Kathy Santo Dog Sense Episode 4: Solving The Adolescence Puzzle In Dogs ft. Kamal Fernandez
Kamal: Hi everybody in Facebook world. I'm here with my good friend Kathy Santo and I thought this, I'm in The States at the moment and I am in the middle of doing filming as I showed you earlier for my upcoming coming online training, which is going to be hopefully launched imminently. So, we've been working really hard about that and I thought it'd be good to have this conversation with Kathy about adolescent dogs. And it's been a bit of a conversation of late because of Kathy's young dog, Valor, Val, her border collie puppy who is now seven months.
Kathy: He'll be eight months on Sunday.
Kamal: Oh, okay, eight months. So, and, the things that he's going through as present, which I thought would be insightful to share with you guys and, again, invite you to questions. So, those of you that haven't met Kathy and me did the live last year. What was that on our comment? Was it, do you know what? I can't remember now. Was it?
Kathy: We did a couple of them.
Kamal Yeah. We've done a couple of them.
Kathy: One was PTSD.
Kamal: That's right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That was a really good one.
Kathy: It was.
Kamal: Yeah. And we've got lots of great feedback. So, this, sorry I'm gonna jump around, but we...
Kathy: We can jump around. It’s your Live.
Kamal: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So we did it last year on PTSD and dog training and talked about those people that have had dogs that have been challenging and how, you know, how ingraining that can be post when you get another dog. So the backstory to that is Kathy has now got a puppy and the, we talked about the experience of the transition period between, you know, having PTSD with the previous dog and all that goes with that. And now val, who's a totally, totally different kettle of fish, and the challenges that often happens because every single dog you've ever own, the new things that you encounter. So, just a little bit of background about yourself. What you do, those that haven't met Kathy.
Kathy: Well, I've been training dogs professionally for over 30 years, and I was competing in obedience. I won a tournaments until 2001 and then I stayed home to raise the kids, but I still was training, we're training dogs and I had a school, right. And we see a couple hundred dogs a week at the school and it's just dogs are my life.
Kamal: And so adolescent dogs is your bread and butter of basically
Kathy: Exactly, like, yeah, they all come in and they say the same thing, and it’s well and good when it's somebody else's job and you know, write everything, but then, you know, when it's your dog and you're a competitive person because that's what this whole journey is. And then, you know, it gets a little different. And we were talking about the other day, I don't remember my other competition dogs going through this like, I'm sure they did, but I don't know that we actually acknowledged it back then
Kathy: Back then, meaning, like, a long time ago, because I'm pretty old. I just think we pushed through it. You know, it's funny.
Kamal: So, the, I thought this would a really interesting discussion to have with Kathy for several reasons. One of which is to talk through adolescence in general from a point of view of both you know, professional capacities that Kathy and I deal with a lot of dogs. And if you were statistically to look at rescues across the world, you will find that the highest ratio of dogs that are currently in can also we look to age groups. It would be adolescent dogs, because, generally speaking, that's when you have most of your problems start to occur. S,o if it is behavioral problems, that's when you're going to most likely have them. And also long-term behavioral problems that can exist with dogs are normally started or established in adolescence because it's a challenging time. You know, it's a bit like human beings, you have hormones kicking around, you have that little bit more testing than challenging in their behavior. A lot of it’s to do with physiological changes within them, and as a result of that, you see really, really peculiar behavior. So, just to give you an example, I was training actually Val, Kathy's puppy val, I should say. I've trained him a couple of times since I've been over here. I was out in the garden, and Kathy's husband works at home and he had a client , he's a chiropractor. They came out to their vehicle and, there's a sort of trees obscuring the view, and all Val could see was his head bobbing around and that's through the trees, which he clearly thought it was very unusual, which is correct. And he just had a little spooked bark. I was in the middle of training, so I just walked up and let them investigate, get it out of his system. And within seconds he was over it and really very much like, “Not quite sure what that was all about.” But, again, if you could very much tell it was just an innate instinctive reaction, you know, whether it was hormones, whether it was, he's got an amazing temperament. So I would say with him, specifically, anything like that is going to be some sort of hormonal challenge because he's not by nature an apprehensive or nervous dog. Is he?
