Adolescent puppies can be challenging

Published by
min read


A teenage puppy can be just as testing as a human teenagerDog image

If you thought 'terrible teenager' syndrome was reserved for humans, think again! Puppies hit adolescence at around six months and will often become quite wilful as they test the limits and assert their independence. Your puppy will probably challenge your leadership now and you may notice a sharp decline in his desire to please you! All this is exacerbated by a hormonal surge brought about by growing sexual maturity. If you haven't already had your puppy neutered, now's a good time to do it.

How do you deal with your teenager?

All the hard work you've put in to socialise your puppy now needs to be reinforced. Keep exposing him to a variety of environments, people and other dogs.

Continue to play with him lots and encourage good behaviour and discourage bad.

Expect some bold acts of rebellious courage! A puppy who has always followed you everywhere may suddenly refuse to come when he's called, for example. You need to be firm but fair and show your puppy right from wrong.

Adolescent chewing

Another aspect of puppy adolescence that can be challenging is that they will often have an uncontrollable urge to chew. This is different to teething chewing since it happens after all the needle-like puppy teeth have fallen out.

Adolescent chewing could be to alleviate the discomfort as adult teeth settle into the jawbone or it could just be part of your puppy's discovery and exploration of his environment.

Whatever the reasons behind it, there are two things you can do to help you (and your belongings) survive the adolescent chewing phase. Firstly, provide your puppy with things he's meant to chew and praise him when he uses them. There are lots of different chews on the market. Secondly, do not leave your puppy unsupervised in places where there are valuable or dangerous items he might chew.

Adolescent scraps

At this stage your puppy may well get into some scraps with other dogs.

Adolescent puppies, particularly male ones, are often harassed by older dogs (again, particularly male) who seek to 'put them in their place.' This is often triggered by the testosterone fuelled puppy's rude 'dog manners.' Neutering may help control this behaviour.

Always praise your puppy for friendly behaviour towards other dogs. If he meets and greets an unfamiliar dog on a walk and behaves well, you should lavish praise on him and maybe even offer him a small treat.

Adolescent growth and development

Different breeds mature at different rates. In general, the larger the breed, the longer it takes for their bones to develop fully. Larger breeds require different levels of nutrients for their bone growth and development compared to smaller breeds. Thus some big breeds may not be skeletally mature until 18 months of age; whereas a small breed may have stopped growing at around 6-8 months of age.

Your vet will keep an eye on your puppy's growth and development and conduct a full adolescent health check.

Adulthood

The young adulthood stage of your puppy's development usually lasts from about 8-18 months. It's generally a great time as your puppy will still be full of youth and exuberance but will have had some of those teenage 'rough edges' knocked off!

Related Articles

  • Treat your dog for life – not just for Christmas

    Everyone likes a little treat every now and then - and especially now that Christmas is coming. But although it's tempting to give your dog scraps from the table, many popular yuletide treats can actually be dangerous for his health.
  • Introducing the collar and lead

    180680638 If you're considering getting a new puppy, then you should know the importance of collars, leashes and ID tags to their safety. Learn what you need to know.
  • Health problems you can't vaccinate against

    180680638 While vaccinations can help guard your dog or puppy against a range of health problems, there are some common dog health problems that can't. Learn more.
  • Helping your puppy to socialise

    If you're considering a new puppy, discover the different ways you can help introduce them to people, pets and children at home to make them feel safe.

Related products

  • Hill's™ Science Plan™ Canine Adult Advanced Fitness™ Lamb with Rice

    Hill's&#153; <span class='nowrap'>Science Plan™</span> Canine Adult Advanced Fitness™ Lamb & Rice is formulated to support digestive health and lean muscle. With clinically proven antioxidants and highly digestible lamb.
  • Hill's™ Science Plan™ Canine Adult with Chicken

    Hill's&#153; <span class='nowrap'>Science Plan</span>&#153; Canine Adult Savoury Chicken is formulated to support lean muscle and healthy vital organs. With clinically proven antioxidants, lean proteins and omega 3's.
  • Hill's™ Prescription Diet™ s/d™ Canine

    For the nutritional management of dogs with urinary tract disease. Urinary tract disease in dogs is often caused by the formation of mineral-based crystals and stones in the urinary tract that can cause discomfort, bloody urine and even life-threatening obstruction. For dogs, struvite crystals generally cause urinary tract disease. <span class='nowrap'>Prescription Diet</span>&#153; s/d&#153; has been formulated by veterinarians to help resolve struvite crystals and stones in your dog. Struvite forms as a result of urine that's saturated with protein, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium combined with an improper urine pH.
  • Hill's™ Science Plan™ Puppy Mini Chicken

    Hill's&#153; <span class='nowrap'>Science Plan™</span> Puppy Healthy Development™ Mini Chicken is formulated to support immunity and mobility, for puppies who prefer a smaller kibble. With clinically proven antioxidants and DHA.