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Puppy Adolescence: Dealing with the Not-Quite Adult Dog


October 23, 2014

The not-quite adult dog is really code for over-sized puppy. A big baby who has outgrown the cute young puppy body and morphed into an adolescent monster. Physically, your pup might look almost like an adult, but his mind is still very much puppy. He loves to play and has bundles of energy. He eats your rug for fun and tears paper products into a million little pieces.

A real fact: Almost 50% of dogs turned into shelters are 5 months to 3 years of age (National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, NCPPSP). Not that surprising when you have an adolescent puppy terrorizing your home, but fortunately there is hope on the horizon. Some pups grow up faster than others, but adolescence usually hits around the 5-month mark and can last anywhere from 10 months to a year (sometimes much longer).

What is the best way to deal with this phase and help him become a happy, healthy, well-adjusted dog?

Tips for your adolescent puppy:

  1. Exercise! At a minimum, it is really important to develop a consistent daily exercise plan, and normally running around the backyard isn’t enough for most dogs. Walks and play time are excellent activities, but also look for things you can enjoy together: Jogging, bike riding, playing fetch, and hitting the dog park. A tired dog is a happy dog, and that is a simple fact.
  2. Give him things to do on his own. Look for toys he can play with safely (preferably PupBox toys) and rotate them to keep him guessing. Have a variety of chewing items. Food/treat dispenser toys can be a great choice too, and you can even feed whole meals in these toys to keep him busy for extended periods.
  3. Training is so very important. Commonly, trainers hear that people don’t train their dogs because they don’t need a “competitive dog. He’s just a pet.” That is a bunch of hooey, and we are here to set you straight! Training is about creating a bond with your dog whether a competition dog or a pet dog. A good training routine teaches your dog a common language. Just telling him “No” doesn’t explain what you want him to do, but if he has learned training techniques, he knows what is expected of him. Training also exercises the mind. A short training session takes a lot of energy from your dog and will help stem the naughty behavior.
  4. Puppy proof your home. Even for the not-quite adult dog, puppy proofing your home and removing temptations is a great idea. It’s not really that hard. Keep your counters and table tops clean. Put clothes and shoes away. Use cord keepers for electrical cords and keep them out of sight. And above all, keep plenty of PupBox toys handy. If your pup has interesting toys to play with he might just lay off the napkins for a while.

These 4 tips will set your dog up for success. You’ll be able to navigate this phase of your pup’s development without having a psychotic break. And always remember, the grass is always greener on the other side. Keep working with your pup, and things will only get easier!

Now, let’s hear some horror stories about your pup’s biggest adolescent fail. Poo in the couch, entire shoe closet destroyed? Share your pain with your fellow puppy parents!

Bringing a new family addition into the home is extremely exciting! Becoming a new puppy parent comes with a ton of new joys, challenges and responsibilities. PupBox was created to help new puppy parents like yourself, by providing all of the toys, treats, accessories and training information you need, when you need it. CLICK HERE to learn more about PupBox.

And remember, puppyhood is fast and is gone before you know it. Make sure to savor the time when your pup is young, and take lots of pictures along the way!