Anyone who has raised a puppy knows that there is a time where the pup becomes a teenager, with behavior that tries one's patience. In fact, sadly many people give up on their pups when they are around 8-9 months of age, dumping them at the local pound or kicking them out of the car some place. But if one would persevere and take some steps back on the training process to reinforce previous training habits, most pups get through this stage and grow up to be great adults.
Noodles is now at this stage. Grrrr. He suddenly knows better than us about everything. Everything! But of course I was expecting this, so it's something I can deal with and work though. I only have to last another month or two for his brain to reconnect.
... Sit? What's that, Mom? I never heard the word before.
... Come? Well, you're not yelling yet.
... What's wrong with you Mom? Shoes have always been my play toys! Don't you remember? Going a bit senile are you?
Yup, hubby has lost 3 pairs of shoes. I've had two pairs of Crocs modified, but still wearable as garden shoes. All shoes now reside atop tables. The trash can is no longer considered sacred off limits. So it too sits atop a table. And those tables need to be higher than coffee table height since Noodles is now tall enough to look down upon coffee tables. If it's within mouth reach, he's willing to try it.
(Above, this is the very first time I lowered the roof on the convertible. Noodles isn't sure what to make of it. He slithered into the front seats, unnerved by the disappearing roof. He's still a bit of a puppy, not too sure of strange things.)
His newest fixation is tearing up cardboard. That's certainly better than shoes! Since I know that he's going to tear up something or other, I prefer it to be cardboard. So I keep a collection of small boxes and cardboard egg cartons handy to keep his mind and mouth occupied.
He's recently become deaf not only to the come command, but he's now ignoring the high pitched whistle that I used to get his attention. So we're back to reinforcing his attention by only feeding him when he comes to the whistle. No cookies, no meals, no rawhide chews unless he comes running to my whistle. No riding in the truck to visit his doggy friends unless he snappily comes to the whistle.
When he was 5-6 months old, he started showing watchdog tendencies. So his guard dog training basics started. With his change into a teenager, he's getting carried away. I'm seeing some charging behavior and uncontrolled barking. So we're back to basic obedience. The charging tendency is mostly gone, but the barking beyond the alert stage is still an issue. I expect it to be a couple of months before he finally figures out how to alert but not be excessive.
(He's now comfortable with the car's roof disappearing. I haven't let him ride with the top down, but I wanted him to learn that it's something that happens to the car at times, it's nothing to be worried about.)
Like other puppy owners, I'll be glad when he gets past this stage. From 12 months of age to 24 months will still be an important training period, so it's not like he becomes a perfect dog on his one year old birthday. Somewhere around 24 months of age he should finally be a good family member, cooperative, knowledgable in his job, though still in possession of a good zest for life. Looks to me that Noodles is going to be a great dog......some day eventually. But oh lord, will we survive the coming year? Groan.