Does this sound like your teenage dog?
“My dog is over excited all the time, does not follow commands and seems to have a mind of his own when I want him to pay attention to me. I often find myself yelling at him or repeating the same thing to him over and over again. It’s just not working for me. Everything seems so complicated and overwhelming.”
If you are staring at your monster dog wondering what happened to that sweet puppy you started off with, you’re not alone.
Once he becomes a teenager, between 6–9 months of age, he begins to realize there is a world out there beyond you, his BFF (best friend forever,) and starts challenging your every command.
Sounds a lot like kids right!
So fasten your seatbelt and put your seat in the upright position, it could be a bumpy ride ahead unless you take charge now.
Here are some quick tips or coping strategies to get your teenage dog back under control.
Go from being in charge “most of the time” to being in charge all of the time.
Simply put, develop a nothing-in-life-is-free attitude. No free food, treats, affection, toys, access to outside for potty breaks, walks, etc. Everything he wants he must earn by doing a sit.
Only requiring a sit for some things (like a treat) is not effective and can be confusing to your dog.
You would be absolutely shocked at the impact a seemingly small thing like this will have on your dog if done consistently each and every day.
Don’t just control some interesting things, control all of the most interesting and fun things to do in the world to your dog.
If your dog’s life is boring because he just gets back yard play and a walk around the same old block, load him up in your car and take him on a nature walk, a hike in the park or beach.
Take high value food treats with you to keep his focus on you. If he seems disinterested in the treats because of all the new sights, sounds and smells then teach him he can have access to “a great sniff” if he comes to you or walks by your side for a brief period.
Then put him in a sit and relax the leash releasing him to sniff all that is wonderful in that new environment. You are the greatest!
Exercise your dog to constructively manage his energy.
There is no question that a tired dog is a good dog. When exercised properly with you (and that is key) you not only develop your dog’s respect for you but you tire him out physically.
Managing his energy in this manner goes a long way to stifling his need to use his energy in a destructive way in the house.
Train your dog on the basics.
Obedience training is critical to a polite and well-mannered dog. Obedience commands provides you behavior to which you can redirect unwanted behavior.
Doing daily sits and downs begins to shape a mind-set in your dog – one of “when you speak he responds with the appropriate behavior.”
And finally through obedience training will you develop a working relationship with your dog built on understanding, trust and respect.
Feed him a high premium food free of by-products, cheap carbohydrates (like corn), animal fat, artificial preservatives and dyes.
It’s been proven many times over that bad dog food can have a profound affect on your dog’s behavior – and sometimes health.
For one, cheap carbohydrates can create excitability in dogs. So if your dog is extremely hyper, check your dog food ingredients and be on the lookout for the ingredients above.
Putting structure in your dog’s life, which includes all of the above, lays the foundation for how your dog will learn and act from that point forward.
It will guide his thinking and actions in the years to come.
I’m always curious about your input – it’s important to me. Do you deal with this situation in your house? Tell me below in the comments.
Remember: “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”
Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 9000 clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad. Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.
His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is your solution to an out of control, bratty dog. Grab them now.