At What Age Does A Dog Relax?

At what age does a dog relax?

Anyone who has or has had a puppy at home knows that they are little earthquakes: they run, jump, nibble on everything, wake you up at night, and constantly want to play. For this reason, it is normal for guardians to end up wondering how long it will take for their furry friends to begin to regulate their behavior and calm down, especially at home.

Well, you should know, first of all, that each dog is unique and its behavior will be influenced by many factors, so we cannot reduce everything to simply waiting for it to get older. Of course, as with any other animal species (including the human species), dogs go through a series of vital stages that involve changes at a physical, hormonal, and, of course, behavioral level.

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In this Best Pets Lover article, we explain what these development phases are like and when they occur, in addition to helping you understand why your puppy behaves the way it does. Don’t miss out on what age a dog relaxes!

Dog behavior stages

The behavior of dogs undergoes an evolution over time and, for this reason, a puppy does not behave in the same way that an adolescent or elderly dog ​​does. To understand this change, it is important to know some basics about the stages of dog development, although the exact duration of these stages will vary slightly between breeds or even between individuals.

Prenatal period (from conception to birth)

Although it may not seem important, the truth is that the character of the dog will depend to a certain extent on its prenatal experiences. In this way, if the surrogate mother is subjected to a lot of stress or hostile environments, the puppies can develop a certain tendency to anxious behaviors.

Neonatal period (from birth to 14 days)

At this stage, the puppies are blind and deaf, so they only react to touch, pain, and temperature changes. However, they are still very sensitive to stress, so it is essential that they are calm and protected by their mother.

A transition period (14 – 21 days)

The pup opens its eyes and begins to hear, thus truly beginning its exploration of the world. It is very important not to separate the puppies from their mother and their siblings at such an early age, as they do not learn to communicate correctly with other members of their species and can very likely develop behavioral problems in the future.

A time of socialization (approximately 21 days – 12 weeks)

This period is one of the most important in the life of every dog. During the socialization stage, the puppy begins to explore his environment much more actively and to get used to everything he will have to deal with in the future (people, other animals, noises, objects, etc.).

It is necessary to socialize the dog well and ensure that it has positive experiences to prevent fear problems. The puppy should stay with its mother and siblings for at least two months of age, as an earlier separation can cause serious behavioral problems.

Juvenile period (approximately 12 weeks – 12 months)

This stage, of variable duration, would correspond to the dog’s adolescence, the period in which the animal is already more independent and, on occasion, can be more mischievous, stubborn, or “disobedient”. This is the ideal time to train the dog and teach it the rules of behavior or start learning skills. Forging a good bond with your furry friend and knowing how to understand each other is essential to achieve a good coexistence.

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Adult period (approximately 1-7 years)

It is usually said that a dog is an adult when it reaches sexual maturity (around a year, depending on the breed), although it will still need to finish maturing socially and behaviorally. Once fully developed, the dog acquires a more stable and difficult-to-alter character.

Maturity period (more than 7 years)

About seven or eight years old, dogs are considered “senior”. In addition to the physical and organic changes that occur as a result of age, the behavior of the dog can also be slightly affected by the years. In general, older dogs have a harder time adapting to changes, their activity is reduced and they spend more hours resting.

In addition, some pathologies, such as cognitive dysfunction syndrome, can affect older dogs, causing strange behaviors (wandering, disorientation, inappropriate urination, excessive vocalization, etc.).

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The worst months of a puppy

When guardians talk about a puppy’s “worst” months, they usually refer to the time in which the dog performs more behaviors that, for humans, are unpleasant or uncomfortable. For example, relieving him at home, biting objects or furniture, waking up and crying at night, playing roughly, etc.

Based on the stages of development exposed above, these behaviors are frequent, especially during the transition, socialization, and youth periods.

However, we must bear in mind that all these behaviors that are so annoying or inappropriate for guardians are part of the normal behavioral repertoire of a dog at these ages. A puppy cannot be expected not to urinate at home or to perfectly obey all the orders we give it, as it still has a lot to learn and mature, both cognitively and socially.

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At what age does a puppy begin to calm down?

That a dog “calms down” does not depend exclusively on age, as there are dogs that, having the same years of life, have very different behaviors.

In the first place, the breed and genetics of the animals must be taken into account, since those canine breeds bred to perform certain jobs that involve a lot of activity ( herding or hunting dogs, for example) usually need more physical and mental stimulation to be able to relax and enjoy a good quality of life. Other dogs, on the other hand, are calmer and less active as a result of genetic selection.

However, remember that each individual is unique and that a dog belongs to a specific breed does not necessarily imply that it will behave as the standard of that breed does. There are other elements at play here, including:

  • The dog’s exposure to social situations.
  • Their possible behavior problems (phobias, anxiety, etc.).
  • Your previous experiences and learning.

In this sense, we can find animals that, even as puppies, are very calm and others that remain very active until old age.

When does the character of a dog change?

Regardless of whether the dog is more or less calm, its character and behaviors evolve at the same time as its body does at a cognitive, physical, and hormonal level. It is often believed that, once the dog reaches sexual maturity, it is already a fully developed animal with a stable character, but that is not the case.

Sexual maturity marks the moment when the dog is already capable of having offspring (between 9 months and one year of age, more or less), but it does not imply that it is fully developed, just as a human adolescent is not.

Around the age of two, dogs reach what is known as social maturity. At this stage, animals are more experienced, more adapted to their environment, and have developed communication and interaction strategies with other individuals. At this time, his character becomes more stable and becomes more and more difficult to modify.

Although this is the natural development of the dog, human action can cause changes in the character of the animal at practically any time of its development. Sterilization, for example, produces a hormonal alteration that causes, in some cases, the dog’s behavior to be noticeably affected. Likewise, the type of education that the animal receives and the life experiences that its guardian provides will influence its behavior.

My adult dog is still restless, what do I do?

As we have mentioned before, there is no fixed age at which a dog begins to calm down, although its behavior does change as it goes through the different stages of development.

If your adult dog is still very restless or behaves similarly to how he did when he was a puppy, there is probably an explanation for his behavior. Inadequate socialization, negative experiences, insecure attachment, inconsistent upbringing, genetics, excessive activity, obsessive disorders, lack of stimulation, and many other causes can be found at the root of excessively nervous or demanding behavior in dogs.

To help your furry friend, it is important to work on the cause of his behavior or find out if his behavior is problematic. For this, the best option is to have the advice of a canine ethologist who knows your dog and can evaluate his behavior and that of his human family. Once a diagnosis is reached, a series of guidelines can be put into practice under the supervision of the ethologist and, if necessary, also of a clinical veterinarian.

During the process, there are support tools that can help your furry friend relax, such as pheromone therapy, interactive toys, chewable snacks, nutraceuticals, or smell games, among many others.

If you want to read more articles similar to At what age does a dog relax? , we recommend that you enter our Dogs section.