Kathy: No. And you told me about it, and my first question was, “How was the recovery?”
Kathy: I think that's what you're really interested in at this stage. You know, it's going to happen. So it's not about whether or not your dog is going to spoken something. Like, he did that to a bird on the lawn yesterday. It's was, like, okay, weirdo. But it's that how quick they recover from it and what you do.
Kamal: Absolutely. And I mean, in sort of the situation with Val, all I did was walked up and, like, slack on the lead, let him to get out of your system. I knew there was no safety issues. It was behind a fence, et Cetera, et cetera. And he also did it and another session I did with him when he heard a vehicle pull up and it was a school bus, and he had the decompressing of the,you know, whatever. And he had a little spook again, just drop the lead, let them investigate, get it out of his system and he's straight away was back on. Again, It's the recovery. So, things like that could easily be made into a bigger, much bigger issue.
Kathy: Sure. And we see that in a school, you know, people have corrected their dog for doing that and now the dog is just terrified and confused and really doesn't know which way is up. And you break that really important relationship.
Kamal: Absolutely. And you, you can potentially damage or punish a dog for what the dog help, but do. So, just to go back a little bit, adolescence generally will occur between the ages, depending on the breed of dog, between anything from six months to say 14 to 16 months. Your dog will start adolescents, if you're fortunate, depending or how you look at it, it might be, you might get a little bit more of the nice “honeymoon period” when they're younger and they think you're wonderful and everything you do is fantastic and they're super into you. But most dogs will start to show or display little telltale signs of adolescents from about six, seven months, generally speaking. And, it will, the first thing I generally notice in my dogs is the recall will disappear. So, I would say my dogs all, by that point, will have a relatively good recall, but it will disappear. They'll just go, “No, I'm no longer, my name is now, what's the word I'm looking for is a choice thing.” Uh, and they, generally speaking, just ignore the name. And that's one of the telltale signs that my dog is starting to enter adolescence. Anything else that you see consistently? Name response is one that normally goes out the window, isn't it?
Kathy: Right. And also caring that you exist, at all.
Kamal: Yeah. Yeah.
Kathy: Like, hello, who are you? Nice to meet you! Now I’m leaving.
Kamal: Yeah, exactly.
Kathy: And so you feel, I think especially for the pet people, because they're not expecting this or they didn't think it would be as bad or just like their children, they thought they wouldn't go through it. They feel betrayed, you know, because they've fed this dog, they've raised their dog, they’ve done everything well for the dog and then the dog is just like, “Screw you, I'm doing something else.” And they're like, “What?!” And it's just, it's a thing they go through. I mean, all adolescents of all species I'm sure do this. You know, we have kids well my kids never went through it and I'm sure you are not, we never went through it for our parents.
Kamal: Yeah, we were angels.
Kathy: Other people’s children will do it.
Kamal: Normal people probably went through it.
Kathy: My daughter will never do it.
Kamal: Yeah. So, yeah, definitely. I think it's a natural process and most people, tend to overreact to it and the big thing is not expecting it to happen, or assuming naively, misinformed, whatever the case may be, that your dog is not going to go through adolescence. It's a perfectly normal process. And most dogs, I think, in my career I've had dogs that have, it's been a relatively minimal experience and I've had dogs that genuinely, it was like a very, very brief little bit of adolescence kicked in. As soon as he arrived it disappeared. And that was it. Others, especially my male dogs have stronger breeds. So my Malinois and boxers and, that's been really, really, really challenging because adolescents. What I’ve also got with them was you know, I discussed this in my book, “Pathway To Positivity.” Shameless plug.
Kathy: Oh my gosh. That’s amazing! You did such a good job! When’s the next one coming out?
Kamal: Well who knows.
Kathy: We’ll talk later.
