Get the straight scoop on what living with a 4-month old puppy is really like. Plus, find out how your Dood is growing and changing this month.
At this point, your puppy is an adorable, curious, and clumsy bundle of fur who is just full of affection. And, he probably causes his fair share of frustration right now.
Despite the challenges, I imagine you’re probably head-over-heels in love with your puppy! If not, that’s okay, too! It’s an adjustment…I always say that puppies come in irresistibly adorable packaging so that we’ll love them through their challenging and frustrating behaviors.
Luckily, the light is shining at the end of the tunnel now as the challenges of early puppyhood are starting to come to an end. If these things aren’t happening now, they will be SOON:
- There should be less biting and chewing.
- You should stop seeing accidents in the house. (Yay!)
- Training will start to become more enjoyable.
- And… you should be getting a full night’s sleep again!
Now, this is not to say that it’s a piece of cake from here on out. Rather, the challenges will be different. So enjoy this grace period while you can because the new challenges of your puppy’s adolescence are right around the corner…
In the meantime, it might interest you to learn what to expect this month with your puppy, both developmentally and as a Doodle puppy parent.
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Continue Socializing Your 4-Month Old Puppy
While you are now past the critical socialization period, it’s still important to keep exposing your puppy to positive new experiences and locations. Once your pup has had all of his shots, he’s ready to start exploring new environments with other dogs, including doggie daycare and the dog park.
Continue to keep a close eye on your Dood to make sure that he’s happy and excited during these experiences. If you see signs that he’s frightened or stressed while playing with other dogs, remove him from the situation right away. Don’t force him to stay and “work through it” because that tactic will backfire as he could develop a fear of similar situations.
Your job as a Doodle parent is to help him feel comfortable and secure in as many new environments as possible. By keeping these experiences fun, you’re helping to prepare your puppy to go through his next fear period at around the 5-6 month mark.
16-20 Week Old Puppy Growth: Physical And Behavioral Development
Just as he was last month, your puppy is still growing and putting on weight at a rapid pace. Let’s dive in and see how your Dood is changing this month!
4-Month Old Puppy Physical Development
- By now, your puppy is in one of the most adorable stages, looking less like a baby and more like a miniature version of his adult self.
- Medium to large pups should be at about half their adult height by now.
- He will grow very rapidly (both in height and weight) between now and the next two months.
- His growth rate will be individual. Be sure to keep track with our Doodle Puppy Growth Tracker to ensure he’s within normal rates!
- He will need more and more food as he grows. Make sure you are feeding an appropriate amount of puppy food.
- Teething should slow down around 16 weeks, meaning you’ll (hopefully) experience less biting and chewing. (Although you probably won’t see a complete end to the teething until closer to 6 months.)
- He is likely sleeping through the night without accidents or potty breaks. (Yay for sleep!)
4-Month Old Puppy Behavior Development
- Around 5-6 months old, your puppy will go through another period of fearfulness. Continue to support him and help him feel safe and secure.
- Puppy is beginning a “pre-adolescent” period, during which you’ll notice a gradual increase of independence and confidence. He will begin to wander further from your side, thanks to his increased confidence and curiosity.
- You’ll also likely start seeing a decrease in his willingness to please you and a simultaneous increase in rebellious or stubborn behaviors as he experiences a surge in teenage hormones.
- He will likely be fully house trained by the end of this month (though don’t be surprised if he’s not quite there yet). At this point, he’s probably going outside to relieve himself 4-6 times a day, but that will decrease to 3-4 as he gets closer to adulthood.
- Puppy is still actively working on social skills and learning from his pack members and the other dogs he encounters in his life and playtime.
- He continues to be very receptive to training with high-value rewards like food and treats (something that probably won’t ever change!)
What To Expect As A Doodle Parent
- After their 16-week vaccinations, your puppy can begin to go on walks, visit the park, and play with other dogs!
- He will not need to see the vet for a routine visit until adulthood.
- Your Dood is close to reaching the age of sexual maturity. Males can start reproducing as early as 5 months, and females will be able to have their first litter by 6 months. Be sure to talk to your vet and have a plan in place if you want to spay or neuter to prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduce aggressive and wandering tendencies.
- You’ll want to get him in ASAP for an introductory grooming session.
- Continue leash training – outdoors and in public!
- If you haven’t started obedience training yet, now is a great time to do that. Puppy training classes can help guide you through basic training, address behavior problems, and socialize your dog.
- You might even enjoy training your puppy now, as he is becoming more attentive and can focus for longer periods of time.
- Take your 4-month old Doodle with you everywhere! This “pre-adolescent” period is very important in solidifying a strong bond to withstand the challenges of adolescence (which is right around the corner).
- If the weather is warm, you can let him go swimming. Most dogs know how to swim instinctively.
- Expect (and enjoy) lots of absolute joy and swoon-worthy moments.
- You should also be able to get a full night’s sleep now that your Doodle has reached this stage.
- Avoid overwhelming your 4-month old puppy when you notice fearful reactions, as he may be entering his next fear phase. (This is not a good time for loud noises or crowds of people.)
- Don’t reward or react strongly to fearful behavior because it will confirm his fears. Instead, ignore the fearful behavior and calmly remove him from the fear source.
- Continue providing a lot of puppy-safe toys, and be sure to keep “chewables” out of reach (i.e., houseplants, electrical cords, shoes, etc.)
- Do an evaluation once a week on how much you’re feeding your puppy to see if the amount needs to be adjusted.
- Continue to avoid giving him bones, antlers, hooves, hard nylon dog toys, or other hard chews – all of which can damage his soft puppy teeth.
- Brush your 4-month old puppy every day to avoid matting as he starts to shed his puppy coat. Also, trim his nails weekly.
- Never punish your Doodle. Instead, use positive reinforcement training techniques.
This month will continue to bring lots of snuggles along with slightly less chewing and maybe some rebellious behavior. All in all, your 4-month old puppy is as cute as a button and growing every day. Find out more about what to expect with your Doodle from next month.