Ep #15 (transcript): Doodle Brain Under Construction- Adolescent Dog Training

In this part two of Corinne’s conversation with Denver Paw School’s owner and training manager, they discuss the extra challenges doodle adolescence brings and why your doodle still continues to need training as an adolescent and an adult. It doesn’t have to be in a classroom, but training and learning don’t stop once they’ve finished one puppy socialization class.

That would be like your pulling your kid out after kindergarten and saying, “You've got your letters. You learned enough.”

“With my now teenager, if I stopped addressing his learning needs at kindergarten, and even if I just kept reinforcing that kindergarten level, he'd be great at knowing his letters.
But by raising the level of enrichment and stimulation and growth and connection by working on that training together, my dog and I are still growing and solidifying our connection together.” – Corinne Gearhart

They discuss why that's so important and what's going on when you have an adolescent doodle that knew how to sit or go into a down stay or not pull on the leash… And suddenly it seems like they forgot it all.

What is going on? They're here to share with you and let you know. If you want to know how to find a great facility, great training program, or a solid trainer, listen to part one of this interview, Episode 13. There, Denver Paw School shares with people all over the world the red flags to look for, when to run, and what to feel great about when you find  a facility or a training program

On this part 2 of our interview, the adolescent doodle questions will be addressed include:
– What is a dog's teenage phase?
– Is it normal for an adolescent dog to have increased reactivity, barking, jumping, biting, poor impulse control, or to stop listening?
– If they are more reactive or harder to control, should we stop socialization or going to public places?
– How do I find adolescent dog training classes near me?
– Why is my teenage dog driving me crazy and won't listen?

Sometimes there are doodles that struggle with overstimulation, like just absolutely over-aroused. Continuing on with socialization might be counterintuitive. But actually, if it's regimented and controlled in a way, I think that it can start to address some of those over-arousal situations.” – Kathy Thorpe

“And I think that's probably one of the biggest things with teenagers is that some days they're like… super responsive and responding to every cue and look like a model citizen and they look like an adult dog. And then yes, the next day it's like, where did that dog go?  And it's all the rewiring, the brain is under construction.” – Colleen Tekamp

-3:47 Working with adolescent doodles
-6:14 Teenage issues aren't your fault!
-6:52 Is socialization still needed at this age?
-9:42 Doodle's Extended Puppyhood & Adolescence
-13:54 Human side of the leash
-18:28 What if we do drop out after puppy kindergarten?

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Read the transcript:

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: In this part two of my conversation with Denver Paw School's owner and training manager, we are going to discuss why you're doodle still continues to need training, even as an adolescent and an adult. Training and learning don't stop once they've finished one puppy socialization class.

That would be like me pulling my kid out after kindergarten and saying, You got your letters. You learned enough. We're going to discuss why that's so important and what's going on when you have an adolescent doodle that knew how to sit or go into a down stay or not pull on the leash. And suddenly it seems like they forgot it all.

What is going on? They're here to share with you and let you know. If you want to know how to find a great facility, great training program, or a solid trainer, listen to the last episode, episode 13. Where, Denver's possible shares with people all over the world, the red flags to look for when to run, and what to feel great about when you find a facility or a training program

If you have a puppy, listen to episode 13. Where our two guests are going to discuss with you what to look for in a puppy socialization program and when to run.

If you haven't done a puppy socialization class or it feels like your doodle is regressing. That's okay. The window isn't shut. They still can learn to be comfortable and confident. The speed that you can go when they're a brand new puppy and they're just that little sponge can be faster, but the window isn't shut.

There is still time. Listen to this podcast to learn some great techniques to help your dog feel better about new situations, sounds people's dogs, and more. The reason I invited these talented trainers is that I have personal experience with bringing my own dog to Denver's Paw School. When I started with our own puppy, it was during the beginning of the pandemic and I wanted the best facility for my dog.

Luckily we were able to visit and do our orientation and everything ahead of time in person. And then March 2020 hit and it was amazing seeing this company just pivot and serve pet parents, especially when so many of us were worried about truly being at home all the time and missing some great socialization windows.

Colleen was, in fact, the trainer that worked with us virtually with our dog. So even as a dog trainer, it's so nice to have another set of eyes. It's just like having a teacher for your child, like you know your child best and you read to them all the time, but having somebody else come and talk to you and say, This is what I'm seeing, and here's another trick from my toolbox.