Kamal: Yeah. But I'm in the, I discussed about Punch who was my box, so he's now six years old and he was really challenging when it, when adolescents hit. And that he was, you know, I lost, my recall was I would say in comparison to all the other issues he had was a nothing, but he lost his recall. He definitely got more challenging with other dogs. His temperament was challenging at that period in his time, his life. And it was, I was at that point where I wanted to commit myself to using...
Kathy: An institution?
Kamal: Yeah, exactly. An institution was a plan B, but reinforcement based dog training was plan A. So it was really, really challenging with him specifically. And things that happened was, is that he’d lost his recall. He definitely become very right strong with other dogs, shall I say. And it was about a lot of management, a lot of training and a lot of, I don't drink by did consider it at that time. So, but how about dogs that you have in your school. Is there things that, I mean obviously you deal with a lot of behavioral issues. Would you say, again, it's to do with adolescence or, what should we consider?
Kathy: I definitely, it’s adolescence. And, like, it’s the expectations too, because I think that people think, unlike humans, that when I teach a dog something and the dog has it, they're going to have a forever. They’re never going to challenge it. But you know, if, if you're not working on it, it's not going to stay there. And so it's like sitting at the door or you know, waiting to get the leash on. All those little things break down on a pet level and they're like, “No, I taught them this.” And they either say, “Well, maybe training doesn't work,” which is not true at all. Or they say, “Oh my God, I need to have a private session with you!” And it may explain adolescence, which is just, you know, everybody goes through it.
Kamal: Yeah. I think it's very, again, another typical thing that you see in adolescence, certainly from a training point of view, is people that tend to take life skills classes, they make the sweeping assumption, but that they do that puppy class and that it, the dog's trained and then they're real problems occur when their dogs hit adolescence. And that's when it becomes really challenging and against the misunderstanding that you've done your puppy class and that's it. Job Done. Again, training occurs throughout the whole of your dog's life, but more importantly, adolescence, that's when you're going to need the most support. So if you're watching this and you are a person that as an adolescent, a dog.
Kathy: We’re sorry.
Kamal: Yeah. We're sorry. First off, you will get better. But also to, you know, be vigilant, look for help and don't be afraid to seek help from professionals if need be. So the things to, I would say, other than the recall that goes, then you might see your dog either be the recipient of aggressive behavior or displaying aggressive behavior. That's classic adolescents. And that's both male and female. Male dogs tend to do it with more intensity. Basically they're going to get in a school yard fight or they're going to get beaten up one or other. Often what can happen is there's long lasting form with the owner or the caregiver, which then can manifest itself into anxiety slash reactivity behavior. So I'm just...
Kathy: And their concentration is crap.
Kathy: Right. They used to be able to focus and you're like, “I've had these lovely long training sessions and now they're about seven seconds long,” which, I think, really leads me to think it's a really great thing to have another dog.
Kamal: Yeah. Have that plan B dog
Kathy: When your adolescent can only train for a 7.2 seconds, it's great to have like a new puppy or an older dog. I don't tell this to my pet clients though, but I feel like what you said in puppy class, my job is to prepare them that this is going to happen. So it doesn't get them by surprise. Also, I feel like it's, I tell them it's like the gym, you know, you'd go and you look good, but if you don't, you look like you're used to. And so when they stopped training their dogs as puppies, then it goes back to the way it was, which is, you know, undomesticated.
Kamal: Yeah, absolutely, So I always think, you know, when they're puppies, they tend to absorb all the information and everything, you know, they lap it up, then we'll have
Kathy: They think your amazing.
Kamal: Absolutely. Then adolescent kicks in, you almost need to revert back to, like, them being much more, managing the behavior, restricting their options so that they can't make those poor choices. So, when my dogs enter adolescence, one of the big things I do, and I do this with any dog that I have for training is, I would hand feed them. So I've used the training that food as training, treats, et cetera. And I start to look holistically at reinforcement. So reinforcement has to go now beyond the tree or the ball or et cetera. It has to be the opportunity to say, you know, go off with my other dogs. It has to be the opportunity to investigate that really nice smell, et Cetera, et cetera. All of that becomes things that I can use as reinforcement for appropriate behavior. How about yourself? What would you recommend or what do you do with your…
Kathy: I start logging in every single thing I did because I like to look at the log from a week ago and say, “Look, there was a good moment!” I feel that I'm making progressions and I also like to chart what I'm doing. Like I don't have a plan and you know that, but it gets even more serious when it's adolescence because you want to have plan A through R, probably because planning may not go as well as your plan, but if you have something quick you can pull out. Like we were talking about like moving off of the commands and the serious stuff and going back to lighter stuff like body awareness and things like that.
