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What was your experience of puppy adolescence? What behaviour did you see? What helped?

(27 Posts)
Pastelcha Sun 26-Apr-20 08:32:29

Our pup is 9 months old and I know that adolescence is upon us. I’d love to hear what other people’s dogs were like, how did their behaviour change? What did they do? What did you do that helped? How long did it last and what was your dog like once they were through that stage? Many thanks.

OP’s posts: |
vanillandhoney Sun 26-Apr-20 08:42:30

I'm afraid mine was an absolute nightmare - he had me in tears several times, though by 9 month he was definitely slap bang in the middle of the worst.

His recall absolutely vanished and he took off several times - twice after a deer and once for two hours after a rabbit. We had to keep him on a longline for a good 6-8 months.

He also became much more vocal and bitey again - not in an aggressive way but he did a lot of mouthing. He'd finished teething so I think it was because he had too much energy or was just wanting attention. It was really hard though and I felt so sorry for the neighbours!

The good news is he's two now and has come out of the other side. He still barks occasionally in the garden or if he's hungry but he's unrecognisable compared to what he was like as a teenager. Gin helped grin

Dreamersandwishers Sun 26-Apr-20 09:09:43

What Vanilla said... I took him to training classes until he was almost 2 - because we enjoyed it and it helped.
Basically just had to reiterate the basics - rewards for good behaviour, etc. & sausages.
Although I may have yelled ‘that’s it, I am going home without you’ on several occasions.

Dreamersandwishers Sun 26-Apr-20 09:12:13

Ps He’s a star now !

SuperheroBirds Sun 26-Apr-20 09:35:31

I have two dogs and I don’t know if the differences were due to the fact they were boy/girl or just their different personalities.

Our boy seemed to be worse. His recall vanished, he started jumping up and grabbing our arm (with his mouth, but not biting) for attention, and if he saw a bitch when we were out he’d slam the anchors on and refuse to move past/away from them. We had stopped training classes because before adolescence he was well behaved, so we restarted training classes which seemed to help. It probably took about 6 months to get to the other side, but he then started calming down and is now the kindest most gentle dog you could hope for.

With our girl, it wasn’t as noticeable. But, we had learned from our previous experience and didn’t stop her training, we kept going with classes until she was almost 2 years old. All we’ve really noticed with her was that she got more clingy, wanting attention, and barking more.

Pastelcha Sun 26-Apr-20 10:13:41

Great info, thanks everyone!

We did training classes before the lockdown, I’m not sure when they’ll be able to restart. I’m doing what we learned at home but your replies and reminded me to keep it up.

I wonder if I can find an online class, step by step each week. I find YouTube tricky as there’s so much out there. I think I’ll start a separate thread asking for suggestions.

OP’s posts: |
MaryLennoxsScowl Sun 26-Apr-20 10:21:35

Interesting! Mine is 10 months now and he’s got very mouthy again. When he wants something he sometimes barks at us in a demanding way (which gets him nowhere!) and then sometimes he is a bit nippy - usually gently but it worries me that he thinks he can use his teeth! His recall sometimes drops off but we find even a bit of making him stay while we walk away and then call him seems to reset his memory and improves it again - until the next time. He’s also taking to running back to the thing he’s been called away from as soon as he’s taken the treat for the first recall 🙈. I was wondering if this was adolescence or if we had more bad behaviour to come!

cantlivewithem Sun 26-Apr-20 10:27:08

Our dog is 10 months and she’s certainly been more barky and her recall has gone out the window pretty much.
During lockdown we’ve signed up for the Absolute Dogs course which is called Sexier than a Squirrel. It’s 30 games in 30 days and works on basically making you more attractive to your dog than the environment.
It’s actually been really good. Her lead walking has improved massively.
I think it’s the last day today to join their training academy (which we’ve also joined). It’s got hundreds of games on, the trainer (a vet behaviourist and a crufts agility champion trainer) do facebook lives on all sorts of training issues.
You can join and have a look and get your money (£30) back after 14 days if you don’t like it. I think you get the squirrels challenge for free with it. The facebook group that goes with it is really supportive.
We’ve really enjoyed doing it. It’s given us something to focus on if nothing else.

vanillandhoney Sun 26-Apr-20 10:39:41

Mine is 10 months now and he’s got very mouthy again. When he wants something he sometimes barks at us in a demanding way (which gets him nowhere!) and then sometimes he is a bit nippy - usually gently but it worries me that he thinks he can use his teeth!

