Dogs need opportunities to be dogs! When dealing with the antics of an adolescent dog, it is easy to forget why you love dogs in the first place—because they’re DOGS and not humans!

You probably spend a lot of time trying to stop your adolescent dog from acting the way dogs do naturally—barking, licking, digging, jumping, chewing, sniffing, peeing, running, chasing, and rolling in stinky stuff.

This doesn’t mean you need to allow him to do these things anywhere and everywhere, but you do need to give him outlets for some of his natural behaviors.

Humans bred dogs to perform certain jobs, so by all means, find appropriate outlets for your dog to do what he does best! He will appreciate it and you’ll have fun watching his sheer joy at doing what he loves to do.

Here are some ideas for some outlets:

  • If you have a terrier who loves to dig for rodents, give him a place where he’s allowed to dig up toys or treats.
  • If your herding breed dog loves to chase moving objects, allow him to gather the family when it’s time for dinner.
  • If your sighthound loves to run, don’t keep him on leash every moment he’s outside. In safe situations, of course.
  • If your scenthound loves to use his nose to track bunnies, by all means, give him some time when it’s appropriate to do so.

For those who are not familiar with the Vizsla breed, Vizslas are the Hungarian Pointer, bred to point out birds and also retrieve. I am not a hunter, so I won’t be killing any of the animals my dog Romeo points out, but I can still allow him the thrill of finding a scent and trailing it. When he has the opportunity to romp through the fields off leash following whatever scent catches his interest, he has a look of sheer joy about him. I expect a lot from him, but I also know I need to give him time to be himself and do what comes naturally to him. It clearly makes him happy, and that makes me happy too.