The ups and downs

One minute your puppy is the best dog in the world.  She never does anything bad, always listens and is as sweet as can be.  The next minute she has turned you off, runs the other way when you call her and basically does everything she's not suppose to do. What?  What is going on?  It's called life and as we move through our day to day, things change.  Don't worry, you are not alone.  It happens to the best of us and it can be frustrating for anyone.

All dogs are different, you know how many times I have said that right?  Well it is true so making a blanket statement about how and when dogs will have behavior changes is a tough call.  Some never go through the "I have no brains" 6 mos. old stage.  They may or may not push your buttons at 10 mos. of age.  Perhaps they were pushing all your buttons from the get go.  Their behavior can be as individual as they are themselves.  When it does happen you can assure yourself that it is perfectly normal.  Your once angel dog has now become a devil, like many others.

All of my dogs have had their own specific unwanted behaviors that popped up now and again.  Luke was probably my biggest pusher of buttons.  Even now he will give ignoring a try just for fun, he loves to ignore.  But when I mean business he knows it and will not push.  He gets away with ignoring often now because I think his old ignoring face is so darned cute.  But most of the undesirable behavior of the past are now gone with Luke.  He is the poster boy for how wonderful senior dogs are.

Elsa on the other hand is just a young'n so she has gone through some stages much more recently.  I have to admit that she has been an amazing puppy.  She has very high drive which can require redirecting now and again and her zest for life in general can get her into trouble.  One of her newest things is barking when asked to go out the dog door.  We still have not conquered it, she simply hates it no matter what I put on the other side.  I've clicked, I've treated, praised, thrown new toys out there and held the door open until I thought my arm would fall off.  We will get there but man oh man.  But the barking is a new addition and it is quite bold.

This new barking thing is annoying to say the least.  I don't mind that it is taking so long to get the whole dog door thing, just don't bark at me every time I mention the door.  She has a very loud bark, not extra deep or high, just very, very loud.  I hate barking for nothing and barking at me because she doesn't want to go through the door?  No, this is not going to fly.  So I will up the dog door training and try to consider yet another tactic to get the big chicken through the door.   Hmmmm; I actually just thought of an idea while typing.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Throughout a dogs life they will have many good days and bad days.  The bad days will have you questioning this whole "mans best friend" thing.  Stages are very different than temperament or personality.  A stage is a short span of time when a dogs behavior changes.  There is typically a reason behind a stage but you may never know what it was.  Then again you might figure it out quickly and be able to nip in the bud.

Stages are good for our learning curve.  If you had a dog that never had any stages, whether they be fear, pushing or otherwise you wouldn't learn a whole lot.  Luke taught me the most of any of my dogs over the years.  It was most definitely because he was the most difficult and by difficult I mean wonderfully challenging  :)  Even as my most challenging he was no where near some of the dogs that I've worked with, he is after all a standard poodle (and you know what they say about poodles).

As you plod through all the stages of life, the ups and downs, take it all in.  There are many great lessons in the things that seem to be quite annoying at the time that they are occurring.