If you had a tiny puppy at one point, chances are the pooch grew quickly. He soon became a gangly adolescent, and you might wonder when he will start behaving like a grown-up. At nine months, many dogs look like adults but still exhibit puppy behaviors. However, they should have grown out of the more inconvenient habits, like having accidents in the house and teething. It is important to learn how to care for a puppy at this age so that you may encourage good behaviors that last a lifetime.
Your Teenage Dog
Until they’re about four months old, puppies are unpredictable. However, they also tend to be small, roly-poly, and easy to deal with. After four to six months, they may mellow out to the point where you can forecast certain behaviors and get a sense of their habits. Just when you think this puppy care thing is going smoothly, they turn into crazy beasts again.
Nine-month-old puppies have been described as rambunctious teenagers. Your dog’s hormones are shifting incredibly at this time, leaving him with some erratic and impulsive 9-month old puppy behaviors. Like human adolescents, teenage dogs are in a new phase of developing confidence and awareness. To solidify their learning during this stage, they tend to test boundaries and explore in ways that may not be appropriate.
You might wonder what happened to your sweet little snuggler. All of a sudden, Fido doesn’t listen to a word you say, can’t stay off of the kitchen counter, and inches his crate across the room when you’re not home. Everything seems like it has fallen apart. Some dog owners respond to this age by deciding that they need to rehome their puppies, but all hope is not lost. This is just a phase, and you can help your dog grow out of it successfully. On the other side is a mature, calm, obedient adult dog (with proper care and training of course).
Training An Adolescent Puppy
According to Dog Star Daily, adolescence is a crucial time to socialize your dog. The behaviors that are reinforced during this era may stick around for the rest of her life. Many owners who attended a puppy class or brought their dog out and about with them when she was younger have settled into a routine that involves seeing the same family members every day. Even if you go to the dog park or walk your dog, you probably follow the same route and interact with the same people and dogs.
If your dog doesn’t continue to experience unfamiliar environments, she can become progressively desocialized during adolescence. This can result in aggressive or anxious behavior when she is exposed to novelty. What can you do? Continue to bring your dog to new places, keep meeting new canines, and make each meeting especially fun by offering your dog her favorite treats when you do something new.
What else does training an adolescent puppy entail? Now, you have many more distractions to deal with. Your dog wouldn’t leave the yard when he was four months old. He stuck to your heels like glue. At nine months old, he lunges after bikers and chases squirrels even when you try to lure him back with a can of wet food. His manners have taken a nose dive, but you can reinforce good behavior. Instead of barking “No!” every time your pet does something wrong, use positive reinforcement training to teach him what you want him to do. Rewards are more powerful than punishment. Learn more about positive reinforcement training by watching this video.
The Physical Development Of A 9-Month-Old Puppy
By the time they reach nine months of age, small breeds will be fully grown, but they’ll fill out over the next four months. Medium breeds may reach about 80 percent of their adult size by nine months. Larger breeds may still have a ways to go. Trupanion says that large breeds like collies and Labrador retrievers won’t be fully grown until they’re closer to 18 or 24 months. Different breeds vary in their maturity rates.
What else is going on in your nine-month-old pooch’s body? At this age, pups have all of their 42 permanent teeth. When puppies are actively teething, they tend to chew on everything. Most puppies have all of their adult teeth by six months of age. If your dog is still chewing on inappropriate items, perhaps she’s testing her teenage boundaries. Give her plenty of appropriate chew toys. Remember, her teeth are much stronger than they used to be. Make sure that you monitor her while she chomps on a bone, and take it away from her if it starts to seem like a hazard or gets bitten down to a nub.
Have you noticed that your puppy has started shedding like crazy? That’s because his coat changes at this age. He may lose his fluffy puppy down and start developing a more mature coat. Brush him regularly, and get ready to pull out the vacuum frequently to keep pet hair at bay in your home.
What about puberty? Your dog is sexually mature by nine months. If the canine hasn’t been spayed or neutered, he can be responsible for fathering a litter, or she can get pregnant. If your dog is neutered or spayed, you may have heard that he or she won’t exhibit hormonal behavior. However, “fixed” dogs can still use urine to mark their territory or attract mates. Dogs tend to become more aggressive during this time even if they have been neutered.
Things To Keep In Mind
If you’re having trouble controlling your nine-month-old puppy, remember that a tired dog is usually a well-behaved dog. You don’t have to walk for hours or run your pet around the dog park every day, even just engaging his mind with training, play, and puzzles can tire him out. Take the role of the pack leader and provide clear consistent commands. Maintaining an appropriate puppy routine can help your pet have good manners. Soon, you’ll be wondering what to expect from your 12-month old dog.