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It's been over a decade since I raised a puppy so I'm trying to recalibrate what to expect and what to do.

My question is: during the difficult 'adolescent' months (from what I read, usually starting 7-9 months), what did your puppy do, how did you handle it, and how long did the 'difficult' period last? Also, for good measure, what breed was your pup?

Thanks. I'm doing what I can to handle the challenging jumping, tugging, and barking that has recently surfaced (she's 8 months) so it'd be good to hear what others experienced and when they felt their dog transitioned into a more measured and manageable pup.
 

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I redirected but did not discourage such behavior. I also used my obedience commands and a GREAT reward for doing those things (perfectly).

Every puppy I get I look at my trained dog working and think, "What the heck did I do to get that?"
Each one is a new slate and we both start out all thumbs, paws and left feet.

Oh and I have Working Line German Shepherd dogs.
 

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At that age my dog was a mouthy, jumping, crazy thing. I also redirected with obedience and training rather than trying to suppress her activity. I ended up doing a lot of extra obedience classes and started her on herding and nosework. She's 15 months now and improving tremendously.

She's a Beauceron. In terms of personality and activity level they're very similar to a working line German Shepherd.
 

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Yep, with the others.

Lots of management, lots of redirecting, lots of using known cues to manage. It was also about the age where I needed to increase their activity - quite a bit - to keep them and me both sane. It's where we started agility training and doing some disc stuff, but also just general exercise and training at home had to go up (while still working on off switches and chilling in the down time)

The last 2 puppies here are the ones I'm talking about and one's a BC the other's a BC/ACD.
 

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And by 'general exercise' I mean playing ball, some, and a lot of off leash (in safe areas) or long line, out in the wilderness hiking/exploring/running. So basically a really good mix of structured activity and exercise (agility, disc, training behaviors), and totally unstructured time.
 

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I have an Aussie/Collie mix. He's currently 2.5 years old.

I got him when he was 5 months old, so he was right on the cusp of "terrible teens." I don't think he was that well socialized and he had little to no formal training, so a rather reactive mess was suddenly dropped in my lap, both fear and excitement.

Like others have said, management is key. He spent lots of time crated, we kept everything he could possibly want to get into off the floor, the counters were always bare of food. I let him get used to us for about a month and did some basic training, and then I enrolled him in obedience classes. We have been going to at least one class for 2 years straight, no breaks, but its mostly agility now.

I employed a very strict "nothing in life is free" during that horrible phase. He wanted food, he sits. He waited at doors. Anything in life he found rewarding, it came through me and he had to behave a certain way for it. He would often do the bouncing/lunging/barking thing when he got excited or had a sudden burst of energy on walks. I would simply stop, grip the leash, and wait him out. He wasn't good enough on obedience yet to listen to commands in that state, and he probably was over threshold anyway. He eventually learned that nothing was going to happen, and we only walked when he was walking nicely. I of course rewarded for walking nicely, for ignoring distractions, etc.

We also worked extensively on impulse control. My Ralphie was not a thinker even though he is very intelligent! We used the "Doggy Zen" method and shaping techniques to teach him to learn and think and that the first reaction to cross his mind is not always the best way to get what he wanted.

I would say around 1-1.5 yrs he 'grew a brain' so to speak. He started to get it together. His first reaction was not always the one to win. I remember one time when we were surprised by a bunch of dogs barking behind a fence, and he did this little hop skip toward them that's usually the beginning of a flail/meltdown, and then he just stopped. He turned and looked at me. I immediately praised him and rewarded him heavily for his good choice, and we walked away from the distraction. That seemed to be kind of a turning point where he rapidly began to understand that I am the "Mother of All Rewards" and good things will happen to him always when he does what I want him to.

Of course there are still moments of "Where's your brain, Ralphie?" but I feel that after we crossed the 1.5 yr threshold it's steadily getting better. I can trust him to make the right choice without having to manage him so closely "set him up" to make the right choice.
 

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My Dutch shepherd is now a year and some change... Honestly, I have yet to experience a period of regression. It feels like it's been onwards and upwards for the last year.

