Has your dog become “moody”? Are they getting a little bit more rebellious? Chances are your puppy has already entered puberty! Dogs mature fast. You’ve probably gone through some training challenges already, but don’t let your guard down just yet. You may have to brace yourself for more.
For sire owners, male dogs go through puberty between 6 and 18 months. Unlike bitches that have a “season,” sires sexually mature right at the onset of puberty. They can breed at all times once they’ve hit adolescence, but they are most fertile at around 1-2 years of age.
Just like human adolescents, dogs can be defiant during this transitional phase. As they may go through hormonal surges, they also experience mental and physiological changes that can be confusing even to our pooches.
However, behavioral symptoms may vary depending on your pet’s breed. Some breeds tend to be more aggressive or rebellious than others.
But pet owners, no need to worry! This transition from puppyhood to adulthood will also pass. Knowing the signs and understanding what our canine family members go through during this stage is key to success.
Signs that your dog has reached puberty
Puberty marks the beginning of our dog’s sexual maturity. So expect big physical developments in your dog.
If not neutered, male dogs are ready to breed as soon as they hit puberty at around 6 months. And if not spayed, female dogs will have their first “heat” sometime between 6 and 15 months. Once they’re fully grown or mature, heat season typically recurs every 7 months.
Puberty signs in male dogs
- Your dog lifts his leg when urinating. This means that his testicles have descended, and his testosterone levels have also increased. Doing this is also a sign that a male dog is marking his territory.
- He starts mounting on other dogs and even on humans. When your pet reaches the adolescence phase, he now becomes a bit more active and aggressive. When socializing with bitches, you may notice them sniffing the female dog’s behind and/or mounting them.
- Shedding becomes more intense too. So be prepared to vacuum your house more often.
Puberty signs in female dogs
- First, you’ll see mild swelling of your dog’s vulva. As a female dog enters the “heat cycle,” you will eventually see some bloody discharge that can last up to 9 days.
- Increased urination is another sign that your girl has already entered puberty.
- Your dog becomes more “attractive” to males during the reproductive cycle.
Researchers found that dogs entering the puberty stage are a lot harder to train and more likely to ignore their owner’s commands (but not other people’s). This shows that dogs mirror a human teen’s behavior with their parents.
Thus, puberty is a vulnerable phase for fur parents and their dogs. Remember, like human teenagers, our dogs are going through a passing phase. So it’s temporary!
What’s important is we remain calm and gentle with our pets. Dog owners must use a positive approach to teaching their adolescents good behavior instead of a punishment-based method of training their dogs. Yes, it can be extremely challenging and requires plenty of patience at the parent’s end. However, inflicting pain or utilizing punishment can only trigger problem behavior in your dog.
How to survive your puppy’s “teen phase”
There’s no reason not to survive this challenging period of our pet’s lives with patience and love. Here are some helpful tips to make our lives easier:
- Guide your dog. Like human children, our pubescent pups need our guidance. They’re also clueless about what’s going on. They don’t know what hormonal changes are. Let’s develop a healthier mindset for our dogs and think of it as another milestone in dog parenting or raising.
- Don’t give up! Let’s continue working with our dog. One day you’ll see how obedient, gentle, and mature your pet has grown if you keep believing in them.
- Keep them with good company. Avoid socializing with aggressive dogs. Puberty is a crucial phase in terms of shaping your dog’s character. So let them interactive with active but friendly dogs.
- Seek professional advice if you need it. Don’t hesitate to see a dog health or behavior expert and ask for their guidance if you’re worried about your pet’s behavior or if you notice something unusual.
Again, just keep in mind that this too shall pass! You and your pet can always work as a team and get through this difficult phase together.
What age do male dogs become sexually active?
Male dogs become sexually active or sexually mature the moment they enter puberty. By that time, your dog is around 6 to 18 months old. The timing though, can vary in different breeds and dog sizes. But expect sires to be promiscuous, and they can hit on any female dog available if given a chance.
Can a 6 month old male dog get a female pregnant?
Male dogs can actually sire puppies as early as 5 months old. But they’re most fertile at around 12-15 months old. To prevent unplanned breeding, be sure to keep track of your dog’s sexual development. Talk to your vet if you need further assistance.
Remember, puberty is also the best time to consider and decide on whether to neuter your canine pet or not.
Do neutered dogs go through puberty?
As we’ve mentioned, puberty is when our dogs officially start becoming sexually mature or capable of reproducing offsprings. When you neuter or spay your puppy, this reduces the common symptoms of puberty that a non-neutered or non-spayed puppy normally goes through.
So in a way, we can conclude that a neutered or spayed dog will not experience the usual changes associated with puberty.
Do male dogs get sexually frustrated?
Non-neutered dogs get sexually frustrated if their parents don’t let them mate. They need to satisfy the natural urges brought about by hormonal changes, especially during puberty.
Puberty is not a disease that we need to be scared of. Instead, as pet parents, we should look at it as another amazing milestone of our pooch’s life. Nothing is more beautiful than seeing them grow and develop, from a small little puppy, into a more mature dog.
As opposed to punishing a disobedient or defiant teen dog, we can assist and guide our dogs as they go through a roller coaster ride of emotions and bodily changes.
When we’ve decided to bring a furry pet into our homes, we know that the road ahead won’t always be smooth. We can expect some twists, turns, and bumps here and there.
Raising a puppy is pretty much like raising a human child. Juvenile dogs go through several stages of development too. So when our male dogs go through puberty, let’s buckle our seatbelts and enjoy the ride… Happy dog parenting, fur parents!