7 months old...whew! Where did all the time go? Seems like yesterday I was waiting on Zip to have her babies!
The fuzzy little 8 week old bundles of fuzz have been replaced with terrible teenage terrors! The puppies I raised to be respectful and listen suddenly are not :)
And having 2 of them makes this part of puppy life so much MORE fun than it is with one :)
A person might think I get really angry at the puppies right now...as I call the phase the "I hate my dog" phase.
But really, all this is, is the puppy figuring out it's boundaries. And believe it or not I tend to get MORE patient during this time. They are changing, developing not only physically but mentally as well...hormones are coming into play and they want to be independent! GREAT!
I want independent...but I don't want my walls chewed or my shoes eaten. So...my goal in this phase of puppyhood is to "minimize obsessions"...aka bad habits :)
Your puppy may start chewing things that they haven't before? Having bad potty habits or not listening...all of these are bad habits that you do not want to become a part of the dogs behavior!
Many people I talk to think the dog will "grow out of it"...well...I guess it depends on how your dog is...mine wouldn't...it would just get worse :) I am sure there is a dog out there with the loving, amazing attitude that says "well, those are MOM's shoes..I shouldn't mess with them"...but really?? Most dogs no.
This is the time I back up and treat them more like a baby dog, that 8 week old puppy you started with. Less space to roam, constant supervision and I really make sure they are following (AND UNDERSTANDING) the rules. Make things easier for the dong to get right and reward those good decisions! LOTS OF RECALLS!
As puppies get older they get more space to roam, time out of the kennels etc...but as they show us they are being teenage puppies, it is our job to stop those bad behaviors before they become an issue.
So for now, my puppies are back on "baby dog time"...I watch them closely and if I can't they are contained in an x-pen or their crate. I give them lots of appropriate things to chew on and correct them if they try to eat my couch or table legs. Then redirect them to something appropriate.
If you dog has issue with potty problems...(which thankfully these girls are not (KNOCK ON WOOD!))...then it is YOUR job to make sure they don't have an accident! YES YOUR JOB! Every accident a puppy has is YOUR fault. You didn't take them out in time, enough, after eating, after playing, after sleeping after ANYTHING and EVERYTHING...aka you take puppies out ALL THE TIME. And don't give me some sob story about it being cold or raining or whatever. I have raised three puppies in the Minnesota winter...just do it.
And with dogs that are prone to obsessive behavior (well imagine that...I own two breeds that are know for that!!!) don't think cute things won't become huge issues...self rewarding behaviors are hard to break...so if your dog is showing signs of developing one (aka shadown chasing...herding cars etc) TAKE care of it now when they are babies. Many times if you just remove the dog from the stimulus for a week or so, they will forget about it. Really...it can work :)
So...my puppies are evil, but I adore them...they challenge my authority and that is OK, they are figuring things out...I still love them and wouldn't change having them for the world :)
Be patient with your puppies during this stage...if you handle it right this phase doesn't last too long and it can be a great bonding period for you and your dog.