Teenage Tearaway

by | May 23, 2022

Running off. Pulling like a train. Jumping up. Eating everything that’s left unattended. Forgetting their name.

Anyone who’s ever lived with an adolescent dog will know that it can be a major adjustment to see your sweet puppy transformed into a teenage tearaway before your eyes.

But for them, it’s a major adjustment too: surges of hormones that they haven’t felt before that drive them strongly (and with unbridled haste) to find opportunities to mate; an almost insatiable hunger as they seek to nourish their rapidly-growing bodies; a brain that’s not only reorganising itself but that’s preoccupied with S.E.X. while it’s doing so.

Most human teenagers go through a “no one understands me” phase; “no one understands me” is likely the case when you’re an adolescent dog living among another species without a shared language.

But they will come through it, and all the better with your support. And one day you will love them again. 

Meanwhile, the following essays might provide you with the support that you need if you feel like you’re living with a teenage tearaway. 

One Day You Will Love Him Again

Some suggestions for supporting dogs through puberty, including building a bank of life skills and being thoughtful about what we reward.

Surprising Puppy

A demonstration of how the engineering of Todd’s learning is adapted in the transition from puppyhood to adolescence.

A Day of Learning

A day in the life and learning of an adolescent Border Collie.

Shaping By Rewards

Using the example of Zip’s protectiveness of valuable food resources, this essay demonstrates the ways in which careful examination of what an individual finds rewarding can shape the learning by addressing needs.

Stop Doing That

This essay examines how we can teach a “Cease That” behaviour via blocking, stationing, and consistency. 

The Power of Passive Learning

The power of passive learning requires planning and understanding; the repetition of positive experiences creates associations that colour learning.

Obnoxious Puppy

This essay explores how opportunities for learning are created to satiate Todd’s voracious appetite.

Key Reading

The Spaces Between

At the heart of learner-centred education, the teacher acts as a guide whose role is to elicit rather than to impart, and learners quickly become empowered and equipped to transfer their knowledge and skills to new scenarios.

In praise of naughty dogs

.. a desire for solutions to problems that weren’t problems until someone else outside of the relationship suggested they were.

50 years a student of sheepdogs

In recognition of my half-century of being a student of collies I want to celebrate their skills as masters of my learning.

Why add fun?

When an activity gives intrinsic pleasure we do not need to add fun.

No room for mechanics

If your ambition is to have good mechanics in communication to animals then you may find yourself blocked into a tight corner

The Experienced Dog

Knowing your dog has receive sufficient preparation does not mean every eventuality, but a range of different conditions so that when the unexpected happens they will draw on their skills and solve the issue.

The Value of Experience

The non-experienced, or current generation of imposters, have attended a course, read a book, got a certificate and have yet to gain experience to deepen their knowledge or understanding of the subject, protocol, method …

Chasm opening up?

The more I see “sit, down, come, stay heel” as the essential basics the more I am moving further away from the general view of living with dogs.

Normal is always changing

What was normal in training 20 or 40 years ago is not the same today. There are folk persistently maintaining the normal of 1976, but fortunately there are enough folk with a deeper understanding of the processes that have moved normal forwards.

Shaping by rewards

When I see a dog showing a behaviour that is heading towards potential conflict, my first question is “what rewards are available?”

Top Training

Evidence of learning

When we use the words “teach” or “train” child, person or dog, the operative term implies that the process is under the ownership of the teacher or trainer. What your teacher thinks you have learned may not be what you actually learned.

One dog watching

The other dog working
or ….how to train the spectators to quietly rest and watch whilst you work, play, teach a single member of the group

The Power of Passive Learning

Active learning: the learner takes active choice of what to do, how to respond, is attentive and making conscious effort
Passive learning: little conscious effort, reward is delivered for minimum effort.

A Day of Learning

A no-training day does not mean he gets a lazy day lying idly in the sun. Learning is still happening and this is significant and important for his development.

Surprising Puppy

Surprising Puppy. With obnoxious moments. After introducing the obnoxious puppy as a youngster I am knocked over by the Delightful Young Man he is turning into……

Obnoxious Puppy

The delight of your new puppy is probably going to last a few weeks, maybe four if you are lucky. When 12 weeks old hits, and you will feel a slam, the Delight is going to demonstrate ungrateful, obnoxious traits.

Preparation

Preparing before you train and the final check list

More than words

We expect our dogs to understand the meaning of words and signals, but if you have ever worked with computers you will know that what you say doesn’t always turn into an actionable response.

Not all lures contain food

“the direct use of the reinforcer to elicit the behaviour”
This should always be foremost in our mind, in that many alternatives lures are available.

Remote lures

Lures at a distance, separated from hands, pockets . Using reward stations, patterns, containers

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