From Maddening to Maturity: Understanding & Helping the Adolescent Dog
Do you wonder where your once wonderful puppy went? And why has he turned into a sometimes maddening, unpredictable, maybe even out of control adolescent? Relax – you’re not alone. More than a few puppy class stars have gone on to be champion buttheads as teenagers! For many dog owners, the 18-24 month period of adolescence is problematic. Even with a great start in puppyhood, many dogs hit adolescence and become frustrating, unruly, and simply maddening in some ways.
While puzzling to many owners, this is a natural but poorly understood stage of development. Did you know that adolescence begins around 20 weeks of age? That a year old dog is roughly the equivalent of a 14 year human? That adulthood in the dog begins at 2-4 years of age? That the most annoying teenage dogs are usually geniuses?
The Relationship Centered Training™ (RCT) approach to adolescents focuses on three areas of the teenage dog’s life:
- Relationship with handler
- Social life (other people, dogs & animals)
- Life skills (self control, basic manners, coping skills)
For each area, we will explore ways to assess each dog’s strengths and limits, how the handler can support the dog, what skills need to be developed, and how to recognize problems that must be addressed.
This seminar will address
- RCT keys: communication, commitment, communication
- The handler’s role as the teenage dog’s guide to life
- Balancing the relationship
- Age appropriate responsibility
- Cooperation as a lifestyle Permission and parameters
- “Even though” empathy & expectations
- Potholes, loopholes and missing bricks in the dog’s skill sets
Self control, handling arousal, dealing with distractions and attractions, polite behavior with others (people and dogs) – all are important aspects of growing up into a well behaved adult. Learn how to guide your teenage dog to maturity using effective and humane RCT techniques such as Really Real Relaxation, Go Say Hi, Auto-Check-in, Puppy Politeness Poker and more.
When you understand your adolescent dog better, you can settle into the work and joys of helping them grow into a wonderful adult dog. The kind of adult dog that makes people say, “Oh, I wish I had a dog just like that!” while you smile and wonder if they knew him as a teenager.