Hovawart dog issues – Ivart’s maturation and confusion caused by the neighbour’s dog

Dog owner's question

"Hi! Maybe you can help us. Our hovawart dog, Max, recently became of sexual maturity and has been acting strangely ever since. He has a lot of energy, barks constantly and has become very territorial. In addition, his neighbour's dog, an annoyingly loud spaniel, is constantly barking at the fence and it's freaking Max out. We would like Max to be more peaceful and less reactive to the neighbour's dog. Do you have any advice in this situation? Thank you!"

Response from the vet

Hi! The situation you describe is not unusual for a young, mature hovawart dog. These breed-specific behaviours occur instinctively when the dog reaches sexual maturity.

Hovawarts are known for their strong territoriality and high energy levels, which can be amplified by sexual maturity!

The first thing you can do is increase physical activity and mental, intellectual challenges for Max.

Regular long walks, playtime, and challenging exercises such as search games or agility can help Max to drain off excess energy.

Training your dog's brain is just as important as training his body.

Secondly, the constant barking of the neighbour's dog is likely to cause Max tension.

Here, you may not be able to resolve the situation on your own and it may be worth talking to the neighbour about the problem. They may be aware of the dog's behaviour and be willing to change it.

Hovawarts are intelligent and docile dogs, and chances are that Max will be able to learn how to deal with stressful situations if given the right guidance and support.

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However, if you feel that the problem persists, it may be worth seeking professional help to address specific behavioural issues.

I hope these tips have helped! Know that you are not alone in this situation and there is help available if you need it.

I trust that Max will soon find his balance in his new phase of life and will be less disturbed by the behaviour of his neighbour's dog. I wish you perseverance and good luck!