Mine was like this and like you, I was really worried that I'd end up with a mouthy and bitey dog, but honestly he's absolutely fine now. I just kept going with what worked as a puppy and eventually he calmed down and the behaviour just stopped!

It's definitely adolescence and it's so so common. I see loads of warnings about how hard puppyhood is but in my experience adolescence is much, much harder.

Pastelcha Sun 26-Apr-20 10:45:13

cantlivewithem The sexy squirrel challenge sounds great. Is it easy to follow? I need something simple. With WFH and homeschooling and DH being out of the house all week I’m struggling to process information. I need something really simple like watch this video for a couple of minutes and copy it, repeat a few time’s during the day. Day 2 a new video etc. Just basic stuff.

OP’s posts: |
pilates Sun 26-Apr-20 10:47:15

Bad recall and mouthy here too. Back to basics with training. He’s now nearly 2 and adorable 🥰

heatseeker14 Sun 26-Apr-20 11:09:02

Our pup is now 9 months and has started to become a bit nippy. This usually happens when we are playing a game and he gets excited. We stop whatever we are doing when he gets like that and let him calm down. It’s a shame though as it spoils the fun, but I’m sure this will get better as he gets older. Recall is intermittent. Most of the time he will recall but will then look to run back to where I have recalled him from. He has started to get a little bit fussy with treats. I took some sprats out with me to use for recall and he spat them out! They were shop bought not freshly cooked though. 🙄 On a positive note, his interactions with other dogs have become far more polite. It seems to have clicked that jumping up at another dog’s face is not a good way to introduce himself!

BiteyShark Sun 26-Apr-20 11:47:07

Mine was an arsehole around the age 8-9 months. Recall was a joke and it was exhausting as I am sure he used to give me the dog equivalent of two fingers. By the age of 1 things were much better but he still had his moments.

My main tip is just keep reinforcing and practicing the training and buy lots of wineuntil this phase passes grin

cantlivewithem Sun 26-Apr-20 11:48:34

@Pastelcha yes it’s dead simple. It’s literally what you said, a 2 minute video and then you do it. The underlying message in it seems to be that you can reshape a dogs brain. The first activity is to ditch the bowl. That is that from now on you measure out your dog’s food for the day and use all of it for training games. Some you will make them catch, some you will hide for them to sniff out etc.
The games concentrate on things like the dog staying on it’s bed until released, recall, calmness, confidence etc. We’re currently working on instant down with ours, so wherever she is and if she’s running or whatever if we say down she drops down there and then. It’s a work in progress, we’ll see if she actually gets it.
The squirrel games are kind of a taster of what’s in the Training Academy. The TA goes into far more detail about calmness, boundaries etc. You can search by struggle like ‘my dog barks at other dogs’ and it will bring up a selection of games to play with your dog to help with the problem.
It’s early days for us so I can’t 100% day whether it works. It’s fun though and the Squirrel program has a section called Kid Vs Squirrel which is games for your kids to play with the dog.
I like the facebook group, it’s totally not judgy and you can ask questions on the fb live chats too.
Check it out for the 14 days and get your money back if it doesn’t suit I think you get the squirrel stuff free with the Training Academy.

pigsDOfly Sun 26-Apr-20 13:16:04

Recall was about the only thing I noticed that was really bad as far as I remember, it was a long time ago though. She did become a bit cheeky though, generally pushing boundaries.

She'd come back when called but stay just out of arm's reach and run off, laughing, when I tried to grab her.

I had her on a long lime for about 8 months and just kept on with training as much as I could.

We got through it eventually and her recall has always been amazing since.

The most important thing is to keep a sense of humour; a number of things she did during that time almost reduced me to tears, but I could laugh about them later.

Just remember that if you keep reinforcing the training, the terrible teens will pass.

MaryLennoxsScowl Sun 26-Apr-20 14:03:32

Thank you very much, @vanillandhoney! I was starting to worry he’d have a problem with nipping but that sounds more like something he’ll grow out of then. Which is a relief!
Went to the beach (within walking distance of house!) today and he was so excited leaping around in the sea that he wouldn’t recall at all, hmph. It’s as if he goes deaf. He’s not running away, but if we call him to practise recall or to play with his ball instead of doing whatever he’s doing he just ignores us, even when we wave chicken at him. We eventually got him to come by throwing chicken on the sand and shouting ‘find it!’, caught him and put him back on the lead, and it took him about 15 minutes to calm down enough to be listening properly to us again. Then we let him off again on the way home in the park and he was angelic, recalling nicely, playing with his ball and trotting beside us. He’s now asleep on my legs.

