Teenage years


New Member
Tucker is going through puberty and has been misbehaving. Chewing phone cords peeing in the house, and some times not listening. I've been much busier with Christmas and all and have not been able to train him as much but I do make sure to play with him every day and walk him often. Is this just his teen years or is he trying to get more attention?


Honored Member
Staff member
How old is he? He is either just going through that stage, or he's not getting enough physical/mental stimulation. Or, he could have a tooth that's bothering him, which could account for the chewing.
No matter what the reason is, this should not be permitted. Try bitter apple spray on the phone cords, and if you've been training pretty heavily, give him a day or two off. He's still young, so the not listening may come and go. Just depends on the dog. Does he have plenty of chew toys?
As far as the urinating in the house, let him out more frequently. When you get up in the morning, immediately go outside. Feed him, wait a while, go outside. Play a while, go outside. Second feeding, wait a while, go outside. Go outside again right before his bedtime. Thoroughly clean the areas he has urinated on. If they are not cleaned well, the scent will still be there, which will encourage him to go in those spots.


Experienced Member
As I don't buy into the whole "teenage" thing, I'd have to say it looks far simpler and your dog is just telling you he wants more attention, in the only way he knows how.

We tend to look at dog's exercise and play in human terms. If it satisfies or tires us out then it must satisfy and tire the dog, right?

If your dog is chewing and generally getting into mischief then it still isn't getting enough attention and stimulus to keep it physically and mentally taxed. You can over-complicate things, but I think it's as simple as increasing the stimulus for the dog. Though as tx says, teething could be a catalyst for the chewing.

missouri gal

New Member
You both have very good points!!

Also, I'd like to let you all know that there are products out there that use "enzymes" to help break down the protein in the urine and feces, so it makes the scent that the dogs can smell, but we can't, go away! The product I like is "Nature's Miracle"....but, I'm sure there are others just as well....read the labels and make sure it says it uses enzymes to break down proteins....don't use dish soap for a "quick fix"!! LOL!!


New Member
Both dogs and humans, and most mammals come to think of it, go through a period of adolescence. The body has almost completed attaining adulthood, and puberty with its changing hormones and uneven emotions are in the final phase. Experience and mental judgement, however, is still evolving. Think of it as the mind playing catch-up with the body. Becoming bigger, stronger, often braver, the dog will test its limits and those of its handler! This is the period when a dog may seem to forget everything it has ever learned, and owners may have problems with even the simplest of commands.

Different breeds mature at different rates. Smaller breeds tend to reach maturity earlier, live longer, and get old later. Larger breeds will take longer to become fully mature, live shorter lives, and tend to get old earlier. Thus although the timing of the different phases that a dog goes through really are breed specific, you can generally say that adolescence lasts from about 6 months to 2 years.

The good news is that eventually the teenage years do come to an end. The tough part is just getting through them. Be patient, don’t get upset when your dog refuses to come, and if the dog seems to have forgotten the most basic commands then just go right back to basics. Most importantly make sure your dog gets lots of playtime and exercise. A tired dog is a happy dog – and makes for a very happy owner, too! :dogsmile:

For a good article about adolescence in dogs, you might like to read Rebels With Paws, by Jacque Lynn Schultz, CPDT, Companion Animal Programs Advisor, ASPCA National Shelter Outreach.


New Member
I do think the 'teenage" phase is very real. It is a time of physiological and mental changes in the dog. Training relapses are common and normal (it is not uncommon for your dog to temporarily forget even its potty training!). Attention span goes out the window, maybe not every day or all day, but certainly it will seem as if the dog starts getting more susceptible to distractions than when he was a young puppy, and that training is no longer following a steady linear progression but is more like a series of ups and downs, of stunning progresses and then seemingly baffling relapses.

this is also when most dogs start to "test" their limits. Most frequently this is manifested as the puppy who used to always stay close to you when off leash in the park, now expresses more and more interest in wandering off and exploring, or becoming more interested in distractions. Definitely you must become even more vigilant an patient and consistent in training and enforcing rules and management practices, otherwise bad habits can form during this phase.

It doesn't mean that just because those new (and usually undesirable) behaviors are perfectly normal, that they are excusable. It also is unlikely that the dog will grow out of bad behaviors, rather those behaviors have to be dealt with proactively so they don't develop into bad habits into adulthood.

But this doesn't mean that "teenage" phase means disaster. It just means you will probably find yourself needing to keep a closer eye and use more management to maintain and build good behaviors, than earlier when the dog was a young puppy. And to not fret or worry or question about why you are having to expend more energy and vigilance now, just to know that it is normal to have to do it but everything will be OK.

many people get lulled into a false sense of security when their young puppies naturally stay close to them off leash, and think this means the dog will always be that way. Not so, once the "teenage" phase starts they will have to be re-trained all over again. And again. And again...and again...:)


Experienced Member
I never stated it wasn't real, or that it didn't even exist. :) What I stated is:

I don't buy into the whole "teenage" thing
I say this because I've owned several dogs, and I just can't say that I've experienced any bad behaviour that could be attributed to a "teenage years" thing.

