People aren't the only ones who experience growing pains as they leave childhood behind. It happens to pets, too. And if your cute and obedient puppy has suddenly become as troublesome as a teenager, take heart. It may just be a passing phase.
Just like us, dogs often go through a rebellious adolescence when they're less cooperative. And like a surly teen, they may be willing to listen to others but not to the people they live with. For dogs, this period tends to start at around eight months, a study of seeing eye dogs found.
The British study followed guide dogs in training at various points in their lives.
Teenage dogs are the most likely age group to land in U.S. shelters. This might not happen so often if people realized that their problems were temporary, and they were just being typical adolescents.
All of the five-month old dogs quickly sat for both their carer and a stranger. But the eight-month old dogs were much more likely to follow the command from a stranger.
Imagine the aggravation of watching your dog refuse to sit for you, but happily doing so for a stranger.
Many owners feel like they're failing when puppies reach this difficult stage, said the study's lead author, Lucy Asher, Senior Lecturer at Newcastle University's School of Natural and Environmental Sciences. And they can react in very different ways. Some punish the dogs, some ignore them and others go so far as to send them away.
In fact, teenage dogs are the most likely age group to land in U.S. shelters, according to Asher. This might not happen so often if people realized that it was only temporary, possibly the result of surging hormones, as is often the case in human teens.
Dogs go through many other changes during adolescence, as you cease to be the center of their universe. Blue Cross, a British organization that helps find homes for abandoned and unwanted pets, offers some tips on how to survive doggy adolescence.
For more details, see the article in Biology Letters.