When Do Puppies Calm Down?

Welcoming a puppy into your life can be such a rewarding thing for both you and your new canine companion. Most people's early days with their new puppy are spent taking a million photos of their dog sleeping or falling into their own water bowl.

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Not long after, however, that little ball of joy who spent 20 hours a day sleeping is now demanding constant attention, exercise, and structure, leaving many to think, "I love my puppy so much, but also… when is this thing going to calm down and give me a break?" The answer to that question is unfortunately uncertain, but several factors, like your dog's breed, size, and health can help you get an idea of when you can look forward to a morning sleeping in.

Puppy development stages

In order to predict when your puppy may calm down, it's helpful to understand how puppies grow, both physically and mentally. The Houston SPCA explains that most puppies become fully able to use all of their senses and start to play with their littermates at around three to four weeks old. In the weeks after that they become weaned, and learn appropriate social skills like bite inhibition (read: boundaries.) At around 12 weeks, most puppies go to their respective homes, where they continue to grow, learn, and socialize with other dogs and people, assuming their new owners make time for this very important aspect. Dogs are considered "mature" or adult anywhere between the ages of one and four, during which time unaddressed behavioral issues can start to become apparent, yet they will continue to learn and associate certain things with specific people or places.

When will my puppy calm down?

The age in which your puppy calms down will depend on your puppy and certain aspects about him, like his breed, health, and even his temperament. The general consensus is that most puppies will begin to lose their constant need for stimulation and sometimes, destructive tendencies, at anywhere between 18 months to two years. Growing pains, teething, bladder development, and the exuberance that comes with youth all play a part in a puppy's energy levels and need to explore and exercise.

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It's important to remember that every dog will be different. Some puppies are calm, laid back and easy going from the get-go and tend to just be lower-energy dogs. Other dogs may seem to never grow out of the puppy stage and may need frequent attention and physical exercise well into their senior years. A breed known for being less physically active, like a bulldog, may calm down sooner than say, a labrador, which the Southern California Labrador Retriever Rescue states usually slow down later than most dogs, generally between two and four years old.

How to train a hyper puppy

While a consistently lowered energy levels will take time, there are some things you can do to keep your energetic puppy more manageable in the meantime. The American Kennel Club recommends starting off by providing your puppy with daily exercise, ideally on a structured schedule. A lot of dogs will do well with basic exercise plans, like long walks, runs, or time burning off steam with other dogs at a local dog park. Some dogs, depending on their breed, may benefit from more intensive exercise sessions that focus on their specific needs (for example, a Border Collie may do well with an agility course, or a working dog like a Bloodhound might enjoy from scent-training.)

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With any dog, basic commands like sit, stay, and off (or down) will help teach your puppy boundaries, which can come in handy if she's feeling especially rambunctious. You can also try teaching your puppy to "work" for certain things like food, which can stimulate them mentally and physically. To make your puppy work for her meals, VCA Hospitals recommends using a food toy, which will require your dog to work for her kibble. You can also offer a meal's worth of food as several, small rewards after your dog has responded to a command like sit or stay.