adolescence & the pup: ‘forgetting’ how to behave…

Don't let that face fool you... she's secretly plotting how she can ignore you and annoy you.

Don’t let that face fool you… she’s secretly plotting how she can ignore you and annoy you.

I’m hyper-aware to how Lumen is changing as she grows, and recently, more than ever before, I’m starting to see the changes as she transitions from baby puppy, to teenager. I just need to keep reminding myself that this is a phase, and, hopefully, she’ll grow out of it in time. And, that one day she’s the gorgeous dog I love, and others, she’s a complete menace. I found it really hard to find information through google on what to expect- there was a lot of vague: “your dog will have more energy,” or, “your dog will begin to ignore you”, but not much on how to work through these issues, or how they would manifest exactly. So, I thought I’d keep track of what was happening with Lumen as she reached this… ‘interesting’… phase in her life.

I’ve been noticing more often lately that Lu is beginning to test me, to push the boundaries, and I’m not sure right now how to deal with her.

A great example is what she did the other morning.

We’d done agility training and played, then went for a walk, she swam in the creek, played with her ball, had a great old time, then, it was time to go home- we’d been out for an hour so it wasn’t like she’d had a fair run… I walk to the car, Mallei is my eternal shadow and hops straight in the back. I look back at the park and there’s Lumen, standing a good 10-20 meters away just watching. It’s like she’s looking to see: is it worth my while going over there, or not?

I got her food out, because I’m still rewarding her for hopping in the car, and I call her. She stares at me. Huh?

Right-o, then. I know better than to stand here calling and trying to bribe her, so I walk over. My expression and my posture suggest I’m very unimpressed. She starts to move toward me- a little slinky, but she’s coming- I cheer up! Good dog! You’re coming! I lead her to the car and she jumps in and gets her food.

She’s doing this a lot- this standing waaaaaay back and watching, seeing if it’s worth her while. So I’m going to do some research on this one.

I’ve also noticed she’s lingering longer and longer at smells, even when I literally walk off on her – I give her a whistle, when I walk off. She’s certainly got that ‘teenage deafness’ that I’ve read so much about.

Thankfully these are the only ways that teenagehood is rearing its ugly head so far – she’s not destroying things willy-nilly around the house or backyard (except plastic pots, I’m not sure where on earth she keeps finding them…!), running away (don’t think she can with our fences) or anything too awful, so I suppose we just need to keep practising recalls with good, yummy food available, and making her realise that coming to the car when it’s time to go is not an option (and you get food if you do it willingly).

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5 thoughts on “adolescence & the pup: ‘forgetting’ how to behave…

  1. Rosie says:

    Ha! this was excellent to read.
    Did you know that I teach a class called “Teen Dog?”
    Yep, it’s true. It’s very popular and fills every time. That period from about 8-18 months is HARD and although the bulk of my class is “pet dog people” I often get performance people too.
    I think a huge key is to understand that dogs who test, sample, try are BRILLIANT and it’s often a great sign of what’s to come. Also that we humans need to take this stuff in stride and try hard not to personally get up in arms about it all. It’s going to happen (whatever “it” happens to be) and our best defense is to be aware, ready and calm.

    She sounds 100% typical and wonderful to me. Rumble is doing these things too, but in a different way. He’s extra BOUNCY and has a firecracker sense of when to explode and cause everything to go nuts. He’s also very sensitive and even a little correction sends him into the blues. Poor guy. 😉

    Your constant work with her is the best medicine. Keeping their minds and bodies engaged is PARAMOUNT! Enjoy. heheheh

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