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Your Puppy’s Development: 6-12 months


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Congratulations, your puppy is now reaching adolescence! During these “teenage years” you can expect your pup to be a bit of a handful, but she’ll emerge as a full-grown doggy adult before you know it and you will miss these silly puppy days. She may be a bit awkward physically as well, as she reaches her adult height well before reaching her adult weight. Her appetite is likely to fluctuate along with her changes in height and weight. Both physically and behaviorally, this can be an age of inconsistency, but with the proper guidance and training, your puppy will settle into her adult body and temperament.

Training
Much like human teenagers, adolescent pups use their newfound sense of independence to test their limits, which sometimes means acting out. While there may be occasional lapses in your puppy’s behavior, your reactions should remain consistent, firm and most of all patient. You may see further tests of dominance and ranking in the home around this time. Some misbehavior is normal as your dog explores her dominance in the pack, but it is important to continue to be firm about where she ranks in the hierarchy.

Physical Changes
By now, your puppy should have lost all her baby teeth and grown a full set of adult teeth. Her last teeth to fall out will be her upper canines, or “fangs.” You will need to continue to provide approved chew toys at least until all of her adult teeth have come in, although many dogs enjoy chewing on toys well into their adult years.

A puppy that has not been neutered will reach sexual maturity around this time and begin exhibiting sexual behaviors, such as mounting in male dogs. This is normal behavior, but can be minimized by spaying or neutering your dog before they reach maturity.

Playtime
During the last stage of puppyhood, a puppy’s energy level skyrockets, and her need for activity goes up along with it. Keep her mind and mouth busy with sturdy toys and plenty of play. This can be a demanding time for puppy parents, especially if they did not establish boundaries with their puppy earlier. Try not to let your puppy get bored or leave her alone for too long, as this could lead to unwanted behaviors like chewing up the furniture or investigating the trash, especially at this age. Though it can be exhausting, this can be a very fun age with your pup and you should be sure to enjoy every minute!

Patience is key during this last stage of your puppy’s development, and so is practice, practice, practice! It may take a while to see results in your puppy’s training, but if you stay persistent, you will have a very well-behaved adult dog before you know it. Soon your furry friend won’t be a puppy anymore—but she will always be your baby.