Adventures with Rottweilers

Surviving Your Dog’s Adolescence #Rottweilers

When people talk about getting a new dog, only the puppy training (obedience, house, etc.) and the teething issue ever come up. And yes, that’s a big part of raising a puppy.

But around 10 months old, just when you think everything is perfect, they become teenagers. Rebellious little buggers who want to do everything their way. They “forget” the training they had mastered, they “forget” that they aren’t in charge, and they “forget” that biting you isn’t a game or allowed.

This isn’t because they are bad dogs.

During adolescence the body is flooded with hormones (so spaying/neutering your pup is advised – talk to your vet before Cutie Pie is 6 months old), the brain grows and changes, and the final physical growth takes place.

Remember being a teenager? All the mood swings for no apparent reason, the energy surges, the need for more sleep, the hunger, the confusion? I can go on, but you get the point. Up until 18 months, this will be at its most acute. (That’s why they eat puppy food with all its extra goodies in until then.)

When your pup bites you, ask her to think about why she is doing it. They’re smart, they’ll figure out that it isn’t acceptable. When the really hard bite comes, be firm and say “no”. You have put in the time and training to bond with your pup, she remembers that even though her raging hormones clouds it.

Personally, with Caitlin, I throw her out of the house for an hour to cool off when she gets overexcited. She hates being separated from me, so it is punishment she understands. (I banish her from my study at night with the same result.) Yes, I’m covered with bruises for the first month or so in training her through adolescence (caveat: I bruise ridiculously easy and if she really wanted to hurt me, I would’ve lost a limb already), but I know from experience that the more I work with my adolescent pup, the better things will get.

Now, it isn’t over when they reach 18 months. Up until the age of 3, they are still developing. So surges of adolescent madness will still occur on occasion. But know that you will have a wonderful, well-behaved dog at the end of the adolescent years.

Callum was a terror when I got him – even the vet thought that he was too dangerous to be allowed. Tsk. I loved and trained that little monster and today he is “my good boy” (he loves to hear how wonderful, smart and scary he is). Yeah, he likes to scare people at the vet’s office, but he doesn’t tug on the leash, actually becomes aggressive or bites anyone. He only growls and shows his gorgeous teeth a little when they come too close or looks at him too long. I think it’s hilarious: people with pocket-sized dogs immediately think that he is a dangerous animal when they see him (bias against Rottweilers at its worst) so he shows them proper disdain for their ignorance. (Small dogs are more prone to bite people than well-trained big dogs. #Truth from the practice manager where my dogs go.)

Fun segue aside, you can survive your dog’s adolescence. Don’t give up.

All that renewed frenetic chewing isn’t your pup teething again: it’s just a way to release pent-up energy. (Chewing now includes biting you and attacking your feet – or just the shoes you’re wearing.)

Clicker, special time toy, toys that get buried outside… See Caitlin’s paw? She thinks everything belongs to her.

How can you help your dog get enough exercise? (Leaving them in the backyard isn’t enough.)

Every dog is different. Some get over the rebellious stage faster – while others linger. You know your pup. Spend time with her and help her through this confusing time. Make it a bonding experience. And if she bites, redirect her attention to something suitable to destroy. (I buy long-life milk in bulk, so the cartons come in big, sturdy boxes – Caitlin destroys a couple a week. It works well for the compost heap.)

If you can’t handle it, ask your vet for help. They know everything about dogs and can either help you themselves or refer you to a specialised trainer.

On occasion, Caitlin likes to wear her choke chain. It makes her feel big and strong. Besides, girls like to accessorise.

Want to keep up with Ronel’s Rottweilers? Follow us on InstagramPinterest and Twitter — we love to take mum’s phone and make appearances there. You can also sign up for Ronel’s author newsletter –and receive a free ebook — where Caitlin and Callum share news, too. (I won’t share your information and I’ll only email you once a month with updates on new releases, special offers, and a bit of news.)

**Legal waiver: I’m not a veterinarian, just an overprotective Rottweiler mum and pack leader. It’s always best to contact your vet if something in your dog’s behaviour is out of character.

6 thoughts on “Surviving Your Dog’s Adolescence #Rottweilers”

    1. Thanks, Jacqui 🙂 Every stage has its own challenges. Though, I haven’t been fortunate enough to deal with my dogs when they reach Casey’s age — cancer, disease and idiots poisoning my pups have robbed me of that. I’m looking forward to managing Callum and Caitlin’s elderly status when we reach that point 🙂

  1. Ronel,

    A rottweiler wouldn’t be my first pick for a pet but to each his/her own I say. That aside, you shared some interesting tidbits on dealing with a growing pup. Having a pet is a huge responsibility, especially dogs that need to be taken outdoors for routinely for potting or walks or exercise. I often feel bad for dogs that stay indoors all day just waiting to get out to let off some of their built-up energies. It takes a special purrson dedicated to making sure his/her pet gets regular time outside. Thanks for sharing and have a great week, my furriend!

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