Very young puppies, from 8 to 20 weeks will be highly focussed on you, their owner. Therefore, there is never a better time to enrol for a puppy training class. After 5 months, your puppy will enter its adolescent stage of development. ‘Just like humans going through their teenage years, dogs going through adolescence can become difficult to live with, especially when you compare them with how they used to be before puberty. Young puppies work hard to build relationships with people, while adolescents are far more focused on the outside world, making it a time in their development when it is far harder for owners to gain their focus, especially in situations where distractions abound, such as dog training classes.
When does it happen?
All dogs are different but, usually, adolescence begins with puberty at around 5/6 months of age and continues until social maturity at about 18 months of age, although it does often get a little bit easier when they reach about a year old. Smaller dogs usually enter puberty earlier and reach social maturity sooner, whereas the opposite is true for larger dogs, with some taking up to 2.5 years to become fully mature. Females tend to become socially mature more quickly, whereas males tend to mature more slowly. Major behavioural changes associated with adolescence usually only last for about 6 months after puberty, although it can take some dogs longer. Normality is usually resumed in all dogs when they reach social maturity as long as training has occurred and been delivered consistently throughout the puppy and adolescent stage.
Why does it happen?
Young puppies need us to care for them and they work hard to keep our attention by being sweet and engaging. It’s easy for us to enjoy this but it often makes it difficult to accept the marked change in attitude that occurs when puberty is reached and the hormones associated with reproduction begin to circulate. At this time, their focus naturally shifts to the outside world. Suddenly, finding out about their environment and what is in it becomes their top priority. Pleasing you, is now far less important to them than exploration, and they will begin to actively ignore you in favour of things outside. In addition, at this time in their lives, their confidence develops and they grow bigger and stronger, and this can lead them into all sorts of trouble as they explore the world around them.
A common complaint from owners during puppy adolescence is that dogs begin to become disobedient and 'naughty' at home, no longer responding to cues as readily as they did before. This is the time when many people unfortunately give up on their dogs by putting them into rescue, which is sad and unnecessary. Try to be sympathetic to their need to be interested in things, other than what you want, but keep up the training and play, increasing the value of the treats and games, as necessary, to maintain their motivation to please you.’
Gwen Bailey, Founder and Director of Puppy School, UK.
If I had a pound for every time that I’ve heard an owner say, ‘My puppy doesn’t need a training class. They’re doing just great without one!’ I’d literally be a millionaire. Unfortunately, though, many owners find that once their pups reach adolescence, they wished they’d joined that puppy class that they thought they didn’t need and then take them along, instead, to an adult class.
When owners take their pups to a puppy class before 20 weeks of age, they generally find that, within minutes, their pups are happily ignoring all of the other puppies in class and focussing on mom and dad who have brought along tasty treats and their favourite toys, as rewards for good behaviour. They are eager to please their owners and their trainers and they are soon learning all of their basics such as ‘sit’, ‘down’, ‘stand’, ‘off’, ‘leave’, ‘take it’, ‘wait’, ‘come’, ‘stay’, ‘walking nicely on lead’ as well as practising appropriate play with other puppies, learning how to be handled and groomed, as well as mastering a few tricks. By 5 months, your eager pup will be able to perform all of these behaviours, consistently, to cue. They’ll also improve their socialisation skills and develop the confidence needed to become well-balanced adult dogs.
When these ‘trained’ pups reach adolescence, their owners may find their pups behaviour a little more challenging but, by continuing the consistent training that they began with their pup at 11 weeks, they will come through the other side.
The owner, however, who chooses not to enrol in a training class until their pup is 6 months+ just makes their life so much more difficult than it needs to be. Now their adolescent pup is in a roomful of other adolescent pups who, rather than being focussed on you, their owner, are far more focussed on each other, on every other person in the room, on every noise they hear, on every smell etc and trying to get their focus to practise the techniques and methods that you’re being shown, while not impossible, is just so much harder. Hence, the fact that our Adult Beginner's Course has a maximum of 5 dogs to 2 trainers so that we're able to provide the individual attention that older pups and dogs require.
Not only do owners and pups learn all of their foundation training at our puppy classes but you will also have a qualified and experienced trainer at your disposal for the duration of the course, and often beyond, and you will be provided with a wealth of guidance, knowledge and support from myself and Steve. Nothing beats actually seeing techniques and methods demonstrated effectively and having a us on hand to help you to perfect your technique is something that I hope you will find invaluable.
So, hopefully, I’ve convinced you to join our puppy training in Market Drayton which is one of the few puppy classes that is fully approved by the ABTC, the only regulatory body for animal training within the UK. It has been approved after rigorous monitoring of the standards that we offer to ensure the BEST possible environment in which to train your puppy.
· Puppies and adult dogs are in separate classes. Puppies under 20 weeks are kept separate from adult dogs.
· Dogs within a class are all at a similar level, e.g. beginner, intermediate, advanced.
· Small class sizes (8 puppies/dogs maximum per trainer/assistant).
· No stress and tension.
· No check chains, prong collars or electric collars.
· No rough treatment of, grabbing, shaking, shouting at puppies or dogs or pinning them to the floor.
· No spraying with water pistols/air sprays.
· No throwing of noise makers.
· No humiliation or shaming of owners.
· Check our recommendations, ratings and testimonials thoroughly.
You can book our classes before you even bring your puppy home to ensure that you get a place so please don't delay. Get yourself booked in today and start your training journey with Train Me & My Dog in Market Drayton.