A dog's energetic spirit is part of his charm, and he should always keep that smoldering fire throughout life. However, the crazy puppy days do subside, and dogs begin to mellow as they mature. When this begins depends on growth rate, personality, level of training and home life.
Estimate When He Will Be All Grown Up
Much like human children, fur kids like to run, play and explore. Sometimes they like to steal your slippers. As they begin to mature, they also begin to calm down. This is a gradual process that evolves throughout puppyhood and into adulthood. So, one way to estimate when he'll begin to mellow is to determine when he is considered officially grown up. This ranges from one to almost two years and varies by breed. Generally, smaller breeds mature more quickly than large breeds.
Focus on Home Life, Training and Exercise
Becoming a calm canine is not all the puppy's responsibility. Human parents can expedite the process by offering routine and affection, teaching basic commands, providing regular exercise, and exposing a pup to new experiences. Dogs, like their wolf ancestors, thrive in a pack setting. Offering the security of a loving home, proper training and exercise give a puppy a sense of safety. This will likely make him feel more relaxed, resulting in a calmer state.
Watch for Signs of The Terrible Teens
If your puppy is technically reaching adulthood and is participating in all his dog-friendly routines, but you're still not sure if he's close to maturity, watch for signs of adolescence. Dogs reach adolescence just before adulthood, and it sometimes brings undesirable behavior like refusal to listen, jumping and nipping. Stay strong through this time with the knowledge that adulthood and calmer behavior is just around the corner.
Older Dogs, Calmer Dogs
By the time his senior years arrive -- anywhere from seven years on -- his energy will have steadily slowed, and he may experience decreased mobility and other age-related issues. In between wild puppyhood and the golden years is when the most favorable energy levels will likely occur. He may not steal your slippers anymore, but he should have energy for walks, playtime and other activities. If he's lethargic or droopy, he might be sick. Vet visits throughout life can help you live a long, happy life together.
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.