Kamal: Yeah. So you've got, for example, so for sports dogs and this is something that you guys that do sports needs to be aware of, is often what can happen with adolescence is your dogs are going to go through physiological changes and that is they’re gonna have growth spurts, their body's going to be doing weird and wonderful things, they’re going to lack coordination. At that time it's not really, in my opinion, the best time to progress any sports specific skill. And the reason that is is because the dog isn’t going to be able to do it. Like their brain is telling them one thing and their their bodies not being able to compute. So, at that moment, my advice is to back off anything that requires real dexterity and complexity, and focus on things like focusing on engagement and recall and say tug drive, et Cetera, et cetera. Rather than working on something and really winning my new and detailed. Because, again, their body might not be coordinated and correlating with what they're a bright is doing. So I tend to, and that is a really, you've got to learn to feel your way through it so that you could have a day when your dog's absolutely on and the next day, within 24 hours, they've lost it. So recently, say, for example, you know, my good friend Val who, a puppy I train of hers who's now similar age to Val, he's a bit younger. Oh no, same age as Val.
Kathy: Your friend Val.
Kamal: Yeah, my friend Val
Kathy: Not my dog, Val.
Kamal: No, no ,no, my friend Val.
Kathy: Sorry, Val.
Kamal: And yeah, and he's same age, similar age to Val. Your Val, Valor. And he lost the ability to down, so he would down and his front end would drop like a stone and his back end, he's quite big. He’s a big, huge buffalo back side would be up in the air. And he genuinely, he's, every bit of his demeanor would say he thought he nailed it. And you very much the whole of this huge back side in the air going, “No, you really haven't sweetheart.” But so it was a case of do you know what, just let it go. It's like, it's not worth even making an issue of it. You know, I think I patterned it, broke him off, gave him treats and just scrap the, even asked him the question. Within 24 hours, bang, it was back. And, again, it was just a growth thing. So another good thing to do is saying about logging your training is I periodically like to take photos of my dog stacked. And the easiest way to do that is on two wobble cushions or two platforms. Front feet on one set or one platform like feet, another, which allows you to look at the dog shape and outline. And you can very obviously see if the dog's backend is high and the dogs back end tied, you know, they're having the gross but leave the complex stuff to, for the back burner. So, like I, again, talking about Kathy's Val, there was, I would say he's very much, very back end his back in is very, very much big and powerful. And he's front end isn't quite caught up. And he's like, he's, he had to, he's got beautiful shape. But again, what happens is they lose their neck a little bit different parts of their body, you know, grow at different rates. Some puppies just grow it seems to be like they're just always little adult dogs, but others it's a little bit disjointed with those type of dogs during something as complex as say he'll work or I'm a tiny, intricate move them and is counterproductive for the dog being able to absorb the information.
Kathy: And they used to be able to do it younger, like at 10, 12 weeks, you know, or like nailing it. And so you don't understand why is it, why is it gone? But it's just, it's hormonal, it's shape, it's all of it.
Kamal: Yeah. So, from your experience and say for example, working with your puppy now, what are the things that you've been doing to try and regain some focus from the environment and the, you know, the butterfly distraction or the robin that's going to clearly be an ax murderer.
Kathy: The first thing that comes to mind is a long line. You know, because when he wanted to take off and you know, just change his name on the fly as like the witness protection program, at least I had something to step on. Shorter sessions, you know, changing the focus from things like from healing, or this head being up. It's just impossible. It’s lost isn't it? And so, we're moving away from that and maybe some standing work and body work is always fun for him. New things that don't matter to me, like, the retrieving of something dumb, like, what we did the other night with like a vitamin bottle. Cause that you can't get bent about that are stressed about it because you're never going to go in the ring and have to retrieve vitamins. Maybe next year AKC, who knows? But currently, no. And so stuff like that is, makes me lighter and it doesn't feel so serious.
