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Your 6 Month Old Doodle Puppy (24-28 weeks)

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You have now watched Puppy go through his fast-growing juvenile stage from ages 2-6 months. 

But now that he has reached 6 months, Puppy is now considered an adolescent, which is one of the most significant puppy development stages.

Adolescence signals the end of your puppy’s babyhood… 

And marks the beginnings of:

  • Testing behaviors reminiscent of human teenagers (rebellion) 
  • Destructive behaviors, often caused by boredom due to the increase in energy and confidence.
  • And sexual maturity.

In other words, you’re in for it.

(Don’t say we didn’t warn you!)

To best prepare for what I like to call the “little hellion” stage, it might interest you to learn what to expect this month with Puppy, both developmentally and as a Doodle puppy parent.

Physical Development

  • Puppy will reach sexual maturity between now and 8 months of age; consider having him spayed/neutered after growth stops – around 6 months if he’s a small Doodle (less than 50 lb.) and between 9-15 months if he’s a large Doodle (over 50 lb.).
  • If Puppy isn’t already spayed/neutered, he will start exhibiting sexual behavior during this timeframe.
  • A female Puppy will likely go into heat (estrus) sometime between now and 8 months, at which time she can easily become pregnant, so keep an eye open now for swelling of her vulva and any discharge.
  • A male Puppy, whether neutered or not, will likely begin to lift his leg to urinate and may start to mark areas with urine. (Though marking behavior tends to be less severe in neutered dogs).
  • Small Doodles (under 25 lb.) are nearly finished growing by this timeframe, but may continue to fill out in weight over the next 3-6 months.
  • Large and giant Doodles (over 55 lb.) may be at about half their adult size by this timeframe. 
  • Medium Doodles (25-55 lb.) are about 75% grown by this timeframe, but will keep growing at a slower rate.
  • Between now and 8 months, Puppy’s body may look “lanky” and awkward (but still adorable!)
  • Puppy will be growing at an individual growth rate; be sure to keep track of his growth with our Doodle Puppy Growth Tracker!
  • He will need more and more food as he grows; be sure you are feeding puppy food and an appropriate amount of it.
  • Puppy should be in full control of his bladder and bowels, and fully house trained by now. However, he may still have an occasional accident in the house, especially if there is a change in the routine. This is normal. Continue to be patient and consistent with training.
  • Puppy should have all of his adult teeth by now, so teething should be over and he may chew less obsessively. Remember, though, that chewing is still normal, so make sure you have plenty of healthy dog chews on hand.
  • As Puppy’s adult coat continues to emerge; brush him everyday to avoid matting as he starts to shed his puppy coat.

Behavioral Development

  • Puppy is an adolescent now, and his behavior may show testing behaviors reminiscent of human teenagers. Expect to see:
    • A rebellious side to Puppy as he begins to test his limits. 
    • Puppy ignoring cues that he was previously trained on, or acting like he “forgot” his training.
    • An increase in energy and willfulness.
    • Destructive behavior, which is often caused by boredom due to the increase in energy and confidence.
    • Puppy challenging you more as he explores dominance and his role in the pack.
  • A male Puppy will begin to show an interest in female dogs, specifically those in heat. 
  • Whether male or female, Puppy may go to great lengths and escape the house to mate.
  • Puppy now understands that he has a pack (which may consist of both humans and dogs), and his behavior will be most influenced by this group.

What To Expect As A Doodle Parent

  • Even with the best preparation, things may get difficult from time to time during this period. This is not the time to expect model behavior.
  • Puppy may exhibit some destructive chewing in this timeframe, that may be caused by a combination of teething, adolescence, and boredom.
  • Think about getting Puppy spayed/neutered after growth stops – around 6 months if he’s a small Doodle (less than 50 lb.).
  • Continue to provide safe opportunities for vigorous play and exercise to curb destructive behavior.
  • Between now and 12 months of age, Puppy may act like he “forgot” his training. Be consistent and firm. Now is a good time to fine-tune obedience training. Continue to have regular training sessions, covering the old basics again, and mixing in newer, more difficult tasks. Keep working on the recall cue and add in an emergency recall.
  • Marking behavior can be curbed more easily if you stop it early. Catch your dog in the act and redirect him to an appropriate place.
  • Continue to expose Puppy to new experiences, people, places, things, and sounds.
  • Continue to reward Puppy for calm behavior and ignore him for fearful behavior.
  • Lots of absolute joy and swoon-worthy moments!

Precautions

  • If Puppy is still having major issues with house training, contact your vet for advice; he may have a treatable health issue.
  • Be sure that Puppy is safely confined to the house and yard, as he may go to great lengths and escape to mate.
  • As Puppy matures, you may start to notice new behavior issues. Don’t assume he will grow out of it; address those issues as soon as possible. If the issues are too hard to correct or manage on your own, consider hiring a dog trainer or behaviorist.
  • During Puppy’s occasional lapses of obedience, avoid situations that could have harmful results, such as off-leash work in an unsecured area.
  • Continue providing a lot of puppy-safe toys and be sure to keep “chewables” out of reach (i.e. electrical cords, shoes, and houseplants).
  • Do an evaluation once a week on how much you’re feeding Puppy, to see if the amount needs to be adjusted.
  • As Puppy’s adult coat continues to emerge; brush him everyday to avoid matting as he starts to shed his puppy coat.
  • Trim his nails weekly.
  • Never punish Puppy, for any reason.

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