Adolescent Puppy Advice!
My male puppy is nearly 9 months old and deep into adolescence. I've noticed ever since he hit puberty he's been totally on edge when we go out for walks. He's always looking around, and when I stop at a sniffing place he can hardly sniff without looking around some more.
When we first leave the house it's like he's never been outside before. He'll bark a bit at people, sometimes a single bark at a loud van, and ALWAYS barking and growling at other dogs. Here's what happens every time:
-spots another dog, locks eyes onto it
-butt starts to wiggle
-lips start to quiver, starts to growl
-gets down into a crouch with tail wagging
-full on barking, will give a few barks while walking away if especially excited
This all happens while we're moving. Usually I just put him on the other side away from the dog, and he's neither pulling or trying to move away. At first I thought he was scared of other dogs but I ruled that out when he sat and ate a treat in front of one of the dogs that caused him the biggest reaction. If the other dog goes to try to meet him, he will usually go and meet them too. Other than this reaction he's always been polite when meeting other dogs. If for some reason the other dog barks at him first he usually just gives them space and passes by.
The problem is not all dogs appreciate this behavior, and some very big/older dogs will either tell him off which scares him or get that 'prey' look in their eyes and lunge at him, sometimes aggressively. I also can't take him to the dog park when he's like this as he elicits some bad responses from other dogs which is a shame because he loves to play with them.
I noticed this is it's worst when we just leave the house, so I started paying attention to what he does while we walk. After half an hour of walking his reactions are either much less or have disappeared. Some days it takes a full hour of walking before he has no reaction. He's passed pointers, rottweilers, small dogs, big dogs and after enough exercise usually there's no reaction. The problem is some days he just never turns off!! I have literally walked him for 3 hours once and he never got tired, and didn't nap at home, we get in and he wants to play!! We walk an hour every day including literally hiking up hills, then he gets some obedience, we play fetch at least once a day, and then play with toys. He eats from a puzzle ball as well.
Some days he's worse than others. I'm just hoping that this is an adolescent male thing and it will wear off? The other day he was very good, and today, not so good. Sometimes I feel a bit beaten down by this, especially since I'm the only one who walks him, and does obedience with him. Is there anything else I can do? Pheromone collar maybe?