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Going through adolescence - together

Those who train their four-legged friends continually can reckon with constant success - at least that's a common expectation. However, you should put your personal ambitions aside when the dog is going through adolescence.

As dogs grow older, their owners' expectations also increase: after all, several basic commands like "sit", "down" and "here" have been on the agenda for months. Not only do the training units get longer, but also become more demanding. However, success is by no means guaranteed. Why is the relationship between people and dogs sometimes so difficult?

Puberty and adolescence - time for change

The inner changes experienced by a young dog during its adolescence often result in "communication difficulties". In particular, sexual hormones cause the dog to react more vehemently to external stimuli. Suddenly, humans and animals no longer get on so well during training. Dogs make a lot of "mistakes", as they are frequently confronted with training situations which they find overwhelming. During this period, it is unwise to increase the difficulty level of familiar exercises, and owners should keep their own ambitions in check.

Cooperation instead of confrontation

But if the level of difficulty is no longer increased, doesn't the training stagnate? No, because in return, dogs are only rewarded if they cooperate with their owners. However, what does cooperation mean? For example, it's normal for owners to tell dogs to sit before being let off the lead when they encounter one of their playmates. In contrast, owners often place less value on the direction in which the dog is looking - your pooch's attention is normally already focussed on his four-legged friends.Cooperation means distracting the dog's attention from the playmates and persuading it to follow its human partner a few steps away from the other dogs. The dog will only be rewarded when it learns to cooperate - namely by being let loose to join its friends.

Cooperation training on a long leash

In this way, the dog will gradually learn to ignore and let go of various distractions. Here, it is important that the dog is kept on a long leash, thus creating a secure learning situation. In this way, the dog cannot reward itself by refusing to cooperate. This principle is particularly useful during adolescence, as it teaches the dog to get along with its owner via cooperation instead of confrontation.