Training Adolescent Dogs
We will show you how to train adolescent dogs.
Here are some things to think about relating to tendencies and training adolescent dogs. Sometimes adolescent dogs want to roam and visit places and other dogs and scents. At five months of age your dog is getting into their "teenage" years. Depending on your dogs individual personality and breed, teenager-hood can last anywhere from one year to three years. This is considered their experimental age and dogs who are teenagers tend to exhibit some of the same types of behavior that human teenagers do. You’ll find that they are beginning to test their boundaries, explore their world more than a young puppy would. Pushing boundaries and trying new things that they may get away with despite their good training. This is also the time that teenage hormones are present which comes with a whole slew of other behaviors that are instinctual to your dog.
In wild canine packs there's a point where the mother leaves the puppies in the den and they stay there, then the pups start to get bigger and more mobile. Eventually the mother will start to leave them by themselves completely. As they continue to get bigger and more mobile they will become more able to be farther from the den for longer periods at a time until they reach adulthood. Our dogs don't behave like wild canines most of the time, and you can't assume that something is right for a dog just because it's normal for a wild dog or wolf. However, the progression from less-able dog to adult is similar. What this all means is that, as the owner of teenage dogs it’s normal for your dog to want to explore. Exploring their surroundings is all instincts for your dog.
Adolescent dogs have a number of behavior issues that need the next step up from puppy training. At this stage your pet has had some time with you and your family, learned potty training and the basics. This time together has also given him time to pick up some bad habits that have gone unrecognized by you. Some people that have adopted their dogs at this stage have no background on why the dog does certain things. There is still hope for both cases so don’t despair.
As you take the lead in teaching your dog, part of your job is going to be limiting their options so that they don't learn any bad habits that you don't want them to do when they are adults. It is a better idea to spend some time thinking about your goals for your dog. Some of the training work you have already done can become piggybacked at this stage. Like a human teenager, the dog remembers their training but doesn’t always use their better judgment. Sit down with your “owner / master” hat on instead of your "mommy / daddy” hat. We all wear both hats as pet owners.
Training adolescent dogs can be a challenge, but is often needed.
Start to think about your wish list for a perfect dog by brainstorming a bit. Narrow the list down to just a few critical and long term goals. These are going to be things like "stays in the yard" "comes when called” "knows how to sit, lie down, come, and stay," etc. These are all things that when your dog is all grown up, you will not be able to accept that they don’t do. Once you have a clear sense of what you need from your dog in order to live with them without getting angry at them constantly or having other people mad at them you may begin thinking about how to obedience train them. You will be a much happier owner once you learn to train adolescent dogs.
Most pet owners plan to teach their dog some of the basic obedience stuff and either get frustrated at this stage or gave up a long time ago. If you got your dog at this stage of life and they were never trained it’s a little harder, but with some help can definitely be done. When training dogs you must be interested in doing it as “positively” as possible. Using the least amount of force as possible is the best way. You may think because the dog is bigger than a puppy it’s alright to be more aggressive with them but that is false. If you are aggressive, the dog will become aggressive. Eventually if you choose to “spot train” your dog and you use aggressive behavior your dog may become unmanageable.
Aggressive tendencies and some obsessive behaviors are common in adolescent dogs. This is one of the reasons that dogs can end up at pounds and shelters. Shelters are over run with animals that have been abandoned because they have bitten people or wandered off of their property. Not all of the aggressive behaviors that dogs show are from this but it’s one of the main reasons. If you have just adopted your dog from one of these places and the animal is showing these signs you can correct them without hurting or scaring the dog but it will take effort and time. If you do take the time and effort we can make it easier for you and your dog.
If you plan to train your adolescent dog yourself you should use a good training manual and never attempt to train your teenage dog without any guidance at all. You can possibly end up teaching your dog bad habits and aggression. Remember that if you get upset your dog will sense this and become agitated themselves. Whatever guidance that you decide on should be from an instructor whose goal is to help you learn and teach your teenage dog proactively rather than teaching you how to punish or reprimand misbehavior.
Hopefully if you have an adolescent dog you already own a good dog training guide. If you have got this far with your dog without one, and he or she is well behaved, congratulations! Training an adolescent dog can be even harder. If you are looking for the best guide to training your dog, check out Secrets to Dog Training by Daniel Stevens. This is the guide we use and it is wonderful. It makes training dogs of all ages very easy.
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