Now that your puppy has completed his/her first year, he has reached his final stage of adolescence. As he grows over the years, he will begin to exhibit a change in behavior and will try to establish leadership. He will start to disobey and challenge you daily as it starts to explore his territory and pack. Dogs at this age will also reach social maturity.
Physical & Mental Development
Your one-year-old puppy will continue to develop physically and mentally. Most dogs will reach their physical maturity by the end of the year and their skeletons will be fully developed.
By age 1, your dog’s behavior will see drastic changes. As he reaches the final stages of adolescence, your dog will start to explore his surroundings more and explore the alpha role at home. You may see an increase in aggression, especially biting. Dogs may bite for a variety of reasons, such as nervousness or when they feel threatened. Nibbling and biting behavior should never be encouraged. Offer loads of chew toys to help your dog deal with anxiety and aggression.
Common behavior traits at this age:
Mood swings | Testing rules/limits | Unpredictable nature | Disobedience | Independent Streak | Ill-mannered | Bossy around other dogs
Hormonal traits at this age:
- Female dogs will enter into their first heat cycle lasting for about 2 – 4 weeks.
- Male dogs will begin marking their territory by urinating in different places.
- Territorial behavior and resource guarding.
- Dog-to-dog aggression.
- Exploring new places and need to wander off.
- Humping other dogs/humans as a past time.
Neutering or spaying your pup might help to reduce hormone-induced behaviors.
Your dog has completed one year, however, socialization and training should continue throughout the life of your pet. By age 1, your dog should know basic obedience training and house training. You now need to further train your dog to obey your commands, as this is the age where your dog will challenge you and try to establish leadership. Positive reinforcement training techniques go a long way and ensure that the training session is short and crisp. Use verbal praise as well as treats to encourage him while he learns. Apart from training, you must ensure that your dog gets loads of exercise.
Health & Nutrition
Ensure that your dog gets dewormed and vaccinated at the right time even after the first year. Maintaining a proper dental hygiene is also important from an early age. It is also a good time to start brushing your dog’s teeth and massage his gums. Not only that, you can also make use of chew toys that helps to keep plaque and tartar problems at bay.
You can now move from three meals a day to two meals a day for a dog over age 1 or as advised by your veterinarian. If you are using a dog food, it is the right time to move over from puppy food to a premium dog food to meet his changing nutritional needs. Use the feeding chart guide as per your dog’s age and breed on the dog food pack. Feeding your dog a well balanced diet is crucial for his overall development. As such, there are six basic requirements for dogs – water, fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. When you select a dog food, make sure that it provides a well-balanced and wholesome nutrition with key ingredients being of high-quality meat, chicken or veggies. If you offer your dog home cooked food, ensure that it contains loads of fresh ingredients. Consult your vet if your dog needs to be on any special diet such as a gluten-free diet, etc. and requires any health supplements as such.
By age 1, your dog must have been administered his first set of vaccines. It is essential to get your pet dewormed on time. Ensure that you have a vaccination schedule in place and contact your vet about any seasonal shots that your pet may need. In general, your pet should be administered yearly vaccinations such as DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus), Rabies, Bordetella (optional), Coronavirus, etc. It is best to consult your vet about the necessary vaccinations required by your dog and maintain a regular vaccination book.
Some people believe that calcium supplements must be given to puppies from an early age for stronger bones. However, it is important to note that if you are offering a well balanced diet that offers all fresh ingredients, then offering additional supplements is not required. Your vet will be able to guide you if there is a need to offer additional supplement.
Hot Tips for a smoother home functioning with your adolescent dog
- Dogs crave a routine so don’t forget to implement a daily routine and stick through it!
- Keep obedience training lessons a priority and keep them fun!
- Exercise will keep your puppy active, healthy and less prone to being a brat!
- Ensure your dog gets the socialization he/she needs on a regular basis.
- Tackle new behavior issues promptly and gently.
- Teach your kids to respect your dog and vice-versa.
How do I handle my Dogs nuisance barking?
Barking is a normal dog trait by which your dog communicates. Your adolescent puppy may bark to get your attention to tell you something. Identify the most basic reasons why your dog may be barking:
- Your dog may be hungry.
- He/she is bored and wants to play.
- He/she needs to go out potty.
- He/she heard a stranger at the door.
- Do you feed your dog on time? Always remember discipline is the key!
If you go through the above reasons and still the barking persists, identify whether the hysterical barking starts when you leave home. It could be possible that your dog suffers from separation anxiety.
How to treat separation anxiety in Dogs?
Ideally, you must teach your puppy from a young age to be alone and quiet and increase the interval. When you leave your dog alone for a long period of time, your dog may get destructive and bark or howl for hours, which is often known as separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is triggered whenever someone they are attached to leaves the house or even a room. In the most extreme cases, your dog may make attempts to run away chasing you, or cause self-injury. Always remember that separation anxiety is not a result of disobedient behavior but a distress call from your dog. The goal in treating separation anxiety is to resolve the underlying problem and to teach your dog to tolerate being left alone. Here are some ways by which you can tackle separation anxiety:
- Leave interactive games and toys for your dog to be busy. Dog puzzle toys stuffed with food works well such as ones from KONG, Outward Hound, etc. Also ensure to leave interactive games and toys when you are around to prevent your dog from associating it solely with your leaving the house.
- Provide plenty of jobs for your dog to do while you are not around. Hide his favorite treats around the house so that your dog can use his nose to guide himself and work for his food.
- Do NOT make any eye contact, no touching or talk either with your dog immediately before leaving the house. It is best to say bye an hour or two before you leave home. Follow the same when you return home.
- Take your dog out at the park so that he can run and burn off excess energy before you plan to leave.
- If you will be out for a long period of time, arrange for a trusted pet sitter to stay with your dog.
- Play a soft and relaxing music such as Beethoven. Studies suggest that pets prefer classical music that helps them to get calm. Music also helps to reduce noise and stress.