There is no exact age at which puppies become predictably mellow, and in fact should maintain a certain level of playfulness and enthusiasm about life. But the days of jumping, growling, chasing and stealing socks eventually come to a close with a combination of time and training.
Breed, Gender as Factors
By 4 weeks old, a puppy begins to crawl, stand and walk. Energy levels increase from there as he blossoms into a playful puppy. This is natural and shouldn't be squashed, however certain guidelines and approaches can help guide a puppy along a path of enthused good behavior. One guideline is breed. Different breeds mature at different rates, generally one to two years, with females maturing a bit more quickly. With maturity comes a little more relaxation.
Signs of Growing Up, Calming Down
If you're not sure when your puppy has reached maturity, ask your vet. There are also things to look for. One is growth spurts; if he's still having them, he's not full grown or ready to calm down like an adult. Growth spurt signs include increased hunger and sleeping. Also, look at his paws. If they're too big for his body, he's still a youngster. You also can look for signs of doggie adolescence such as jumping, teething and refusal to obey.
Offering Routine and Security
Although age is a factor in determining when a puppy starts to calm down, home life plays a huge role. Dogs thrive on routine, interaction, socialization and knowing their place in the pack, aka your family. Keeping your puppy on routine feeding, exercise and potty schedules, along with teaching basic commands offers a sense of security. This, in turn, helps him feel confident and relaxed. Your actions toward him also sway his behavior. If you act calm, it's more likely he will too.
Excitement, playfulness and high spirits are endearing qualities in dogs. These may linger throughout life, but may subside gradually after your dog has reached full maturation. As dogs approach their senior years -- anywhere from seven years on -- puppy exuberance slowly will diminish. If your dog is excessively relaxed or droopy, he may be ill. Make sure to take your dog to regular vet visits throughout life.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.