Tags: Pet care. Advice.
LIVING WITH A FOUR-LEGGED TEENAGER Part 2
By Yvonne Bishop
In the last issue, I wrote about the two main periods dogs go through: 6 – 9 months the sexual maturity stage – during this age bracket is when most people will have their dogs both males and females desexed. Some people have the idea that this will quieten down the dog and may be dreaming they can skip the teens. Sorry, it doesn’t. The dog may be quiet for 24 hours after surgery and then usually they are back to their bouncing energetic behaviour.
Training and maturity is the key to have a well-mannered dog. 12 – 24 months is known as the social maturity stage where he learns how to interact with and respond to changes and learning skills. During this period he is learning how to deal with new experiences being good or bad. Some dogs when puppies would not be bothered about loud noises and thunderstorms and during this period they may develop fear.
Some dogs are very sociable but one bad experience can cause anxiety more so at this stage than others. Most important is to understand it is a normal stage and that the dog is not naughty. Dogs are not aware of human house rules and so they have to be taught. So how do we survive the teen years and turn them from a rollercoaster ride to a merry go round?
1. Patience Dogs behaviours such as chewing, digging, barking are normal and healthy but we need to teach them skills that are not normal such as don’t bark or chase. How do we do it? By being patient and 100% consistent. We need to teach them our rules. The simplest way is to reinforce and reward good behaviour.
2. Exercise During this stage they may need more stimulation then they did as puppies. Walking more often and vary the walks can be helpful. As they are also fully vaccinated it is safe to take them to the beach or the dog park and let them run around. This will help to use up their energy and excitement level. Taking them for long walks around the neighbourhood can be calming as they sniff around and yes, it is important to let them sniff. To be continued in the next article.
ET COME HOME
By DR JACKIE at Sandstone Point Vets
Many dogs bark when their owner is not home, and we can only speculate why. One good explanation is that they miss their significant human and are calling them home. Your dog’s barking is rewarded every time, eventually, because you do come home. Your dog does not understand that you were coming home anyway.
Dogs chasing the postie is part of our urban legend; the reasons for this may be similar, using “doggie logic”. Consider the following sequence of events: postie threatens to impinge the pack boundary and messes with pack property (i.e. the letterbox), dog produces a territorial display (hackles up, barking), postie leaves, and dog’s behaviour is rewarded. That silly postie comes AGAIN the next day and gets driven off by your dog’s ferocious display AGAIN… Will postie never learn???