Articles

Teenage Traumas

No it really isn’t just humans that go through adolescence. In dogs it tends to sneak up on owners, one minute you have the sweetest, cutest puppy, next it has grown up into a leggy, stroppy junior.

A high number of juvenile dogs end up in rescue centres which suggests owners are ill prepared or unwilling to cope with this challenging phase of their dogs development.

Imagine how full rescue centres would be if parents gave up on their human equivalent so easily.

The teenage period is generally from 9 months to 2 years of age depending upon the different rates of development for different breeds. Small dogs i.e. Terriers mature earlier than larger breeds. It is important to understand the difference between actual and apparent full development. Just because “Max” starts to cock his leg or “Millie” has her first season does not mean they are fully mature. Again compare to the average human teenager, it just means they are able to breed!

The influence of new hormones can put their bodies under enormous stress. They are easily distracted and find concentration difficult. It is far easier to have trained from early puppy-hood than begin training during this period. They are just likely to tell you to put your “down stays” where the sun doesn’t shine!

Even well behaved puppies can go through a rebellious stage but they are capable of returning to their earlier well behaved selves. Dogs that were never taught as puppies what is acceptable behaviour have no base to return to. They need constant guidance, consistent training, sufficient exercise, all providing directed mental stimulation through these formative months.

In the wild dogs have to learn acceptable behaviour extremely fast, failure to do so would mean being cast out by senior pack members making survival extremely difficult.

A firm, constant boundary has to be set. rebellion, manic energy and an urge to be independent is found in most species. We need to understand and cope. have faith, it will pass and our teenage “Kevins” will be nice to know again.