I controlled every conceivable resource and what I did would probably be exhausting for some. My dog started life with me at 8.5 weeks old earning every single piece of kibble. This was for the first few months, and then when things got easier and I no longer needed to reinforce so much, he still earned kibble through food toys or situational behaviors (ex. people are eating, you get your Kong in your crate). There is not a single doorway he has passed through without permission. There is not a single dog he's played with without permission. Invitation only to play or cuddle with me. Does not tug, even if I'm slapping his face with a toy, until I say TUG. It doesn't mean he's robotic; honestly I really only concentrate on the first few seconds before access. Once he gains it, he is allowed to play as he pleases, crawl over my lap, etc.. He is off leash when hiking virtually all the time. He has free roam of the house when we are home. He can run around my unfenced front yard and play with a variety of toys. He is a dream to walk on leash, even past distractions. He is amazing in group training classes... Honestly, it's made him so calm and easy to live with because he knows exactly how and when to get certain things he wants. He is not on edge for interaction every waking moment (which is how he started).

Basically, very little freedom while learning rules in the beginning, lots of freedom now that he knows the rules. Heavy management and reinforcement also means I've used very little corrections throughout this last year.
 

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At that age with Pepper I was seriously struggling with three things:

1. jumping up on people
2. pulling hard when on walks
3. over excitement (extreme) with people and other dogs

These 3 things often went hand-in-hand.

For the jumping up I tried everything to get her to stop. By that age she was probably 60 lbs or so so it was kind of a big issue. What finally worked was to have a toy ready to re-direct her when I'd walk in the door. She eventually learned on her own to go get a toy on her own as soon as I'd get home and she still does that to this day. Other things that worked were scattering treats on the floor to get her direction focused there instead. But she gobbled up the treats so fast then it was back to jumping up again. Ignoring her didn't work and still doesn't. If she gets really excited even today she will jump up if she gets ignored. It's best for the person to give her a little attention while her feet are on the ground otherwise she still wants to jump up. It took a LONG time to get her trained on this - like 6 months probably.

For her pulling when on walks we practiced loose-leash walking ALL THE TIME. I used treats and a clicker to keep her in place beside me, but it was a constant feed of treats to get her to stay there. I nearly gave up on this and she was well over a year old before something finally clicked in her brain and she started walking better. She's still not perfect though and I HAVE to carry treats every time we go for a walk. I have to walk her on a harness because she pulled so hard on her collar she was always gasping and wheezing on walks. Now she walks better on the harness than if I try to use just her collar.

For her over-excitement issues - well that's still a work in progress :-/ She's still pretty much the same with people, but with dogs she's developed some leash reactivity unfortunately.

Pepper is now 5 1/2 and she's a Boxer/Rottweiler.
 

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My Dutch shepherd is now a year and some change... Honestly, I have yet to experience a period of regression. It feels like it's been onwards and upwards for the last year.
I had the same experience with my dogs. I don't recall any regression, just changes.

For Kane the only thing I really noticed at that stage was he gained some confidence so he started "acting up" more than before. He started chewing things up which is something he never did before. He wandered more - when we'd be out with the dogs he started to follow Pepper more instead of us humans. He wouldn't come back when called because the world was so much more interesting (we still have this issue with him).

He's always had fear issues so while he was gaining some confidence around this age, he also became more "set" in his fearful ways. When he was younger he was afraid, but would allow people to walk up to him, talk to him, etc. Around this age (8-9 months) he decided that was no longer acceptable and he's stubbornly held on to this belief into adulthood. It's something we're always working on. Kane is a 3-year old Boxer/Cane Corso.
 

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I wouldn't call what I have seen with my dogs as teenagers regression either - it's more puppy 'softness' wearing off, increasing stamina and energy level, more and adult personality emerging. How difficult that is is down to individual dog -ie: what that adult personality looks like - and the owner's... tolerance/desires of the dog.

Previous training does matter - but it's often the point where consistency slides, the dog is ramped up/more easily aroused/may not be getting enough exercise, they're usually more aware of the environment and other things in it, may often be less tolerant, and generally just get less 'easy' than they were as small babies.

