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Just like humans, dogs undergo some very challenging adolescent years. While some breeds are generally calm and obedient, others tend to be even more prone to certain behavioral issues. A pooch’s teenage years normally come about between 1.5 to 3 years of age, but this can vary among breed lines.
Common Canine Growth Challenges
· Excessive chewing. Because many adolescent dogs are still getting their permanent teeth during this period, it is very likely that they will demonstrate an increased urge to chew. This excessive desire is not only a response to assist them as their teeth are coming in, but also to help them deal with the pain that accompanies the growth.
· Dominant behavior. More often than not, teenaged male dogs tend to try to establish their position in the pack, which happens to be your family, during this critical period of their canine development. As a result, your pooch may become dominant. This behavior is often demonstrated by ignoring your commands, jumping up or biting, and becoming aggressive to humans and other animals.
· Possessiveness. Teenaged dogs may also start to become extremely possessive of both your family and your property. While this is normally desirable among dogs, there are instances, however, that a dog’s possessiveness turn out to be far too aggressive.
· Sexual responses. Due to sexual development, teenaged male dogs may exhibit marking type behaviors, even inside your house. They may also start “mounting” other dogs, animals, and even people. Adolescent female dogs, on the other hand, may start acting “flirty” or engaging male dogs in play. They are likely to come into their very first “heat”, and may begin showing signs of false pregnancy.
What Can be Done
· To help you deal with your pooch’s excessive chewing behavior, provide him with plenty of chew toys. Before they start chewing on your furniture and other household items, find time to teach your dog what is OK to chew and what isn’t.
· When it comes to curbing canine dominance, you may need to give your dog obedience training along with firm behavior expectations. Always reward your dog for proper behaviors, and avoid games that encourage aggression such as tug-of-war and wrestling.
· Possessiveness, on the other hand, can be corrected by continuing with obedience training, as well as giving your dog adequate socialization.
· Now, for your pooch’s sexual responses due to inevitable sexual development, try curbing their inappropriate behaviors by neutering the male or isolating the females when not spayed.
Being able to anticipate the wide array of problematic behaviors related to your teenaged dog’s growth, as well as having a plan in place to respond to these challenges properly once they occur, will surely be very beneficial- not only for you but for your dog as well. In addition, since good socialization remains a rolling need for adolescent pooches, try your best to provide Fido as much interaction and exposure to people, places, and new things as you can.