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Our 8-month puppy Buster, a bulldog/boston terrier mix, has taken a turn. Up until now he was doing very well with commands, playing games, following rules. As of late we've had to separate him from our other dogs during our walks, the other dogs do very well but Buster has taken to barking and posturing towards other dogs. He's less obedient to commands, has torn plants, chewed door jambs and wood chairs, and plays very rough with our other dogs.

We are leaning to neutering him soon, and our Vet has suggested this may reduce his aggressive behavior. Any suggestions or threads or sources?
 

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Welcome to adolescence! This is all fairly normal dog behaviour! Challenging boundaries, forgetting commands, tuning you out in favour of... well, anything really. Being obnoxious with other dogs... this is all just part and parcel of moving from dependent puppy behaviours to a stable, mature adult dog. Teenagerhood starts and ends at different times for dogs, and lasts for varying amounts of time. He'll probably settle into a stable adult personality sometime between 1 and 2, and until then continuing socialisation and reinforcing firmly and gently that yes, you do mean what you say and the rules do apply to him.

If his chewing has increased, how far along in the teething process is he? It's possible that he's done, but has formed some inappropriate chewing habits.

Check out this thread about reactivity and see if you recognise any of the behaviours. It could be that you need to work a little on these things. Reactivity

I would also find something HIGHLY stinky and rewarding that he will work for. Remind him that very good things come to dogs who pay attention. Practice impulse control games.

Learn when to intervene in dog-dog interactions and when to just let it play out. The consent test is your friend. If you pull your dog away and other dogs don't come back, then he doesn't get to keep playing. If other dogs are giving him a correction for his rude and obnoxious behaviour, then good on them, because that's how a puppy learns how to be an appropriate adult.

This phase will pass, and with some guidance he'll be a nice dog again. Good luck!
 

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...Yupp, he sounds like a teenager. A lot of it boils down to patience, management. Being a little bit crazy helps too, haha. If he is having a hard time refraining from rough-housing with dogs who are not up for it, keep shopping around and see if you can't find him a friend of similar size/age who likes the same sort of play. In my experience, rough dogs seem to get a better grasp of boundaries if introduced to dogs that appreciate their style of play in addition to ones that don't. Its like they learn 'There are dogs out there who appreciate being jumped on and tugged around, and if they're down for it, they'll let me know.'
 

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I do not miss this phase, and I empathize with you! Although I had no problems with aggression, Dublin went through a few teenage phases from ages 8 months to 2 1/2 years. It can be so frustrating, but trust me, it'll get better. Just re-train his commands, or practice them consistently again, like he's taking a refresher course, but this time, with more reinforcement. Find what motivates him the most, whether that be real meat, a favorite toy, or life rewards. Just remind yourself that you're almost there lol, almost out of puppyhood. This article may be a good read for ya:

Aging Out Of The System–dog play « Success Just Clicks

I would also suggest more mental stimulation, like kibble dispensers or puzzle toys. Nosework games are great for this as well. Does he have a Kong yet? They're a must-have for sure, for both chewing and mental stimulation. Does he have plenty of things to chew on? Rotating chews and toys is also a great way to keep his interest in the things he's supposed to be chewing on.

Definitely check out the reactivity thread. There are plenty of ways to help reduce your dog's reactivity. It's very common. :)
 
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