Kylie there was basically no change, aside from her becoming a bit more aloof/standoffish. Molly was already fear reactive but she became sharper and 'forward' in her reactions and WAY less tolerant of bad behavior. Thud became less biddable and more independent, and his prey-drive cranked up and he got less tolerant of other dogs. Kiran's generally more intense, but that's about it. Thud lost his off leash privileges briefly because said prey-drive, but none of the rest have. They HAVE, however, all had a sudden jump in their need for exercise and mental stimulation.
 

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It's nice to hear others' experiences!
I actually experienced a decrease in the NEED for exercise. I was doing 3-4 hours of physical/mental stimulation a day from the start. I feel like around the 8ish month mark I weaned down to 1.5-2 hours a day. I think it's because, for my specific circumstance, I worked so hard on teaching him to settle that it was finally paying off. Brae can still go all day and wants to. But I don't really get the 'boredom oozing out of his pores' moments anymore.
 

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For my dog's it's actually nothing to do with settling/off switches. They can - and need to - settle from the time they come home and that doesn't actually change. I can still have them chill out all day or for multiple days.

But their physical and mental endurance, stamina, attention span, and just plain athleticism goes up and they want to use it. It's not 'exercise or bad behavior happens if you skip a day or two', it's that they CLEARLY really want and need and benefit from it. They get sharper in general, more barky, more bitey, faster, more reckless, more impulsive, if they've gone more than a day or two without (and this historically bleeds off about 2 - Molly's been on leash restricted activity for 10 days and she's a bit more inclined to be reactive but not being obnoxious at all).

...and I've never done 3.5-4 hours of exercise with any dog in my life though (and dont' want to!). Of any age - at least not regularly. Regularly it's more like '1-2, most days'. Some days zero. Some days more like 8, but those are RARE weekends - and a lot of trial weekends it's close to nothing because of time in the crates.

Probably some of this is difference in general life style and the adaptability of dogs.
 

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Brae had no off switch! Absolutely none! People think I am exaggerating when I say "He would not sleep if he was not in his crate" the first couple months or so. It didn't matter if, at 10 weeks of age, he got an hour (or more) of hiking or training. If he was out and about, he was looking for something else to do. It didn't matter if he got 1 hr+ of exercise/training AND 'sit on the leash' exercises. You'd think with <1 ft of leash length (because sitting on the leash gave him too much room; I stepped on it) he would eventually settle down. But he absolutely did not. Get up, sit down, roll around, chew on anything available, lie down, shift, get up again, repeat.... In the first few months, the only time I saw him truly tired was when we accidentally went on a 10 mile hike. And even so, it wasn't like he tired out and gave up. I just noticed that when we took a break close to the end, he did lie down for a nap. But the moment we shifted he was up and completed the hike with no issue. I saw no tiredness carry over to the next day either. Well, two other days come to mind... the one where we did 3-4 hours of kayaking (and it was his first time), and the day where we did 5? hours on a paddleboard. But quite literally, I can count on one hand the number of days in his puppy/early adolescent days that he was truly tired. Or I should say, tired enough that he chose to settle outside of confinement. Whatever batteries he runs on, I need some of those...

His puppy months were really exceptional. Nowadays, he behaves more like a 'normal' high energy/drive dog. I mean, today we 'only' did a 5 mile hike with him carrying a light pack and he is currently sleeping. A few months ago, the hike would have amped him up more and he would have come home frantically looking for something to do. If I ignored him he would do his routine of getting up, pacing, getting a toy, lying down, getting up again, etc.... However, yesterday we had dog play, hanging from a spring pole, a run, a hike, fetching in the river, an advanced nosework class, and he was STILL antsy (but bearably so) at 12am while I was watching a show.
 

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Previous training does matter - but it's often the point where consistency slides, the dog is ramped up/more easily aroused/may not be getting enough exercise, they're usually more aware of the environment and other things in it, may often be less tolerant, and generally just get less 'easy' than they were as small babies.
This exactly.
 
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