Kamal: You’ve got to constantly balance between, you know, your long-term goal and the fact that your dog was being challenging and it seems to make all the, possibility. You, you know, it can be challenging. Adolescence is challenging, is emotive, you know, you invested into your dogs. It can be hard work and you feel like, “I'm never going to fix it,” the dogs and just take a deep breath. It will be fine. It's a natural process. In my experience, I've found that females tend to be less problematic than males in terms of, excuse me behavior that would be deemed problematic. So, that's not to say that the girls look perfect, but I would say it's less volatile. So, I would definitely say with my mouth dogs, they've definitely had spades of, you know, like being aggressive to be called a spade a spade, challenging, you know, et Cetera, et cetera. I've got an squabbles, you know, handbags a door, nine times out of 10. But they definitely, definitely male dogs tend to be more challenging in that sense. Female dogs tend to, sometimes with hormones kicking in there could be fearful, apprehensive, nervous is more classic behavioral traits for adolescent females.
Kathy: And witchy too.
Kamal: And it can be a bit snarky with other dogs,
Kathy: But you know, you're describing it people here, too. Right. Can anybody ever imagined, like they'll say, “Well, my kid will never be a jerk,” “My adolescent boy will always do what I tell them.” It's, like, not going to happen. So why throw that on your dogs?
Kamal: Yeah. Yeah. And it's about, again, and at that time it's about management. Yes. So avoiding, so my male dogs, when they hit adolescence, I void one in the without other male dogs, male adolescents I should say. And the reason being is that, you know, one like shoulder barge, one little brief interruption, once a point where they sniff on the same smell. Next thing you know, a world war three erupts and it's, and that could be really impactful on that dog and that person. So, personally I avoid them running with adolescent male dogs. I run them with my dogs. I run the big dogs I know very, very well. Older dogs, older females, female dogs, et Cetera. I avoid dogs of the same type and energy until my dog is largely through that. Management's a huge one. If you could avoid them rehearsing and appropriate responses there's less chance of that's going to become ingrained in the dog's behavior.
Kathy: And that's all on us.
Kamal: Yeah, absolutely.
Kathy: Just the planning, pre-planning, pre-thinking of it all and making sure it goes well.
Kamal: Yep. Yep. Also, making sure that when you go out to train or in an environment, you make sure you have really, really ridiculous high value reinforcement. So, you know, that's, those are the times when you're going to use the environment as a reinforcement and you're going to turn up to your gunfight armed with an inappropriate, a weapon of choice, so to speak. They're not going to turn up over the park, waiving your, you know, your dry kibble or your whatever, to try and counteract the environment or the challenges that might present. You want to make sure that you provide reinforcement that sends a fleeting possibility of contending with their enforcement. Alternatively, use the environment as reinforcement. That's a real favorite of mine. The opportunity to go play, go run. So again, another example, recently, great. The youngest collie I have, obviously she grew up with her. She lives with her mom and her sister and she likes to chase them. Brilliant vehicle, 100% up until about five, six months. And then she went, “I no longer know my name again.” She went into witness protection. So it was a really easy fix and that I just stopped the others running. So I stopped the others running because they, I have some control over them. I went and got her and the college, we're back to foot called again. She went, “No, I'm still in witness protection.” I pulled her back forefoot. She gave me a fleeting glance. I said, “Brilliant, well done,” and I allowed her to run with the other dogs again. So now she understands the game is, the quickest way to keep having the opportunity to run with them is to get back to dad as quickly as I possibly can. One example of how to use the environment or the thing the dog wants as reinforcement for behavior that I would like. Again, another thing that she did is she definitely went a bit spooky with other dogs. And she, just, snarky, spooked or there's a dog there. The fact the dog was there for 10 minutes prior didn't really come into it, but oh my God, the dog's now suddenly a period, and it must be exterminated at all costs. All very dramatic, all very, you know, out of character. All very unusual, just typical hormonal female dog stuff. Again, what did I do? Ignored it, got her away, traded distance, and with that particular dog that I'm thinking about, I took her for a walk with the aid. It's one of my students dogs. I asked for, if we could walk them together the next day we did some parallel walking. And then once they were both comfortable, we let them, within minutes, they were running around. They were both similar ages. They are both hurdling around each other and having a great game. So, it allowed me to work through that process. Obviously are not going to have that opportunity with every dog that you meet. My advice is avoid, distract and deter.