According to popular legend, no matter how well trained the dog, it's going to get a rebellious streak and test the limits. I can, with my hand on my heart, say that I just haven't seen it happen, even with my lesser trained dogs. Now that makes me the luckiest owner in the world, the best trainer in the world, or just one who believes that the teenage years issue is a little over-egged, and so doesn't go around expecting bad things to happen. (Tip: It's the latter. :))

However, there are those far more intelligent than I, who are far more qualified to say whether it exists or not. I don't dispute that it exists, as I have to presume their testing is sound, etc. What I dispute is the alleged chaos, the testing of will, the bad behaviour, and so forth, that is all too often attributed to such a thing.

I see it more as a self-fulfilling prophecy, whereby people are expecting it to happen and so they subconsciously alter their training, their manner, their expectations, and, more importantly, they have a ready-made excuse when the dog has an off-day. Humans do this in so many aspects of life, I don't see why the dog-ownership aspect should be any different.

Mr X gets a dog and is perfectly happy with it. Then one day, his dog runs away from him, despite never having done it before. He goes to a forum to describe his woes, and someone asks "How old is he?". "Oh, he's a year old or so", comes the reply. Then, usually without any further thought, comes the dreaded, "Ah, that's just usual teenage years behaviour. Oh yeah, you can expect much worse from him now he's in his teenage years. My Fido, oh the trouble we had....." So now the seed is planted and propagated, and the legend is secured once more. Worse still, Mr X has an instant reason for all the woes of the next few months, and doesn't need to bother looking to see if there are other reasons. He might also follow the naturally human route and lessen the training of the dog, believing that his efforts will be futile for the next few months. Thus, his problems will surely worsen. Not because of some "teenage years" behaviour, but because the expectation of them has caused him to change his behaviour towards his dog. Once again, the legend is secured.

I have to go by what I see and feel, not by what I am told. All the book links in the world won't change what I see with my own two eyes.

I'm afraid that I'm very much of the Silvia Trkman school of thought:

Books, videos and seminars are helpful, but no one knows your dog better as you do, especially after teaching him those 100 tricks and playing and walking with him every day, so… Trust your intuition and do what YOU think is best for your dog. Avoid those that think there is just one best way. Wary those that want to make you believe you need particular breed/method/handling tool/video in order to succeed.
Of course, she's specifically referring to training, but I see little difference in the actual point she's making.

Actually I think I'll air my future thoughts on the subject in Ellie's blog. I'm wise enough to know that I could never change a view that is held so firmly by so many millions, so there would be little point in me continuing to try.

Jean Cote

Staff member
Once you lean off training, exercise or attention you might get bad behaviors instead. In hectic times (Christmas comes to mind), it's always wise to give your dog extra exercise to calm him down. :dogsmile:

"Teenage" years usually occurs just after the dog has been trained, once the owner starts to relax on his training.


New Member
The teenager phase has little to do with how a dog is being trained, and is based on simple biology. The effect of THP on brain activity changes during puberty, increasing anxiety. Other hormones are elevated and their ratios altered, the body undergoes dramatic physical changes that can affect balance and coordination, and going into heat for the first time will make any female dog a "little" distracted. Those females in heat will in turn distract young male dogs and make it difficult for them to concentrate.

To blame the owner for biological, chemical, emotional and mental changes during adolescence is pretty extreme. A basic understanding of biology and psychology shows that puberty and adolescence CAN at times be quite overwhelming and lead to short term behavioural changes. Every dog will be affected differently, and while some might seem to sail through this phase with little difficulty, others will need lots of help.

To those not blessed with the perfect dog, just relax and don't feel guilty that it is somehow your fault for not being the perfect trainer. Take a deep breath, accept that your dog is one of the many that do experience some difficulties during the adolescent phase, and keep concentrating on the basics. Some dogs just take more time to settle down into a more balanced adulthood, regardless of breed or training.


New Member
Happy New Year from Tassie

Shani the labradoodle is doing great and has passed her level one obedience with flying colours.
She is sweet natured but still is unaware that she is supposed to like water and be a bird dog.
This year we will persevere with level two obedience and also agility training.
She is also sporting her summer clip which makes her look like a lanky poodle with a scruuffy head and beard, which I think is very cute and certainly makes it easier to handle grass seeds and buzzies.


New Member
Well it's been a week since I wrote that question, and I do now think its attention thing....mostly. If I spend a good amount of time with him at night when I get home he is usually better behaved while I am gone at work the next day.
The potting in the house I will say is a teenage thing, I think. I've caught him lifting his leg on stuff her and there even after he has just been outside. I guess that will just take more training.
Bitter yuck and bitter apple have little or no affect for Tucker any more. I sprayed a phone cord and 2 days later he chewed through it. I did realize that the phone cord goes close (if not through) his established chewing area. and he has not chew one since we put a run over it.
Jean was right I have dropped in the amount of training he has been receiving. However we are starting the intermediate class at Petsmart next week. I think those classes he keep me more focused on his training and Lyln is a really great teacher.
I have decided that I will take Tucker on daily walks whether I have time or not. That has been helping his behavior probable more than any thing else.
I know he has been teething as his adult k9'S have come in but one of his puppy K9's have not, I have been told it is nothing to worry about yet, but it might have to be pulled if it does not come out after a couple of months. So I do know that wis teeth are bugging him. He has lots of chew toys 3 different bones (and lots of phone cords) to chew on. I guess I'll just have to see how it goes tomorrow, while my wife and I are at work.

Thanks for all the replies. and Happy new year.
Tucker, Mom, and Dad