Your 8-month old puppy is getting closer and closer to adulthood but isn’t quite there yet! He continues to grow, mature, and test you each day. Learn about the highlights of your Dood’s development this month – and what you need to know as a Doodle parent.
Not much has changed, I’m guessing. Actually, let me rephrase that a bit. In some ways, nothing has changed…and in others, everything has changed.
You and your puppy are likely still in the throes of adolescence. Ah, the teenage years. Discovering thyself. “Puppy” love (get it?). Testing the ‘rents’ will to live. Does it feel like your sweet little puppy has disappeared?
Chloe was definitely a handful during her adolescence, and I’m sure yours is, too. Remember… time and patience. (And maybe a tall glass of wine some days!)
But you and your Dood will get through this stage, and you’ll love rediscovering your sweet pup once he’s feeling a little less rebellious. Hang in there. It’ll get easier, I promise!
In the meantime, though, it might interest you to learn what to expect this month with your puppy, both developmentally and as a Doodle puppy parent.
Learn How to Care for Your Doodle Puppy!
Perfect for first-time Doodle parents, this course covers 50 topics in full detail, including many topics special to Doodles.Plus, Get Access To:
- Exclusive Doodle characteristics survey data
- Our Puppy Growth Tracker
- Recommendations on Doodle parent-approved pet products
- High-quality printables
The Second Fear Period (The Fear Imprint Stage)
All dogs are evolutionarily programmed to go through 2 important fear periods. The first one occurs early – around 8-11 weeks – to keep puppies from running off and “getting into trouble” as they become more and more mobile.
The second fear period, also called the Fear Imprint stage, occurs sometime between 6-18 months. Did I just scare you with the idea of a year-long fear period? Don’t worry; it doesn’t last that long!
I gave you a large window when your pup could enter this stage because it occurs at different times for dogs of different sizes. Smaller dogs reach maturity faster and will go through this period sooner, while larger dogs will likely hit the fear imprint stage closer to 15-18 months.
No matter when it may begin, it’s good to be aware of what’s coming. And don’t be surprised if this stage seems to rear up and fade away only to rear up again.
If you notice your 8-month old puppy suddenly becoming fearful of objects or situations, don’t force him “to walk through it.” Instead, let him check things out and get comfortable in his own time.
It’s essential for building important fight or flight responses and self-confidence. Praise his bravery when he walks through his fear!
32-36 Week Old Puppy Growth: Physical And Behavioral Development
Now that you’re past 7 months, buckle up because there’s no doubt about it – your puppy is a teenager. And he’ll totally live up to all that means, I’m sure!
If you feel like you don’t recognize your puppy anymore, don’t worry. He’ll reappear before too long. Just stick to your routines and training.
Here’s what you can expect this month.
8-Month Old Puppy Physical Development
- He has reached sexual maturity by now. Consider having him spayed/neutered soon if he’s a small Doodle (less than 50 lbs.), or within the next few months if he’s a large Doodle (over 50 lbs.).
- If he isn’t already spayed/neutered, he will start exhibiting sexual behavior.
- Every puppy will grow at an individual growth rate; be sure to keep track of his growth to make sure he’s still on his own growth track with our Doodle Puppy Growth Tracker!
- Dogs at this age have a healthy appetite. Feed him puppy food and the right amount according to his size and energy level.
- This tends to be an adorably lanky period for puppies. Your 8-month old Dood may look and move awkwardly, and he continues to grow quickly. It’s temporary.
- If your puppy’s adult coat hasn’t come in fully yet, brush him every day to avoid matting as he sheds his puppy coat. Trim his nails regularly, too.
8-Month Old Puppy Behavioral Development
- He’s a full-fledged adolescent now, and he may show testing behaviors reminiscent of human teenagers. Expect to continue to see:
- Rebelliousness as he tests his limits.
- Ignoring cues that he previously knew or acting like he “forgot” his training.
- An increase in energy and willfulness.
- Destructive behavior, which is often caused by boredom as he experiences increased energy and confidence.
- He may challenge you more as he explores his role within the pack.
- A second destructive chewing stage will likely begin this month, which may be caused by a combination of adolescence and boredom.
What To Expect As A Doodle Parent
Even with the best preparation, things may get difficult from time to time during this period. Don’t expect model 8-month old puppy behavior – and just know that it’s temporary.
Continue to provide safe opportunities for vigorous play and exercise to curb destructive behavior. Between now and 12 months of age, your Doodle may act like he “forgot” his training. Be consistent and stay firm on his training.
And remember to soak up those swoon-worthy moments!
- If there are still major issues with house training, contact your vet for advice. Your 8-month old puppy may have a treatable health issue that needs to be addressed.
- Be sure that your pup is safely confined to the house and yard, as he may go to great lengths and escape to mate.
- As he continues to mature, 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.
- When there are occasional lapses of obedience, avoid situations that could have harmful results. For example, being off-leash in an area that isn’t secured.
- Do an evaluation once a week on how much you’re feeding him, to see if the amount needs to be adjusted.
- Avoid punishing your 8-month old Doodle.
Enjoy This Time With Your 8-Month Old Puppy
Your puppy is growing and maturing so fast, although (especially now), I’m sure that some days feel like they barely drag by! Try to focus on enjoying the wonderful cuddles and fun moments with your puppy and (as much as possible) ignore or redirect his undesired behaviors.
Find out more about what to expect with your puppy from next month.