The Puppy Training Podcast

Episode #98 Adolescence & Boredom Prevention

April 14, 2022 Baxter & Bella Puppy Training Season 5 Episode 98
The Puppy Training Podcast
Episode #98 Adolescence & Boredom Prevention
Show Notes Transcript

Do you have a teenage dog in your home? It happens sooner than you think. Courtney Goblirsch joins Amy in studio to discuss common adolescent behavior and how to help make it through this phase of your dog's life - maybe even enjoy it! 

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Amy:

This is the puppy training Podcast, episode number 98. Adolescence and boredom prevention. This podcast designed to help you on your journey of becoming best friends through love and learning as you train your own dog from home, and I'm here to help you every step of the way. This is the puppy training podcast. And I'm your host, Amy Jensen. Hello, everybody, welcome to the puppy training Podcast. I'm so excited that you're here today. We have a good topic, adolescence, I know that that's something that every family experiences when you get a puppy. And it happens faster than you think this new puppy comes home. They're, you know, eight to 10 weeks old. And within a few months, you have a teenager on your hands. So I have Courtney here with me today to talk about adolescence, and just offer some tips and ideas on how you guys can make it through in the best possible way. It really can be a fun time of life. So welcome, Courtney.

Courtney:

Thank you. I'm excited to be here.

Amy:

Let's start out Courtney by you just introducing yourself a little bit. Well, you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into training dogs.

Courtney:

Yeah, so I've been training dogs for about five years now. I actually didn't have any dog training experience before that I went on a whim and for college decided to go to Bergen University, which is a service dog training school. So it was something that I decided to try it was going to be 10 months, I ended up loving it and turn my career into that. So it's been an awesome ride. I've been doing a lot of service dog training. Starting out, I had my own dog training business before I worked for Baxter & Bella. So it's been a fun ride getting into the service dog and pet business.

Amy:

That's so cool. What is your favorite thing you've learned how to train a dog to do since you have lots of experience in like the service dog industry and in the pet industry? What's been your favorite?

Unknown:

Yeah, so my favorite is probably going to be the cube get your leash. So this is something we use a little bit more for the service dogs. But it's a really great way to bond with your dog and also a safety one. So for me, I'd use it at home where I'd put the leash maybe on the ground or keep it on the ground. And I could tell my dog like, Hey, do you want to go for a walk, get your leash, and they could indicate then hey, let's go for a walk and they would bring their leash or maybe I'm going to stay on the couch. So is a great way for me to be able to communicate with my dog for those experiences. And then on the safety aspect for the service dogs, when we are out in public, we did a lot of dropping the leash, when we were just outside or in a in a public setting to see what the dog charge off or what the dog go do something else, right, you know, go run after something. And so it was wonderful to see the dog like the second, the leash would drop, they'd grab it, and they'd bring it right back to you. So it almost became implied to it, the lease drops, I'm gonna grab it and bring it back. And it was just a really fun cue to teach.

Amy:

I love teaching families that then it's so useful when you're out and about and instead of bending over and trying to pick up the leash the dog just hands it to so I love that one. Yes, it's super fun. So when we talk about adolescence coordinate, just let's pretend that people have no idea what that is. And in dog terms, you know, will you explain for us? What is it? And what are the common characteristics that we see in this age?

Unknown:

Yeah, so adolescence is pretty much just another phase. So when you get a puppy, you're in that puppy phase. And then adolescence is just another type of phase. So it's something where maybe new behaviors pop up, your dog maybe starts to test some boundaries, maybe they have a little bit more energy. So it's just going to be a little bit of a switch, and maybe what you've been used to when you had your little eight week old puppy, so just a different type of phase. Some things that can pop up during this time, like I said, are new behavior. So maybe they start barking more, maybe marking comes into play just a little bit there with that, kind of getting into that development that they're in during that stage as well. Counter surfing could happen, any type of behavior where maybe they're testing a boundary. So you had a perfect recall before. Now your puppy is not really listening to that recall as much and wants to keep sniffing that bush or play with that stick. So that's kind of going to be that adolescence there is that those new behaviors popping up and testing some of those boundaries? And what ages are we talking about here? Yeah, so you can see it as early as four months. I will say it's not as common that early, but I'll see a pop up around six, seven months, and it can actually go anywhere up to 16 months. So it's a pretty long phase if it was to stretch out that long. But no worries. It's not going to be you know, I think a lot of people see it as a super hard phase. But as long as you're managing it, it is just another phase.

