Your canine companion is maturing fast. In human years he would be between 6 and 10 years old, depending on breed.
At this age, the impressions made on your dog, by his environment are vital to how he perceives the world later in life. He'll be curious and wilful, as he develops his play style. You may notice the play becoming a little rougher, with a few nips, growls and humping. Address negative behaviour, [a prod on the flank] before they develop into major problems. A puppy’s adolescence stage can last twelve months, with the larger breeds lasting the longest................hang in there!
Physical and Mental Development
Toilet training should be well established, averaging 4-6 daily trips to his toilet spot, gradually decreasing to three or four as he enters adulthood. Continue rewarding toileting in the right area. Continue saying your 'toilet' word.
During this period of physical development, your dog will mature sexually. By 5 months of age, a male puppy can produce sperm; by 6 months, a female is able to have her first litter. Consider spaying your female dog and neutering your male dog.
De-sexing your dog can prevent unwanted behaviours developing.
Puppy teeth will begin to fall out, making way for the adult teeth. Check his mouth weekly, making sure all the deciduous teeth are out or have been replaced. Place your finger on any reluctant tooth and give it a wiggle as often as possible. Vet dentistry is horrendous!
Offer appropriate chew toys to ease teething. Ice cubes in the water bowl would be greatly appreciated.
Don’t ignore your dog’s teeth. Check them weekly, make this experience positive. Chicken flavoured dog toothpaste is available, do not use human grade toothpaste.
Puppies chew because they’re teething, or, they’re bored, or, because your clothes, comfort them! They are unaware and cannot calculate the cost of a ruined couch or what remains of the hibiscus bush, recently planted!
Punishment. Your dog will never understand why you’re angry, punishing him or hurting him. It will just make him, fearful of you and confused.
Testing your house rules and showing independence at this stage, is normal. The surge of hormones can cause willful and rebellious behaviours, be aware of body slamming. Out of nowhere, your canine companion may launch himself towards you, slamming his body on you. Command a drop, stay, immediately, don’t allow him up until you are ready.
Accidents in toilet training can occur. Go back to basics and reward good toilet habits. Don’t become frustrated or angry, instead, be consistent and patient, as this is just another phase of development.
Health and Nutrition
Daily brushing not only assists in removing loose hair, it prevents matting and strengthens the bond between you and your dog. All family members should be encouraged in this bonding activity.
A pin brush will be suitable for all coat types. Slicker brushes are designed for long coated dogs, rakes are great for stimulating the skin.
Dogs brushed daily, require less baths.
There are a number, of dog shampoos and conditioners, on the market, Aloveen is our chosen product. Avoid using human shampoo on your dog (they dry out the skin).
Mark on your calendar, vaccination due dates.
Diet, small breeds can start moving off the puppy formula onto adult formula, large breeds wait another two months. When in doubt, check with your veterinarian.
Your adolescent, rambunctious furry friend needs further training.
Enroll in our six week Basic Obedience Course and enjoy the benefits of a well trained canine companion. You’ll be envied, by friends and family, with the respect and control you have come to understand through your training. Patience, confidence and maintaining consistency will lead to a happy life together.
A trained dog, is a happy dog.
written by Lee Hettiger - Centenary Dog Obedience