Your 9-month old puppy may look more and more like an adult, but he’s still very much an adolescent. Learn how your Dood is changing as a 9-month dog and what you need to know as a Doodle parent.
I’m not gonna lie – it’s likely that not much has changed since last month.
And by now, I bet you’re wondering just when your puppy’s adolescence stage will end. (I know I was with Chloe by this age!) Well, I have good news and bad news. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first, shall we?
The bad news is this stage lasts until 18 months of age. In some cases, it could even go on until 2.5 years of age.
The GOOD news is that you get that much longer to really cement the bond you have with your puppy!
So remember: Even though some days might be worse than others, your puppy loves you very much. (Now go give him a treat!)
Meanwhile, 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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The Second Fear Period (The Fear Imprint Stage)
All dogs go through two big fear periods. The first one occurs at 8-11 weeks to keep puppies from running off and “getting into trouble” as they become more and more mobile.
The second big fear period, also called the Fear Imprint stage, happens at some point between 6-18 months. Don’t worry though, this stage really doesn’t last for 12 months! Small Doodles go through it at a younger age, while bigger pups go through it at an older age.
And don’t be surprised if this stage seems to ebb and flow for a bit of time.
Your 9-month old puppy will become afraid of objects or situations that didn’t previously scare him. Let him check them out on his own time and get comfortable without forcing him into fearful situations. Then, praise his bravery when he walks through his fear!
This period plays an important part in developing healthy fight or flight responses and building self-confidence, and it will have a life-long impact on your Dood.
32-36 Week Old Puppy Growth: Physical And Behavioral Development
Hello teenage years! I have this theory that puppies are adorable and helpless when they’re small so that we fall in love with them enough to love them through their “teenage” period!
Here’s what you can expect this month.
9-Month Old Puppy Physical Development
- Your Dood is now sexually mature. If he’s a small Doodle (less than 50 lbs.), consider having him spayed/neutered soon. If he’s is large (over 50 lbs.), consider doing it in the near future. Be sure to talk with your vet to determine the best timing for your 9-month old dog.
- If he isn’t already spayed/neutered, you will notice him begin to exhibit sexual behavior.
- 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. Keep feeding him puppy food and enough of it.
- Your Dood’s body may still look a little “lanky” and awkward (but still adorable!) during this timeframe.
- If his adult fur still hasn’t fully come in yet, brush him every day to avoid matting as he sheds that puppy coat. Continue to trim his nails weekly.
9-Month Old Puppy Behavioral Development
- Puppy is a full-fledged adolescent now, and his behavior may show testing behaviors reminiscent of human teenagers. Expect to continue to see:
- A puppy who tests his limits and appears rebellious.
- “Forgetting” his training or flat out ignoring known cues.
- An increase in willfulness… and energy.
- More destructive behavior, which is often attributed to boredom.
- Exploring dominance and his role in the pack.
- You may see the appearance of a second destructive chewing stage. Chalk it up to a combination of adolescence and boredom.
What To Expect As A Doodle Parent
This is not the time to expect ideal behavior from your 9-month old puppy. Even with the best mental and physical prep, things may get difficult from time to time during this period.
Continue to provide safe opportunities for vigorous play and exercise to curb destructive behavior. Your puppy may act like he “forgot” his training from time to time. Be consistent and firm and reinforce the training he’s had.
Enjoy these precious moments with your Doodle because very soon, he’ll be an adult dog!
- Still having major issues with house training? Consult with your vet for advice because your pup may have a treatable health issue.
- If your Doodle isn’t spayed or neutered yet, ensure that he’s safely confined to the house and yard. He may try to pull a Houdini on you to escape to mate.
- As he matures, you may start to notice new behavior issues. Don’t assume they will just go away. Instead, 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 your puppy’s occasional lapses of obedience, avoid situations that could have harmful results, such as off-leash work in an unsecured area.
- Do an evaluation once a week on how much you’re feeding to see if the amount needs to be adjusted.
- Don’t punish your puppy. Rather, focus on and praise the desired behaviors while redirecting him away from undesired behaviors.
Soak Up The Time With Your 9-Month Old Puppy
While it may not feel like much has changed from last month with your puppy, he’s still growing, learning, and changing on a daily basis. Soak up those heart-melting moments of cuddling when you can squeeze them in and get outside with your puppy to burn off some (destructive) energy!
Find out more about what to expect with your puppy from next month.