Growing up-dog

Penny, don't get much cuter.

Aren't puppies amazing?  They are adorable, never met one that wasn't.  But puppies are a lot of work and as much as we love them; we often want them to grow up.  We long for a day when we no longer need to worry about our home or possessions any longer due to them being chewed up by the puppies that we love.  How long does it take to grow up?  When are they considered an adult and no longer a puppy anymore?  Every dog is an individual; so how long it takes to mature can vary drastically from one to another. 

My opinion on age of maturation is around 2 years.  Some will be less, while others may be much older before they mature.  I am speaking about behavior maturation, not physical; which is different for dogs as well but a topic for another blog.  Typically around the 18 month mark you can start to see some different behaviors.  Things like not so much patience with unruly puppies.  All of a sudden your puppy doesn't seem like such a puppy anymore; they are growing up. 

Many people call their dog to be a puppy for many years.  This is often the case due to excuses for bad behavior.  I see it often, the puppy card is played when their dog exhibits some undesirable behavior.  But we cannot play that card for long as they will grow up and become an adult that will be expected to behave accordingly.  There is a big difference between a puppy and a youthful adult.  Each stage of a canines life comes with it's own behavior expectation.  Using the puppy card when your dog is not a puppy is just failing to address an issue. 

They may bark more, seeming to become a bit territorial.  New behaviors can pop up like defiance; pushing or testing the waters as they mature.  Your puppy is becoming the dog that they are going to be.  That takes a lot of work and depending on their life experience to that point will factor on the final product.  But once they hit that age of maturity; it doesn't mean that they are done.  Life happens and they will continue to change; like us as they get older and live through new experiences. 

A big shift from puppy to adult can be seen in the student become teacher scenario.  Your puppy, the young and immature will learn from older dogs; but that soon changes as they hit the age of maturity.  All of a sudden they become the teacher who will guide and discipline the younger.  This can be a time of firsts; when you hear "he's never done that before" from owners.  Some dogs change a great deal from puppy to adult.  There are very few dogs who keep their puppy ways about them; the not a care in the world attitude of a puppy.  Our dogs rely on us to show them the way; the direction to take as they immerge into adulthood. 

We are all aging, even that adorable little puppy that you just brought home.  The one that you want to grow up right now; but once they do, you wish that they were still a puppy.  We are all going in the same direction; although our dogs get there faster than we do.  There is so much to pack into the puppy stage; so much to teach to those little sponge heads.  In a blink of an eye your little puppy will be a fully mature dog.  Are you ready?