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Ask the Advisor: HELP! My puppy is a teenager

Dear Edel,

When we brought Zohan home at eight weeks of age, I thought I had hit the puppy jackpot.    He never barked, he played quietly in his crate, and learned quickly.  By twelve weeks of age, he had mastered basic command obedience.  He was the perfect puppy!
When he hit ten months of age, the honeymoon ended.  He is now 13 months old, and continues to vex me.  He runs when I call him, charges through doorways, barks at strangers, eviscerates toys - yesterday he stole a banana from my coffee table and glared at me when I took it away!  Is this normal?  What happened to my perfect puppy?!?!

While your puppy may have been calmer as a pup, he is coming into his own now.  As a teenager, in dog years, your puppy's development will take a few turns before it all evens out with some proper training and structure.  As most dogs enter their teens (at about 10 months to a year of age), they will "test" their pack members and try to get away with things they might have never done before.  It is important to give those dogs that test their pack members, more daily structure.  Things like staying on top of their bad behaviors, like barking when they are not supposed to, and pulling on leash while on walks are crucial to their understanding that YOU are the pack leaders and not them.

Edel Miedes

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