Boy do I love my puppy but somedays...goodness! At 4 months old I think he is hitting the human equivalent of the terrible twos! He is really challenging his limits which of course is normal but frustrating. :no: We are sticking to the training and being consistent and firm. In the past two hours he has leaped over he couch (he's a big boy!) and attacked the desk. Then he jumped up on the end table and stole a plant and tore around with it for awhile, stole my daughter's snack and decided my arm was a good chew toy (not aggressive, just playing). I know this is normal lab behavior but goodness! Between a toddler human and a toddler puppy I am on my toes! Any special tips for getting through this difficult age or do we just learn to laugh and wait for it to pass? :embarrass:
Below is a copy of a post I've often made re: "Terrible Twos" & "Teenage Rebellion"
in Lab development:
__________________________________________________ _______________ My Puff [YF, AKC field line (HT&FT competing breeder), 63lbs., DOB: 8-'01]
had a number of episodes during her development from 5 - 13 months which
some would call "teenage rebellion or (mis)behavior" or "testing authority" or
I VERY strongly disagree with this "teenage" view because I think it
misunderstands both human teen behavior AND dog behavior.
Re: dog behavior -- my Puff had most basic commands quite well learned
(sit, stay, come, down, etc.) when she was 5 mos. old. At that time we
walked (as we do now) for about 60-70 minutes in a nature preserve with
her off leash (she wore a check cord/long line then).
I found that for a couple days every few months until about 13 months
Puff acted as if she forgot all her previously learned commands -- she
didn't obey and acted very capriciously.
When that happened, I retrained her at mealtimes using a NILIF(Nothing
in Life is Free) protocol -- giving a command and, when it was obeyed,
feeding her a few more kibbles from my hand. A few days of NILIF
feeding/training and she'd relearn the forgotten commands and was fine
until her next eclipse, a month or so later.
My strong belief is that in 99.99% of the cases it is NOT a testing of
who has the authority but rather this is during a time of rapid
physiological and developmental change with some hormones coming
on-line and others going off-line.
I think that these developmental and hormone changes interfere with
retention of learning. There is such a thing as "state dependent learning"
-- learning under the influence of certain drugs will be less whenever
those drugs are removed, or others added, etc.
I think this is usually what is happening with our dogs when they lose
learning during their first 13 months of development -- because of the
hormonal changes they're going through.
Calling it "teenage years" and as if they're challenging authority is
wrong on several counts.
For one thing, the time this occurs is usually between 5-13 months of
age which, for most dogs, is before their age of puberty or reproductive
For another, equating this with human "teenage challenges of authority"
shows a lack of understanding of the functional purpose of this human
teen age behavior.
The major purpose in human societies of "teenage challenges to authority"
is to produce a separation between fledgling adult and parents so the
teen can begin building a life independent of parents.
Think of what problems would exist if a teen was saying, "Gee, what
wonderful parents -- I don't want to ever leave them" and if the parents
were also saying, "what a wonderful child -- I don't want him/her to ever leave us."
What would THAT result in?
Instead, the needed sparks are supplied when the teens are thinking the
usual: "they are SO stupid, I can't wait to leave here" while the parents
are thinking "let me count the days until ...."]
The functional purpose of human "teenage rebellion" is to provide a
reason for separation between parent and child for ALL parties. That is
certainly NOT the case with owner and dog.
I think viewing this behavior in dogs as repeating blips in memory
retention due to rapid development and internal chemical changes is far
more accurate and leads to far more useful actions -- prompt retraining.
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]