Colleen Tekamp, CPDT-KA- Denver Paw School's Training Manager: And so in particular, what I was hoping, or what we were hoping to accomplish with the older kinder P two, four to seven month age range was I actually find that's where a good portion of the change or changes start happening, where they are no longer that itty bitty puppy that needs all of your attention because they're going potty and they're tired, and now they need a nap and all that stuff, but they're, getting that first flush of hormones and they're trying to reorganize their social dynamics just like people, teenagers do.

Not that dogs are exactly the same as people, but what I was hoping to do with that class is continue the discussion of socialization because it's, not done by any means. Yes, your sponge period is gone, but the ground definitely becomes unsettled during that timeframe. And If the puppy parents were thinking that they could, stop with their outings or facilitation with social interactions, check on how they're doing with new people, how they're doing with those sounds still.

I just wanted to bring that to the forefront that they're gonna be going through some stuff and you still need to be there and ready to support them. And it's a little bit different because now depending on what kind of dog you have, it could be 70 pounds at the end of the leash instead of 10 pounds at the end of the leash.

So things like emergency leash strategies, when they're not responding to any of those cues that you've worked on, what can you do? How do I go about reintroducing these scary things for a teenage mind that is prone to bigger, big feelings? That's a I think Sarah strumming uses that term quite a bit.

And definitely like it. And they've respond generally more outwardly to a lot of stuff, more so than the smaller puppies. And so we try to have class topics about that and, Trying to gear the pet parent up for that of this is gonna, this is likely to happen and it's not anything you did or didn't do, it's just what they're physically going through at this point.

And here, they can still work on their social off-leash time with unfamiliar dogs. But we're also gonna try to give you these tidbits of information to help you buckle down for this time period. . 

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And there is a such a sweet spot that you can reach with your adult dog. But it doesn't end at the 12 week or 14 week mark of working with them.

What I find, especially as you mentioned, the 70 pound, I think of our bernedoodles or larger golden doodles or Aussiedoodles, I could go on! But the larger ones a lot of their parents feel mortified with the look of those bigger feelings with their dog. When it's a little puppy Oh, he's just a puppy.

Like he's scared or doesn't know but when that can look like barking or lunging because they want that scary thing to go away. I love a program that helps the dog parent understand They're not bad. You're not bad. Let's see what they're responding to and how can we change the feelings behind it.

Kathy Thorpe- Owner of Denver Paw School: I think with doodles since we're talking about doodles. Yeah. And Colleen, I'm gonna send you a wavelength on who I'm thinking about here. , but 

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Wink nudge, This certain one. Yeah. . 

Kathy Thorpe- Owner of Denver Paw School: Sometimes there are doodles that struggle with over stimulation, like just absolutely over aroused.

And continuing on, it might be counterintuitive. Continuing on with the socialization might be like maybe I should put the breaks on that. But actually if it's regimented and controlled in a way, I think that it can start to address some of those over arousal situations. But 

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: can you pick up the wink, wink calling?

Colleen Tekamp, CPDT-KA- Denver Paw School's Training Manager: We, featured a certain doodle in, our worked up class, but I don't know if that's what 

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: A lot of them fit this category, when you see them at that point we discussed before, as opposed to just throwing them in the deep end, when you're working with those adolescent or older dogs that are showing those big feelings, 

Colleen Tekamp, CPDT-KA- Denver Paw School's Training Manager: it's, not a point to where you, Oh my gosh. They're having these reactions. So we're not gonna go outside and we're not gonna see dogs and we're not gonna see people just because I, don't want them to have that response. It's trying to find a location in a setting or. Even setting something up with helpers and friends and maybe people that you've even met in class and hopefully developed in your community to work with you at a level that your dog can handle.

And I think that's probably one of the biggest things with teenagers is that some days they're like, Oh yeah, this is great. And they're like super responsive and Uhhuh responding to every queue and look like a model citizen and they look like an adult dog. And then yes, the next day it's like, where did that dog go?

And it's the, all the rewiring brain is under, construction. And when you have the dog that day, while I was planning on going to the out outdoor barbecue with my friends and gonna take 'em, but I don't think you can handle these 10 unfamiliar people in his face. And that's fine.

