My Smart Puppy

with Dog Expert, Sarah Wilson

Helping Your Dog Cope with Teenagers

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Teens are emotion in motion much of the time – bounding in and out of rooms, speaking and laughing loudly, wrestling boisterously, often in the middle of the family room where the dog is trying to take a nap. Some dogs wag and join right in, others can find the rowdy energy overwhelming. If your dog has that reaction, here are some ways to help him cope:

First, don’t hesitate to crate your dog when your teen has friends over. Your dog may be stressed, even if he doesn’t show it in obvious ways. Does he bark when the teens wrestle? Does he move away or even leave the room when they bound in? He may prefer to spend a few hours sleeping in his private room (crate), rather than mingling with these high energy beings.

You (or better yet your teen) can help your dog learn to handle some of this by bounding in the room or speaking loudly for a few seconds, then stop and praise the dog and give him some treats. Or wrestle very briefly, then stop, praise and reward. If he jumps up or barks – slow things down, have someone help him sit (Simple Sit is good for this) across the room, praising him and giving treats while someone is briefly acting as many teens act.

Teens also tend to sit on the floor to eat or play board games, and they rarely appreciate a dog walking through their game or sampling their chips. Prepare your dog by sitting on the floor and teaching him to lie down nearby or on his bed (Place). If he tries to walk over you or sniff your food, block him away, telling him Back, or Place, or Go, and calmly follow through to make sure he does it.

It’s also important to set rules for your teens and their friends.

  • No teasing the dog — ever
  • Respect the dog’s privacy whether it is in his crate, on his bed or under the table
  • Don’t force the dog to interact – if he approaches, good; if not, leave him alone
  • The dog is not a toy or prop for teens’ games

Prepare your dog and educate your teen, and you’ll have a happy dog who loves and trusts the teenagers in your home or, at least, can walk away and be left alone.

Now, if we can just figure out how to get that for you, too…

by Melissa Fischer, PuppyHomeSchool.com

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