Like a teenage human, the adolescent dog has a body that’s approaching fully-grown but an immature brain. The age at which your dog will reach this stage depends upon the bloodline, breed, and the individual dog. During this stage of life, your dog will need some guidance and support. Your dog may experience the following:
- pain due to rapid growth.
- the urge to chew as permanent teeth come in.
- high testosterone in male dogs and the first heat cycle in female dogs, which can lead to aggression and roaming
- other dogs will hold the adolescent dog more accountable, thus sometimes leading to fighting as (s)he finds a place in the pack
What you can do:
- take advantage of this time to form a lasting bond with your dog, who will be ready to make distinctions about the world
- stay in training classes until at least a year of age
- have fun while training – it’s more effective than getting angry and your adolescent dog will be more receptive to a playful tone
- apply training to all facets of life with your dog so that it becomes part of daily existence
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