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Understanding the Stages of Adolescent Behavior​

Typically, dogs reach sexual maturity around eight to twelve months: females will have their cycles and males start to urinate with their leg lifted and show off for the females.  Because we are in rescue, we believe in spaying and neutering as early as eight weeks; with this comes some good news too, no female heat cycles, males are less likely to mark and there is less dog to dog aggression.  The attention span could also be better without hormones running amuck.​We offer support for owners with adolescent dogs because it is a difficult time in their development. 


We offer socialization, which is the best exercise for body and mind, impulse control exercises, obedience training, and management advice.  We offer a list of interactive toys and enrichment ideas to keep them busy.​The adolescent period starts around the age of 5 months and lasts until they are about 18 months to 2 years old. The most difficult is usually between 8 and 18 months (which is when most dogs are surrendered to rescues and shelters). During this stage, it can be difficult for owners to be patient and consistent with training while waiting for this stage to pass.  ​


Dogs always do what works, so behaviors such as bullying another dog, fearful snapping, escaping, nipping and mouthing, can become more severe and out of control if not dealt with early on in the dog's development.​ Exercise for your adolescent dog is critical.  Most behavior issues stem from a lack of exercise. Your dog needs to exercise his body and his mind every day and experience different people, places, noises and other dogs in his environment to stay balanced and unafraid of new things. Fear stems from a lack of confidence.  Confidence is gained through obedience training and exposure to new experiences while he is young.​A puppy class is highly recommended to help you learn how to train your dog and socialize him with other dogs.  You never want to use any methods that force or punish your puppy do something. Teaching your puppy to make good decisions in a positive way is much more productive and ensures he does not develop undesirable behaviors down the road.

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