StillMedusa Sun 26-Apr-20 14:08:08

Mine's 11 months now and has become an absolute asshole.
She had great recall, had all the basics nailed and now.... nada.
And she has become more mouthy which she never was before, jumping at us.. chasing everything that moves. I swear she'd give me the middle finger if she could.
I'm going to have a look at that course now!!!!!
Today I made the mistake of taking her just opposite our house to the green to have a little play in the shade and work on recall... then she saw a cat and took off like a bullet. We are going back on a long line I think sad

I hate that I cannot give her the freedom she has been used to and I hope it passes quickly!

vanillandhoney Sun 26-Apr-20 14:12:07

@MaryLennoxsScowl yep that sounds familiar! It will pass eventually grin

If it's any reassurance mine now has excellent recall - he's not run off at all since he was about 14-15 months old. We got him neutered at 18 months too which may have helped to calm him down!

I remember being really worried I'd need to have him muzzled forever because he was a biter but he's honestly absolutely fine now. Though I may have threatened to rehome him several times when he was a teenager!

gatsbylove Mon 27-Apr-20 11:20:36

I cried so many times through the teenage months. We had things like:

- the development of dog/lead reactivity
- days where he became bullheaded and would not listen or pay attention to me at all, just wanted to do his own thing and damn the consequences
- was so bouncy and excitable he had to go on a lead every time we had visitors
- would be in to everything, e.g. running around the garden with a half full bag of compost scattering it everwhere
- recall was a thing of the past and a couple of times he properly buggered off after another dog or rabbit so had to be on a long line at all times

I agree that you need to try and keep your sense of humour about it all. Which is hard when he's jumped up at an elderly visitor, muddied her clothes then helped himself to her purse from her handbag and is running around the house with it shock

He started to deteriorate at around 10 months and then get better again at around 18 months.

4girlsonly Mon 27-Apr-20 17:10:44

Can anyone advise the best way to train ‘drop’ to a 7 month old cockapoo? Our dog is constantly picking things up on our walks - this morning it was a metal tube of glue and he would not drop it! He used to drop things out of his mouth when picked up but not anymore and treats wouldn’t even work this morning. Had to let him have it til we got home and got the ham out. At puppy class the trainer said to just patiently hold dogs collar and wait but I could be all day waiting.....

gatsbylove Tue 28-Apr-20 06:42:04


Lots of practise swapping things to get something better.

Eg stuff for food or one toy for another while you are playing. The second toy becomes fun because that's the only one you will interact with.

Repeat it often enough so the dog has a strong association that dropping something almost always leads to something better for them and then you'll be able to use it occasionally to just give something up without getting something in return.

DeathByPuppy Tue 28-Apr-20 08:03:47

Mine is almost 7mo and has been edging into adolescence for a couple of weeks now. Very humpy, his testicles have got much bigger (!), he is a bit nippy when we’re playing with the frisbee or ball. His recall is still good though, unless he’s busy playing or humping hmm. We’ve started putting him on a long line when we walk him to give him the freedom of off lead without the total loss of control. It’s a bit of a PITA in terms of tangling and wrapping around things if we are holding on to the other end of the end, so it’s not all ‘pros’.

Obviously it’s going to get worse as he’s only really a pre-teen. I’m focusing on staying consistent with training and I’ll get 1-1 help for any specific tricky stuff. That’s my plan, anyway.

Sertchgi123 Tue 28-Apr-20 08:06:59

We used the crate until our pup could be trusted. We took her out and gave her a basket at one point but it was too soon, so back she went. It was chewing stuff that was the problem.

Sertchgi123 Tue 28-Apr-20 08:07:45

Have your dog neutered.

DeathByPuppy Tue 28-Apr-20 08:12:17

@Sertchgi123, chances are that I will have him neutered but he is too young at the moment. He needs to go through puberty first as he needs the testosterone for healthy joint development (he is a large breed). It is recommended to leave it as late as possible.

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