog is aggressive or dominant.

In fact, a dog's desire to engage in a play session and be social with other dogs is innate and should be encouraged, as it provides them with necessary mental and physical stimulation.

However, it's important to monitor the body language of your adolescent dog and intervene if necessary to prevent any negative interactions from escalating. Young puppies and those going through canine adolescence can lack self control.

By providing proper socialization and guidance during this adolescent stage, your dog can learn self control & become a well-adjusted and socially skilled adult.

Teenage dogs become more interested in going for long walks

An adolescent German Shepherd excited to go for a long walk

As a dog owner, you may have experienced the excitement your furry friend feels when it's time to go for a walk.

When your dog is a teenager, this eagerness tends to increase. Teenage dogs become more interested in going for walks, and this is mostly because of the surge of hormones that come with adolescence.

Additionally, their curious nature causes them to want to explore and interact with other dogs more frequently - they may even be experiencing feeling a sexual drive for the first time and wish to see other dogs.

Many owners take this opportunity to engage in long walks with their pets. However, some dogs may want to go in the opposite direction, especially if they see birds or other animals.

It's best to encourage your canine friend to walk with you while still allowing them a chance to explore their surroundings & release their new found energy.

Long walks during a dog's adolescence can be a frustrating time, but with effort and know how they can be a great bonding experience for you and your dog.

Avoid frustration at dinner time

Dinner time with your adolescent dog can sometimes feel like a battle. There are, however, ways to avoid frustration with your furry friend during meal times.

One of the best techniques is using positive reinforcement. This involves rewarding your dog for good behaviour and ignoring bad behaviour.

When your dog sits patiently or waits calmly for their food, give them a treat or verbal praise. This will encourage them to display good behaviour in the future.

Also, consider changing the way you feed your dog. Try feeding smaller portions and spacing them out throughout the day. This can help prevent your dog from becoming too focused on food, reducing their desire to beg or become anxious. Incorporating these simple techniques can lead to a more enjoyable mealtime experience for both you and your adolescent dog.

Will neutering help calm my dog down?

If you have an adolescent dog that seems to have a lot of energy and is often mischievous, you may be wondering if neutering would help calm them down.

The answer is yes, it can definitely make a difference.

However, neutering alone is not a magic fix for behavioural issues. Positive reinforcement training and giving your dog plenty of attention and exercise can also play a big role in creating a calm and well-behaved pup.

Try using food as a reward when training your dog, as this can be very effective.

Remember, your dog is still young and learning, so with patience and consistency, you can help them become the loyal companion you've always wanted.

FAQ

How do I know if my dog is a teenager?

Dogs typically become teenagers around seven months of age.

How do I deal with a teenage dog who is acting out?

It can be frustrating when your once well-behaved puppy starts acting out during their adolescence. It's important to understand that this behaviour is common and can be corrected with patience and consistent training.

One tactic to try is redirecting their behaviour by providing them with plenty of toys and exercise to expend their energy. Consistency in enforcing rules and commands is also key in reinforcing good behaviour.

Additionally, seeking the guidance of a professional dog behavior consultant can help you develop a personalized plan to address your dog's specific needs.

Remember, with proper guidance and training, your canine teen can be well-behaved and happy once again.

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