Dog playing at the beach

Adolescent Behaviour

“Adolescence” in puppies can start from about 10 weeks of age and lasts for several months. This can include:

  • Rise in level of aggression: consider the causes (more territorial, trying to assert dominance over owner)
  • Adult coat replaces puppy coat
  • Maturing sexually so the interaction between male and female dogs changes.

Like rebellious teens, adolescent dogs can be a handful – hyperactive, inattentive and hormonal. But that’s what you get when nature provides an immature brain with a body that’s nearly the size of an adult.

And just like all generation next’s, a fast growing dog needs similar guidance during this difficult life stage.

Common traits of dog adolescence

More adventurous and rebellious

  • More adventurous and interested in the big wide world than you
  • Test boundaries – physically and in the relationship
  • Become deaf to commands such as "come”
  • Chewing gets out of hand
  • Buckets of energy

Reach sexual maturity

  • Males often jump fences and take off in search of the babes
  • Males may mark in and around the house to claim their territory
  • Females will mark to advertise their availability to the local Romeo’s
  • Both can become aggressive with other dogs of the same sex.

Possibly become shy or frightened of things he or she took in stride just a few weeks before. Don't force your dog to confront something that frightens him or her, but don't coddle (and thereby reward) his or her fears, either.

Physical changes

  • Long, gangly and awkward
  • Lose the cottony puppy coat

Tips for parents of adolescent dogs

  • Keep them in a gated-off area so they can’t run away
  • Puppy-proof part of the house against the chewing machine
  • Get the family to spend time with them
  • Burn off that energy with loads of exercise
  • Keep training sessions short and fun to cater for a very short attention span
  • Be calm but consistent about house rules
  • Give kind, gentle commands
  • Perhaps enrol in another obedience class