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

What Words Conceal

The language across all kinds of media paints a picture of dogs and our relationships with them.

Location is Their Cue

We begin teaching the dog to go to a target, such as a mat or platform and in this process our focus is on the outcome – the dog can place feet on the object or settle down. But at the same time this learning is happening the dog is also noting the location: where this is happening in this room, in the house, relative to the food-machine (you).

Cue Seeking is Connection

Connection is very individual and to be authentic we have to observe, slow down, understand our dogs and meet them where they are.

The Right Bed in the Right Spot

Resting and sleeping are not necessarily the same state. Good sleep where we feel safe and comfortable is important for us all.

Play Health Check

When we look at play or food delivery as an ACTIVITY we share the same mindset as the dog: is there pleasure to be experienced?

Since the Dawn of Dog Training

The old joke reminds us that the only thing dog trainers can agree on is that their training method in the best one. It becomes increasingly difficult to know which method is “right” and whether it will suit the dog, the situation and trainer’s skills.

Back to Basics?

The word “basic” is often derided as synonymous with “shallow,” but in its origins it is the very opposite: foundational, profound, supportive.

The Whole of The Dog

We cannot divide training into compartments of fast recalls, or sit for greeting, or loose leads as everything we ask of the dogs is interrelated.

Not Today and Not for My Sheepdogs

Standard protocols of extinction, impulse control, counterconditioning are quickly grabbed off the shelf as satisfactory solutions. These solutions are unlikely to help your collie, your sheepdog as the focus is heavily on suppression of who they are and why they live.

Do you see what I see

Doing better is the reward from doing the work. This work needs to be the right work at the right time with the right intent done in the right way.

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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