Dogs are not unlike children in several ways, especially when it comes to stages of life. They experience pre-adolescence (9-13 months), Adolescence (13-24 months) and of course, they go through the toddler stage.
Good dog training should take this into account. Consider your dog’s age and where he sits on this scale, keeping mind that he could have two paws in one and two paws in another at some point.
Why is this important?
Just like people, dogs experience mental growth as well. How they turn out (both people and dogs) is affected by their upbringing. Perhaps you are aware of the rebellious teen or the unruly toddler. Part of the problem might well be related to how they were treated early on.
Here’s a breakdown of the different age ranges and what your dog will go through:
- (0-49 days) Birth to 7 weeks
- (7-12 weeks) Socialization period
- (8-11 weeks) Fear imprint period
- (12-16 weeks) Status in the pack
- (4-8 months) Flight instinct period
- (6-14 months) Second fear imprint period
- (1-4 years) Maturity
Between 9 and 24 months, your dog should receive most of his formal training. The speed at which your dog learns will differ based on several factors, including the size and breed as well as his temperament and personality. Every dog should be considered an individual, just as every person is unique.
Some just learn faster than others. It’s the way nature is.
It’s interesting to note that erratic behavior is common, especially in the teen dog. Once again, emulating humans. One day he might run away or refuse to come when called, even though he has been trained. The next day, he can hover around you (his mother or father) like a timid child. Something as simple as passing a falling dumpster on the street can trigger fear in a 10-month-old dog.
This is not unusual at this age but be careful not to pamper him or he will believe he has something to fear. Stay calm yourself and encourage him along. Praise him when he does so. Pass the object several times until he can do so calmly. You want to get him over his fear while it is fresh in his mind.
So you see, good dog training isn’t really all that difficult, but you will need to be alert to your individual dog’s shortcomings and strengths.