Reflecting on Our Role in Our Pups' Adolescent Phase

Hello, Habibi Bear Family!

Noticing a bit of mischief from your pup lately? It's quite common as they hit adolescence, anywhere between 5 to 24 months. This is when our sweet little ones start pushing the envelope, and yes, it can be as challenging as dealing with a human teen! Maybe you've found a favorite slipper chewed up or heard a bark that's new. It's all part of this growth stage, and we're here to navigate it together.

But let's pause for a moment and look in the mirror. Our pups communicate through their behavior, as they can't express in words. So, if there's a sudden change, it's worth asking ourselves—what's different? Have we been too caught up in our busy lives, maybe slacking on the structure they need? Could there be an underlying health issue, like a UTI, especially if there's a spike in accidents indoors?

Our Course, the Human's Guide to the Dog Galaxy was created to support families raising dogs.  It  is jam packed full of information to assist you with how to be in relationship with your dog, as well as providing the tools to manage it all.  I have taken a deep dive into what drives our dogs and created a system to support you, the human on the other end of the leash through these phases.  
Within this program is our foundation this is built on - Our Four Cornerstones—Bonding, Enrichment, Socialization, and Training & Management.  These are the pillars that should guide us through every stage of our dog's life. Reflect on these areas, and you might find new ways to enhance both your life and your pup's.

Here's a deeper dive into what you might be experiencing and how to approach it:

Barking and Potty Regression: If your home is echoing with new barks or you're cleaning up more messes, it's time to revisit those boundaries. Dogs learn about space, so reaffirm those invisible lines. A Buddy Leash can help you maintain control and reassert your role as the leader. Our dogs do want to be lead, so if there are wishy washy boundaries, it will create some imbalance in the heirachy.  Establishing firmer boundaries is the first place to start, and don't forget to get back to a consistent schedule.   Need a Schedule, its in our Galaxy Course :)

Destructive Chewing: Those new adult teeth are strong, and they're looking for a workout. It's time to back up and provide a daily rotation of appropriate toys, chews and bones to keep that pup occupied.   In the Galaxy course, I have included a rotation schedule and suggested chews, toys and activites to keep your dog happy, and you a little less frazzled.  Following a plan always makes life easier!  It's not about just any old chew or bone,  make sure you're providing the right chew toys and keeping an eye out for potential chew targets. They're not just chewing for fun; it's a need, especially during this phase.  This is also a natural way for your dog to self soothe and a good chew can keep them occupied for hours!  

Mouthing and Play Biting: This behavior is all about attention and play, not aggression. It's a throwback to their days with their littermates.  The rotation schedule mentioned above applies to this as well.  Provide them with toys to redirect this energy and stay consistent in how you respond.  And remember rotation of toys is key in keeping their interest.  Just like your kids, they get bored of the same toys, but when they find the old Barbie Doll or Transformer under the couch, its like they discovered a new toy all over again.  Your puppy is the same! 

New Fears and Reactivity: Suddenly scared of the mirror they've ignored for months? It's time for some positive training to help them overcome these new fears. Addressing these behaviors early is crucial.  Following our Socialization schedule in the course helps with this phase as well so we are empowering our dogs and not enabling or reinforcing the very behavior we are concerned about.  

Impulsive Energy: Yes, they're energetic and impulsive, but they're still learning. Be patient and guide them with love. Reinforce those good manners and remember, many behaviors will naturally improve as they mature.  Pulling out the Enrichment activities such as Snuffle Mats, Puzzle Toys, Box games give your puppy an outlet for this energy.  Allowing your dog an unstructured exporation "sniffy walk"  does wonders for excessive energy.  Did you know that sniffing is how they calm themselves?  Yep!  So instead of controlling every walk and expecting a perfect soldier at your side, why not try allowing them a sniffy walk to help them find their own puppy zen?  Need tips?  Our course has lots of ideas for you.  

Reviewing our Four Cornerstones can be a game-changer during this time. It's about finding balance and ensuring your pup's life is as enriched as possible. And if you're ever in doubt, our Human's Guide to the Dog Galaxy course is packed with management strategies to help you through.

Stay the course, and you'll find that this phase, while challenging, can also be incredibly rewarding. We're always here to lend a paw if you need us. Just reach out, and we'll be there!

Warmest wags,

Julie and the Habibi Bear Team