Once your puppy reaches seven months (or 28 weeks), he or she will be well into what some call “teenage doghood.” We touched on the rebellious behavior you should expect in our puppy care guide for 5 to 6 months. As we have said previously, positive reinforcement and patience with your puppy are key to his or her emotional development. Your puppy will need to learn which behaviors are acceptable and unacceptable.
The best way to deal with bad behavior in your puppy is to use redirection. Whenever your dog is doing something that you don’t want them getting into, use a toy or an activity to distract them. This method will also teach your dog positive habits, as well as curb negative ones. Also, your dog may learn to understand “no!” in certain situations. When you need to do so, be firm and assertive, but don’t yell.
By the end of 8 months, your puppy should be nearing his or her full adult size and weight. It’s important to keep track of your puppy’s weight. At this stage it can become easy to overfeed him or her with treats or leftovers from your own meals. Make sure that your dog gets plenty of exercise to balance out any extra food her or she may be getting.
Even breeds that may not need as much exercise still need some. Keep in mind that dogs can get bored just as people do. Making sure that they get regular activity is not only good for your dog’s physical well-being, but also will help keep him or her out of trouble.
The most important thing to remember as your dog is reaching maturity is that just like human teenagers, they will need parenting and guidance, too. Remind your dog that he or she is part of the family, as in the wild, dogs are part of a pack mentality. By knowing his or her place in the pack, your dog will learn what behaviors are acceptable, especially when dealing with other dogs.
Remember that many behaviors that people consider unacceptable, such as biting and excessive barking, are natural to dogs. By properly and positively socializing your dog, you will have a happy, healthy family pet for many years to come.