Many of us have heard of the description known as the terrible twos. This is typically used to describe toddlers in an unruly stage of life, often accompanied by hyperactivity and endless chaos.
The terrible twos typically occur when children transition from a baby to a more independent child, so many wonder if our dogs will go through the same process.
Many pet parents will agree that they certainly do, so let’s discuss the details of terrible twos in dogs below!
So Do Dogs Go Through Terrible Twos?
While there is no official term for the terrible twos in dogs, most pet parents will agree that dogs indeed experience their own version of this unruly behavioral stage.
This is a period in which your growing puppy really tests our boundaries, as they are working to figure out their place in the world and in your home.
Dogs that are going through the terrible twos may challenge you in their training, break some of your household rules, appear to have endless energy, and may even develop a bit of an attitude when they don’t get their way.
As you can see, the terrible twos in dogs are very similar to the terrible twos in people!
At What Age Do Dogs Go Through Terrible Twos?
While every terrible two stage will vary in dogs, most growing puppies will go through this between 6 months to 12 months of age.
By this time the puppies are comfortable in their environment and are really learning how things work, and this is the perfect time to push the boundaries and see what they can get away with.
If you have recently welcomed a young pup into your home, you may soon learn that they don’t always calm down once they escape the early weeks of their puppyhood.
Their terrible two stage may come on with a vengeance, but you can find relief in knowing that they will likely begin to calm down once they hit 1 year of age.
What Are The Signs Of ‘The Terrible Twos’ In Your Dog?
It will likely be obvious that your pup is going through a challenging behavioral stage, but there are some summon signs of the terrible twos in our growing canine companions.
These pups are known to push the limits and see what they can get away with, and there are a list of ways they may do this each day.
Some of the many signs of the terrible twos in dogs include:
- Disregarding previously learned commands such as sit, stay, lay down, stop barking, and more
- Jumping on members of the family or visitors to your home
- Constant zoomies throughout the day, even when you tell them to settle down
- Endless amounts of hyperactivity
- Not coming when called, even making a game out of it and requiring you to chase them
- Humping people or animals
- Frequent barking, even constant in some cases
- Increased pulling on walks
- Rolling around and throwing tantrums on walks
- Refusing to leave exciting places like the dog park or doggy day care
- Talking back when you give them commands
- Jumping on the furniture if they know they are not allowed
- Making you chase them when it’s time for things like baths, nail trims, putting on their collar, etc.
- Playing rough with you or other animals
- Pawing at you for attention
- Tearing up toys, bedding, or anything else in the home they can destroy
- Whining or barking when they are not getting attention
These are all normal puppy behaviors that you will need to correct as they grow, but they can really shine during the terrible two phase.
If it seems like your dog’s bad behavior is amplified from 6-12 months of age, you are certainly not alone.
How Can I Get My Dog Through The Terrible Twos?
How you react to the terrible two phase in your dog can pave the way for their behavior in the future.
These pups are testing the waters with their naughty behaviors, hoping to see what they can get away with as the years go on.
Because of this, it’s important to correct these undesirable behaviors as they occur.
We know how frustrating this time can be, so let’s offer you a few tips on how to get through the terrible twos in your dog. Ranging from increased exercise to implementing structure, let’s dive in!
Make sure to follow a routine:
This may be surprising to some pet parents, but dogs love structure and routine. A regular routine can help your pup avoid any uncertainty in their daily life, allowing them to fully relax and feel comfortable in your home.
A routine is also essential when training your pup, as this will help them easily grasp what you expect of them each day.
Increase daily exercise:
If your puppy is bursting at the seams with energy each day, then it is essential to increase their daily exercise. This will help to tire them out and prevent any pent up energy, as this is what typically leads to bad behavior.
You can increase their exercise by taking them on more walks, taking them along on hikes, going swimming, playing with other dogs they are comfortable with, and even playing a daily game of fetch.
Make sure they are getting proper socialization:
Many dogs going through their terrible twos will be too rough or rambunctious around other dog friends. This can quickly upset one of their playmates, leading to unnecessary fights and injuries.
This hyperactivity when playing with dogs can be exacerbated when they are not properly socialized, which is why it is so important to socialize them from the moment they enter your home. Just be sure to do this with other friendly pups that are fully vaccinated.
Offer them plenty of mental stimulation:
Mental stimulation is just as important as physical stimulation in a dog that is going through terrible twos. Lack of mental exercise can leave a pup bored and unfilled, often leading to troublesome behavior.
Some of the best mental stimulation for dogs is teaching basic obedience, offering them interactive games, and even giving them licking mats filled with their favorite spreadable treat.
Be consistent with your rules:
There is nothing more confusing to a puppy than a pet parent that is not consistent. Your dog will need guidance throughout their terrible two phase, and this can only be done when we are consistent with our rules. Try not to go back and forth on what you expect from your pup each day.
Avoid negative punishment:
We know how frustrating this time can be, but negative punishment will often make your pup’s behavior even worse.
Punishment such as yelling or hitting will often make your pup think you are engaging with them, and this can often rile them up even more. These issues are much easier addressed with positive punishment and redirection.
Nothing will test your patience like a case of terrible twos in your growing canine friend. Your pup will outgrow this difficult stage soon, but you will need to work with them each step of the way.
With the tips we discussed above and an understanding of what they are going through, you will get through this phase with ease!