When the dog reaches the age of 4 or 5 months, it seems to take a certain frenzy to discover the world around it. This period is a delicate moment for the master because the dog does as he pleases when he had acquired good habits and was relatively obedient … Here he is indeed a teenager. Let’s find out how this step takes place and what attitude to adopt with the adolescent dog, whose behavior is particular without being able to speak of an adolescent crisis.
Adolescence in dogs: a very special period
The age of entry into adolescence varies by dog. It is 4 to 5 months for small breed dogs, 6 to 7 months for medium-sized dogs, and ends around 12 months of age. In large dogs, adolescence does not begin until 7-8 months and ends at around 18 months of age.
It is a period during which the master has the impression of being put in the background by his dog who has much more interesting things to do than playing the faithful companions. No need to be depressed: you have to be persistent because everything “will be in order” when adolescence is over. The teen dog takes an immense interest in everything around him, and even though a few weeks ago he was extremely calm, he is suddenly very agitated.
The teenage dog can hardly stay still because he is interested in everything that moves around him and it can be felt that he is in full decline. Some of the gains seem to have vanished. While he was clean, he urinates in the house a little too frequently and he no longer listens to his master who has the feeling that his dog is taunting him. This overflow of energy is however much more marked in small dogs.
Dog in full adolescence: how to react?
Strictly speaking, there can be no adolescent crisis in dogs, even if the animal goes through a period of increased activity during which it is particularly tormented. He gives the impression of having completely forgotten the basics of socialization that his master took care to instill in him and it is very discouraging. However, nothing is lost. We must not relax our efforts. We know in any case that education must begin before this period to avoid behavioral problems in adult dogs.
However, with a teenage dog, the owner must be diligent and do not let anything go. It is recommended :
- Systematically store everything that the animal is likely to shred: shoes, clothes, cushions, children’s toys … Nothing should be left within reach of the dog, especially if he must remain alone at home in the absence of his masters.
- Incorporate beaches from exits with his young dog to allow him to exert himself sufficiently because once very tired he will be much calmer: games, cani-mountain biking, agility course are some avenues.
- To allow the animal to rub shoulders with your peers so that after the period of adolescence he is not aggressive with other dogs.
- To continue to put him in contact with people other than those who make up his foster home.
- Of do not leave young children alone with an adolescent dog as he is generally less patient and may have unpredictable reactions.
- To sterilize the dog as soon as possible, that is to say at 9 or 10 months for a bitch or before her first heat and at the age of 6 months for a male.
It is strongly recommended to consult the veterinarian as soon as the young dog shows the first signs of adolescence in order to be advised on the best attitudes to adopt. If the animal is already causing serious problems, we can turn to a veterinary behaviorist or even to a professional dog training.
Socialization / education of the puppy: it is essential to start before adolescence
A puppy that has been partially educated has every chance of maintaining good behavior after adolescence but also of being less “borderline” during this essential stage. It is indeed easier to hold if it is already well socialized.
You have to be aware that the adolescent dog is cabochard, does not listen to his master as well as before, has difficulty in channeling himself and is therefore very distracted. By making sure to socialize them from an early age, we prevent small problems related to adolescence do not intensify. During these few months – which can seem very long to the breeder in certain cases – the animal can unfortunately completely lose the good habits it had acquired.
The further socialization of the dog during adolescence is intrinsically based on consistency, and the owner must always be very firm especially in the face of a dominant dog. To obtain good results, it is always necessary encourage the animal when he is obedient.
Obviously, you don’t hit a dog that is disobedient or that causes some damage. Let us not forget that adolescence corresponds to a hormonal upheaval and that it lasts on average only 8 months. So you have to be patient. Some owners are tempted to adopt a second dog during this time, believing that this can help the teenage dog calm down. This is a false good idea because the arrival at the home of a new dog during this crucial stage in a dog’s life can have reverse consequences to those expected.