Owning a Dog The Teenage Years

dog owner making a finger heart around dog picturePuppies are known for being a handful at times, but it’s not over when your puppy reaches the adolescent stage. Although your puppy gets older, this doesn’t automatically lead to more maturity at first. In fact, owning a dog through the teenage years can be a challenge for dog owners. Learn more about what to expect during your dog’s adolescent phase and how to handle this time.

When Are the Teenage Years?

Dogs go through their adolescent phase starting when they are around 6 months old. This phase can last until they are 2 or 3 years old. However, the biggest behavioral challenges typically occur when they are between 9 and 12 months old.

Problems During the Adolescent Phase

The adolescent phase affects dogs in different ways from hormonal to brain changes. Some dogs might become more fearful about things that never bothered them before, while others become more eager to go out for walks and explore their surroundings. During adolescence, some dogs seem to suddenly forget their training and go back to previous behaviors. Other dogs experience sleep changes that cause them to be more awake during the night for a bit.

How to Handle the Teen Years

This depends on how adolescence affects your dogs, but keep the following tips in mind:
Continue to socialize: Even if your dog suddenly seems fearful, it’s still important to keep socializing. Expose your dog to different places, other people and other animals. This can help your dog adjust to new experiences during adolescence.
Spend quality time together: The teen years are an important part of bonding with your dog. Make sure that you play together and bond with your dog during this time in order to form a positive relationship.
Keep up with training: Your dog might have a harder time with training during the teen years, but you should still continue with it. Your dog’s brain will settle down eventually, and you’ll find that training becomes easier once again.

No matter how difficult adolescence is, keep in mind that it’s only temporary. Stay patient, and your pup will grow into a mature, well-behaved dog.

DoGoneFun! Offers many resources for new dog owners and their puppies. We have specifically designed grooming programs for puppies first haircut. Our dog training programs offer everything from puppy basics to agility classes. We can even help your puppy get more socialization with doggy daycare.