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Adolescent Period Advice

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So I think Kate has hit her teenage stage at just shy of eight months old.

My mom has a litter of puppies here, and about three weeks ago, Kate suddenly stopped playing with them. She still play with our other two year old, but will stop playing before the other dog does, which is also new in the past three weeks or so. I don't think that the above observations have anything to do with what is going on now, it's just somethings I've noticed that made me realize that she's maturing more now.

In chronological order, here is what happened today.

I was in the garage with Kate, playing the piano, while she laid on the floor beside me. Somebody pulled up to the front of the garage, and I heard the car door slam. Kate gave a low woof.

My brother had two remaining puppies out to play this afternoon, and was throwing snowballs for Kate to catch. One hit the ground, and as Kate began chewing it up, a pup came up and got snapped at. I don't think this was possessiveness, because she's never had an issue with that. A couple minutes later, Kate was watching my brother getting ready to throw a snowball, and a pup came into her face and got snapped. She made contact, but only very lightly. We put the pups away after that.

When I was doing chores tonight, Kate suddenly gave a low woof. I looked up to see my sister approaching.

Kate was tethered later that night, and a pup was following her around, sniffing at her. She was trying to move away, but couldn't, so eventually snapped at the pup. (I wasn't there-this was relayed to me-or I would have stopped the pup.)

After everyone had been fed, we were all hanging out, and Kate was with me, and watching the cows. My geriatric dog came up for some petting, was about six inches away from Kate's face, and got snapped. I did swat Kate for his one, but then I realized what was going on-Kate has an issue with dogs getting into her face, which is understandable, but not normal for her. I won't be swatting her anymore, but just managing the issue in the first place.

After that, a couple of times the other dogs came up for snuggles and got too close to Kate, at which she backed away. When she did that, I shoo'd the other dog away, and praised Kate for leaving instead of biting.

As we were going inside, my brother went around one side of the haystack, and I went around the other. As we met on the other side, Kate gave a low woof, before going up and seeing who it was.

All of this happened just today. It really isn't a big problem for me, but it's just so uncharacteristic for Kate. She's never done anything listed before today. Is this sudden change normal for a dog entering adolescence? What advice do you have for me?

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It sounds to me that she is trying to decide her role/position among the other dogs. She is trying to figure out maybe where she fits and that has changed with the addition of pups. She is no longer the pup and youngest so she can be bossy when it comes to the pups. It is like 2 toddlers in a family, the older one does not want his toys - snowballs- played with and does not want anyone around his person - you- so he acts up or gets testy.


I think this is normal social behavior you just have to figure out what is acceptable and what is not and then teach her.

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At 6 months old, my experience is that pups are discovering and exploring who they are and what their boundaries may be. What you describe sounds like what you've guessed: she's may be deciding she doesn't like other dogs in her face. Border collies in particular can be sensitive about their personal space.

You are correct to make sure she doesn't get nasty about it - no need to let her push it to the point she's lunging or snapping at every dog or pup who gets near. But you are also correct that things like little pups should simply be kept out of her space, especially if she's tethered and can't move away. She is allowed to have her personal space, she's just not allowed to be a *itch about it. ;)

And yes, at 6 months she absolutely is old enough to start getting hormonal. So I'd say just monitor her behavior and continue to help her learn other options such as walking away. :)

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No, she isn't spayed. My brother mentioned that, but I told him that she was too young. She's probably really not though.


Saw the same behaviour with my dog, right before she went into heat. She was 7,5 months old :)

I noticed a HUGE change in behaviour after that. Like I had a different dog.

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