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How to Deal with Doggy Adolescence

 by jaime on 05 Jul 2014 |
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Adolescence happens to all of us, your dog included! Adolescence usually occurs in dogs between six and eighteen months and is an exciting but testing time as they transition from a puppy into a fully grown adult dog. It can be a difficult period for everyone in the household, and sadly it's during this age that many people give their dog up for adoption - but don't despair, if you are prepared and strong-willed you can completely survive doggy adolescence and end up with a wonderfully mature and grown up dog.

Be prepared, know the signs!
Preparation is the best way to combat your dog's adolescence. Start to get to know the signs that commonly present during this period and know how to deal with them. If you can get on top of your dog's adolescence from the beginning you should be able to limit how crazy things can get!

Signs of adolescence include:

    •    Destructive behaviour: jumping on the couch, excessive digging and barking and trying to escape
    •    No longer listening to commands they have been able to carry out previously
    •    Pushing boundaries
    •    Hyperactivity
    •    Adult teeth have come in but still needs to chew on hard toys
    •    Puppy coat is falling out to make way for the adult one
    •    Just about adult height

If you dog hasn't been spayed or neutered this is also the time dogs reach sexual maturity which brings about it's own unique behaviour:
    •    Females will have their first heat cycle
    •    Males will begin to lift their legs to show interest in females
    •    Increased indoor urination
    •    Agression

You should really consider spaying/neutering your dog between two and six months of age to avoid these hormonal displays, not to mention unwanted preganancies.

Tips to help overcome doggy adolescence

    •    Give your dog plenty of exercise as it helps with mental stimulation as well as calm and tire out an over-active dog.
    •    Find other dog owners with dogs going through adolescence at the same time. Let them run together in a safe and supervised environment so they can run-ragged together!
    •    Be firm handed. If your dog is not obeying a command you have given it, go to them immediately.
    •    Interactive toys, like a Kong, are good for keeping dogs entertained for hours and uses up lots of mental stimulation.
    •    Extra grooming sessions help to keep dogs calm (and looking nice and neat!)
    •    If your dog has forgotten simple commands - don't get upset - they really can't help it. Simply, just re-teach the command again and include plenty of positive reinforcement.
    •    Include a quick obedience class into your routine to really engrave those simple commands.

It's really important to get to know your dog - how much exercise it needs and what it's favourite toys are to help you get a handle on curbing destructive behaviour. Remember, adolescence won't last forever.

Embrace the last days of puppyhood!

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