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Puppy being socialized with lots of people

When Do Puppies Calm Down

When do puppies calm down? Dogs calm down between the ages of 6 months to 3 years of age. Which end of the spectrum your puppy depends on when they are physically and mentally mature.

What Causes Puppies To Calm Down

Mentally Maturity

Mental maturity refers to a dog’s ability to learn. Mental maturity depends on both genetics and how you raise your dog. This is also known as nature vs. nurture.

Physical Maturity

Physical maturity refers to the dog’s fitness level. It also refers to their hormone development. Physical maturity is dependent on their genes.

Age

  • Newborns to 12 weeks of age are calm and cautious of the world.
  • Puppies 10-16 weeks have burst of energy and sleep a lot.
  • Puppies between 4-6 months have the most energy and are curious of the world.
  • Puppies 6 months to 2 years are in the height of their physical and mental capabilities. Therefore, they are very active.
  • Dogs 2 years and older is when puppies calm down
Describes the average age a puppy calms down

Age & Teething

  • Puppies start teething between 10-16 weeks. Expect nipping, biting, and chewing.

Age & Training Capabilities

  • Newborns to 10-week puppies are difficult to train. This is because their cognitive functions are not fully developed. Dogs under 12 weeks should not be away from their mothers. 
  • Puppies between 10-16 weeks are responsive to training. They are owner focused. Some articles claim this is their teenage years, but this is wrong. This is more like the terrible twos. Everything is new and exciting. They misbehave not because they are rebellious but because they are curious.
  • Small & Medium dogs between 4-6 months of age are easy to train. This is because their cognitive abilities are developed. They are still reliant on their owners. Yet, during this stage they are becoming more social. Owners should expect pulling or fear behavior towards other dogs.
  • Medium-Large dogs between 4-6 months are less easy to train. This is because they are less curious, and more owner focused. They will pick up on commands slower than small to medium dogs. This is because their cognitive functions are less developed.
  • Small-Medium dogs between 6-18 months tend to push boundaries. This is the real teenage phase. They understand the rules but are testing what they can get away with. Owners see a regression in training during this phase.
  • Medium- Large dogs one to three years of age tend to push boundaries. This is the real teenage phase. They understand the rules but are testing what they can get away with. Owners see a regression in training during this phase.

Breed Types

When do puppies calm down can be answered by examining your dogs specific breed standards. Breeding depends on what your dog was genetically bred to do.

  • Terrier Group: This group is high energy. They are mentally and physically mature faster. However, their physical maturity declines quicker than herders and working breeds. Expect this breed to be active until 1.5 years of age.
  • Sporting Group: This groups physically and mentally matures slower. This is due to their size. But their physical maturity last longer due to what humans bred them for. Expect this group to calm down around 2-3 years of age.
  • Non-Sporting Group: This group matures quickly compared to other breeds. But this group is diverse. The poodle keeps their physical maturity longer while the chow chow does not. Expect this group to calm down between 6 months to 2 years of age. For example, the Shiba Inus matures around 6 months while the poodle matures around two years.
  • Hound Group: This group maturity is usually in the middle. They are great household pets but tend to roam when they are young. They tend to calm down around 1 year of age.
  • Working Group: This groups physically and mentally matures slower. However, they do not decline as fast as terriers and toys. This is because of their size. This group should calm down around 2 years of age.
  • Toy Group: This group mentally matures slower but physically matures faster. Their physical maturity declines quicker. But because of the mental maturity This group should calm down around 2 years of age.
  • Herding Group: This group is high energy. They mentally mature faster and their physical maturity last longer. Expect this breed to be active until 3 years of age.

Size

When do puppies calm down directly relates to their size. Size refers to their adult size not their current size. 

  • Dogs Under 10lbs calm down between 6 months and 2 years.
  • Dogs between 11lbs and 30lbs calm down between 1 year and 1.5 years.
  • Dogs between 31-60lbs calm down between 1.5 years and 2 years.
  • Dogs over 90lbs tend to calm down between 2 years and 3 years

Gender

When do puppies calm down directly relates to their gender. 

