I remember as Lumen approached 6 months old becoming terrified of the next stage in her development: adolescence.
I remember madly googling what to expect, and reading, with horror that she would: forget everything she knows, ignore me completely all the time, begin chewing again, have insatiable energy, and forget her toilet training, all while going through a fear period.
But…. it wasn’t as bad as all that.
Keep in mind that Lu is pretty well trained, and I train her every day in some way or another, so I suppose your average go-to-obedience-club-once-a-weekend type dog could go through all those things and more… but here’s what we’ve experienced. I actually began writing this post when she was 9 months old, but then she seemed to go through another phase of insane energy, so I figured I’d hold off.
This definitely happened. Men were scary, bikes were scary, strange-shaped things at the park were scary. We occasionally still have scary moments, like after a heavy rain and the creek had foam swirling around in it- the foam was super scary, and my uncle playing the guitar was very scary… but most things? Not so scary now. Or, if she does bark at it from afar I can tell her to “go check it out” and she will.
This period came and went over about two or three months.
This was a tricky one, though Lumen never got destructive – I suspect she would have if we didn’t go for walks and do training every day, though. However, her energy manifested itself in two annoying ways. Firstly, she’d sleep all day even if we were home and she could have been romping around playing with Mal. Secondly, the evenings were bad times. Mostly, it was just her harassing the cats. And look, Mia asks for it- she’ll walk up to Lumen, grapple onto her leg, roll over and chew on her, and then meow pathetically if Lu pokes her with her nose or accidentally stands on her. But it was also restlessness, particularly when we got into bed- she’d be pacing, annoying the cats, pacing, lying down, getting up, panting, annoying the cats, pacing… as soon as the lights went off, great! She’d settle down, but up to that point? No.
For a while there it did feel like nothing I did would wear her out, but I suspect part of the problem was like if you stay up playing video games for hours- you get tired but you’re so amped up that you can’t possibly sleep, so you do more of something, which amps you up more. This period was on and off for about 4 months.
So I wrote the post above, thinking it was an adolescence thing when I try and get Lu in the car because it’s time to go home- she stands way back and looks at me as if to say: um, you think I’m going home? No way. It’s a little bit less of a ‘fight’ than it was for a while there, but it certainly hasn’t gone away. I don’t see it so much as a problem now and don’t make a big deal of it but it’s certainly one of her quirks.
So in regards to forgetting commands or ignoring me, I haven’t noticed this much. Probably because I pushed through with training and trained every day. The only thing I’ve noticed is that her recalls can be a bit less snappy now, if I’m calling her off playing with other dogs for example, but forgetting commands or ignoring them was never an issue for us during adolescence.
Other websites suggest your adolescent dog may regress in toilet training (nope), mouthing/chewing (nope) and general naughtiness (nope).
I suppose, one of the most important thing is ongoing exercise and training. So, if you have an adolescent dog and you’ve stumbled across my site, walk your dog- for as long as you have time to, take it to a dog park sometimes if that’s its thing, take it swimming, let it sniff the world. Train it. Learn how to clicker-train and teach it some tricks. A dog that loves learning and loves the training ‘game’ is a dog who won’t have any desire to ‘forget’ commands, I don’t think. Why would they? Training is fun!