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.