Much like humans, puppies go through stages of varying energy levels and changing behaviour. This is an evolutionary advantage which allows puppies to learn quickly and keep up with the pack.
While increased energy levels are great for your puppy, they can lead to some frustrating experiences in the home. This guide will discuss the changes in puppy energy levels, what behaviours to expect, and what you can do to manage your puppy’s changing behaviour.
Puppy Energy Levels: Birth – 10 Weeks
Up to 10 weeks puppies are like much like human babies and toddlers; they are energetic, curious, and playful. This is a period of massive mental and physical growth. In order to understand the world around them, your puppy must experience as many things as possible and this requires enormous energy reserves. At this age, your puppy may tire very quickly due to sensory overload.
Puppies at this age will run around chewing, pawing, smelling, and fighting with anything within reach. They will bound and gallop around your home looking for someone, or something, to play with.
This is a fantastic age to begin obedience training because your puppy is such an eager learner. Begin to teach your dog their name and some Basic Commands. To burn some of that energy, it’s important to take short walks and play with your puppy a few times a day.
Puppy Energy Levels: 10 – 16 Weeks
Puppies at this age are much like young teenagers. They still have enormous energy reserves, but they like to test the boundaries. This is because your puppy is developing an increased awareness of pack hierarchies and the world around them.
At this age, your puppy may begin to “forget” some of the commands they once responded to. They may also disobey rules or expectations that you have begun to set. Your puppy may begin chewing everything that can reach because they have begun to teeth.
Puppies at this age should begin to receive longer walks and more play. Be aware of teething behaviour and provide plenty of opportunities for your puppy to chew on things that you don’t mind being destroyed. At this point, obedience training should be ramped up and you should work to assert yourself as the leader of the pack.
Puppy Energy Levels: 4 – 6 Months
At 4 months, your puppy begins to develop into a young adult. Your puppy will still have great levels of energy but may begin to direct it in different ways such as play-fighting. Your puppy will begin to have a much greater control over their energy levels and will have less of the crashes they experience at younger ages.
Your puppy may begin to fight with other pets, children, and you. They may bite, paw, and scratch at you as they begin to test pack hierarchies. Puppies at this age also begin to show fear. It’s usually best to ignore this behaviour and build confidence through training and play. It’s also important at this time to reinforce the idea that your puppy should not bite or scratch you at any point.
Puppy Energy Levels: 6 – 12 Months
At this age, your puppy is very quickly beginning to look like a full-grown dog. Don’t let this fool you though, your puppy still has a very juvenile mind. You may even begin to see a boost in energy as they begin to round out their growth.
Your puppy will continue to test the boundaries but should begin developing a greater sense of right and wrong. They will generally be able to control their energy and will have very few crashes.
At this age it’s important to continue structured play and exercise to ensure that your puppy can dispel their energy in a positive way. Continue to train your puppy and socialise them with other puppies and adult dogs.
Puppy Energy Levels: 1 – 2 Years
If you’ve made it this far with your puppy, congratulations. You’ve successfully made it to canine adulthood. For smaller breeds, 1 year generally signifies adulthood. For larger breeds, it can take up to 2 years to reach full physical and mental maturity.
At this age, your puppy will generally still be playful and energetic, but this will begin to slow down as they age and mature. Your puppy should have a good grasp of the rules and expectations and, as a result, they will be less troublesome despite still having energy.
At this stage, you should aim to maintain age appropriate exercise and play and continue to be consistent with expectations and obedience.