There's no denying it — doggy adolescence can feel more than a little challenging some days!
Bringing home a puppy for the first time can be such a wonderful experience, but it's not long before most pet parents find themselves scratching their heads trying to figure out how their sweet and good natured fur friend has suddenly turned into a little terror!
Adolescence tends to begin around eight months of age and will typically last until your dog reaches two.
During this time, your dog may exhibit more stubborn behavior and be keen to explore outside their previous comfort zone.
"Many believe once puppyhood is over, it’s smooth sailing right into calm adulthood, but pesky adolescence will pop up in between the two and liven things up a bit!," says expert trainer Carolyn, who is also the founder of Good Dog Training.
To help you prepare for the tricky months ahead, here are six adolescent behaviors that Carolyn says are completely normal...
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1. More energy: "Your adolescent will have boundless energy and will need much more exercise than they did as a puppy," says Carolyn. Check out these clever ways to have more fun with your dog on walks for ideas on how you can vary the physical and mental workout you give your pup each day.
2. More barking: Dog won't stop barking? Well, the good news is, while barking can be frustrating for you as a pet parent, it's also completely normal doggy behavior. "Your adolescent will be finding their voice," explains Carolyn, "so you may notice more alarm barking as well as bossy barking."
3. Reactivity or aggression: "If you didn't socialize well before 12 weeks, you may start to see reactive or aggressive behavior during this time," Carolyn says. For help with both of these issues, take a look at our vet's guide to how to tackle dog aggression as well as our trainer-approved piece on how to calm a reactive dog.
4. More independent: This is the stage where your dog will be starting to push the boundaries more as they seek to explore the world around them. "They'll be more comfortable being away from you and may start wandering off and not coming when called," Carolyn states.
5. Less obedient: "Research shows adolescent dogs are less obedient toward their owners during this time," explains Carolyn.
6. More chewing: While having your shoes, clothes, and furniture destroyed by your dog's teeth isn't a whole lot of fun, it's another very normal behavior. "Your adolescent will be breaking in their adult teeth, meaning their chewing may be more destructive than as a puppy." Our vet's guide to safe dog chews for aggressive chewers is well worth checking out if you're looking for a satisfying alternative outlet for your dog to sink their teeth into.
And remember, it's okay to reach out for help during this (or any other time) of your dog's life! If you feel you or your pup could be doing with some extra support, consult a professional trainer who will be able to offer the appropriate advice and guidance.
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Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.