As cute as puppies are, there are times when every owner counts down the days until that puppy grows into an adult dog. But when, exactly, does your dog become an “adult”? And how does an adult dog differ from a puppy? The good news is that by age two, your puppy should have reached milestones that separate a puppy from a dog.
How much bigger is my puppy going to get? All dogs should be their adult height and length by age two. Giant breed dogs, such as Great Danes, may fill out a bit and so may gain a little more weight. Our Newfoundland hit his adult weight at about 28 months old.
Make sure to ask your vet when to switch over to adult dog food, as different breeds of puppies will hit “adulthood” at different times. However, your dog should be on an adult diet by the age of two. Diets formulated for puppies are higher in protein to support their growing bodies. Too much low-quality protein isn’t great for adult dogs, as it can lead to kidney issues.
From three to seven months, a puppy starts teething. You may notice the milk teeth falling out, or some blood on your puppy’s chew toys. Lots of chewing and mouthing may occur in these months. Make sure to give your puppy plenty of acceptable chewing opportunities! Puppies should have their adult teeth by age two. While many dogs enjoy a good rawhide now and then, any obsessive chewing past age two could indicate a behavioral issue or dental heath problem.
By age two, dogs with guarding instincts will start to show some of those behaviors. Herding breeding will start to herd much earlier than that! Our Newfie’s rescue instincts started to kick in just after we got him at about a year old. One day he was fine just hanging out in the water, and the next day he was barking uncontrollably if we went out too far! Guarding dogs may not know what to do with those instincts at first; they may bark and growl while hiding behind your chair. By age two, he should be reacting properly.
Puppies are constantly learning from their environment, so simple training can start as soon as they come home. Keep in mind to not let your puppy do anything you wouldn’t want an adult dog to do; no jumping, mouthing, or biting allowed!. Formal training usually starts at 4 months old. This is when your dog should have all their shots, and also have the attention span for distracting puppy classes and more complicated behaviors. By age two, your dog should have a handle on basic commands, and is ready for an entire lifetime of learning!
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