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A Dog Isn’t Just for Christmas

Dog in woods

Around four to six weeks after Christmas, new puppy owners can start to feel a little overwhelmed. Please remember that ‘A Dog Isn’t Just for Christmas’!

Their cute fluff ball of a puppy will have disappeared around the age of 14/15 weeks and been replaced with a larger adolescent version. Yes, you heard right – adolescent! Owners don’t realise that pups stop being pups at a very early age and, unfortunately, a young dog has all the same hang-ups found in a teenager or any immature mammal for that matter. The mammalian brain is very similar across all mammals and goes through the same development stages – the juvenile stage can be particularly trying.

So, what can you do with the adolescent dog in your life?

  1. Firstly, don’t panic! Get informed instead – Sarah Whitehead’s Adolescent Survival Guide is recommended reading.
  2. Secondly, don’t ruin the relationship. Hopefully, your parents didn’t ruin yours when you started showing all your teenage traits. Your dog’s brain has not fully developed so training will have its challenges.
  3. Be clear when providing guidance. Even over-exaggerate if need be.
  4. Be consistent. Don’t keep changing your mind on what the dog is or isn’t allowed to do.
  5. Ensure all members of the household follow the same plan, including using the same commands for the same things.
  6. Provide proper healthy nutrition! And yes, high-carb (high-sugar) diets will have the same effect on your young dog’s brain as it does on a human one.
  7. Don’t over-exercise! If you create an athlete, you will be the one who pays the price.
  8. Provide an enriched environment with plenty of brain games; scent-work is particularly useful for wearing your dog out.
  9. Twenty minutes of mental exercise is equivalent to an hour’s physical activity.
  10. Be aware that at around seven to nine months, your dog may get more fearful. It’s all about growing up. Be sympathetic.
  11. If you are struggling to understand your dog’s adolescent brain, sign up to an Beastly Thoughts workshop “How To Handle Your Teenage Dog!”. These run throughout the year.
  12. Finally, attend one of the Beastly Thoughts K-Nine Essentials Training Courses – “Walk Nicely, Come Back and Stay Put”.

If you’d like to find out more about Karen, ring direct on 07970 488 395. For more pet articles, click here.

Karen Boyce for Love Wrexham Magazine
Author: Karen Boyce for Love Wrexham Magazine

Karen Boyce is the owner of Beastly Thoughts Professional Dog Service (BTPDS), the largest pet dog training establishment in Wales. BTPDS specialise in puppy training and reactive dogs, but offer a whole host of obedience training classes, lectures, webinars and online training hubs and groups. Karen was named Animal Star Awards Dog Trainer/Behaviourist of the Year in 2019. Tel: 07970 488 395 Email: info@beastlythoughts.co.uk Additional Instagram profile: beastlythoughtsdogservices

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