Those cute little fluffy puppies start to morph into adult dogs just like our sweet skin babies pass through life’s stages. At about 3-4 months old, ears start to look funky and the chewies begin indicating that baby teeth are starting to loosen and adult teeth are making their mouths sore. Toward the end of this period, puppies are fully into their adolescent time and their independent spirit takes hold. Sadly, many puppies find themselves banished from their family or even worse, given up to a shelter or rehomed.
How do we survive the next few months? First, we must realize that our goal is to have a loyal adult dog and no one wants a puppy forever just like we want to see our own children and grandchildren grow into respectful adults.
Potty mistakes are only mistakes and can be cleaned up. The best defense is crate training and having the puppy in an area easily mopped and to do potty walks often. They don’t mean to make a mess, they just haven’t learned the rules yet. Consider it the transition from diaper to potty chair to toilet.
At this adolescent stage, puppies also get a wild hair and will take off to explore the world. Knowing this will happen, the best defense when they aren’t in a fenced area is to let them drag 20 feet of light clothesline from their collar so you can step on the end to reel them in if necessary. The line can get twisted around them and potentially hurt them so only use it under direct and watchful supervision. I use it also to practice recalls. Of course, don’t chase, but turn from your puppy and call with a happy voice of they get out of reach. And, when they come to you…only good things happen. Never snatch them up to take them inside immediately or scold them.
Chewing doesn’t have to be a problem if you have lots of safe toys and Nylabones handy. My floor looks like the dog toy monster spit up. And…shoes and other valuables just have to be put away until the puppy is dependable, probably after a year or more old.
Time does fly by and with diligence and watchfulness, your rowdy adolescent will develop into the friend you had hoped for.