Adolescence! What to do when your puppy becomes a stroppy teenager!

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Rocket has hit the teenage years!

He was doing so well, he started to really get the hang of certain things such as recall, loose lead walking, settling to his bed, then all of a sudden some days it would seem we hadn’t trained him at all!

With hormones raging sometimes he forgets the things he knows, or has ‘selective hearing’. We also notice he is more confident away from us as he no longer relies on us for security.

Rocket the golden working cocker spaniel is over 9 months old and going through adolescent phase
Rocket the golden working cocker spaniel is over 9 months old and going through adolescent phase

Progress is not a straight line

Just when you thought you had made amazing progress with your puppy’s training they throw a curve ball your way with their stroppy adolescent phase. 

Every puppy will hit the equivalent of their teenage years at different stages, it can range between 6-18 months depending on breed and size.

What can we expect?

They will each have different quirks, here are just some of the things you may come across:
  • Lack motivation
  • Become ‘stubborn’
  • Naughty behaviour
  • Selective hearing
  • No recall
  • Deciding to go off and do their own thing
  • Bark for attention. 
  • Reactive to things they used to be fine with
  • Become easily frustrated and lunge at the end of the lead
Rocket has his calm behaviour moments
Rocket has his calm behaviour moments

Survival Guide

Here’s a few tips to survive the raging hormones, lack of motivation and VERY selective hearing

Stay calm

They may be driving you mad but the important thing is to stay calm! Avoid getting frustrated with them as this will only damage your relationship. Easier said than done? Try the below!

rocket cocker spaniel on boundary game 2

Back to Basics

Take your training back to basics and pretend they know nothing. They will soon pick it all up again really fast and remember why you were so much fun to interact with in the first place.

Mangagement

Use management while training, so we limit rehearsal of what we don’t want. This may mean putting your dog back on a long line for a few months if they are ignoring your recall.

Grow Confidence

Sometimes at this age our pups can become more worried about things they were fine with before. Don’t force your puppy to ‘face up to their fears’ but instead stay a comfortable distance so they don’t feel they have to react or be worried, let them approach, retreat and explore in their own time. Games such as Novelty Party will really help here.

Rocket being a good boy and laying down in the garden

Grow calmness

Our dogs do not always know best, where possible encourage calmness and rest as their hormones will be filling up their stress bucket as well as yours!

Don’t Give Up

It will pass, if you are really struggling we are here to help!

Putting these tips into place means you will come through this and out the other end with a happy and well behaved adult dog who can listen and make great choices.

It’s not all bad!

Remember how far you have already come and celebrate those wins even if they are small ones! Write down your biggest struggle you want to work on and also write down the 3 areas you have seen improvements.

Need Help?

If you need a little more guidance, how about booking our Puppy Head Start package, it is not just for younger puppies but suitable for older puppies too. We will tailor the training to suit you and your puppy.