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The best thing that can be said about adolescent dogs is that they grow out of it! This is the time when your dog discovers the joy of digging and chewing. It’s the time when it’s fatal to leave shoes at the door, toys in the sandpit, garden shed doors open, hoses lying on the lawn or rubbish-bin lids off. It is also a good time to put your gardening plans on hold. Adolescence is the age when many people change their minds about owning a dog and when a lot of pups end up being put down in pounds and animal shelters. Patience, good humour and a bit of planning are needed to get through this period relatively unscathed. Keep reminding yourself that you should have a good 10-12 years of companionship once this stage is over.

Remember that when your pup is left on his own he will be excited to see you, and the more time he spends alone the more excitable he will be. If you find the dog is too boisterous and put him outside alone, he will continue to be boisterous and excitable inside the house. Instead you must train your pup to behave calmly inside and only allow rough play and excitement outside. We have occasionally seen young dogs returned for ‘behavioural reasons’ and invariably the aforementioned pattern of behaviour by the puppy’s owner is a common factor in these cases. Equally invariably we find that the pups will settle down and make good pets once appropriately trained.