And that would be a better choice to make in that scenario cuz when they're telling you like, Oh this is too much. It's. I very rarely am gonna buckle down and just grit through it. I'm gonna see if we can create space, if there's an opportunity to do a soothing strategy, see if I can decompress or get them onto some type of mat or station that will, that trigger some type of relaxation or focus, and then see if we can handle what's going on in the environment.

And if not, then it's, a, call it a day and let 'em sleep on it. Yeah. And then wake up the next day and you'll probably have a different dog just cause of, just because of where they're at hormone wise. 

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Yes. And what gets practiced gets perfected. So if the dog is being reactive, barking to get something to go away and that thing goes away cuz they're looking nutty to the stranger or whatever it is that's getting perfected.

Okay. If I act that way, that scary thing will go away. So I love that you're bringing some other strategies. So doodles in particular have an extended puppyhood and adolescents compared to some other breeds, both from the poodle side, adding the golden in, or some of the other ones that it can last longer that you're dealing with some of the adolescent behaviors.

So for those and even adult dogs, why would someone who passed their puppy classes, still look for a training program or work with a trainer?

Colleen Tekamp, CPDT-KA- Denver Paw School's Training Manager: Some of the things that I find is, as I noted, is this is where they're seeing the biggest changes in their dogs. So I will routinely hear in this age range from five months to sexual maturity. He's never done that before. But this is completely new, or it's only been around for the past couple weeks.

And so having, a trainer, having a support network, having a good resource of knowledge and a good environment where you can practice these things appropriately so it doesn't turn into something that it is then carried into adulthood, right? So if, we can essentially continue to pivot and, adjust our training plan for okay, this is the priority this week.

Okay, we've got a good handle on it now. Now what's the new, what's the new thing to deal with? And that can. Sometimes I feel like I just wanna offer like a hotline service of if you have a new thing here's a quick answer. And obviously in, in addition to classes and seeing somebody in person, but just being able to talk through all those things that crop up.

I think is super important because you're, potentially dealing with the most change out of any developmental stage. 

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: It's if I stopped school with my son in kindergarten cuz he made some good friends and was able to play at the playground and then now he is in middle school, which he is.

God bless me. And I didn't have any other tools. I've just good at the kindergartner stage. 

Kathy Thorpe- Owner of Denver Paw School: If, we're thinking about our little puppies up to 6, 7, 8 months, and we've done the work, we've done our socialization, we've spent the time going through our obedience classes, we feel like we've ticked all those boxes, right?

But there is no linear progression in a dog's life. It is going to be up and down and even with our clients who have gone through the full array of obedience training and their dogs or the puppies are quite young. There is that moment in their development, or it's more than a moment a couple month period where Yeah.

What we hear is it's like they forgot everything. Yes. What you, I, we've done this. Why are you misbehaving or not listening to me and. From the owner's perspective, consistency and repetition will remain key. It through those, like you said, the doodles, their puppy age spans a bit longer, right?

You get up to that year, and a half, two year mark, right? You need to be consistent, whether it's in a class format or on your own. The classes just keep us honest, right? Yes. Keeps us working towards a goal. Yes. And keeps it fresh and formatted. I'm not gonna sit here and say, you need to come to class every week for two years.

That's, not, But you have to take everything that you've learned and apply at home, and maybe do a refresh here or there, or tackle something new just to address that working relationship between you strong. A working relationship can be a lot of things. It can be practicing your obedience commands for sure.

It can purposely going to new environments to practice those things. It can be trick training, it can be agility training, it can be oh gosh there's, a wealth of other things that you can do with your dog. Yes. But the thing is that you don't set your treat bag down and walk away and you're done.

It's a lifetime commitment with your dog. Yes. Yeah. 

Colleen Tekamp, CPDT-KA- Denver Paw School's Training Manager: And what I'm mainly thinking about right now is, the human learner side of things. Cuz I think your original question is I took the puppy classes, I did the six weeks of socialization, or eight weeks of socialization.

 The information that you are likely gonna be getting in those classes is dealing with that puppy in front of you and I and there's, no way that I'm gonna, that we're gonna be able to. Cover, the lifespan of what you may, encounter, so from like a human learning perspective, if you've never had a puppy before, you're acquiring a whole bunch of skills.

Even clicker timing or treat delivery or what a cong is or how to stuff it, or what enrichment is. And you're probably feeling delusion, overwhelmed just from that amount of information and and so I do really try to keep things catered to the specific timeframe that they're in of what's the priority now?