Kathy: And avoid is a big one. Like today we had a film crew here, we were doing some filming most of the day, which is why I'm clutching my cup of tea and they were like, “Oh, can we have your collie out for this segment?” And I'm like, “Oh no, because you have lights outside and a fuzzy microphone and these big things that bounce off the light.” and that's all I needed was to blow up my day with having to fix that later. I was like, “No thank you. His agent says he's not available today. Maybe next time.”
Kamal: And again, you know, in six months time, 18 months time, that's going to be a no brainer, no problem. Come Out, do, bang, and that's it. But if in that situation, and it's things like that that you go, “In reality, you could have probably trained that stuff.” And if this was a dog that was doing regular film work, you would absolutely go, “Right, let's get you around that.” So, become secondary to the dog. That dog was oblivious to it. But for a dog that hasn't experienced that situation there would be no point of trying to deal with that this time.
Kathy: Who’s is, currently, in his eight month brain.
Kathy: Yeah. It's not worth it.
Kamal: No. So, it's an, it's an, and then that's something to be mindful of competition dogs. Don't expose them to anything that, if you can, obviously, any new, startling experiences within that sensitive period in time. So, if you can get it in beforehand, get them into those environments, you know, expose them to anything that they're going to face in their life or their career. But at that time I'd say back off it and just stick to the same, regular places so that you don't expose them to anything that they aren't used to and could potentially become an issue.
Kathy: Right. Like he's been going to my training buildings and since I got him. My friend Betsy, she has a building and he goes there and it's beautiful and he's very at home. But at this point we're not going to go to new buildings or new events just for awhile. Until he settles in.
Kamal: Yeah. Yeah. So, again, familiarity is a good one. Go to the places that you know so that you don't, that way you can, mainly the reason being is that you can predict, you can, within reason, predict what's going to happen in those locations. You know, there's not going to be something a ceiling fan go on or you know, that if there is, the dog may have experienced that in the earlier part of his life and become a matter. So, it's not now a new thing, you know, you’ll know that there's not going to be some, a dog that you don't know. Obviously, if you attend the same locations, there's a chance that it's going to be the same dogs, et Cetera. So, just thinking I'm planning your training beforehand or your dog's experiences can help you avoid the dog having any long lasting damage or impact to their character and their temperament. You know, there's a distinction between, for example, we take it, bring it back to Val. Val has an amazing temperament. He's, like, the friendliest, sweetest dog on God's good earth. So, long-term, you know, this is just teenage crap that comes with having teenage dogs. You know that if you play your cards right and he doesn't have anything untoward happening to him and, largely, doesn't make a big deal out of it. Six to eight months time he's going to revert back to what he was as a puppy, which was Mr like, chill, not bothered soup, nothing phased him, etc. This spooky stuff is just part of his hormonal changes.
Kathy: Right? And you're always, even if you're going somewhere, like, if I get a Betsey's building or my school, I'm prepared for the, hopefully, not going to happen moment where a dog breaks loose and runs up to your dog or a car backfires. I mean, you're always armed with the things that you know are going to be super, super high value they never get. So you never, you never expect it to be perfect. You always expect something that's going to happen.
