Yes, teenage dogs are challenging but it does not have to all be drama. Here are Barbara’s top 10 tips for teenage dogs to keep you on track:
1 It is a phase
All living beings need to go through the teenage phase to reach maturity. Most dogs come out the other end just fine.
2 Keep it fun
Play, train and spend quality time with them.
3 It is a prime time for learning
Their brain is wired for learning – do not miss that opportunity! So, train and train and train some more.
4 Mental stimulation
Use enrichment in any form, such as a sniffari (let them sniff on walks), Kong, puzzles – positive things to keep their brain active.
5 Enough down time
It is a fine line between too much and not enough. But do not create an athlete you cannot get tired anymore.
6 Let them play
Most young dogs love to play, with you, other family members and other dogs, so let them play. Consider training play.
7 Pay attention
Pay attention to trigger stacking, fear phases, startle responses and behaviour chains (if it does not get better, you are probably teaching a behaviour chain.)
8 Keep yourself relevant
50 treats a day are a great start. Also check out Kathy Sdao’s book: Plenty in life is free.
9 Keep it positive
Positive reinforcement is by far the best way of training. There are reason for these challenging behaviours so address the underlying cause.
10 It is a phase!
Want to know more? Check out my book on teenage dogs.