Dog Puberty: What You Need to Know

Leaving a dog alone: ​​separation anxiety training

Constantly pushing the boundaries and testing your authority: welcome to your dog’s puberty! But head-on: with these tips you can better understand and guide your adolescent dog during this difficult and tiring time.

The onset of puberty in the dog depends on the breed and the animal itself.

The tiring time starts about after they puppy, as soon as all the baby teeth fall out and the 42 permanent teeth have come through.

Also Read: Dog sharing: one dog, two owners

In general, smaller dog breeds start puberty a little earlier (about 6 months) than larger dog breeds (about 12 months).

Interesting to know: puberty in a dog is part of the so-called adolescence. Puberty ends with reaching sexual maturity. Adolescence runs from the onset of adulthood until they are ready for breeding.

Dogs in puberty: you should pay attention to this

How does puberty manifest in dogs?

Not only teenagers are disobedient and tiring as teenagers, but your four-legged friend will also sooner or later become a real teenager. Typical characteristics are that your dog suddenly behaves differently, forgets learned commands, and pushes the limits.

When your dog enters puberty, his behavior can suddenly change.

  • Your dog is more likely to mark off something while walking.
  • Your darling is faster and easier to motivate
  • Although your dog has already learned to be alone, he now whines when you leave the room or scratches the doors.
  • Your four-legged friend becomes more self-assured and examines his environment without paying any attention to you.
  • He interacts differently with other dogs while playing. For example, more dominant or more anxious.
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What should you pay attention to during the puberty of the dog?

If you don’t want your adolescent dog to take you for a walk, then it is necessary to set clear rules throughout puberty. In order for this to work, everyone in the house, including the partner and children, must adhere to this.

Below we give you 5 important rules that you absolutely must follow during puberty.

  • Show your dog that he is safe with you. In case of danger (for example aggressive dogs on a leash) actively stand in front of your dog and keep the peace.
  • As a pack leader, always lead the way.
  • Make sure previously learned commands hold up. You can do that with treats.
  • Make sure your dog has enough contact with other people of his own kind.
  • Consciously plan moments of rest so that your dog can get used to daily life.

If you’re struggling to handle a more difficult dog, a regular visit to a dog training center or professional dog trainer can help.

What happens in the dog’s body during puberty?

After the puppy phase, the body starts to change hormones. The goal of this hormone change is to become sexually mature.

Dogs in puberty: you should pay attention to this

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)

The GnRH is produced in the brain and ensures that the sexual organs are activated, which until then had no function. They start to produce their own sex hormones, which in turn influence the men.

The sex hormones of males (testosterone) and females (estrogen and progesterone) cause the part of the brain responsible for emotions to grow and that the dogs react more strongly to external stimuli.

In contrast, the functionality of the cerebral cortex, which normally controls conscious and spontaneous action, decreases. Pubescent dogs, therefore, have less control over impulses than dogs that are already adults.


Cortisol is produced in the adrenal cortex. The concentration of this stress hormone cortisol also rises in the dog’s blood during puberty. That is why your dog suddenly reacts stressed to loud noises, such as a car horn, which he had no problem with as a puppy.


The amount of the happiness hormone dopamine is not increased. However, the amount of responsible receptors in the brain is increasing. That hormone is normally responsible as an important neurotransmitter to positively link events. Since it has more influence on your dog’s brain during puberty, you can stimulate the reward system with, for example, treats or compliments.

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