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Surviving Your Puppy's Adolescence

Surviving Your Puppy's Adolescence

It’s no secret that raising a puppy requires copious amounts of both time and patience.  Chewing, crying, destructiveness, demands for attention, and potty-training mishaps are all just par for the course.  But they’re sooooo cute! And the difficult phase only lasts few months, right? Wrong. Once your new edition is finished being a puppy, he enters a new, and often far more maddening phase of development: adolescence. Starting anywhere between nine and twelve months of age, that sweet little puppy will become - gasp! - a teenager.

Like human teenagers, adolescent dogs may test the resolve of their superiors. They often revert to the types of behaviors we thought they had long outgrown.  Like the rebellious, back-talking teen-aged child, teen-aged puppies often leave us scratching our heads, wondering where we went wrong. Obnoxious puppy behaviors such as play biting and jumping on guests may return with a vengeance. This is when behaviors such as growling, food guarding, and blatant disobedience of commands tend to appear seemingly out of nowhere. It is also when dogs are most commonly surrendered to shelters. Unaware of the existence of this challenging phase, many people assume they have either failed as dog owners, or are stuck with a “bad dog.”  These scenarios are rarely the case. The solution to the Terrible Teens is a combination of consistency, patience, and preparation. Do your research on canine adolescence as soon as you bring your puppy home. As with most other situations, you’ll be happy to have a plan when you need one.

Zohan at 14 months. He swears he wasn't eating the Halloween pumpkin, but note the debris field on the floor near his tail...

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