Make wise use of your dog’s critical development months

Barks

Appropriate dog/dog interactions during doggy adolescence ensures a well-adjusted adult dog.

Most people think that puppy classes are all that their dog needs to learn how to interact with other dogs for the rest of their life.

There is a second and very crucial time where your dog requires tons of socialization and appropriate doggy interaction. This is around one and a half years of age. To be sure socialize your dog heavily between the ages of 10-24 months.

Be very wary of allowing your dog to have unpleasant experiences with aggressive dogs during this “doggy teenage phase” or picking up bad behaviors such as resource guarding from other dogs.

It is your job as an owner to set up “playdates” with other friendly dogs and monitor your dog’s interactions closely as these lessons will last a lifetime. Once he is all grown up you will not need to worry so much about monitoring his encounters as he will have a good foundation for reading body language and now to “turn the other cheek” when things don’t go so smoothly.

You certainly don’t have to be too uptight about all this but just be aware that doggy adolescence is a time for testing boundaries, moving out of the wrestle phase and developing a sense of personal space and territory and just generally trying to make their place in the world.

This is also a great time to take a second round of obedience classes to focus their zealous little furbrains on something productive.

You can liken it to how beneficial high school sports are for human teenagers. A time of angst and a time to occupy minds…

Have fun with it. You can never get the time back once it has passed and in your dog’s golden years you will look back fondly on this phase even though you feel like it will never pass now.

– Angela Granchelli