Adolescent Dogs

Providing positive leadership to young dogs

Adolescent Dogs

Thursday, October 8, 2015 | NHS Behavior Department

Adolescent dogs are young and full of energy. They are driven by curiosity and typically have very few manners. Many dogs find themselves at a shelter at this age. Dogs don’t know that furniture isn’t for chewing, people aren’t for jumping on and the flower bed isn’t for digging – they’re just doing what comes naturally. It’s up to us to provide positive leadership and teach them how to behave.

By providing positive leadership, management, training, and exercise, you can help your dog understand the house rules and become a well-mannered member of the family.

Earn freedom

If your dog has a tendency to engage in unwanted behaviors when unsupervised, then he doesn’t get to have freedom in the home or yard. Keeping your dog with you or in a safe area, such as a crate or mud room, will help you teach acceptable behaviors and prevent unwanted habits from forming.   

Say please

Learning to ask politely for things that he wants will help your dog gain impulse control. Teach your dog to sit in order to get things that he wants, such as food, treats, petting, going out a door, and toys. 

Polite greetings

If your dog tends to greet people by jumping on them, try teaching him to sit instead. Sitting while people approach and pet him will allow him to greet more people and save you from embarrassment. 

Chew this

Dogs like to chew. It’s a natural behavior that allows them to work their jaw and relieve stress. Providing an appropriate chew item, such as chew toy, Kong or Nyla-Bone, will allow him to satisfy this need without being destructive.

Sharing is fun

Keep away is a fun game for dogs. They grab something, you chase them and they get to run around. Teach your dog to trade out items for a treat and avoid giving chase. Trading out for treats is also a great way to teach your dog that giving you something that he has gets him something better and is nothing to make a fuss about.   


Both mental and physical exercise will help keep these young dogs busy in the right way. Going for a walk, playing fetch, canine games (Flyball, agility), and training tricks are all great ways to exercise your young dog.

The Nebraska Humane Society has classes that can help set you and your dog on the right paw. Whether you’re looking for the basics or more ways to have fun, we have something to suit your needs. Check out our available classes and sign up today.

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