My little white dog, Cami, is entering what we call her "teen ogre" phase. Many people are surprised and dismayed to discover that dogs, like people, go through adolescence. And like human teenagers, canine teenagers get rebellious. When she is about 6-18 months old, your puppy will probably start testing her limits and your patience. Even though your dog may look like an adult at this age, she is not done with her mental development by any means.
Canine adolescence can be a difficult time for everybody. In fact, most dogs that are brought to shelters because of "behavior problems" are brought in when they are between 8-18 months old. Like my dog, they’ve become teen ogres and their owners don’t know how to handle it. The good news is that you can almost always solve these problems if you understand what is going on.
The first step is to get the dog spayed or neutered. Like every teenager, raging hormones are at the root of many problems. Second, give the dog lots of exercise. At this age, a dog’s tolerance for boredom is at an all time low. And if you don’t give her something to do, rest assured she’ll find something to do.
The third key to surviving canine adolescence is to only give the dog a command when you know you can back it up. If I tell Cami to be "down," and she gets back up, I have to go over to her and tell her to be "down" again. Yes, it’s repetitive, yes it’s boring, and yes it’s necessary. Dogs are smart. If Cami figures out that I only mean the "down" command sometimes, but not all the time, she learns that she only has to obey me sometimes. Like raising a human, raising a dog requires a tremendous amount of patience. But unlike human adolescence, canine adolescence only lasts a few months, and even better, they never ask for the keys to the car.