Every parent (dog parent included) can expect a few curve balls during the teenage years. Your puppy undergoes adolescence between the ages of 6 - 18 months, his adult teeth begin to appear, he becomes sexually mature, and curiosity or indeed boredom can often lead to general household chaos. The worst thing of all is your dogs will appear to have forgotten everything you have ever taught them. So what has happened?
Dogs like humans need guidance all throughout their lives. Even after months of vigilant training, once your pup reaches adolescence you can be forgiven for thinking his ears are painted on. The reality is, once your dog has arrived at this time, he is going to need frequent reminders of the commands he appears to have forgotten. This simply means patiently re-teaching him all of the basic skills he learned during puppy training school with continued positive reinforcement.
It may seem frustrating to think that all of that puppy training has come to this – more training – but practice makes perfect, and you will find your teenage pup is only having a memory lapse as opposed to total amnesia.
I have always admired dog trainers for their supreme dog whispering skills, the skills that seem to make even the most difficult or stubborn dogs turn to putty with one command. I didn’t want to be a dog whisperer as such, but I wanted to be the kind of dog owner who could have my dog heel on command, follow most of my instructions, but always obey me in public places. I realized 14 months into our puppy’s lives that in order to achieve that outcome my dogs will have to undergo some advanced obedience training.
The point of this continued training is not to create some kind of a robot, but to improve the reliability of your dog following verbal commands inside and out, near or at a distance, without food lures, and even if distracted. Having this kind of control may not seem necessary to every dog owner. For some people basic manners are enough to maintain a happy and respectful environment. For me the decision was strongly influenced by my desire for our dogs to experience as much freedom as possible, while remaining in my control, but not to compromise their safety or the safety of others. Advanced obedience training provides the perfect solution for dog owners that want to achieve that level of compliance.
If you have decided to take the next step, the following link will take you to a directory of dog obedience trainers in your area.