Okay, we got that on deck now, what's the priority here? Cuz there's, not enough time and no person is gonna have enough mental space, no matter the skill Yeah. To absorb all that information to handle where, your dog is at as they're growing. So hopefully you can get that kind of guidance throughout that whole progression and journey.

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And as Kathy was talking about that stage, and we've all seen it with our own dogs and in working with our clients where they say, it's like they, we had this. Like we had that behavior on lock. And it is they totally forgot. I'm curious, I know you guys have a age requirement to take the canine Good citizen test is or, like a minimum recommendation.

Yeah. Yes. Thank you. What is your thought process as to why you have an age recommendation that they reach before? They are a candidate for canine Good citizen. 

Colleen Tekamp, CPDT-KA- Denver Paw School's Training Manager: I think our recommendation is a year and a half or two. And then if you have a large breed, probably three is just because I would like them to be in that adulthood to really see what type of dog we have now that everything's settled. Yes. And I also think something like the KAA good citizen is, yeah, you do the obedience things of sit and stay and come, but it's a relationship and communication.

Value test or, challenge to go through and three years with someone that's, not even that's a good relationship, but that's still a pretty young relationship. Yes. And with the species, that's not even the same. So I think it's always good to have the canan good citizen goals.

But that the recommendation would be to let them mature, let them get into adulthood. Let the time that you've put into the relationship really generate and and strengthen and then see where you're at with, that particular 

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: standard. I think that's so sound, knowing how their training and development isn't linear and it doesn't stop when they have their first birthday.


Kathy Thorpe- Owner of Denver Paw School: And I would just add that over the years we have had younger dogs take the canine good citizen. But it is always with the caveat that you'll probably wanna do this again. , 

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: right? Yes. 

Kathy Thorpe- Owner of Denver Paw School: You've got a 12 month old dog and you've, done the training, you've done the work, you've worked through all of these elements, which is wonderful.

And we as humans, we have goal, we set goals for ourself. Yeah. And they wanna go ahead and take the canine good citizen evaluation. And I think that's great. Do it. But know that over the course of the coming year, you might wanna continue with the work that you're putting in and maybe do the evaluation again down the road in this timeframe that Colleen is talking.

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And I think that speaks to why continuing courses, which as you said, it keeps us honest and accountable. Like it puts it on your schedule. It doesn't have to be consistently every week for years, but just like my analogy with my now teenager, if I stopped at his learning needs at kindergarten, and even if I just kept reinforcing that kindergarten level, he'd be great at knowing his letters.

But his level of enrichment and stimulation and growth and connection by working on that training together, my dog and I are still growing and solidifying our connection together. And by adding that level of enrichment and opportunity for learning new things is giving some of our working dogs a job.

 Colleen, can you speak to at all, if a dog isn't given a job, we want to give them what that can show, what that can look like and unwanted behaviors. 

Colleen Tekamp, CPDT-KA- Denver Paw School's Training Manager: They will find their own job, whether that's being watch, dog at the back of your couch, barking at the window, alerting to anything that's outside, redecorating your house, depending on how choppy they are.

Yes. Redecorating your yard with digging. Jumping on the fence, line fence, fighting with the neighbor dogs, I, the list is endless. They're all dog behaviors, right? They're all things that they come with regardless. It's just yes. What, their personal tendency is and what you have in terms of your breed combination as to what type of employment they they might enjoy best.

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Now, I know on your menu of things that you address, Muzzles are one of them. And a lot of puppy parents or pet parents in general. My job's not aggressive. Why would I be working intentionally on muzzle training?

Colleen Tekamp, CPDT-KA- Denver Paw School's Training Manager: Which, Kathy and I had a discussion about it, or a couple discussions before we Yes. Put it on there. It's just one of those things where I almost, I want to help normalize things too. Like we can do, we're gonna do our utmost to try to make sure that they're not feeling threatened or feel like they need to use aggressive behaviors in a situation.

But if they are injured or if they I always relate to, I hike quite a bit, and what if my dog hurt his paw or broke something on a hike and I need to get him off of that mountain, He's probably gonna be in pain. And yes, no, in a million years I would never think that he would bite me. But putting him in a muzzle and making sure that he's actually comfortable wearing it.

