Free Consultation


Tips For Surviving Your Dogs Adolescent Years

Tips For Surviving Your Dogs Adolescent Years

Navigating the Turbulent Teens: A Puppy Parent’s Guide

Ah, the joys of puppy parenthood – the boundless energy, the endless cuddles, the…oh wait, what’s that? Is your once-angelic furry friend suddenly acting like a rebellious teenager? Welcome to the wonderful world of dog adolescence, my friends.

As the proud parent of a 7.5-month-old pup named Jamie, I’ve been navigating this tricky phase firsthand. And let me tell you, it ain’t always pretty. But fear not! With a little understanding, patience, and a whole lot of creativity, you can survive – and even thrive – during your dog’s adolescent years.

Understanding the Puppy Brain

To start, let’s dive into the science behind this, well, “interesting” stage of development. You see, as our pups enter adolescence (typically around 6-8 months of age and lasting until around 2 years old), their brains are going through some major changes.

The limbic system, the part of the brain that controls emotions and drives, is kicking into high gear. Meanwhile, the prefrontal cortex, responsible for things like self-control and decision-making, is still under construction.

Picture it like this: your puppy’s brain is a little house, and the rambunctious teenager (the limbic system) has moved in, while the responsible adult (the prefrontal cortex) is still trying to find the spare key. The result? Impulsive decisions, forgetfulness, and a whole lot of “that seemed like a good idea at the time” moments.

Surviving the Storm

Okay, now that we’ve got the science out of the way, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of how to actually survive your dog’s adolescent years. Here are a few tips that have been keeping me (and my sanity) afloat:

Don’t Ditch the Crate

Even if your puppy was a pro at potty training and sleeping through the night, the crate can still be a lifesaver during adolescence. Think of it as a cozy little “nap zone” where your pup can recharge and avoid those impulsive decisions. Plus, if you’ve done your crate training right, it should be an easy transition.

Pump up the Enrichment

When that adolescent energy starts to rev up, channel it into positive activities. Load up on food puzzles, lickable toys, and other enrichment items to keep your pup’s mind and body engaged. And don’t forget to get creative with your training rewards – think spontaneous “surprises” and using your pup’s favorite distractions as reinforcement.

Review the Basics

Remember those rock-star behaviors your puppy used to nail? Well, now’s the time to go back and refresh them. Don’t be surprised if your once-perfectly trained pup starts “forgetting” things like coming when called or potty training. Slow it down, rebuild those behaviors, and remember – it’s all part of the process.

Set Your Pup Up for Success

As your puppy navigates this challenging stage, there may be certain situations they just can’t handle responsibly yet. That’s okay! Instead of forcing them into these scenarios, modify the environment or avoid them entirely. For example, if your pup’s jumping up on every person they see, it might be best to steer clear of crowded areas until they’ve had more practice with that behavior.

Keep Calm and Carry On

It’s easy to get frustrated when your adorable puppy suddenly turns into a little terror. But try to remember that this is a developmental phase, not a personal attack. Your pup isn’t trying to give you a hard time – they’re just doing their best with the brain power they’ve got.

So, take a deep breath, revisit your training plan, and approach each challenge with patience and understanding. After all, this too shall pass. Before you know it, your “teenager” will be a responsible adult, and you’ll be looking back on these days with a wistful smile (and maybe a few gray hairs).

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

While the adolescent years can certainly be a roller coaster, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Just like human teenagers, our furry friends will eventually grow out of this phase and into well-adjusted, self-controlled adults.

In the meantime, keep your chin up, your training plan handy, and your sense of humor intact. With a little creativity and a lot of love, you and your pup can weather this storm and come out the other side even stronger.

And remember, you’re not alone. Thousands of other puppy parents are navigating this journey right alongside you. So, let’s lean on each other, share our stories, and celebrate the small victories. After all, we’re all in this together – just like our pups and their “terrible teens.”

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a spontaneous training session and some frozen Kongs to prepare. Wish me luck!

Tags :
Share This :

Get Updates with our



Join our passionate community of dog lovers. Embrace the journey of companionship with Ihavedogs, where every dog gets the best of care and love.