When you live with an adolescent dog, there are some days when you wonder if s/he will ever mature. I certainly have had those thoughts about Romeo some days. (July 2011) One of my objectives with raising a dog from puppyhood was to build great social skills so that he could assist me in my work with other dogs. I wanted a dog who is great with puppies so I could bring him to my Puppy Recess Socialization on Sundays and use him in other situations. It is so valuable to have a socially appropriate dog who can play well with puppies but also provide appropriate corrections when puppies get a bit out of control.

It seemed that Romeo was just not going to fit that criteria for me. He LOVES to play with other dogs, but he’s had some issues with getting too rough and out of control himself that I could not have him around young puppies.

At two years old, he certainly has some maturing left to do, but he’s come a long way. We had a four month old puppy staying with us for the week. I was concerned that Romeo would be too rough with him. At times, he does get a little rough and I step in. But for the most part, he’s showing that he knows how to play differently with a puppy.

One of Romeo’s favorite games is “chase me” with him being chased. He rarely chases other dogs. He always prefer to be chased rather than do the chasing. He particularly has always enjoyed having a toy and playing keep away from the other dogs. When he has a toy, he will try very hard to make sure the other dog can’t get it. But with the puppy, he has been slowing down and giving the puppy opportunities to grab one end of the toy. He does not do the same thing with older dogs.

He’s also very good at redirecting the puppy from some inappropriate things and enticing him to play in more appropriate ways. Who would have ever thought Romeo would be helpful in training a puppy to play appropriately and stay out of trouble?! I hoped for it, but wasn’t sure I would ever see it. Perhaps Romeo will mature into the perfect training partner for me after all.

The moral of the story is, I guess, don’t give up hope! Living with an adolescent dog, sometimes those lofty goals seem unreachable. But they’re not. They do take some time and effort, but they are achievable. Be patient and keep at it!