Puppies are adorable! We are yet to meet a person that doesn't go jelly over a puppy. We are sure that if there was a chance for them to remain puppies forever, everyone would take that chance. Unfortunately, they grow up, and swiftly too! Just as humans, your canine goes through a number of roller coaster transitions as they age from puppyhood to adulthood.
The journey from puppy to adult isn’t an easy one for both owner and dog. Discovering how to communicate with your dog, read their body language, learn their likes and dislikes, feed and play with them, requires a certain type of patience that can rival the gods.
Whether you’re thinking of getting a new puppy, or you already own one and you want to prepare yourself for the journey of yelling and commands, here are some tips to give you a head start on that journey.
How do I know when my puppy becomes an adult?
This isn’t the movies; your puppy won’t become an adult overnight. There are several growth stages that it has to go through. Here are some important stages to look out for as your puppy attains maturity;
Your puppy’s sex organs become fully developed at 6 months-both physically and emotionally. At this stage of development, your pup becomes sexually mature and would be attracted and attractive to other dogs. This stage is usually the best time to have your dog neutered in other to avoid unwanted pregnancies and other behaviors such as marking or roaming.
Maturing physically depends on the breed of dogs. Small breeds are fully grown by the time they are a year old. While larger breeds may keep growing and would become physically mature at two years. Your dog may still exhibit some puppy-like behaviors but his needs are changing to that of an adult and you need to be able to meet them.
When your dog is in the adolescent stage, you would need to meet its dietary needs by increasing the number of calories and protein it consumes, how much exercise it requires to stay healthy and active. At this stage, you should slowly change their feeding from puppy food to adult food.
This is the stage where your dog stops acting like a puppy or adolescent and has settled into the role of an adult. Emotionally mature dogs are less noisy, less destructive, more obedient, better at listening, and calmer. The emotional maturity of a dog differs; some may reach emotional maturity at their first birthday it may take up to two years for others to become emotionally mature.
How do I manage adolescent rebellion?
There are some signs to look out for when your puppy is becoming a teen; your pup becomes more energetic and interested in the world, becomes curious and mischievous, sexual maturity, have bowel “accidents”, becomes easily shy and frightened, reaching adult size, losing most of its puppy coat.
Your dog may chew on everything within sight at this stage and may be too stubborn to obey simple commands. Let's not forget that with this stage comes gluttony. An effective obedience class should come into play here; preferably the one with treats as a reward for obedience.
How do I manage my dog’s nutritional needs?
During the transition from puppy to adult, your dog goes through a series of rapid growth. One essential factor to consider is that your dog needs the right nutrients because it burns through a lot of energy in a day and needs food that is high in fat, protein, and calories to remain healthy.
Transitioning from puppy food to adult food that contains all the additional supplements needed for growth is necessary. Nutrients such as; omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E, glucosamine, and others are essential for rapidly growing joints and brain development.
How do I cater to their social needs?
Just as humans, socializing is also important for our dogs. Take your dog out to socialize with other dogs and observe their behavior in group settings or one-on-one settings. Monitor how they behave in certain situations, like when food is present or when favorite dog toys or dog blankets are involved.
Identifying aggressive behaviors early would make it easier to correct such behaviors. Don’t go slack when they bat their puppy dog eyes, use corrective measures such as time out in the dog house or crate to show them that their behavior is wrong.
You also need to pay attention and learn to read your dog's signs. Every dog signals their owner about its needs and wants in its own way. It is important that you read into your dog's need to go outside for relief and it is even more important to be able to identify the tell-tale sign of illness.
Invest in dog supplies such as a dog bone and other toys to help curb their enthusiasm and take your dog regularly to the vet to ensure that it is in good health.
All in all, the transition from puppy to adult is a bittersweet journey. As a dog parent, it is your responsibility to make sure that these growth stages go smoothly.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Dakota Newman