Help! The perfect puppy that was going to be “the perfect therapy dog” has just left the room at around 6 months of age. It’s the final stage of puppy period and it is the most trying stage I see with clients. It is the period that precedes adolescence and there is a shift of awareness by the puppy and a disconnect from us as they get ready to explore the world. There will be additional fear periods that arise during this time, lack of attention to you, and puppy back talk. They are more alert, sleep less and require more management, training and exercise. It’s important that people realize these are normal stages that will be experienced during this period and factor that into the work involved with getting a young puppy. So do your homework before you commit to a cute little puppy.
A good dog training plan is essential during this period. Private work with a trainer can be helpful, as it gets you a plan specific for your abilities, needs, lifestyle, and type of puppy. It’s much easier to watch a good positive reinforcement trainer preform the work for you and then let you practice while they proof your work than to try to read a book, google or YouTube. For authors some of our favorites are (anything by) Patricia McConnell and Suzanne Clothiers book “If Bones Would Rain From The Sky”. There is as much bad information on the internet as there is good information. The best reference for a trainer would come from your veterinarian so check with them. They are familiar with the trainers in your area and can help you make a good choice to avoid a bad experience.
Nan Long, APDT
Now And Zen Dog Training