Females’ biology matures faster than males. They are ready to have puppies between 6-9 months

Temperament

When do puppies calm down depends on your dogs temperament. But every dog’s temperament is different. You will not know their temperament until they are about 6 months. Look for signs of high energy, anxiety, or fear. Dogs who are high energy or have anxiety will take longer to calm down. Dogs who are fearful will be less energetic.

Spaying & Neutering

Data is inconsistent. Some studies have found that castration results in less food consumption. Less food consumption correlates to thus less energy. Other studies have found no behavior change in correlation to spaying & neutering. Yet, studies have found that dogs mount, pull and roam less. 

Dog Socialization

When do puppies calm down depends on your dogs social maturity. Both under socializing and over socialization can cause a dog to mature slower. Socialize your dog to the point where they understand canine signaling. But do not socialize them to the point where they find other dogs more exciting than you.

Environment Exposure

To help your puppy calm down faster you need to expose them to new environments. Dogs between the age of 10 weeks to 6 months are still exploring the world. Everything is new and exciting. The easiest way to calm your puppy down is to expose them to new things. They will become desensitized to the environment and nonreactive to their environment.

Home Life & Training

An untrained and unstructured dog is going to be wilder than a trained dog.

Diet

The type, quantity, and quality of food your dog ingest can alter your dog’s behavior. Food affects behavior by altering the following functions: mood, brain function and nervous system, organ function, digestive, and joint health. All these effects your dog activity. For example, if your dog’s joint health is poor, they will be less active to avoid joint pain. If you are overfeeding your dog, they will be lethargic and less active. Lastly the type of food you provide your dog matters. According to Janet Alexander, Alison Colyer and Penelope Morris a dog’s activity level is reduced significantly with a dry diet.  

How Active Is Your Family

When do puppies calm down depends on your lifestyle. Certain breeds that are better suited for both house life and others for sports life. However, some breeds can switch based on the family’s activity level. A perfect example of this pet is the Golden Retriever. These dogs can be as active as border collies or as lazy as beagles. It all depends on your lifestyle. Another dog known for this versatileness is poodles. There are dogs that should not be owned by inactive families. This includes Border Collies, Shelties, and Aussies.

Multi-Dog House Holds

When do puppies calm down depends on how many dogs you have in your household. Puppies that grow up in multi-dog households mature quicker. This is because their social and environmental needs are being met at home. Social learning is the act of dogs copying other dogs.

How To Socialize A Puppy To Calm Them Down

Socializing a puppy will mature them mentally quicker. Socializing a puppy is not letting two dogs play. It is teaching a dog how to communicate with other dogs. This means you must know how dogs communicate. To socialize your dog, you must:

  1. Find a dog close to their age
  2. Schedule a play date to last no longer than 15 minutes
  3. Watch your dog for calming signals
  4. Watch the other dog for calming signals
  5. If either dog gives a calming signal, give the other dog time to back away. If they do not back away, remove your dog from the situation.
  6. Try again in 5 minutes

Calming Signals

 A dog’s communication can be nonverbal and vocal, but what they do is as important. Their body language is considered their language. When a dog is anxious, stressed or agitated they give off signals that are instinctual. These signals are used to say that they either are comfortable or stressed. 

Body language of dogs

Common Issues: When Do Puppies Calm Down

Biting & Nipping

Biting and nipping usually goes away with age. Here are some fixes you can put in place that will help you in the meanwhile.

Zoomies

This is when the dog has burst of energy. Zoomies are most common in early mornings or evenings. They can also occur right before bed, and right after pooping. The best way to solve for zoomies is through mental and physical stimulation. Agility dogs tend to not have the zoomies at all.

Leash Pulling

Dogs that pull towards other dogs and people do so because you have taught them that it is okay. This is usually a sign of over socialization and/or on leash greetings. Never allow your dog to have on leash greetings. This creates leash reactivity. Leash reactivity can be positive or negative. Positive leash reactivity is when the dog pulls towards a dog or person because they want to play. Negative leash reactivity is when the dog is aggressive towards dogs or people. This is usually out of fear-based aggression.

Attention Seeking

Puppies who are young rely on their owners to provide a safe and enriching environment. In the first few months of your puppy’s life, they are going to be very attached to you. Between 4-6 months the become more peer reliant. Similar to how 12-13 years hold become peer reliant.

