Adolescence usually begins around 6 months of age. Because you were engaged with your puppy and protected them from being overwhelmed or frightened, and you gently guided them through their first 6 months, making sure that every new experience and situation was positive and safe, your puppy will now be a confident teenager. This is the stage where you need to become very engaging and basically more valuable to your puppy than anything else in life. Bonding and training during this stage in low distracting environments is imperative for the development of your relationship and the influence you will have on your dog’s adult behaviours for the rest of their life.
Trying to teach an adolescent pup anything during this stage whilst in a stimulating or distracting environment is a complete waste of time.
If you were to teach someone how to drive would you do so amongst peak hour traffic? No! You teach them the skills to drive in an area where there is no traffic or distractions, so that they can LEARN the skills. As their skills improve you slowly increase distraction and difficulty, first you start with light traffic then work your way up to peak hour traffic. Please remember this whenever you teach your puppy or dog any new skill.
Always begin in an environment that is conducive for learning and break the behaviour into achievable stages.
Adolescence is a great time to start going on adventures, just you and your dog.
You must really pay a lot of attention to recall training at this point in development and you need to master the art of capturing your dog’s attention!
First identify the verbal que you would like your dog to understand means to come to you. This word can literally be anything you like; it does not have to be the word “come”.
Remember dogs don’t speak English or any other language, they speak sound, pitch, tone and intonation.
Let’s use the word “coo wee”
Your goal is to make this sound completely irresistible to your dog.
To achieve this, you will start at home with no distractions.
You first need to teach your pup what that sound (word) means, what you would like for them to do when they hear that word. Say the word in a way that your pup simply can’t ignore and as you say the word, drop your hand down with an amazing treat. When your pup comes to you give them the treat and double up and use happy verbal praise as well.
Remember you want your dog to feel it is the most wonderful experience in life when they hear that word and then come to you. Repeat this at home without distraction until no matter when you say that word, your dog comes to you without fail. Once you have both achieved this stage, you can now qadd distraction within in the home environment. This can be the presence of other people, having the radio and tv on etc. Once your dog can achieve perfect recall at home with distraction, you can begin to generalise the behaviour, teach the behaviour in many different situations and environments. Starting with a quiet public environment without any distractions. Once perfect recall is achieved there, slowly add a distraction, and so on and so on.
You must always follow the progression of slowly adding difficulty and distraction.
Please remember that dogs do not reach emotional maturity until they are 2 to 3 years of age depending on their breed and of course their individula personality and temperament.
Training is a process, its a beautiful process. You NEVER need to use force, fear, anger, aggression or dominance!
You must be confident, clear and consistent and teach you puppy and your dog with love and respect.