So it's not yet another uncomfortable thing for him. Yeah. Is just it's like a seatbelt. I don't know, when I'm gonna get into a car accident, but I'm gonna wear one because I'm putting myself like in a situation where something might happen. A muzzle can be that just to help with those safer situations.

But I've even had more muzzle conversations with puppy parents who their puppy is on their third or fourth emergency vet visit Yes. To get something out of their guts that they've swallowed. And it's I, want to help you. Teach them, leave it and drop it and don't put that in your mouth. But that's gonna take I can't give you an exercise that's gonna be done in a today, in 24 hours.

Yeah. So let's keep them safe because you have kids in your household and you can't keep things off the ground and you can't vacuum your outside. And there's stuff all over the place. And if you live in a city there can gobble up stuff that even with the best vigilance, you're still not going to catch.

So even muzzles for that use, which isn't anything about. Being aggressive or being in pain. It's just just trying to keep them safe while you get the behavior on board so you don't have to have another trip to the Be . I 

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: can share, I'll share in the show notes cuz he is so adorable. One of our clients and members of the Doodle Pro Society, Keanu, which he's as handsome as who he named after he I, know you guys work with dogs like I do.

So when you hear a fun name, like you get excited. Yeah. We get a lot of Charlie's and Bellas and Lunas . So Keanu has a habit of swallowing the the rocks, the small rocks that are in the yard. And it's going to take a lot of work to get all of those rocks out of there. It's all zero escaped and. His family, he's had surgeries that are like $3,000 to remove.

And the scariest part is that his life is at risk when he's eating these rocks. So the family, especially the kids, gets so scared Keanu stop and it turns into a chase and the urgency of it takes away all of the training opportunity of leave it, drop it, et cetera. It felt really brave to me that they did muzzle training and he wears a basket muzzle that he's able to drink and pant and play in the yard so that everybody can relax a little in the yard while they're undertaking that big task of getting every rock out of there.

And when people see pictures of Keanu and he has that muzzle on, some might worry is he aggressive? And by every dog practicing it. I could see your point, Colleen, that it really takes away some of that stigma. 

Colleen Tekamp, CPDT-KA- Denver Paw School's Training Manager: That's what I think our, discussion, Cathy and our discussion even before introducing it, is how are we going to talk about this topic knowing that it is sensitive and right now the culture and the response is, Oh my gosh, what's wrong with that dog?

But if we can introduce it thoughtfully and at a young age, and then something that may register with someone and it becomes more acceptable then it doesn't have to be this brave gesture as a pet guardian just to try to wanna keep your dog safe, yes.

Kathy Thorpe- Owner of Denver Paw School: And for a dog that doesn't have any tendencies or behaviors that require a muzzle why not? It's just another exposure opportunity. You can think of it as trick training or just getting your dog comfortable investigating and having their body touched in an unusual way. 

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: The stigma is a human side to it.

Dogs don't feel bad because we've introduced a muzzle , yeah. It's another thing to condition to, Your team is one I respect so much working in Denver metro area. If I have a doodle come to work with me or I even meet a doodles family, and if I ask them about where they did training, if they said possible I really don't even need to worry about my screening too much. I know that the foundation.

I know the foundation is really in line with best practices and the highest standards, and I also know that the parent who has chosen your program is really putting in that extra investment with their dog. So if you're in the Denver metro area, I cannot recommend Paul School highly enough. If they were to want to find you, Kathy, where could people in the Denver metro area reach out or follow you?

Kathy Thorpe- Owner of Denver Paw School: Our website is denver paw school.com and our location that we've been in since 2012 is fairly central Denver. It's off of I 25 and Broadway. But we are going to also be opening a second location on the south metro side of town near you in Greenwood Village. That will be opening probably first, second week of November, 2022.

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Oh good. I'm so glad I honestly could go on and on with questions cuz I really respect what you guys do in the methods that you use. 

Kathy Thorpe- Owner of Denver Paw School: I think this was a great conversation. 

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Thank you so much 

 I've really enjoyed doing our bonus episodes on different doodle mixes in celebration of international doodle dog day. The last two weeks, our bonus episodes have covered. Golden doodles, Labradoodles, including Australian Labradoodles and the dog that isn't even a doodle anymore. Cobber dogs. And this week we're going to cover the one closest to my heart. 

Kava poos. My Nestle is a black F1 cavapoo and I'm going to share all about this special mix on Thursday. See 

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I’m Corinne, The Doodle Pro™


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