Terrible twos or rebellious teen?

Is the “terrible twos” a thing in puppies? If so I think Charlie is in the middle of it! He is 19 weeks, which I think would make him toddler age, although I’ve read he can start puberty from around 6 months, so maybe that is a bit off?! Is he actually more like a teenager?

The past few days he has really been playing up. Jumping, pulling at my trousers, grabbing things he isn’t allowed and running off… When we take him out to the garden he grabs stones and branches and doesn’t let go, he also doesn’t let us anywhere near him. On walks he grabs twigs all the time and is chewing them and running with them, which I know is really bad for him but I don’t know how to stop him. This morning he even stuffed his face right in some horse poo and was eating it!

He is definitely testing his boundaries. On our walks in the woods he is going a bit further away from me than he used to, I swear he has a defiant look on his face too!

Is this normal? Is it a stage and something he will grow out of?! Or is there something I should be doing with his training that I might be missing? If anyone has any tips or advice I’d really appreciate it!

Working Cocker Spaniel Puppy in Shouldham Woods

Cocker Spaniel Puppy in leaves
Charlie disguising himself in the leaves!
19 week working cocker spaniel puppy
Trying to look innocent…

19 week working cocker spaniel puppy

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7 thoughts on “Terrible twos or rebellious teen?

  1. Poor Naomi ! ….More of a rebellious teenager I think! Maybe using the extendable lead for a bit will give you more control as you can at least rein him in with that! Whilst he’s off the lead, it’s really difficult to even catch him. That’s why I got that lead so that I felt that it was actually ME in control and not the other way round!! I know it’s great to be able to let him run freely, but your sanity is what’s at stake here !Might be worth a try. xx

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    1. Thanks Dee! I have been using it for the beginning and end of our walks, and sometimes if I need to stop him following other dogs and it has been great! He has actually been really good today, but we went for quite a long walk this morning which seems to have done the trick! Xx

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  2. He is adorable! I think it is a phase, but agree that you may want to try the leash. One of the things I wish I had done differently with my dog is teaching her to “come” every time she is called. It’s hard when they are not on leash because you have no way to control whether they come to you or not. I’ve read that you shouldn’t let them off leash in an area where they can run away until you are sure they will come when called. Each time you call and they don’t come back, they are learning that they don’t have to listen. Make sure he comes to you when inside, take him to a fenced in area and practice coming, use a really long leash outside and practice “come.” These are all things I wish I had done with Tippy. I think it is too late now. So, if we are somewhere other than her home area, she is on a leash. I have found that she comes when I call “Tippy, Where are you?” rather than “come.” 🙂 Good luck. I look forward to following your blog.

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    1. Thanks for your comment it’s very useful! He has always come when we have called his name, just he past couple of days he seems almost transfixed on something else, it is like he can’t hear me! He is jumping up quite a lot and has moments of going crazy which I am hoping he gets over soon! Thanks again for your advice 😀

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  3. Adolescence is horrible for some dog owners, with some pups acting up for months, and others breeze through it 🙂

    Kasper was an adolescent when we adopted him, and it took him literally years to calm down. Zoey on the other hand never had an adolescent stage, she was always pretty easy. Our current puppy has just turned 7 months old and he’s certainly in his teenage stage, but he’s doing really well and it hasn’t been too bad so far!

    For things such as recall, try and avoid calling him if you know there’s a fair chance he will ignore you – it will just teach him he can ignore you. When he’s already running towards you are awesome times to call his name and show how wonderful it is to come when called, and you can reward him for coming to check in with you without you asking. If you do need to get him to you and you think he might ignore you, try making yourself really exciting – running *away* from him (chase instinct!), jumping up and down, flapping your arms, kneeling to encourage him and silly voices are all things that have worked well for us…and it gives other walkers a good laugh hahaha 😀

    Also you can get longlines in a range of sizes. These are good for letting your pup have room to explore whilst also being able to keep him close, and you can also leave them trailing on the ground behind Charlie when he is off lead – easier to grab / step on if needed!

    Good luck!

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    1. Thanks for the advice! That’s a great tip to not call him if he might ignore me, we will definitely be trying that one! This morning (while he was devouring the horse poo) I just turned round and walked the other way, 5 seconds later when he realised he was soon bounding up next to me, so that seemed like it worked! Thanks again for the advice!

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      1. Haha my little guy loves horse poo too and I’ve turned it into a kind of life reward…when he spots some I call him to me, give him a quick treat, and then release him to go ‘sample’ it (ugh!). Once he’s had a little nibble I call him again, but use my really exciting voice, and dole out ecstatic praise & treats when he comes. I know most people hate their dogs eating things like that, but with our pup it’s become an awesome recall exercise hahaha!

        Oh also we bring a squeaky toy on dog walks too, which is very handy for an emergency recall around uber exciting distractions 🙂

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