Anyone who has ever owned a young puppy will tell you that it didn’t take long for them to begin to ask how long the puppy phase will last, and when they will become adult dogs with a calmer demeanor.
The life of a dog is similar to that of the life of a human. There is an infancy stage/puppy stage, adolescent stage, teenage-ish stage, a time when the dog reaches their adult dog age.
The puppy stage begins the moment the little pup is born and will continue for 6 to 18 months of their life. This wide range of months varies depending on the size of the breed of dog in question. Large dog breeds typically reach their adolescent years sooner than smaller dog breeds do.
When puppies are first born, they are both blind and deaf to the world around them for some time. Newborn puppies also have difficulty regulating their own body temperature, making them at risk for developing hypothermia. The first eight weeks of the life of a puppy is meant to be spent with their mother and siblings before beginning to spend time with their human parents.
Once the puppy surpasses the time meant to be spent with their mother, the puppy then enters a time in their puppyhood where play and interaction is their entire world. The young pup spends the majority of their time in this part of puppyhood playing and exploring within their environment and learning about the world around them.
This stage is also when house training is most important. Teaching young dogs tricks like sit, stay, or rollover are fun and important, but house training your puppy to know where to do your business is priority number one. Teaching your little puppy how to properly interact with humans and other animals around them is also just important.
Sometime between months 16 and 18 in a dog's life span is when they will step into their adolescent stage of life. The adolescent stage is when your young dog’s hormones will begin to show themselves. This can be compared to a sort of teenage phase when they become moody and rebellious.
This stage in your dog's life may be a difficult one for you, their human owner. This new spike in hormones that your dog is dealing with may cause them to take part in poor behavior habits, maybe even appear to have forgotten most training that had taken place before this stage.
Attempting to retraining or continue training in this stage may be fruitless and frustrating. The adolescent stage may last up to 24 to 36 months, at which time they then enter their adult phase. Again, this gap in time is only to account for different breed sizes.
As cute and fun as a puppy can be, the adult stage of a dog’s life span is usually like a breath of fresh air for their owner. The adult stage is when the dog’s behavior tends to calm down and they are more agreeable with their humans’ commands. The training in their puppyhood will now begin to pay off, and you both can begin to enjoy more activities together, such as going for walks, hikes, or participating in dog agility classes together.
In this stage, your dog will still be interested in being physically active, but not nearly as much as they would in previous stages. Your adult dog will enjoy going on daily walks or even jogs with you and your family but will also enjoy lounging around and relaxing with you and the family on calm afternoons.
Once your dog reaches the age of 7 to 10 years of life, they will then begin to live in their senior years of their life. This is the stage when you will begin to notice grey fur growing on their mussel and around their eyes.
Just as you would when your dog transitioned from puppy to adulthood, you will need to make some changes to your dog’s diet once they reach their senior stage. Sometimes this will involve changing the nutrient content, others it may be more involved in changing the texture.
Compared to the lifespan of humans, a dog’s lifespan goes from puppyhood to senior stage in the blink of an eye. There is something to be enjoyed and cherished in each of these stages of your dog's life, from the joy and playfulness of puppy years to the adventurous and loyal adulthood years.
Your dog’s lifespan will only take up a short few years of your life, but you are their whole life. Each stage of your dog’s life is something special to cherish and enjoy for all of the years that they have to give to you.