Just like human babies, Labrador Retrievers will eventually go through their Labrador adolescence years, which can happen much quicker than you think.
So, to help you go through this tough time, we’re answering some of the frequently asked questions about Labrador adolescence.
At what age do Labradors reach their adolescence?
Most Labs will reach their Labrador teenage years when they are 6-18 months old.
It may seem like a long time to be a teenager for a dog, but big dogs grow slowly, both mentally and physically. So, their teenage years will last for a while.
At this age, your Lab is at its final stage of being a puppy. You may notice that they are more mature now that they have reached Labrador adolescence, but they are still bundles of energy.
On the other hand, when your Labrador is between 15-18 months old, they will still think like a puppy. So, patience and regular training will be crucial to keep them well-behaved.
Be a bit slow with their training and slowly increase how often they learn and how many things you want them to learn.
Otherwise, they will feel overwhelmed if they learn too much at one time.
Keep in mind, though, that their teenage attitude may not last until 18 months.
Some Labs mentally reach their Labrador adolescence when they are 12-18 months old.
What do Labrador adolescents look like?
It will vary, but your Labrador may look a bit awkward when they are 6-11 months old.
Like people, dogs will go through puberty, so they may look disproportioned during Labrador adolescence. However, they will eventually even out.
The awkwardness at this stage may only be because they are growing rapidly. Most Labs reach their full height by their 12th month.
However, bear in mind that they are still teenagers at this time.
They will continue to grow until they are almost 2 years old. However, it will mostly be about them filling out in certain areas. They will not grow much in height after that.
You may also notice that your Lab sheds a lot when they are 4-8 months old.
This is because most Lab puppies grow their new adult coats when they are 4-5 months.
It usually takes 1-2 months for them to grow their new coat, so they may look a little scruffy until then.
What is normal behavior for an adolescent Labrador?
However, they can be a bit tricky when they are teenagers.
Among other things, you may notice a slight change in their behavior during Labrador adolescence.
For instance, they have more selective hearing. They may have run to you whenever you called when they were puppies, but they may pretend to ignore you now that they’re reaching Labrador adolescence.
They may also choose to ignore commands and training.
Before, your Lab puppy may have mastered sitting on command, but then they now stop following you when they are adolescents.
It is not that they forgot how to sit on command – they just choose not to.
Therefore, they will need strict and regular training to help them realize you are the boss.
You must also learn how to establish dominance properly so that they listen.
They may be at the peak of their energy at this point, too. Your Labrador may be more inclined to run all over the place and take fewer naps.
You can deal with this by letting them exercise as much as needed.
Your Labrador may also start to bark more. They will do this to grab your attention and to get what they want.
To tackle this, try to ignore them and only reward them for good behavior. If you reward them for bad behavior like barking, they will repeat it to be rewarded again.
You might see some “tantrums” from your teenage Lab, too. If your Lab does not get their way, they might start ripping and chewing up your stuff to rebel.
Again, you will need to establish your dominance and be strict with training to make them stop.
Take note that these slight attitude changes are normal. Your Lab’s body will go through tons of changes, and their brains and hormones will get rewired as they go through puberty.
So, do not worry that you are failing as a dog parent if your Lab suddenly decides to ignore you occasionally.
Consistent training and discipline will help your dog listen to you, and they will be sweeter once they are older.
How to deal with a teenage lab
As mentioned earlier, you need to be consistent with your Lab’s training.
Your Lab may be more hard-headed at this time of Labrador adolescence, so you need to regularly train them to obey you.
Additionally, you should always be patient. Think of your adolescent Lab like a real teenager.
They may not listen to you right away, so you need to be patient with them.
Regular exercise and playtime can be helpful, too. Labs are full of energy, especially in their teens.
So, make sure that your Lab gets enough exercise. That way, they will not be tempted to exhibit common Labrador behavior problems that they normally didn’t display before.
Most importantly, you need to stay consistent. Whether it is exercise, preventative measures, or patience, you need to stay consistent with your Lab.
This way, your Lab will get used to schedules and obeying you.
Your Labrador Retriever will normally reach Labrador adolescence when they are 6-18 months old, but the level of their maturity will depend on your dog.
They can mature a lot quickly or a lot slowly. They can be a bit hard-headed and rebellious at these ages, but they will be fine with enough training and discipline.