Kamal: I think this is really, the other takeaway, I think, to add is there's a difference between those of us that know largely our dogs genetic influences. So, I know we say put the dogs I have, I know where they come from, I know they're breeding, I know that genes. So I can go, “I can trust that this dog has a baseline, good temperament.” So, if I avoid any untoward issues at this pivotal point in their life, I should be able to create a dog that's got really super temperament. However, if you have a dog that, if you take on a dog of this time and you, and it has this stuff, my advice is to assume that the dog has weaknesses in his temperament and treat accordingly. So, again, be cautious. Don't just assume, “Oh, it's just the adolescent thing.” The dog will grab it, because if you have just taken this dog on, you really don't know. So, you got, my advice is, error on the side of caution. Avoid any experiences where the dog is going to have any long lasting damage. Build his confidence up, et Cetera, et cetera. So, again, coming back to your recall is going to disappear, so I would strongly advise you to invest throughout your dog's life with a recall. And if you can take it to situations in an environment where they're unlikely to be overly distracted.
Kathy: And also, I think, stop listening to your friends. Like, we don't get advice like this because we're clearly trainers. So nobody says to me, “Oh, you shouldn't do that.” Well, no, that's not true... relatives. But anyway, they’ll say, “Let the dog do this, let the dog do that.” But I think the pet people and, probably, your competition students feel it more and sometimes it's from your family and sometimes it's from your family.
Kamal: With well meaning.
Kathy: It is, it is. But they're like, “Oh, don't be so fussy. Don't be so,” and you're like, “No, I know my dogs.” You have to trust your gut and you will be just hating yourself if you do something, you know you shouldn't for the sake of whatever, being polite and then it winds up being bad on your dog because you have to live with that forever.
Kamal: Yeah. absolutely. The other thing to think about is, you know, I'm not here to comment about neutering and castration per se. I would say I'm very non judgmental. That's my professional opinions. I'm very not judgmental about it, and I know there's a lot of support, pro keeping dogs entire and females entire, et cetera. In my professional, and my personal opinion is that, and there's a distinct scenario that I could give you where I had clients that had German Shepherds from working lines, I can't remember who I discussed this before, that were really, really intense. And they hit adolescence and they were very, very challenging. And they were really, really frustrated by the fact that the dogs had suddenly gone from really sweet, viable, incredibly intelligent, really willing, et Cetera, et cetera. All the good stuff that comes with that type of dog, to these raging hormonal teenagers with major, major problems. And we discussed all their options and, you know, they were thinking they would seriously at the point of thinking, “we're not sure we're going to be able to keep this dog if this is the dog's behavior.” And we discussed all their options and I suggested, “Look, let's have the dog chemically castrated and then we will evaluate and discuss if this is your last chance.” They had it done within 24 hours. The dog's behavior had reverted back to what it was. And the long term, they decided to has an castrated and they messaged me recently and said how, like, it's phenomenal and how the dog's brilliant and et Cetera, et cetera. Now, the argument would be all, you know, the downside of having castration. My response to that be, this dog probably wouldn't have made it to that ledge anyway
Kathy: Exactly. It was right for that family.
Kamal: Exactly. he probably would have been re-homed or worse still. Who knows, you know, and or somebody else's dog would have been the result of his inappropriate behavior. Again, you've got to look at it case by case. I'm very non-judgmental about it. I think you've got to look at the individual dog. Yes, if you have the skillset to circumvent that period in your dog's life, great. If you don't, be open to all options, is my take.
Kathy: It's a topic that comes up in a pet market, too. I mean, they're under the mistaken impression that if they do that, their dog will stop jumping and pulling on leash and sit stay better. I'm like, “It's not a lobotomy.” It's, like, they just can't reproduce. And the hormonal thing, it'll be a little bit less, but it doesn't teach them anything. They don't like you more.
Kamal: Yeah. You still have to do the homework.
Kathy: Yeah. You have to do the work.
Kamal: So any, yeah. Pointers, tips, et Cetera, for people with adolescent dogs. Five perhaps. And I'll give five.
Kathy: Let's see. Know that it’s normal, because I think when you think it's abnormal you start acting crazy. Focus on things that aren't specific to your sport, more fun things. Maybe you have a second dog you can train. No, I'm really serious. Let's see, keep a schedule. Keep a log of what you're doing and commiserate with people will understand like, poor Kamal. My current commiseration person. You were talking to me about Gray when she was going through it, but it's, like, we have the same conversation. Like, what he says to me, I would say to him, but it still helps to have somebody. Yeah.
