Teenage Puppy! How to cope with growing pains

Teenage dog – is this really a thing?

Ounce is now 14 months old and growing up.  But just like people, dogs go through a bit of a ‘teenage phase’.  Symptoms of this include:

  • suddenly forgetting how to come when called
  • getting a bit above themselves, with you and family dogs
  • thinking everyone is their friend
  • chewing things, having stopped chewing on the whole ages ago
  • being over-boisterous

Sounds delightful, doesn’t it?  It’s a phase and they WILL grow out of it.  But annoying nonetheless.

TeenageGrowing pains

Although Ounce had her first season some months ago, that does not mean she is a fully mature dog.  She is still growing and as a medium dog, won’t reach full size until she is around 18 months old.  Large breeds tend to take even longer.  This is not necessarily in height, but just in terms of filling out and ‘growing into herself’.  So she still looks a bit gangly.  And she still weighs only 14kgs, which is not much for a pedigree Border Collie.  Adults normally weigh around 17kgs for a bitch and 20kgs or more for a dog.

Settling down

The main issue, for me at any rate, is that she is a bit too lively and jumpy.  She is just too exuberant!  Bless her heart.  I’d hate to knock that out of her, but I can see that for visitors to our house, it’s a bit full on.  The temptation then is to shout at her, but really, she’s fine, it’s just her age.

TeenageThe selective recall is another aspect of Ounce’s behaviour that is a bit annoying.  Of course no-one else would even notice a change, as she still comes back almost immediately, but I can tell that her mind is elsewhere.  I clearly remember Buzz going through this stage and being completely confused.  I thought “why is he no longer coming straight back, when he did last week?” Simply an age issue.  It will get sorted out.

Ride it out

Sadly, many dogs are re-homed at this point, when they are going through this teenage phase.  People think they have an adult dog, who has finished growing and developing and has no more to learn.  They feel that they’ve done their job with training and that this is what they are stuck with.  Wrong!

That is nearly the case, but not quite.  There’s more work to be done, to reinforce all the early training and make sure it is built on; keep on with the recall training.  But also, things will improve again and settle down, if you are prepared to wait it out.

I usually find that when a dog hits two years of age, they are more like the finished product.  That’s when they finally stop jumping around all the time and demanding endless play and fuss.  They will walk more calmly beside you.  They respond to you willingly and you probably don’t need treats on walks any more.

TeenageBe careful what you wish for

Two years old isn’t very old is it?  It’s not long to wait until their behaviour and temperament settles down.  But actually, it’s almost a sixth of an average dog’s life.  Before you know it they will be 4 (like Busy) or 6 (like Aura).  Then they will be properly middle-aged, 8 (like Luna) and then you blink again and they are 12 (like Sunny).  Then you’ll be worrying about their arthritis and how to manage it, worrying about other health issues and starting to take their age into account in the activities you do.

The life of a dog is very short.  Enjoy it all, even the teenager bits.

Ask for help?

You are very welcome to CONTACT ME to ask for my advice.  I can help you with a variety of issues and problems around getting a dog and suggestions for tackling training issues.  Go to the What Dog? page for more information on my service.

Please let me know if you have found this post helpful? More information about training a great recall can be found on the recall training post.


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