Tips for Getting Through Dog Adolescence

Puppies are a lot like babies. They require structure and socialization to thrive properly. With the influx of hormones that come with adolescence, though, they can become more difficult to train. Basic manners have a tendency to go out the window when your puppy reaches the adolescent stage of their life. Training will need to be reinforced in this period or bad habits could set in.

As your dog gets older, your dog’s interests will vary – much the same as people. Smells will become interesting, they will want to chase things, roll in gross-smelling things, and, of course, the ever-popular butt sniffing behavior will become popular. In this stage, it is important to ensure that your dog is properly socialized with people and other dogs. If your dog is not effectively socialized in his or her developing years, it could lead to more aggressive or unwanted behavior that persists into later life.

It is important for your dog to interact with other dogs – this will help establish friendliness and play-fighting behavior. If play attitudes are not established early on, it could cause an adolescent dog to become more outwardly aggressive. This does not mean your dog is dangerous, it just means that they would display aggressive behavior toward other dogs instead of being playful and friendly, says Dogtime.

Participation in dog training classes should not stop after puppyhood. We often recommend continuing training classes for dogs up to 18 months. This helps to reinforce positive behaviors and gives your pup an opportunity to play with other dogs regularly.

The secret to getting your dog through adolescence? Play time. A tired dog is a happy dog! By taking your dog on at least one walk a day, you give him or her the exercise needed to help tire them out and burn off their excess energies. Play dates and taking your dog to the dog park is also be helpful, not only for exercise, but also for socializing. Allowing your dog to play in a controlled environment will not only help him or her burn off excess energy, it’s a lot of fun!

Variety will also keep your dog’s hormones in check. It will keep your dog mentally stimulated and constantly keep their mind moving. Different smells, dogs and people will keep your dog excited and mentally alert, but this strategy needs to be established early on. If this routine is not established as a puppy, it could lead to low confidence and aggressive behavior or an almost flighty attitude, where they seek out new experiences overzealously. Smaller dogs are the most prone to acting like this. It doesn’t mean that they’re bad dogs; it just means they’re nervous. Do not stop trying to socialize your dog in his adolescent period. If anything, socialization needs to be reinforced and built upon to ensure you have a healthy, happy and friendly dog – to both people and other canines – once your pup reaches their adult years.

Dogs, like humans, will not get along with every dog – and that’s okay! Bites to the scruff and topside of the dog are not malicious; this type of dog behavior is playful, and not a sign of aggression. The only time dog owners should be concerned is if their dog bites to the legs and underside of another dog.

At Pauley’s Pups, we make sure that our dogs begin socialization at an early age. We believe in setting up our pups for success in their fur-ever homes. We specialize in toy breed puppies, and offer a full range of healthy, happy and loyal dogs that are sure to become well-loved and cherished companions in your home. Take a look at our currently available puppies for sale online now or call us today at 804-798-7886 to learn more!