Kamal: Yeah. Somebody to bounce off of. So I would say, management is gonna be a huge Part of your journey, avoiding any drama would, is the best case of course, of action so that your dog doesn't develop any behavioral issues that you then have to fix later on. If you can train and use reinforcement beyond a treat in a toy environmental reinforcements and a huge one, your dog's opportunity to say, “Hello,” to the other dogs and to go and have a smell that nice smell or et cetera, et Cetera, can all be used to create focus for you, which is essentially what we're concerned with. Across the board, I like to put “Please And Thank You” behaviors on my dogs when they become more challenging. So for example, if they want to come out of the crate, they have to offer me behavior. They want to go out the back door offer me behavior, just to tighten up their focus for me. That is not to say that my dogs don't have downtime. Now,let me be really clear on that. They've got to be dogs and they've got to have an outlet where they can hurl around and blast off energy. And that's another thing, adolescent dogs, they need to have an outlet for all that hyperactive energy, you know,
Kathy: Especially if you're managing higher.
Kamal: Yep. So, management, use external reinforcement. Allowed them downtime so they can just hurl around. Obviously think safety and allow them to, you know, have that outlet. Do regular, what I call relationship building excursions or walks, et cetera. That means, you're in the dog safe environment, nothing going on, no distractions, and you can then reconnect with that dog and find the fact that you actually do like the dog and there is a redeeming feature about it when it's really, really challenging. And, final one is, it is part of the process and I know this is corny, is what it sounds. Everybody will go through this with the dog at some point in their career if they have more than one dog. It is normal, you will get through it. We've all been there and, again, consider all your options in terms of the dog's health, et Cetera, et cetera. And, you know, do what's right for you and the dog without judgment.
Kathy: It's really good when you have students to talk to them, right? Because I'm in class, I'm like, “Look, I have a puppy, same age as you. He is being an adolescent idiot. He doesn't know I'm Kathy Santo and he is pulling the same crap your dog is.” And so, it kind of tightens that everybody feels better. They feel way better cause they know I'm living this and it's, it allows me to help them better too.
Kamal: Yeah. Okay. So if you have any questions for Kathy and I feel free to ask. I'm just going to scroll through really quickly just to make sure I know when you can see Brit, if there's any, I think just how close. If you do want to ask us any questions,I think I'm going to be getting lots of puppies back. Apparently all my puppies are coming back to the breeder, so I'm going to have a plethora dog waiting for me and when I land in Heathrow.
Kathy: Because he's fine with it. You can see he’s cool with it. He thinks it’s great! Adolescence is a normal thing.
Kamal: Yeah, no “Return To Sender.” No, there’s a clause in the contract! No they don't. I've moved house. I'm not giving you my address. I don't want them back. I love you all. Okay. All right. So, if you do have any questions, post them in the comments. Kathy and I will have a look at them. So, for now, we're going to wrap up. Thank you Cathy. Cathy Santo dog training. And we allowed to tell them about your…?
Kathy: Yeah, I launched a course, Kathy Santo's Online Dog School For Exceptionally Naughty Dogs and it is kathysantogooddogschool.com. Is that what it is, Brit? We'll throw it in the comments and it is pet training. It's all the basics for puppies and dogs.
Kamal: So again, great talk. Wealth of experience and knowledge check Kathy stuff out. Loads of free giveaways that they do. Their team are amazing. They've been helping me with my online project. So hopefully this has been helpful
Kathy: And buy your book. Don't forget your book!
Kamal: Oh yes, my book. So, but yeah, so if you, adolescence is normal. I hope this conversation has given you a little bit of guidance and help about how to move forward with your adolescent dogs.
Kathy: Stop crying, it’s normal, drink heavily and you'll all get through it.
Kamal: Yep. All right guys. Have a nice soft evening in the UK and afternoon the US. See you later.