Puberty and Maturation in Puppy AdolescenceAdolescence Continues… Hang in There
At this age it may seem as though your pup’s selective hearing is growing as fast as your puppy is. Training and commands you thought were previously mastered are now in dire need of a tune up.
Don’t worry this phase will soon pass and your polite little angel will return. As your pup goes through this stage you may see signs of challenging or aggressive puppy behaviors, such as growling, as well as more destructive behaviors like aggressive chewing and digging. Let’s take a look at how to best handle some of these issues as they arise.
8 Month Old Puppy BehaviorA Few to Watch
Aggressive Behavior in Pup Adolescence
As your pup progresses through adolescence you may see some signs of aggressive behavior towards other dogs or new people. Stay calm and remove your pup from the situations as best you can. Reacting impulsively (by saying “no!” or otherwise reprimanding your pup) may actually exacerbate the issue. If it is not possible to remove your pup from the situation, try to draw attention to a command or behavior that is very familiar.
Ask your pup to sit, lie down, shake, or spin in a circle. Use treats to reward this behavior. Often the distraction of a familiar command will allow your pup to get out of the aggressive zone and refocus on something positive.
Destructive Behavior in Puppy Adolescence
The most maddening aspect of adolescence is the destruction that often comes along with it. You thought you survived the worst of it when your puppy was teething, but during adolescence the destruction returns! This can include chewing on everything (furniture, shoes, trees, etc.), digging giant potholes, jumping up on visitors, barking, and oh, the list goes on and on.
The best advice we can give you at this point is to practice your breathing exercises… your 8 month puppy will grow out of this phase quickly. Try to manage the destructive behaviors by exercising your pup as much as possible. Two or three trips to the park or long walks per day may be required. Also, try to set your pup up for success. Make plenty of bones, chews and toys available so your pup doesn’t resort to the furniture.
Keeping an Eye on Puppy Body LanguageA Few Body Language Cues
As your puppy ages, stronger opinions and preferences are being developed. Make sure to be aware what situations your puppy is comfortable with and what situations may cause tension or stress. Watching your pup’s body language is a good way to better understand what’s going on, especially in the teenage months. Keep a close eye on your pup when interacting with people and other dogs. Pay special attention when you see clusters of body language cues that might indicate he needs your attention.
There are many different ear settings; some pups have super floppy ears while others stand erect! Observe your pup’s ear set when they are relaxed and how they change in different situations. In general, the more erect ear set, the more alert, curious, and/or tense your pup is.
Raised back hair from the neck, to the small of the back (also called hackles) indicates that your pup is tense and posturing. If you see raised back hair, remove your pup from the situation.
This popular, butt in the air, yoga move indicates that your pup is ready to play, and is often accompanied by a wagging tail. This is most seen when introducing your puppy to the dog park.
Your dog may freeze or stiffen up when scared. This is often a sign that he is uncomfortable around another dog or human.
Don’t Play Chase!
Never chase your pup if he has something you want. Your 8 month old puppy sees chase as a game, and running around the house trying to grab your pup will only reinforce this behavior. This can combat all of the hard work you have put in with the come command. Instead, find something your baby really wants and offer it as a trade. Toys and chews work well… bacon works better.
Puppy Teeth Cleaning and Dental Health
Good dental health starts at home. We don’t like to sound preachy, but when we put on our dentist’s hat it is kind of tough not to. Dental health in dogs is often times overlooked and can cause some serious illnesses and disease later on in life. So start young and brush often. Your pup will get used to it and you will end up saving lots of money on vet bills later on in life.
At this age your pup probably has a clean and healthy mouth, but by the age of 3 years old nearly 80% of dogs are reported to have some sort of periodontal (gum) disease. Dental chews, tough toys and bones are also an excellent way to help remove plaque from your pup’s gums.
Brush, Brush, Brush!Puppy Teeth Cleaning Tips
Use Your Finger
Ease into brushing so it isn’t a dreaded ordeal for your puppy. Put some peanut butter on your finger and rub it on your puppy’s gums before you move to a brush and paste.
Set a Brushing Schedule
Get yourself, and your pup in a routine. A schedule will help you stay consistent, and it will keep your baby calm during brush time.
Start it Off Slow
Work your way up to the whole mouth. Jumping right in and scrubbing away may frighten your furbaby. So try to do a small section at a time until your pup gets used to the idea.
Get Those Treats Ready!
Always give your pup a good treat during a brushing session. Soon your puppy will put up with hands all up in the mouth, as long as there is a tasty reward waiting on the other side.