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  • Writer's pictureJosie

The Terrible Twos

Updated: Sep 24, 2020

We are officially over the two-year mark as of May 26th. Happy Birthday! While I like to think Athena has reached maturity as an adult dog, she has been throwing tantrums lately when she doesn't get enough attention. As with kids, I don't think there is such a thing as a "bad dog." Perhaps she could be a little mischievous sometimes, but like with any child or animal, if you don't meet their basic needs, they tend to act up. There is no such thing as a bad dog. There is a hungry dog, a tired dog, a stressed dog, or a bored dog. Figure out why your dog is doing the behavior and try to correct it through other means. For instance, Athena tends not to whine/ jump or get overly excited after a trip to the lake, a hike, or a long walk. If we plan to go somewhere with her, it is nice to tire her out beforehand. It helps have a smoother trip.

I am not saying that dogs shouldn't be punished. Just because Athena is bored doesn't mean she gets to chew up a couch or jump all over us. More recently, Athena likes to bark and whine at us while watching TV and relaxing. The first thing I always check is if she needs to use the restroom. Perhaps she needs a potty break and is alerting me before going into the house. Maybe she doesn't have any food or water and is due. If these things are not the case, it leads me to believe that she wants to play.

When shepherds are taught from an early age that barking, jumping, and whining gets attention, it teaches them that those behaviors can be used to get what they want if you don't correct this behavior. Athena has demonstrated this to us. While she is no longer a puppy, her destructive behaviors have gone uncorrected, leaving them to worsen or be present in her adult years, hence the terrible twos. Even though Athena is no longer considered a puppy, she exhibits some behaviors as puppy-like because it has not been corrected. Granted, we are blessed that Athena has learned a significant amount of manners and house etiquette. However, we are still working on our table manners and the excitement of guests. Remember that the training and behaviors you correct are crucial for not only the puppy that you have but the adult dog that you will have as well.

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