Amy:

Yeah, I agree completely. And I think for me personally, it's just getting through those first transitional weeks of oh, I literally I feel like I can wake up and be like my dogs hit adolescence, you know, it's like, oh, we are seeing all of these signs. And once we figure out how to work together in this new phase of life and make it through that transition period, I really do feel like the rest of adolescence can be enjoyable. Definitely. So what are the most common concerns you see, as a trainer with families who come to you and say, Okay, I'm having these issues I'm seeing counter surfing, I'm seeing barking more often I'm seeing, you know, what are the most common concerns that you see?

Unknown:

Yeah, so some of the concerns I see is maybe falling out of training. So I see a lot of where the dogs getting older. And so we just don't put as much effort into training. And then some of these behaviors can start to stick a little bit more or start to happen a little bit more often. Because we're not training as much a biggest another big thing would be not managing situations either. So not realizing your dog is doing a new behavior or testing a boundary and adding managed management to it. Instead, we're just kind of letting it happen and staying in that same routine we've always done. And then I always like to say that we're not really taking a step back, either. So the biggest thing I mean with that is, if our dogs take a step back, they start this new behavior, they test a boundary, we also as the owners need to take a step back with them. Because just like I was saying, with the routine, if we stay in the same routine, we've always been, and we don't take that step back with them. The dog is also just going to keep doing what they're doing, and not learn anything new from it, or learn what we want them to do. So that those would be the biggest concerns I see.

Amy:

Yeah, really great tips. I love the idea of stepping back with our dogs that keeps our relationship healthy, right, where we're recognizing what our dog's saying to us what they're experiencing, and we're willing to, you know, take a step back, give them some extra space or some time and revisit some of those basics. And to not be afraid of doing that. I agree with you that sometimes people are just a little hesitant to be like, well, I already taught come, or I already taught set and to go back and revisit that in this new phase of life is really important.

Unknown:

Yes, definitely. Sometimes just going back to that foundation, where it can really just take a net new step where the pups like, oh, yeah, I remember this. And they're able to get in snap back right to where they were.

Amy:

Yeah. And then that relationship stays good. And we're not doing these power struggles. Sometimes I find that people are, let's just get into a power struggle with my dog, and all of that good relationship building that they did in those puppy weeks starts to diminish. And so keeping that relationships drum, I think can be helpful to Most definitely. So in a nutshell, Courtney, if you're working with an adolescent dog, which I know you've worked with many, can you give us some specific examples of maybe something that's common that an adolescent dog does and how you handle it?

Unknown:

Yes, there's something common I see with some adolescents dog would be that counter surfing popping up. So counter surfing is just them, putting their two front paws up on that counter, and either checking out what's up there or stealing things off of there. So a biggest thing about this would be managing that situation. So that might mean limiting space. So maybe the dog used to have the kitchen space, and now they're showing this counter surfing behavior. This means during this timeframe, I might limit space when I'm not in the kitchen. So the dog is maybe tethered with me or tethered to another area where they can't necessarily wander into the kitchen during this time. But then I also want to teach them what to do. So when I am in the kitchen with them, I'm ready to train at all times. And I'm going to reward them for those situations of maybe they're laying on the kitchen rug, maybe they're sitting next to me not demanding anything, but just simply sitting there. So teaching and managing that situation of they can't just go and get away with it all the time, if I'm not in there. So again, going back to that management piece. Another common one I see is a lot of maybe stealing items and playing keep away. So now it's fun to get something and maybe your shoe and run away with it so that I start chasing you. So this would be one where I'm going to start to teach a really strong leave it or a really strong drop it once they actually have that item to help build that relationship of hey, this isn't a game where we You want my attention, I'm gonna go grab something and now run away from you. It's Hey, okay, you did grab something, let's give you something else to play with. That's more appropriate. And let's teach you how to give me that item or drop that item.

Amy:

Yeah, super useful examples. I know those are very common. We get those a lot in our program. But great tips on those things. Let's talk a little bit about boredom. So oftentimes, as the puppies mature, and they get to this phase of life, now they are awake more often, they're not as sleepy as they were when they were a young puppy. And so they're just kind of looking for things to do. How can we help boredom in dogs? And what are some tips that you have for that?

