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Adolescence:  The Downside of the Puppy’s First Year!

Renee Hall on July 24, 2012

Socialize, socialize, socialize! This is an important part of the new puppy experience, but there is more to your puppy’s first year than just a starter class. Most pups are relinquished to shelters after they are 6 months old. Why? Adolescence, of course!

I am not downgrading the importance of puppy kindergarten. Yes, it is a great start, but an equally important time for the pup to be in class is after the primary socialization period, when the pup is pushing boundaries and exploring the world with more confidence. This is when your pup stops hanging out with you and discovers the joys of the world: squirrels, kids, clouds, etc. You’re out for a walk and that beautiful recall you started in puppy class goes out the window and your pup looks at you when you call, flicks their tail, and takes off into the world leaving you in their dust! Or, your 10 month old pup is displaying fear out of the blue. Do you know why? How do you handle this flaky behavior or pushy behavior safely? Go back to class and learn about this stage in your pup’s life!

In the follow up classes to puppy kindergarten, you will have the opportunity to work on: focus in the real world, reliable recalls under distraction, consistency in training, impulse control exercises, developing a strong relationship without frustration, and commiserate with the other people in your group going through the same chaos as you! So, before you are tempted to go through the hardest part of raising a puppy alone, stay in class!

Renee Hall, CDBC, CPDT-KA owns Let’s Speak Dog Training and Sports Studio. Renee lives with 3 golden retrievers, her youngest, Darby is not far out of adolescence! Renee’s background includes teaching a range of classes, mentoring new trainers, and working with a large range of dogs, from rowdy pups to dogs with issues. For more information about Renee or her business, please see her website www.letsspeakdog.com.

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