Neapolitan Mastiff Coming of Age – AKA Puberty
Most people know the physical changes in dogs during puberty; females have their first heat and males start lifting their legs to pee. It can start as early as 9 months.
But with Neo’s, behavioural changes may be more noticable than other breeds of dogs.
Neo’s sometimes get teenage brain. They forget some of the basic manners you have taught them as a puppy and start pushing boundaries with you. They can become more clingy or more independent. Their behaviour changes with the new way they view things as they become an adult. Occasionally these changes can surface as reactivity or fear of things that never bothered them before.
Males can become more competitive and express more dominant behaviours making same sex aggression more likely during this stage. This is due to the surge of testosterone during adolescence. Adolescent males testosterone levels are much higher than adult males.
Nipping bad behaviours and attitudes in the bud is extremely important. The surge in hormones will dissipate, but if the new behaviours they have learned go unchecked, they will stay with them. During this phase Neo owners need to remind their dogs who the leader of the pack is and what will and will not be tolerated. Reinforcing the acceptable behaviours is key. If owners struggle dealing with these behaviours on their own, taking them for training with a trainer who deals with dominant breeds is highly recommended.