surviving puppy adolescence
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    Cat Denby's Avatar
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    Default surviving puppy adolescence

    ahh, those adolescent days of puppyhood... one day he's the perfect puppy, the next day he's back to his old habits and you're tearing out your hair and wondering if he's just a defective dog who will never get it right. this is probably the most fun we'll have with our puppies, and the most frustration. i have a few tips that cody has taught me to survive these wonderful and trying days:

    1) remember they are puppies. yes, he comes when you call, he sits when you ask, he KNOWS better, but he's still just a puppy, and that means that he's full of beans and can't always resist the temptation to act it out and be naughty.

    2) NEVER take it personally. like all teenagers, it's really all about him, and you can't assume he's trying to make you mad, because he's not. it's just really fun when you chase him around the room because he just grabbed your favorite sweater.

    3) start counting GOOD things and tell yourself three of them at the end of every day. forget the obnoxious stuff. i actually started this when cody was a really little puppy, but it's more fun when they are adolescents, because you start to realize that there are more positive things than negative things your puppy does every day. i can be a demanding dog owner, i know, and sometimes i get bogged down in "but he's still doing this!" rather than being happy that "he's not doing THAT anymore" or "he's finally understanding what i want!" when i find myself being critical because we just had a relapse of foot attacking, i just remember that he doesn't do it very often any more, and i can always get him to stop quickly. i end every day with a list of three things that he is doing perfectly - even if he's only done it once. refer back to #1 here - he's still only a puppy, and he's learning, which means he won't get it right every time, but the naughty behavior also won't last forever.

    watching our puppies grow up is wonderful, and what makes us angry or makes us cry today will be the thing we laugh about tomorrow and remember with humor. keep a sense of humor and enjoy this time - they are only puppies once and if we are patient and consistent, they will be wonderful dogs. truthfully, most pugs grow up to be great dogs in spite of all our mistakes and bad attitudes. hang in there. oh, and send each other plenty of puppy pep talks. send me one, too. i still need them!

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    Love the picture! The look on his face is priceless!

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    yeah, he's rotten and silly and i love him more every day. gotta be careful with cody, though, because he considers laughter to be praise, and he makes me laugh even when he's being naughty! but he loves to play ball with his daddy... in that pic he's basically telling daddy that it's time to take a break from work to play with cody...

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    You are so right! I think getting a puppy is a really big responsibility and sometimes people presume it is a lot easier than it actually turns out to be. I always think you need the patience of a saint for training a pup, they take a lot of consistency and hard work but they do get there eventually.

    I look back now at when rufus was a pup and although it seemed like he was never going to "get it" he turned out to be a great dog. He is by no means perfect, but he is perfect for me.

    I swore I got post puppy depression at first lol! I was left alone constantly with rufus and I won't lie, training him on my own was very difficult at times and sometimes you do take their behaviour personally until you remind yourself he is a puppy and he isn't doing anything out of spite or to get a reaction from you, he just doesn't know any better.

    Just keep doing what you are doing, remind yourself of what he CAN do rather than focusing on what isn't quite right yet. I am sure with persistence he will get there in the end. Once the puppy stage is over I thinks it's actually quite sad, they become so independent and the cheeky little things they used to do which drove you mad but also made you smile become less frequent

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    Another great post, I'm very glad you joined PV. Puppies are the bomb, good and bad!!!
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    i SOOOO get what you mean about post puppy depression! i've had other puppies, but i usually get a puppy at 4 months or older (i like getting a puppy that is fully vaccinated and ready for obedience classes, completely weaned, and old enough to display some personality beyond "i'm a puppy!"), and i was talked into this 8 week old little fella. i'm not sorry, but for at least a month, i felt trapped, like i had ruined my life, and i was convinced that this puppy was defective - he bit us CONSTANTLY and even though i hated putting him in the crate, i sort of dreaded letting him out, too!!! but it's already starting to pay off. he live entirely "out of crate" now, and we have so few things to work on that it's easy to fixate on what we haven't fully accomplished yet. it's good to remember those early days, too, when i felt so hopeless, and remember how far we've come. truthfully, i feel encouraged because at 10 months, this puppy has almost everything "down" and isn't any great burden in my life. mostly he's just fun. there are still days when i think "gosh, is he EVER going to completely stop doing that?", and then i remember how we thought that about a WHOLE LOTTA things that we don't even worry about any more. and he's already starting to show his older pug sister respect (except when he's humping her head), which i was sure wouldn't happen until he was at least 2 years old. he's asleep on my feet right now, letting me work in peace....

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    Very wise! Love his face!
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    thanks, tinker's mom! he has the most comical face i've ever known in a pug. cheyenne (my older pug) is such a sweetie with a doll-baby face, but this one has these cute, laughing little ming eyebrows and this open-mouth smile that just kills me. he even has a little upturned nose that accentuates his orneriness even in profile. he's a silly boy, and we love him to pieces...

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    I felt exactly the same! My ex bf was totally useless when I got Rufus at 8 weeks old and left EVERYTHING to me. I felt trapped too and literally every waking second of my day was spent with the puppy. I had to do all of the potty training, the obedience training, the grooming, the vet visits, the pet shop visits etc on my own and I think sometimes you just need a little support. I sound pathetic don't I lol! And to top it off I would not leave him with anyone at all. I even took him to work with me until I realised the way I was going on was unhealthy for the pair of us. He would have developed serious separation anxiety had I carried on the way I was but after realising I could leave him for an hour or two and he would "forgive me" did us both the world of good.

    I think a puppy can be more demanding than a child at times!

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    i'm actually relieved to hear that someone else felt so "devastated" by the new puppy in the household. and no, you don't sound pathetic. i think there should be puppy support groups - not obedience classes (although those are great, too), but a place you can take your very young puppy and let him play with other young puppies while you talk to other people going through the same thing. the whole thing should be moderated by someone who has been through the young puppy thing and survived, reminding each of us that it will all work out okay and sharing stories about how hard it used to be. this forum is great that way too. i work at home, so i never had a reason to "get away" from the puppy, and i had to create artificial reasons to leave the house to avoid the separation anxiety issues. i still battle this and worry that he doesn't get enough time alone to adjust properly, but both of my other dogs went through the same process and are fine - cody will be too, and actually is pretty good already when left alone (except that he'll steal shoes if he can find them...)

    that period of puppyhood was definitely the hardest, but i still find this adolescent period challenging emotionally. i get days where he's so perfect, and then he'll have a "puppy relapse" and i'll worry that those days are signs that certain habits will never go away. we've had a couple of days this week with just one or two foot attacking episodes in the morning (something i thought was gone!) and i'll start worry that he'll do that forever. but then someone reminds me that he's just a puppy and that i shouldn't worry, it's just part of the teenage phase, and in a year, i'll be laughing about this. he's getting so much better about not bothering his pug sister, and he hasn't tried to hump any legs of humans in a month. we're making huge progress, and he's almost perfect, so i try not to get hung up on one or two little relapses - they're a normal part of being a "teenager". i'm having one of those days where i feel doubt, but they are becoming fewer and fewer. and i love his ornery little smile, even if it follows something he's not supposed to do.

    thanks for sharing your story - i think it's so helpful to hear that others have "survived" puppyhood and come out of it with a dog that is everything they ever hoped for. puppies ARE harder than children - there are fewer community resources to deal with the emotional side of it - even if it takes less time to grow them up. cody and i will make it through all these stages and remain best friends. he's a good boy (with a taste for feet!).

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