Adolescence: Six to Twelve Months
Most of your pup’s growth in height finishes by this period but they may continue to fill out and gain muscle mass and body weight, they will also start to lose their puppy coat.
The testosterone level in male puppies increases to five to seven times higher than in an adult dog by age of 10 months, and then gradually falls to a normal adult level by about 18 months. This is nature’s way of allowing adults to recognize him as a juvenile and advise that he needs “schooling” in the ways of dog, teaching manners. Expect him to become interested in mating.
By this age, you will have established a strong relationship with your dog, with a good foundation of basic manners and house training. However, your puppy has high energy levels and will do well with structured play and exercise, training, and continued socialisation, thus ensuring your youngster knows how to behave politely. During this period, there will be a gradual improvement in skills, with the young dog learning the relevance of behaviours and, although their attention span and motor skills will be poor, they will have fully developed learning capacity. Reinforce the behaviours you want.
Puppies can also experience a fear phase during this period so expect odd behaviour and unwarranted aggression, the puppy has adult desires, but still lacks the social skills and experience to utilise them correctly. A puppy may be fearful of things that they have never seen before and in many cases, will be afraid to approach something new. The response to these fears may now be more powerful displaying outbursts of aggression. How these fears are dealt with will have a lasting effect on future behaviour. Build a puppy’s confidence with counter-conditioning, response substitution and desensitisation training and they will transition out of this phase. Aversive training techniques, punishment and other traumatic experiences could have long-lasting effects of fearfulness, aggressiveness and emotionality and should be avoided. At this stage, you must not allow the puppy to take liberties that you would not allow a fully-grown dog to take otherwise that behaviour will become a problem later on.
Expect your puppy to challenge and seemingly “forget” and appear “deaf” to previously well-trained manners and cues, for they are a rebellious teenager. Expect this phase to be filled with joy, wonderful memories, challenges, frustrations and embarrassments. They can also appear overly confident or overly shy. Careful control is required to avoid problems. Remember your puppy needs love, guidance and support however frustrating some of their behaviours may be.
Common signs that your puppy is losing their puppy license and entering the world of canine adolescence:
- on occasion ignoring your manners requests and cues;
- mounting objects, people and other dogs;
- running off when called;
- if a dog, leg lifting when urinating;
- squaring up to other dogs, testing hierarchy;
- adult dogs are “correcting” your puppy more frequently; and v boundless energy and no need to nap.
Your puppy’s behaviour and temperament will start to stabilize, likes and dislikes will become much more apparent, developing into the dog they will become.
Puppy training sessions
Avoid mistakes that you may live to regret later Craig The Dog Man will create a framework for training your pup in basic obedience, recall and lead work, and can help you eliminate any problem behaviours such as nipping or chewing that are prevalent in early development.
Continuation training can be booked separately to progress your dog’s early learning and build on what they have learned using the same techniques and application – ensuring no mixed messages creep in.
Asking for help
Craig is a time served qualified and fully insured trainer you can call him on
Puppy training package