Ruby had a really hard time going through adolescence. He lived in a mostly brainless state from age of 6 to 14 months which made it difficult to train as I could never know what kind of a dog I would have on any given day. Sometimes he was attentive and we were able to train, at other times it was as if I didn’t exist at all and even if I did get his attention he seemed to have forgotten most of what I taught him. It seemed to get worst at 10-11 months when he would be brainless for three weeks at a time, come back to earth for a few days and then brainless again… Really, I was keeping notes to see if it would get better!
I have a theory that what was actually happening is that he was discovering a world of females in heat and his adolescent brain wasn’t yet ready to handle it. We lived next to a small park frequented by many dogs, most of them intact, so it’s quite possible that most of the time at least one female was in heat. Well, whatever it was, he was slowly getting better with shorter periods or brainlessness and around 14 months I could start thinking about training him in that small park.
I was on a lookout for when Java would start acting like an adolescent, but it never really happened. Sure, she had a time when she would not recall from other dogs, so I just didn’t let her choose not to come and practiced more recalls. Other than that she had the same sweet and wanting to please disposition that she had as a puppy. But then something funny happened at the end of her first heat: she ignored me on a walk! She forgot what “bring me” means. She didn’t know what to do with weave poles. What? Who exchanged my sweet, smart girly with this stranger? At first I was really confused, but then I recognized the pattern – apparently she was going through the same thing as Ruby. It lasted a few days and now she is back to normal. Hormones. They make us crazy sometimes.
Do you have your own adolescence story to share? I would love to read it!