Research shows that dogs enter the teenage phase around seven to 11 months and reach adulthood around 18 to 24 months. Smaller dogs become teenagers earlier than larger dogs and mature earlier, too.
Some breeds mature late, for example the large gundogs, while working dogs like Kelpies or Border Collies mature earlier, but there are always individual differences.
Raising a teenage dog has its challenges as they need a lot of mental and physical stimulation. They become easily scared because they are going through secondary fear phases. Plus, they get a bit picky with choosing friends to play with, sometimes quick to start a fight at the dog park!
It’s important to understand that they are not being ‘difficult’ on purpose or stubborn, defiant or stupid. The different parts of their brain are developing at a different pace and are not communicating properly with each other. Because of this they are having difficulties making good and calm decisions.
Before you start training obedience behaviours, work on creating an open line of communication and trust by catering to their physical, mental and social needs. If you’re having trouble, contact a PPGA member dog trainer for some positive training advice.
Barbara is the author of How to Love and Survive Your Teenage Dog available to purchase here
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