How To Calm A Puppy Down

1. Regular Exercise

Exercise includes daily walking & playing. However, a 20-minute walk is nothing compared to mental stimulation.

2. Therapy Dog Training

Train your dog to be a therapy dog. These dogs go to nursing homes, children’s hospitals, and libraries. Having your dog interact with many people a week will tire them out.

3. Food Foraging Activities

Making your dog work for his food has been found to be mentally simulating to dogs. Studies found that dogs would rather work for their food then freeload. This is because finding a new source of food would benefit them in the wild. The brain dumps pleasure hormones when this happens.

4. Enroll In Dog Sports

Sports training is the most effective way to calm your dog down. This includes agility, flyball, dock diving, herding, and scent work.

This sport combines mental stimulation with physical exertion. Dogs run through tunnels, over jumps, over walls and respond to owner’s directions. The dog must be physically fit and mentally competent to complete this sport.

This sport has small hurdlers with a ball shoot at the end. The dog is to jump over the hurdlers, retrieve the ball, and return to the start line. This is a relay, so it is a team sport. The fastest team wins.

This is a water sport. There are two types of dock diving: Long Jump & High Jump. In long jump the goal is for the dog to jump as far as they can in the water. High jump is when a toy is raised above the water for the dog to get.

This is the sport of moving livestock. The dog responds to left, right and out cues, and moves the herd between a fence or pen.

Scent work differs from food foraging games because it teaches a dog to identify a specific scent. This scent is a birch-soaked cue tip. The dog is to identify where the scent came from and alert the owner. Once the owner has been altered the dog is given a reward or a fail command.

5. Daily Training

Obedience training is the next most effective way to calm your dog down if you can not devote time to dog sports. Teach your dog:

  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Down
  • Look
  • Watch
  • Wait
  • Come

6. Daily Trick Training

Trick training is mentally stimulating but not physically stimulating. This could include teaching your dog to roll over, weave between the legs, beg, spin, or turn off the lights. Trick training is what owners do when their dog already knows basic commands. 

7. Establish A Routine

Dogs do best in routines. A routine can include eating, playing, and going potty at the same time a day. A dog will be much calmer when they know what to expect.

8. Crate Training

This technique is not just for potty training. Crate training includes teaching a dog that their crate is their safe space. A space to be calm and collected.

9. Give A "All Done" Command

After playing or training your dog will be energetic. Once you are done interacting with your dog you need to let him know it’s time to stop. I use “Donzo” and wipe my hands together. Other people use “All Done” and herders use “That’ll Do”.

10. Teach A "Settle" Command

To teach a settle command you use the art of capturing. Capturing is rewarding a dog for a natural behavior. When your dog is laying down and calm, say ‘good settle’ and reward. Our dogs need to understand that there are times to play and times to relax. They learn this when you rewarded them for being calm.

11. Create A Schedule Feeding Time

A dog who has just eaten will be less energetic for the first 20 minutes. After that you should see a spurt of energy. Schedule you feeding when it’s most convenient to you.

12. Remove Sound & Lights

Remove outside stimulations. Place a blanket over your dog’s crate. Cover windows with blinds and dim the lights. Turn the T.V and music off. These are all techniques we use in canine massage to calm a dog down.

13. Remove Other People & Animals

Move the dog to a room without other people and anima

14. Do Big Sweeping 'Pets'

Big sweeping pets are called effleurage in canine massage. It is like getting a Swedish massage. Massage activates the part of the nervous system that controls relaxation. This is why rubbing someone’s back calms them down. Canine massage therapist use message for dogs with high anxiety. This is because it pulls them out of the ‘fight or flight mode’ and puts them into the rest and ‘digest mode’.

15. Stop Overtiring Them

Pet parents run their dog ragged. This creates an over tired second wind. Identify when your dog is tired. These are the most common signs

  • Red Eyes
  • Tongue Out
  • Pacing
  • Roaming
  • Whining and/or barking
  • Yawning
  • Stretching
  • Panting
  • Licking lips
  • Struggles to respond to commands
  • Excessive thirsty
  • Sniffing the ground
  • Sloppy sitting (legs kicked out)

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