DE-FIZZING TEENAGE FIZZIES!


A few of our teen pup families have been in contact lately about puppies who have gone from gentle nibbly play to full-on shark launches. I thought a quick go-to list of how to come through this phase without feeling like a pin-cushion (!) may help:


  • Sniff Trail daily - most pups have certain times of day when they launch their shark moments, so ideally have lay out a Sniff Trail about 15 minutes before your pup usually starts to get agitated. Do a maximum of 2 Sniff Trails daily.

  • Give your pup between 3 and 8 good quality fish chews, rabbit ears, lamb ears or small goat ears throughout the day. They can all be frozen, which soothes sore gums. A lot of hard mouthing from pups happens because of uncomfortable teething pain. Good ethical suppliers are Skippers Pet Products online or Fish 4 Dogs. Ears can be sourced from JR Products Online or the Canine Treat Club (also online). This many chews may seem excessive, but they're a great way to redirect over-boisterous teens and teens will burn off the extra calories.

  • Bury chews in a sand pit (ideally one with a cover to keep local cats away from it!) As you can see here, Pablo loved the introduction of a new sandpit!

  • Make sure that walks and other forms of exercise are geared towards what your pup needs. Many pups of this age are over-exercised as a way of tiring them out, resulting in sore, tired limbs. And when pups are sore and tired, they tend to become more bitey.

  • Feed a grain-free wet food diet, a raw diet or a fresh-food diet. Try wet grain free foods, such as Scrumbles wet trays, Edgar and Cooper grain free wet food or Butchers grain free wet tins. A lot of teen nipping and chewing is the result of an uncomfortable gut and it's interesting how much sharky teen behaviour stops when we transition the dogs we work with onto a wet, grain-free diet. Puppies who have uncomfortable tummies tend to be over-boisterous and over-excitable as a way of taking their minds of the discomfort in their gut. A lot of young dogs who hump do it to release discomfort in their gut, and changing their diet can have fast results in increasing calmness and reducing both humping and hard mouthing.

  • Make sure your pup is getting enough uninterrupted rest. Pups need at least 17 hours sleep in a 24 hour period to rest properly and a lot of sharkiness is a result of being over-tired. Most of the pups who are on our Social Skills Programme don't get enough rest and they all improve significantly once they are getting the amount of sleep they need.

  • Avoid a 'switched on' pup. "Less is more" is key to raising a healthy, happy and calm teen. Too much stimulation is as much of an issue as a lack of stimulation in teenage dogs. Filling their days with play, enrichment, walks and doing-doing-doing creates pups with low self-control who don't know how to rest and re-charge. A couple of Sniff Trails a day, plus moderate exercise, plus controlled family input and calm places to rest is the most effective way to create independent, calm and happy pups.

Using these foundations helps the teens in our classes and on our Social Skills Programme become calm, self-controlled pups. These are the first steps to raising resilient young dogs. You can learn more about how to turn your fizzy teen into a Thinking-Pup by contacting Claire at fern.ember.dog.behaviour@gmail.com for information about how to enrol on one of our Teen Thinking-dog Programmes.


Pablo's mum and dad were feeling a bit under siege by their boy, who kept jumping-up at them and using his teeth in play. Putting the above strategies into place got results within 2 days!

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