Courtney:

Yeah, so whenever it comes to boredom, I always try to think of what what could my dog be doing? So giving them something to do give them a job to do is what we like to say all the time. Because if they're doing something, they're not going to go cause all that mischief or look for mischief in that in that space of what else can I do when I'm bored? So maybe I'm doing some emails, I might have my puppy in a place and be rewarding that type of behavior for a down stay. Maybe I don't want to be paying too much attention to them because I really need to do what I'm doing. Maybe I get a snuffle mat out or up. Has all for them to kind of keep that mind going keep that mind stimulated. And then some of my fun ones with like physical activity. So maybe we go for a hike, we have a playdate, something that you know, you don't have to do every day. But it's a nice thing to pop in here and there, since we did talk about adolescents can come with more energy, doing some of those more high activities. And I love always adding mental and physical stimuli at the same time. And then also, those were always things that you're engaging with them. But create time, crea time can be a simple thing of your giving your job to settle, to take a nap. And using those when you need to get things done that you can't manage these behaviors or you're leaving the house and your dog needs to be in a safe space where again, they can't go run into the kitchen encounter, serve, serve. So doing all those types of things to kind of curb that boredom and to help them do something or give them something to do.

Amy:

Yeah, I agree and a management and training we say that over and over again. Because it is so important. And I think sometimes as we go into that adolescent phase, it's easy to, like you said, let that slide and another house trained now so they can be out more, so more people are leaving their dogs out. But then we need to because of counter surfing or jumping or barking out the window or things maybe bring some of that structure back and, and help manage that which also helps with the boredom, like you mentioned with the mental stimulation and a physical exercise. You know, those things are important for a dog and I find even giving a dog five or 10 minutes of you know undivided attention or giving them something mentally to think about and do like a puzzle toy or something, then they're ready to go and relax on their own a little more easily. All right, Courtney, thank you so much for joining us. And for all of those awesome adolescent tips. I know there's a lot of families out there who will benefit from this podcast today. What is your most commonly asked training question, I like to ask all of my trainers this?

Unknown:

Yeah, so this actually kind of goes a little bit with the adolescence, so maybe demanding attention, or attention seeking that is a big one I've been getting lately, with our clients, it's just a dog, maybe the dog is barking at you, because they want your attention, I find a lot of the time we might be giving unintentional reward. So the dog barks we look at them, the dog barks we say shut, or we don't give them something they actually know how to do. And so what happens is, this actually increases those types of behaviors, those attention seeking behaviors to get your engagement again. And so the biggest thing I always tell people is watch this unintentional rewards, you know, first, let's try to ignore the behavior. Just keep doing what you're doing. If it gets really persistent, maybe you were standing up or walking away, still not paying attention to that puppy, but just kind of creating some space. And then if they're following you and still barking at you, or maybe they amp it up, even, and now they go steal that shoe to really try to get your reaction, you know, having the puppy then go into some of their space for some downtime. So putting the puppy in the pan with some toys to be able to settle in a safe space where they're not getting or using these attention seeking behaviors. We're putting them on a tether in a safe area. This is just a big one, I think lately with now the somewhat older pups, are this, these adolescent pups that are now trying to find ways to seek engagement from us, and to demand some of that attention.

Amy:

Love it. Well, if you had a day off Courtney, with just you and your dogs, how are you spending that day?

Unknown:

Yeah, so I love hiking, I live right in the mountains. So it's super, super easy to do some hiking, and then anything with water. So if I can get to a lake, I love taking the dogs to teach them how to swim or, you know, teach them to fetch into the lake or river or whatever it may be. Those are really my absolute favorite things to do with the dogs.

Amy:

All right, well, on that topic. I'm thinking I might have to have you back for another day of podcasting, and we'll talk about swimming. I do get your question. I don't know how often you get that question. I get that question. I think When summer comes along, you know springs happening, the weather's warming up and I start to get those questions that will help. When can we Pepi learn how to swim and how do I teach them how to swim. So that actually might be a fun topic we could talk about great.

Courtney:

Yes, I love it.

Amy:

All right. Well, thanks for being here. Thanks, everyone for listening. I appreciate it. I hope you go and have a wonderful adventure with your dogs this week and I will talk to you next week. If you have a question about anything you heard on this podcast or any other Puppy Training question, visit my site Baxterandbella.com to contact me.