Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Caution: Now Entering "The Doberteens"

So, it appears that Margot’s now entering the wonderful world of puberty, or as I’ve seen it been called on various Doberman websites, “the dreaded Doberteens.”  This phase of development takes place around 6-7 months of age, and Margot turned 7 months-old two days ago.  Besides the fact that she is now taller than Sam, which I still can’t believe, Margot has been showing other signs of being in the Doberteens phase recently.  The following are a list of behaviors that are apparently typical of this phase:

1.       Barks a lot more – While Margot still doesn’t bark very much, she has become more vocal lately.  She will bark at other dogs outside of the house (in a playful way), but she still won’t fully bark at Sam.  I’m not sure if it’s out of respect for her elder or what, but instead of barking at Sam when they’re playing, Margot lets out these high-pitched, little sounds, almost like she’s trying to sing at times.   

Bad, Margot!
2.       More destructive – I can definitely put a checkmark beside this one!  I’ve bragged and bragged about how my puppy has only chewed through one cord and not destroyed ANYTHING else in the house, other than her own toys, for six months, and then last week I came downstairs one morning to find that she had chewed up one of Justin’s dress shoes, a glove, and a table leg sometime while we had been asleep!  Now, to be fair, she also ate a whole pack of Starbursts, which I had carelessly left out within her reach (bad owner!), so I’ve jokingly taken the blame for her actions, saying that she was probably on some kind of psychotic sugar high and went on a rampage.   That might very well be true, but I have a feeling she was just being a normal puppy and finally decided to see what shoes and table legs tasted like.  I was upset, of course, when I first found the carnage, and I thought at that moment that we had been giving her too much freedom by not putting her in her crate at night (she’s even been staying out for the majority of the day, too).  I crated her that day for a whole six hours or so (I really know how to stick to my guns), but she’s been staying outside of the crate ever since then, and so far she’s done fine.   Justin and I are definitely paying more attention to her level of energy before we need to leave her alone and trying to make better judgments about whether or not to crate her at that time.  If she’s been playing for a while and we know she’s probably getting ready to wind down, we’ll leave her out because we know she’ll just sleep the whole time we’re gone.  However, if she’s been asleep for a long time BEFORE it’s time for us to leave, or if she’s just woken up and started playing, we’re more likely to crate her.

3.       Becomes stubborn/disobedient/”forgets” all training – I can’t really say that this has been an issue with Margot thus far.  The only change in her behavior, as far as obedience and training go,  is the fact that she now jumps a little bit when greeting us, which we’ve taught her is a no-no since Day 1.  As soon as she gives a little hop, though, we tell her, “No!” and give her “the look,” at which point she immediately sits and sometimes even lies down.  I will say that she’s not very good at coming when she’s called, but that’s nothing new.   In fact, writing all of this has reminded me that I need to get Margot enrolled in obedience classes.  I’ll probably do that in the next month or so.

4.       “Gooses” guests – I’m not really sure why this behavior is related specifically to puberty in dogs, but apparently it is, and Margot definitely likes to greet people by sticking her nose right in everyone’s butts.  

Most of the other behaviors I’ve read about are related more to male dogs, like humping, aggression, and marking territory, so I’m thankful that at least I don’t have to deal with those sorts of behaviors.  Out of everything listed above, I’m the most concerned about Margot being destructive while she’s home alone and not in her crate.  I’ve considered buying another can of that Off! Spray that I used to spray on everything when she was just a baby because it really did work.   For now, though, I guess we’re just going to continue to watch her and use discretion when deciding whether or not to crate her. 

Other than the puberty stuff, though, Margot is still just as sweet and loving as ever, and still just as hyper!  Last weekend, her Aunt Kristy took Margot for her first official run to help burn off some of that energy, which is something that Kristy and Lexie used to do together all the time before Lexie started having problems with her eyes.  Kristy has been talking about wanting to take Margot for runs ever since the day we brought her home, and now Margot is finally old enough!  You can read all about Margot’s first running experience here on Kristy’s blog. 

After their four-mile run together, Margot had the BIGGEST grin on her face when she got home!  It made me so happy to see her so excited.  However, she wasn’t the least bit worn out from all that exercise.  Quite the opposite, in fact!  She literally ran about ten laps around the coffee table, then insisted I play “through the legs” with her for a while (she runs through my legs, I turn around, she runs back through my legs, I turn around again, and so on), and then she made me throw the ball for her about a million times before she FINALLY wore herself out.   I hope that running becomes a regular routine with Kristy and Margot.  Not only is it fantastic exercise and obviously makes Margot very happy, but I know that Kristy has really missed having Lexie as her running partner since she passed away, and I loved that bond that she and Lexie developed through running together.  Margot already loves her Aunty Kristy, but she’ll definitely grow more attached when she starts associating her with being able to go out for a run. 

1 comment:

  1. I hope we get to run together more often too. I'm excited that she's got so much energy, I think it would be fun to take her on longer runs. I'm already looking into running leashes and portable water bowls :)