Puppies are precious furballs that are full of joy and energy! They are almost always up to something mischievous and when they’re not up to something they’re either sleeping or being your shadow.
We know that training and raising a puppy into a mature dog can be a challenging task, and we are here to help make this journey easier for you and your pooch!
Let’s take a look at what normal puppy energy levels look like, when to expect your puppy to calm down and mature, and some easy ways to promote calmness in your pup.
Understanding Your Puppy’s Energy
Every dog is different and they all have a unique genetic makeup and distinctive character traits. Therefore, some dogs will have higher levels of energy compared to others. Energy levels are not just dependent on a dog’s age. Certain other factors should also be considered.
Some breeds, such as border collies, for example, are known to have higher energy levels. If your dog is from a breed that is known to be working dogs or sporting dogs, you should automatically expect that your dog will always have a higher energy level compared to other dogs.
Also, the smaller the breed, the faster they reach maturity. Adolescence in small breeds starts as early as 5 months, while larger breeds can start as late as 9 to 10 months. Depending on the size of your puppy’s breed, adolescence will last between a few months to a year.
Another factor to consider is their sex. Females generally mature a bit more quickly compared to males, although both usually mature somewhere between 6 and 9 months. By maturity, we not only mean their energy levels but also their reproductive capability.
A puppy’s energy level is also dependent on their surrounding social structure, the environment they are in, biological conditions, and other factors that affect their psychological state.
For instance, exercise plays a huge role in dogs’ maturity. Without a healthy release of their energy, they will readily chew on your furniture and magazines without getting exhausted easily.
Spaying and neutering at the right age will also play a huge role in their calming process, especially the males.
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Puppy Energy Level Timeline
What’s normal for a puppy, you ask? That’s a great question! Below is a general timeline of a normal puppy’s energy levels based on the various stages and ages of puppyhood.
Newborns to 10 Weeks
As newborns, puppies are fairly helpless and very much reliant on their mothers. This stage is where you will notice the quick transition from their zero energy level to a very high one!
Puppies’ eyes and ears are closed when they’re born but they are sensitive to touch and smell. Their eyes open at around 10-14 days old but puppies do not respond to light and moving stimuli until the transitional period (two to three weeks of age).
At two weeks is when you will notice their first growls and wags, as well as their response to light and movements. Soon they will develop social skills, and it is important in this stage for them to encounter as many of the people, objects, and situations they might encounter in later life, including being left alone for short periods, visiting the vet and traveling in the car.
Your precious pooch is considered an actual fur baby at this stage of his or her life. Puppies seem like the energizer bunny at this stage of puppyhood and they will need to be entertained and stimulated most of the time. At least when they are not asleep, that is.
Puppies love to run around the house and the backyard, play with toys, chew on bones, learn to interact with people and other dogs, play-bite, and explore boundaries and their new surroundings. Their boundless curiosity is evident and it can be exhausting from your view.
The result of a bored puppy will be misbehavior, so it is best to implement both creative and basic methods of entertainment and stimulation for a pup daily.
However, this is also the stage where they start to experience fear, a critical aspect of their energy levels. Everyday objects can alarm them but it is perfectly normal and it does not mean they will grow up having anxiety all the time.
This is a great time to start some basic puppy training for them since your puppy tends to be more responsive to socialization at this stage. You should handle all aspects of puppy training, including introducing their first collar and lead, encouraging them to come to you using their name, and rewarding them with praise and treats.
Ages 10 to 16 Weeks
During this phase of your pup’s life, it is quite common for your pooch to still have a bunch of energy and playfulness. Puppies at this age go from being the perfect little angel to a pup who tests the boundaries by biting and sometimes disobeying you.
During this stage, it is imperative that you consistently work on training your pooch to obey commands. You will also have to start cracking down on any misbehavior such as going into trash cans and tearing up things inside the house.
Patience will be required from you since puppies of this age usually have a short attention span and can be excitable. They also start to forget rules and commands. This is why training should be short and fun.
Usually, a puppy that is being trained and physically stimulated enough will only misbehave minimally. Also, during this phase teething is taking place and we highly recommend that you have some good chew toys and bones with delicious flavors to help with this process.
This is also when their teeth get too itchy that they start chewing on everything they see. Puppies will lose their first set of teeth around this age as well.
Ages 4 to 6 Months
During this stage of puppyhood, your puppy will enjoy interacting a lot more with other dogs. Some puppies are shy when they are younger, but as they begin to develop a solid routine at home and more overall confidence, they become more outgoing.
Your pooch might become interested in playing and fighting with other dogs and wrestling with you and others for fun over playing with their favorite squeak or chew toys.
This is a great stage to pay attention to your pup’s overall behavior. If you notice any shortness of temper, anxiety, or fearfulness now is the best time to address any of those concerns with the help of a certified trainer. Usually, whenever anything slightly concerning is promptly addressed, it rarely becomes a problem later on.
