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Canine adolescence can be a difficult time for everyone involved. Understanding your dog's behavior is fundamental to solving any problems. Many adolescent dogs simply require patience, consistency and regular training from you.

A dog's adolescence is the time when everything starts to fall apart, unless you make a concerted effort to see it through to the stability of adulthood. They will constantly challenge your commands and authority, and respond with more reluctance to your orders and disobey them. Lure/reward training your puppy was easy: you taught your pup to eagerly come, follow, sit, lie down, stand still and look up to you with unwavering attention. But now your dog is developing adult doggy interests, such as investigating other dogs' rear ends, sniffing urine and feces on the grass, rolling in unidentifiable smelly stuff, and chasing squirrels.

Your dog's interests may quickly become distractions to training, so that your dog will continue sniffing another dog's rear end rather than come running when called. All of a sudden he won't come, won't sit, won't settle down and stay, but instead jumps up, pulls on-leash, and becomes hyperactive. You must continue with training even when it seems he will not listen to you. Placing your dog in obedience classes and reinforcing what he has been previously taught is an excellent method, as it will also help build a good relationship between you both. Classes will also give your dog the chance to see how other dogs his age relate to their owners. This is the critical time. It is important for you not to give in to your dog's will and never to give up on training him. If you ignore your dog's education now, you will find yourself living with an ill-mannered, hyperactive animal, which will be disobedient in the future.

Giving your dog opportunity to wrestle with other dogs, chew on allowed bones and making sure he still regularly hands over the food without any growling is important. Examining your dog's teeth periodically and practicing “give” commands (always change, never just take) are the best exercises to ensure that your adolescent dog maintains his good manners.

Socialization often heads downhill during adolescence. At home, the dog interacts with the same familiar friends and family, and is walked on the same route to the same dog park, where they encounter the same old people and the same old dogs. Consequently, many adolescent dogs become progressively desocialized toward unfamiliar people and dogs until eventually they become intolerant of all but a small inner circle of friends. Your adolescent dog must therefore continue meeting unfamiliar people regularly, otherwise he will progressively desocialize. Socialization is an on ongoing process.


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