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The dog in puberty

Sexual maturity begins in dogs, depending on the breed, at six months or one year. With the bitch it is characterized by the first heat, with the dog the transitions are often fluid: he lifts his leg while peeing, is increasingly interested in bitches and increasingly sees other males as rivals. This phase of the dog’s life poses some challenges for the owner. Read here what to watch out for when your dog is through puberty.

During puberty, chaos reigns in the brain

As obedient and docile as a dog was in puppyhood, in the time around the onset of sexual maturity, i.e. puberty, most four-legged friends put the patience of their owners to the test. Because the dog’s brain resembles a construction site in this phase: New nerve cells are formed and interconnected. Existing brain structures are checked. Unnecessary cells are radically eliminated and unused nerve connections are cut off. Sometimes the right hemisphere doesn’t know what the left is doing. And that clearly reflects the dog’s behavior.

Patience and consistency are important in puberty

Important skills and commands that have worked wonderfully before are also at least temporarily forgotten by the dog in this phase. But don’t worry – with a little patience and consistency on the part of the owner, even the wildest youngster will usually reflect on what he has learned in puppy class, and the most intolerable four-legged flail can become a good dog again.

Pay particular attention to behavioral problems

However, unsightly quirks and behavior disorders can also develop during puberty in dogs: anxiety problems, aggressive tendencies or obsessive-compulsive disorders often begin during puberty. The sooner an expert counteracts this development, the greater the chance that the dog’s soul will be healthy again. It is therefore essential that you take conspicuous dog behavior during puberty of the dog seriously.

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Young dogs test their limits

Puberty is also a difficult phase for the dog from a health point of view. When frolicking around, a young dog knows neither caution nor common sense and above all not his physical limits. You have to pay attention to them. Don’t let the bundle of energy fool you. In this phase dogs are anything but indestructible! The skeleton is not yet fully developed and can be damaged in the event of injury or constant overload. Pay attention to important rest periods for the dog.

More susceptible to disease during puberty

The immune system of the young dog is also not yet fully efficient. Dogs in puberty are therefore more often and more severely ill after infection than healthy adults.