You might also want to tone down on their exercise during this phase as they may overdo it. This is also the stage where puppies begin to use ranking in their group structure, so they start socializing even more because they want to fit in. It’s like having a kid in high school!
Puppies may experience another fear phase that lasts about a month and seems to come from nowhere. Again, this is a perfectly normal part of puppy development and is nothing to be alarmed about.
Ages 6 to 12 Months
Your pooch is now a lot bigger in size than when you first got them and they have a good sense of the family routine. However, your precious pooch is still a puppy! They will still have a decent amount of energy at this stage of their lives.
They need 1 or 2 walks every day. It is also still crucial that you continue to train your pup, discipline them when needed, and teach them more commands and tricks to keep them happy and in check. They need to have fun but also realize that you are their loving parent who is in control of their wellbeing.
Socialization and training should be recognized as a routine in this stage. They are necessary throughout your dog’s life if you want them to be comfortable and act acceptably in public places.
Ages 1 to 2 Years
By now you have conquered most of the challenges of puppyhood. Your precious pooch is almost a young adult and he or she will start to look more mature and will become calmer.
Your pup should be obeying your commands most of the time by now and as long as you walk your pup each day and play with them all should be well. Ongoing training will ensure a great relationship between the two of you and all the other family members in their lives.
At What Age Do Puppies Calm Down?
It is difficult to say when “your” puppy will calm down, but looking at the timeline, most puppies will start to settle around the 6-12 month mark.
Still, excitement, playfulness, and high spirits may appear throughout their lives. Just like us, dogs will always be kids at heart. However, puppy exuberance will diminish as they approach their senior years, which is anywhere from seven years on.
If you are not sure when your puppy has reached maturity or not, look for growth spurts. If they’re still having them, then it means they are not yet fully grown or ready to calm down like an adult.
Some signs of a growth spurt include:
- increased hunger
- increased sleeping
Meanwhile, signs of doggie adolescence include:
- refusal to obey commands
- leg cocking (males)
- obsessive mounting behavior
With a well-established routine, a good foundation of training, and plenty of physical and mental and physical stimulation, your puppy will be calm and well-behaved by this time.
Ways to Promote Calmness in Dogs
Although their high energy level is perfectly normal, there are still things you can do to reduce the behavior. Here are a few ways to calm your hyperactive puppy.
Exercise and Socialize Your Dog
Your pup should begin to calm down even more once he or she is between the ages of 2 to 3 years old. However, all dogs need to be walked and worked out in as many ways as possible each day to keep them healthy and happy.
Besides walks and jogs, we highly recommend that you consider setting up playdates for your pup, going to a dog park, or sending them to a doggy day camp a few days out of the week. Hours of safe play and socialization will surely tire your pup out.
You can even start them young in terms of dog sports. You don’t have to train them to be competitive but these new activities can simply be a healthier way for them to exert their energy and keep their mind active. Some sports you can teach dogs include:
Proper Feeding Time
Another way to promote calmness is to not feed your doggy three to four hours before bedtime. We say this because anytime he or she eats they will be awake longer simply because their food is an energy source.
Also, feeding your pup close to bedtime will not only cause him or her to be full of energy, but your pooch will also be awake because their body is trying to digest the food.
Teach your puppy to be settled in their room since it is their only private space. It is a place for their naptimes, breaks, and other activities.
Dog crates are the perfect place for puppies to feel independent, safe, and calm. After all, dogs shouldn’t get too used to having people around or they may develop anxious behavior when they’re alone.
Your pooch needs regular naps and good sleep to stay healthy. Letting the family constantly rev the puppy up to entertain them will not result in the calm dog you want.
Make Changes in the Environment
Other ways to help your dog become calmer are to play low-volume soothing music in your house, remove things that trigger unwanted behavior, and put toys in their crate.
Also, you need to be calm yourself. Puppies and even older dogs pick up on the vibes of their environment. If you are not calm and if the schedule is very unpredictable, this could cause your pooch to become hyperactive due to anxiety.
Start Reinforcement Training
The key to training a puppy to stay calm is to reward them for their good deeds but not punish them for their mistakes. Use treats to reinforce good behaviors, and teach them basic tricks like sit, stay, and come.
These skills require practice so repetition is essential. This is how puppies learn and they start doing so by the moment you take them home.
Be consistent in training them and make sure your pup sees you as the pack leader. Channeling his energy into skills you want will turn “overactive” into interactive!
Check out this video for some great tips on how to settle a dog down.
High energy in puppies is usually normal as they only want to explore the world around them and get to know you and the other family members.
To help a puppy calm down it is imperative to start their training while young.
To have a calmer dog, we strongly encourage that you exercise your puppy as much as possible, start training them as soon as possible, have tons of patience during puppyhood, and create a consistent and regular schedule for your dog.
For more tips on how to keep your puppy calm and other dog behavior problems check out Dan’s free dog training videos now.