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Ah, the teenage stage. What can I say, if you know, you know. When adolescence strikes, you will know. Your sweet pup who listened so well, had such great manners and loved all things will become that wild dog who disobeys, possibly reactive and some even get distructive. So how do we survive it?? Let's talk about that.

If you have already done some training and set the foundation for the behaviour you want then you will get through adolescence much easier than those who waited to start training. The most important thing to know about this stage is that it is normal. Your dog is not trying to be difficult they are going through a natural period of development where they test boundaries and figure out who is actually in charge. And it had better be you and not them. So, when this happens go back to the basics and enforce and reward. Say it once. Only once and then enforce the command. Keep them on a leash outside if recall and obedience has become an issue. Use a drag line in the house if you need to. Do not grab for the dogs collar to catch them. That will just start the game of catch the dog which no one wants to play except maybe the dog. If there is a Leah or drag line on them, use it. If not, out one on. Increase enrichment and training. Change it up and add in new things. If fear of reactivity have started then seek out a trainer for assistance. Provide structure and a solid routine. Use the crate if you need to.

Remember that when you get to the other side of this stage, your bond will be stronger if you did right and you will have an adult dog who excels at all the things you have been working hard and teaching and enforcing. You will have a dog who will make consistent good choices and look to you for leadership when they are unsure.

This stage doesn't last forever, so buckle up, do the work and your efforts will be repaid when adulthood has been reached.

Happy training

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