In dogs, adolescence can begin between 4 and 8 months and end between 12 and 24 months depending on the breed. This is a difficult period where hormonal changes lead to upheavals in the doggie. Complex to deal with and especially exhausting for the master, who often has the feeling of going backwards, this is a temporary period, but where it is necessary to know how to act to prevent bad habits from occurring. How are adolescence characterized in dogs? How to deal with crises? Let’s take a look at this case.
Youth in dogs: what is this period? What are the signs?
Depending on the breeds – and especially the sizes – of dogs, the onset of adolescence occurs at different ages. For small dogs, adolescence begins between 4 and 5 months and between 6 and 7 months for medium breeds and ends around 12 months of age. For large dogs, adolescence begins between 7 and 8 months and ends around 18 months or even 24 months. In females, this period often coincides with the female dog’s first heat.
In this phase, the dog assumes a behavior that may confuse the master. Very excited and excited, the young dog is passionate about what surrounds him and likes to observe and discover everything with an overflowing curiosity. Adolescence pushes the quietest dogs to take an interest in everything that moves, in everything that is new. Crowded with new energy, he seems to be in regression to the point that he even pees in the house a little too often and no longer listens to his master. Note that small doggies show even more enthusiasm than their medium-sized and large counterparts.
How is the behavior change in the young dog explained?
As with the human teen, hormones are partly involved in these changes. Adolescence generates profound physiological and psychological changes that can cause new anxiety and fear or greater self-confidence that are likely to lead to the occurrence of more or less intense and numerous crises. These hormonal changes can be very disruptive to the dog who is unable to control and monitor this behavior.
This behavior, which may seem unusual or embarrassing to us, is certainly very often difficult to deal with for the master, who feels overwhelmed by the changing attitude of his little companion. However, it is important to welcome this phenomenon, as we would do with a human teenager, with a perspective that allows us to respond with sufficient goodwill, coherence and patience, to establish a more balanced communication and education inside the house. .
Faced with “rubbish”, running away, repeated barking, destructive behavior, refusal to obey or return to the heel and other sudden behavioral changes in your formerly so docile young doggie, you will have to be patient. Admittedly, it’s a painful moment, but don’t worry, it’s over!
Youth in dogs: how to deal with the crisis?
Although you will need to be patient, you can also adopt new temporary habits to better deal with your dog’s teenage crises.
Hold on !
Faced with the confusing attitudes of your four-legged teenager, you will have to persevere in order not to give in! Do not let go, for you must maintain your authority over your animal. Keep being on the initiative of contacts, caresses, meals, play sessions, etc. It is also up to you to end it with positivity.
Stay calm and take a step back
If your dog does not obey you, there is no need to get angry. You need to make sure to adapt your behavior to him by observing your animal to understand the reasons why it is not listening to you.
Like a human teenager, your dog will try to test the limits and especially to see your reaction if he does not listen to you. Do not hesitate to be more firm, to intervene in a less stimulating space for play and education or to choose a more stimulating technique to achieve your goals.
Repeat, repeat, repeat, even repeat!
If necessary, do not hesitate to start from scratch and resume learning the basics with your young teenage doggie. It is sometimes necessary to take up some basic things that until then have been well managed. Be firm and hold fast so you do not give up. This period is temporary, but your dog may develop bad habits if you fail to establish rules. Even if you have to be patient, it is also important to act so as not to tolerate bad behavior, which will only lead to reinforcing it.
Do not forget that the skills you have taught your dog with more or less difficulty are not lost. On the other hand, do not relax in your efforts not to let your pet develop bad habits.
Entertain your dog
At this age, your dog is bursting with energy and needs new stimulation. It’s the right time to start a new sports activity with your pet. It is important to stimulate your dog physically, mentally and olfactory for at least 30 minutes every day and by varying the degrees of freedom and the spaces or environments.
It is a great way to meet your dog’s new needs and channel his energy at the same time.
Think about socializing
It is important to continue to socialize your animal by letting it stay in touch with its offspring. At this age, he needs positive encounters to maintain his good habits and not lose the dog codes. Desocialization is possible if you are not careful.
If your doggie is a bit of a fighter, do not hesitate to consider castration with your veterinarian to limit the risks.
Preserve your referral role
Like the human teenager, the puppy is liberated and seeks to achieve some autonomy. However, you must remain the referee for your animal. Stay in control and stay his guide, because in the end, it is during this period that your pet needs you the most, your support and the security you bring him.
Take some precautions
Be careful not to leave objects within reach of your dog that he may shred in your absence. As soon as you go, put your children’s shoes, pillows, toys, duvets and other things away so he does not find them.
Contact specialists for help
Do not hesitate to consult your veterinarian as soon as your dog shows the first signs of adolescence or if you feel overwhelmed. He can advise you on the procedure to follow or even refer you to a behavioral veterinarian if necessary.
Youth in dogs: the importance of social contact
It is important that your young dog maintains social contact with his peers. At this crucial age, the dog owner changes his communication with others, but also the image that others have of him. The teenage dog can no longer communicate like a puppy, it must learn to do it like an adult dog, without being ready for it or knowing how to do it.
The animal then tends to be more impulsive, more intrusive, more excited, which can very quickly bother the calmer adult dog. The latter can then reject the insistent young animal with firmness or even show aggression to encourage it to stay in place.
Maintaining positive experiences with socialization will allow the dog to learn in contact with his innate to communicate and to use better communication methods.
In fact, if you are not careful, your dog may become desocialized. Other dogs’ aggressive reactions to his attacks can isolate him if you do not maintain contact and let him continue his efforts.
However, be careful about creating positive interactions. Avoid negative experiences, in a closed environment or with aggressive, non-communicative or invasive dogs, to elicit an appropriate response and establish a successful socialization. Walking in an open environment, in a small group with familiar dogs or even activity sessions such as agility and other dog sports can help establish a socialization framework that promotes good communication.