If your puppy is between 6 – 8 months old, (11 months or older in larger breeds) you may have noticed its behavior has changed – from being  cute, compliant, and quiet, to being rebellious, noisy, and rule-breaking. What’s happened, is your dog has become a teenager.

In this episode of Raising Your Paws podcast, hear about the normal, but challenging changes that may occur in your canine adolescent. Then in the blog below, find out about another thing your pooch may start doing – guarding its food – something that he had never done before as a puppy and what to do about it.

Episode 49 – Full Show Notes.

Title: Reasons Cats Bully other Cats & Why Your 8 Month old Puppy Seems to Forget all Its Manners & Training.

Does one of your cats bully other cats in the house hold? When human bullies torment other people, it seems like the reasons for doing so, is that they take delight in picking on others. Bullying cat’s behavior may look the same –torturing and attacking others, but the reasons are very different and specific to being a feline. I’ll explain a few of most common reasons a cat may turn into a bully.

Then, continuing the conversation with animal communicator, Tim Link, author of “Talking with Dogs and Cats: Joining the Conversation to Improve Behavior and Bond with Your Animals, he shares the three steps he uses to “talk” more deeply with dogs and cats. Keeping an open mind, you can learn how to do this as well to increase the bond with your pet. Plus, you’ll hear the story about the dog who was eating socks, and paper clips and how Tim helped him to stop in addition to how Tim helps solve the number one behavior issue people call him about regarding cats and likewise for dogs.

Has your sweet, quiet, cuddly, obedient puppy who used to respond to everything you asked, changed overnight into a disobedient, counter surfing, stealing, creature, who runs away from you and seems to have forgotten all its training? There’s a very normal, inevitable reason for this that’s part of your dog’s developmental stages. I’ll reveal what this is, and offer some tips to help you deal with the behavior changes.

If you have any in-depth questions or want to share your stories about anything you heard on the show, please write me at susan@raisingyourpaws.com or leave me a comment at the end of this blog article.

Additional Resources for the Episode.

Source for the story about cats who bully – “Cat Wise” by Pam Johnson-Bennett and “How to Speak Cat,” by Aline Alexander Newman & Gary Weitzman, D.V.M.

Get in touch with Tim Link through his website.

Tim Link

Order Tim’s books. http://www.wagging-tales.com/mybooks.html

Sources for the story about when your puppy becomes an adolescent: “Why Does My Dog Do That?” By Sophie Collins and “The Other End of the Leash” by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D.

What to do if Your Teenage Dog Starts Guarding it’s Food.

Your adolescent may become more protective over possessions – showing some resource guarding behaviors that did not exist before. Resource guarding means the dog is feeling possessive about what’s his. Could be its food or toys. And if your pup now perceives you as a threat – thinking you may want to eat out of his food bowl, or take and keep her favorite hedgehog toy, she may be fully prepared to give you a strong warning, meaning, “don’t even try to move in on this” by growling, snapping, or snarling, at you. This is NOT a desirable way for your teenager to assert herself. It’s very different from the “Keep Out” sign that a human 12 year old places on the door to their room.

You don’t want your dog to get into the habit of being defensive around its food and there are things you can do to deal with the issue of the guarding, but first a word about growling.

Remember a growl is a warning. Warnings are good things – they alert you to what could come next. Never push your dog to act on it – from a dogs point of view he has given you fair warning not to come closer and if you ignore him, he may feel compelled to take the next step and snap or bite.  So back off from your dog when she growls – then you can deal with the reason she growled. Many people get upset at their dogs for growling, thinking its bad, in and of itself,  and punish the dog for the growl.  Think about this though, don’t you want to know if your dog is feeling so threatened by something that they are ready to bite to defend themselves? You WANT your dog to warn you that the next thing coming is most likely the bite.

Listen to the podcast episode where I talk about the importance of the growl, and the reasons you don’t want to punish this away in Raising Your Paws podcast episode number 015.

The growl is not the problem to solve – its what’s behind it. If the reason for the growl is because your adolescent dog is now guarding its food from you, where they weren’t before, its time to start some food exchange exercises or bring them back and do them again, if you originally used them with your young puppy.

If you have multiple dogs at home, your  growing puppy may even test his ranking in the pack, by approaching another dog’s food. This little experiment is likely to earn him an abrupt lesson in both manners and status by the other dog. As long as the older dog just gives a warning or an injury free correction, like a small nip, let it be. Hopefully, the bold teenager, will have just learned its lesson and leave the other dog’s food bowls alone. If not, and the pup keeps barging in to the point that serious fights break out, feed the trouble maker separately and you may want to consult with a trainer for how to deal with this going forward.