Basset Hounds Forum banner
1 - 1 of 1 Posts

· Registered
9,871 Posts
wecome to to a basset puppy all the behavior is quite normal not just for a basset but all adolecent hounds,

ClickerSolutions Training Articles -- Canine Adolescence
In addition to this biological imperative, a puppy's brain is going through incredible changes. The cerebral cortex becomes a leaner, meaner thinking machine. During the period where it does all this new myelinization, however, it's not a very efficient thinking machine -- especially during the early adolescence period.

That's why adolescents can think one minute and not the next. Worse, what happens is that the signals that should go to the cerebral cortex get rerouted directly through the limbic system, so you get a completely off-the-wall emotional response. You see this in human teenagers:

"Please take out the garbage."

"You hate me!! You'd never ask that if you understood me! You never listen! I hate you and never want to see you again!!!!!"

Ask the teen later why he responded that way, and he'll say, "I don't know" -- and he DOESN'T. He had no control of those sudden emotions. It was a complete brain fart.

Adolescence in dogs generally starts around 6-7 months of age. It technically lasts until adulthood, which is somewhere between 3 and 4 years of age. However, the absolute worst phase -- the time when they are truly bears of little brain -- is usually over after the first 2-3 months.

So to break it down:

7-10 months, early adolescence. This is the hardest period of adolescence. No brain. If intact, huge amounts of hormones. The honeymoon of childhood is over! This is usually the time when temperament defects start to rear their ugly heads. Some dogs become very reactive in this time, and within a pack, social issues may emerge.

11 months-3 years, adolescence. Lots of change during this long period. He goes from an emotional, underdeveloped 12 year old to a gawky teen to a young adult. The "no brain" periods gradually become less and less. However, with physical maturity also comes social maturity, and you can see a lot of "issues" that coincide with growth spurts. A lot of aggression rears its heads for the first time during the early part of this stage, from roughly 12-18 months.
3 + years, adulthood. Hormones level off. Growth stops. Dogs reach physical maturity somewhere between three and four years of age. Some never reach mental maturity. ;-) Others calm down and sober up quite a bit during these years. Rate of aging beyond this varies greatly from breed to breed.

So to sum up, adolescence in dogs is worst from roughly seven to ten months, and then gradually improves until adulthood at sometime between three and four years. The overall path of "improvement" is generally linear -- he'll be a different dog at two years than he is as 18 months -- but on a day-to-day basis, it's a crap shoot. Your dog may have a brain, or he may not."

So back to the question -- how do we survive this period?

Pups are usually soooo good prior to this first adolescent burst that we relax our management and begin extending their freedoms. The first thing to do, then, is tighten up on your management. Off-leash probably needs to be restricted to fenced locations. Restrict the dog to the room you're in (again!). Make sure to crate the dog (or confine it in a place where you absolutely don't care if there's damage -- including to walls, molding, and floors) anytime you can't actively watch him.

The second thing to do is make sure the dog is well-exercised physically and mentally. They're going through a growth spurt, in addition to massive mental development. They need to exercise ALL of those muscles. Get that up out to a safe place where it can truly run. Play games like fetch and retrieve that really work the dog. If you've got a doggy daycare, put the
dog in daycare once a week and let him play himself silly (as well as learn to speak dog fluently!).

It's imperative to continue dog-dog socialization through adolescence. They are going through massive changes, and they need to learn to relate to their species on a different level. Lots of dog-dog aggression shows up in adolescence not because the dogs are innately aggressive, but because they are changing mentally and physically and haven't learned to communicate effectively as a teenager.

Train, train, and train some more. When the dog is at his "worst" go back to basics -- set him up to succeed. You may not make a lot of progress as far as reliability and precision during this time -- at least not on the surface. But you can make a lot of progress as far as setting a foundation for future learning. This is when you teach the dog that you are the giver
of all things and that making the choices you like results in GREAT things. This is when you build a reinforcement history for basic choices, so he will choose those behaviors when you're not there to watch and control."

"Brady has a spot across the room on the rug she must go to to get treats tossed while I cook. Dogs who walk around the kitchen and sniff underfoot get nada. Dogs on the rug get all kinds of goodies. She figured it out pretty quick all on her own. Sometimes she even gets a taste of what I'm cooking, which makes it really worthwhile! I never bothered putting it on cue - she just sees me step up to the counter and she absolutely hustles to her spot. Recently she added a "head down" on her own, so she's not just lying down, she's flattened to the ground! It's cute, and it gets rewarded, so she does it. So you can definitely expect Monty to automatically start going to his spot the second he sees you sit down at the table to eat, if you reward it consistently and make it worth his while! "

1 - 1 of 1 Posts