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“Help!! My dog has reverted back to puppyhood!” (i.e.jumping, biting (not drawing blood), chewing etc.). As a new dog owner or not; I unfortunately, have heard this quite a bit.  It’s so much of an issue that, I have attended online conferences on this topic.  Aggravating as it might be, it can be as simple as reinforcing basic (positive) puppy training. In my experience, this reversal in their behavior can happen between ages 9 months to 1.5 years.  However, it can happen even older than 1.5 years old.

**Common reasons this can occur when the dog is much older; moving, loss of his/her dog friend, trauma of losing their human companion etc.

Possible Reasons for Regression: The main reason this can occur is simply, their early training was not established on a strong foundation.  In my experience, inconsistent training is number one. One person may have received the training but did not take the time to share the “how to do the training” with family members in the home.  Plus, leaving the puppy alone too often (early in his/her development), due to outside job responsibilities and saying, “I don’t have time for this,” when you get home in the evening. The dog is anxious AND happy to see you, and his behavior may not necessarily be negative behavior(s) but your weariness from having been dealing with other issues during the day might make it appear worse if ignored.  

Also, leaving the dog in puppy daycare can play a part in unwanted behaviors getting worse when you get home or developing other negative behaviors. Puppy daycare isn’t a bad idea per se… but they should not be the main trainer, YOU ARE.  Unfortunately, they become the main “trainer” and the dog develops unnecessary behaviors that might not be tolerated in your home.  Another possible reason you may have moved the puppy too quickly due to your excitement in having a new puppy, and over-stimulated the dog. In doing this, you may have ignored negative reactions (body language) to perhaps other dogs, people, cars, etc. Again, by moving too fast through one training plan (leash, recall, sitting etc.), or not taking the time to reinforce to make sure the puppy understood the commands before moving on. You also, could have been over anxious about the puppy simply “learning” its commands for the short term- thus creating a “fast food” method of dog training (convenient for now, but detrimental in the long term). The last possible reason is you may have expected too much from the puppy, and you wanted to look like a “pro” handler at the expense of the puppy’s training, and/or allowing a self proclaimed trainer (family, friend) to "train" the puppy.

Good News! This is fixable.  Again, you might need to go back to basics depending on the issues and take your time, this time around. As long as the problems aren’t serious: biting, jumping/barking excessively, etc. The issues can be resolved in a matter of a few days to a few weeks.  Don’t despair! Hang in there! It should get better.

I’m also available for online training sessions, and will be happy to evaluate the situation.

As Always, Happy Tails 🐾

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