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Most dog owners would agree that living with a puppy teenager is almost as stressful as a human teenager. Hence the name of this puppy stage! Luckily, it lasts for a shorter period of time, but between the age of 6 to 18 months, be prepared to have your boundaries tested.
I bet you thought you had finally gotten past the point where anything and everything is fair game to a puppy. Alas! The six-month-old teenage puppy will go through their second teething phase – the molars. Now when your pup gets ahold of your shoes, they probably won’t survive it. Be sure to watch your puppy closely; they can’t be trusted just yet!
You may find the need to invest in sturdier toys now. Since your pup is finally losing those back teeth, they’re going to want to destroy whatever it is they’re usually chewing on. Check our article on why Puppies Chew Everything for some great examples of natural high-quality chews.
You may notice your teenage puppy go through another fearful stage. It’s important to keep up the social skills. New people, new dogs, car rides, vet visits – make them fun and positive. Never force your pup into a situation that scares them, but allow them to react in whatever way they may (fur raised, sniffing, barking), then distract them. It won’t take long for your pup to forget what all the fuss was about.
If you planned on getting your pup neutered or spayed, between six to eight months of age is the norm. If you decided against it, you may notice some changes in your teenager puppy between six to eight months, such as:
|Female’s first “heat” |
Moody / stubborn behaviour
Selective hearing / ignoring commands
Humping (toys, dogs, people)
Nipping / “testing” your leadership
So Much ENERGY
The sleeping bundle of fluff you once owned has now become a ball of fury. Your puppy teenager will go through stages where they have tons of energy, then nap for a couple hours during the day. A puppy’s sleep schedule is a bit off during the teen stage, but they should still be able to sleep through the night. You’ll need to find some energy for yourself to up their walks in distance or from once to twice a day.
If you haven’t already enrolled your pup in obedience class, it’s not too late! This is a great form of stimulation for their mind and body. Another great way to burn off steam is agility training, but be weary of trainers who expect you to push your puppy too hard, as they’re still growing and developing physically.
It is important to mention the teenage puppy stage is the most common stage for pet owners to decide to give up or surrender their pet for adoption. This is likely because the teen stage can be incredibly difficult and stressful. When it seems like things are becoming overwhelming for you and your teen, remember this time will pass, and in the end, you will be rewarded with a well-trained adult dog who loves you unconditionally.
For more information on the other stages of your puppy’s development, please read our article called “The Many Stages of Puppies.”