Leo the Teenager

I am so grateful to have Leo in my life, and I love watching him grow. Throughout his puppyhood, we have had a lot of challenges, like crate training, potty training, and the relentless teething. All of these challenges were tough to overcome and my patience was tested and then strengthened each time.

Right now, we are smack dab in the middle of Leo’s “teenager” phase. Since he turned 6 months old (he’s over 7 months old now), his behavior has gone through some wacky (borderline drastic) changes. He’s very mouthy, jumpy, and all around more destructive. He’s also developed a severe case of selective hearing. When he starts getting destructive, we try to distract him by telling him to sit, which worked at first but now it riles him up even more and he’s started to growl and bark at us.

He only does this at home. At work, he’s a sweet little angel, so no one believes me when I tell them Leo flips a switch when we get home. I’ve noticed that exercising and wearing him out helps, but only sometimes. There are some nights where we will get home from the dog park or a long walk, and Leo will lie down for a few minutes and then get right back to his crazy antics. Giving him really big bones and treating toys will also keep him occupied. Those have really been my saving grace through this phase.

At the moment, we must be in peak “teenager” phase. Leo is still recovering from his neuter from last week, so we can’t take him for long walks or go to the park until he is healed, meaning he has a TON of pent-up energy.

My biggest challenge is keeping my cool through Leo’s tantrums because I know if I lose it, it riles him up even more and makes the situation worse. This “teenager” phase is proving to be much more challenging than the ones I mentioned above, and I hope it’s over soon. I’m not sure how else to overcome it.

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  1. Hi! My name is Debbie and I am going through the same thing! I have a 9 1/2 months old female westie named Pebbles. She doesn’t listen and is destroying her toys!!! She doesn’t leave our other dog, Max, alone. I’m constantly watching her. I’m saying, ” no” and ” stop that” all day long. My sister walks her about 3-4 times a week. In those nights, she is more relaxed. No walk? She is bonkers!!!!! Anyway, when she was in puppy trainer, the trainer asked me how old she is. I told her 6 months old. She said, ” oh boy! She’s going to drive you crazy for at least the next 6 months!!! ” . Said these teenage years are the worst! But we’ll make it! Good luck to you!!

  2. Hi Debbie!

    6 more months from 6 months old?! Oh boy! Leo only just turned 7 months old.

    Thanks for the well wishes! I wish you good luck too 🙂


    Annemarie ( Leo’s mom)

  3. Sounds like the terrible twos compared to the teenage years my 80 lb boy went through at about 2 years old. He was about 18 months old when I adopted him. I had what I called Roz’s Reform School for Recalcitrant Dogs that among other things involved him periodically being tethered to me when he was indoors asd part of his “nothing in life is free” conditioning. He also needed 2 hours a day of vigorous exercise and at least four 10 minute sessions of training reviews along with interactive mental stimulation activities. Throw in some calming music, massage and aromatherapy for both of you and you’ll come out the other side with a calm dog.

  4. Do you live near a reputable dog day care facility such as Dogtopia (which I highly recommend) that separates dogs into well-supervised groups for morning and afternoon playtimes? They should offer indoor and outdoor areas, with naptimes in between.
    Dogs love it and they sleep like, well, babies when they get home

  5. Many years ago, we got an Akita/Lab Mix we named McKinley(Mack for short), and when he entered this phase we discovered that he loved to rip up cardboard boxes. He’d rip a piece off and, ptuie, spit it out.
    It saved our furniture, and kept him satisfied. Might be worth a try.
    Good luck! And hang in there.

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