My puppy has turned one human year of age, and of late she has changed her nature.
Has she entered adolescence?
Enter Google . . .
Search – why is my puppy becoming independent?
Result – this helpful blog.
The adolescent stage in puppies can start as early as four months of age, and last until Fido is twelve, or even eighteen, months old.
Small breeds mature much faster than large or giant ones, and all their growing is pretty much packed into the first year. Your little dog may be a teen by four months, a young adult by eight months and an adult before he’s fully a year old.
Your big little ‘un won’t reach the teenage stage until he’s around eight to ten months old, and will linger there for longer, maybe not being totally mature and adult he’s somewhere between eighteen months and three years old .
Adolescence Is Easy To Recognize!
When you think ‘teenager’ what behavior traits come to mind?
• Testing rules/limits?
• Assertions of independence?
• General ‘bratty-ness’?
Here are some of the behaviors that can show Fido has reached adolescence:
• He suddenly develops ‘selective hearing’ – ie he only hears you when he wants to!
• He ‘forgets’ how to follow simple commands that he learned weeks/months ago
• Concentration and focus become a problem for him
• Potty accidents occasionally happen, even though he’s been reliable for ages
• ‘Bratty’ behaviors appear/increase (includes nipping/biting/barking/jumping)
• Fido suddenly gets ‘bossy’ with other dogs, pets, children or even adults
During adolescence, your pup will become sexually mature (this is NOT the same as developmentally mature!). His/her hormones will rise dramatically, peak, and then slowly descend until they reach stable, adult levels at maturity.
Here are some of the hormonal effects of adolescence in puppies:
• Females will have their first ‘heat cycle’ (aka ‘estrus’)
• Male dogs will start to ‘mark’ their territory by spraying urine
• Dog-to-dog aggression becomes more common
• General irritability and moodiness isn’t at all unusual
• Territorial behavior and resource guarding might suddenly appear
• Pups may decide to wander off/explore the neighborhood (again especially males)
• Humping other dogs/soft toys/human legs becomes an interesting pastime
Neutering or spaying your pup can help to reduce hormone-related behaviors.
For small breeds, it’s recommended that either surgery be done before six months of age.
Although currently the formal guidelines remain the same for larger breeds I personally think that it’s a good idea to wait until a pup is a little older before spaying/neutering (perhaps 8 – 10 months).
So, in short, if your normally sweet, well-behaved puppy suddenly begins to disobey you, ignore you, act out, bully the other pets/kids, spray the furniture, drapes and door-frames… AND he’s somewhere between four and ten months old, well congratulations – you have a canine teenager in the house 🙂
About Canine Adolescence
A teenage puppy can be a frustrating little creature… but inside all that ornery-ness is the same, lovable, sensitive pup that you’ve come to know and love.
He’s just covered with a really tough outer ‘shell’ right now!
We all remember being teenagers right?
It’s not an easy time and can be filled with doubt, anger, confusion, anxiety and frustration. Fido feels the same way.
His hormones are raging and his body/brain are going through some pretty heavy-duty changes. He feels all sorts of different (and unfamiliar) emotions and he doesn’t know how to handle them properly yet, or what they mean.
When you realize this it makes it easier to be calm, patient and understanding with a puppy who’s in the throes of a teenage tantrum, or doing his Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde impersonation.
Thanks to http://www.fidosavy.com for this information.