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Coping with a teenage dog

Poppy now almost 9 months old is no longer a puppy but an adolescent.  BANG! Just like that and seemingly overnight, my lovely, cuddly, obedient, follow me anywhere pup is now an unruly teenager!!

A dog is generally considered ‘ado’ once they have their canine teeth, at around 7mths, and until 18mths of age. During this time a pup’s brain changes and matures.! Just like their human counterparts an adolescent dog can be willful and obnoxious. They will test you, ignore you and push the boundaries. Recall goes to pot. They can be jumpy, bitey and downright disobedient! It can be disappointing, discouraging and challenging to say the least! If you are going through this stage with your pup or have adopted an adolescent dog don’t despair, what seems like complete disaster is a temporary phase. Here are some key points to help you cope.


Like a human teenager an adolescent dog often has lots of excess energy that needs to be channelled so that it is not used negatively and destructively. Plenty of exercise, appropriate to age and size, is therefore important. Consider starting agility or cani-cross training, or make a walk more challenging by playing hide and seek or laying a scent trail.


It’s important to keep up and reinforce the basic training during this critical period of development but also to make it more interesting.  Practice in different locations and add in more brain-challenging exercises.


Make sure your dog gets plenty of opportunities to socialise. Have ‘play dates’. Go to a good dog school. Not only will your dog have fun but you will get professional advice, be able to talk with other ‘parents’ going through the same thing and exchange ideas.


Play with your dog, this is a very underused and undervalued training tool.

Take a breath

Above all be patient and calm, don’t get stressed. You will weather the storm and come out the other end with a stronger bond with your dog.

Shirley Reddell




Teenagers playing at dog training club Azille…

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