Waiting for your dog to calm down as it gets older?

Posted by Mike Trevena 02/14/2019

I meet many owners of difficult dogs who are being being told by their friends, members of the public, breeders and even professional dog trainers that their dog is just going through its teenage stage and that it will calm down when it reaches four or five years of age.

Unfortunately these statements are far from the truth and they cause many dog owners to have a sense of better times ahead when in actual fact, these ‘words of wisdom’ from unqualified people or trainers who don’t have the answer to deal with the high energy levels cause issues both for the owner and the dog both in the present and the future.

Before we get into the reasons that such statements cause both dogs and their owners problems let me explain why people believe that they are telling the truth.

It does appear that as dogs age that they become calmer but in fact, your dogs energy level is set at a certain age and will not get less, what will happen though, is that your dog will learn when to be excited and when not to be. Unfortunately, the owners idea of the appropriate time and the dogs are often very different.

All dogs, by around 10 months of age are showing their true personality and energy levels which they will continue to display up until the point that their body (usually due to arthritis) slows them down.

Dogs work on routine and as they get older, they realise that there is no point being excited at certain times during a day. For example;

If I wake up every day and upon getting downstairs I let my dog out to the toilet, make a cup of tea, let the dog back in, cook myself scrambled eggs on toast, eat it, read the newspaper for 30 minutes and then take my dog for a walk it stands to reason that at some point, my dog will begin to understand this routine and not get excited for its walk until I put the newspaper down and stand up from my chair.

As a puppy, this same dog would have just generally been excited for most of my morning routine because it hadn’t yet learnt what was going to happen when.

Depending upon how routine your life is, most dogs will have begun to work out certain patterns in your life by around three years of age and will have appeared to calm down. Interestingly though, when you enter certain parts of your routine, your dog will display exactly the same level of excitement, if not more, than it did as a puppy. In fact, depending on the dog and your routine, it is almost certain that some levels of excitement will increase as your dog gets older and understands your routine.

Using routine to help keep your dog calm is a useful tactic but it is not a simple as it sounds. An easier approach is to simply teach your dog to be calm in your home and non reactive to all situations. It really isn’t as hard as it sounds. 

Don’t leave it to chance and wait for your dog to cam down with age. Instead, learn how you can make simple changes to your approach, regardless of how crazy your day gets and it won’t be long until your dogs excited and relentless busy behaviour will be replaced with calm, relaxed and obedient behaviour.

To counteract the fact that the majority of puppies, for various reasons grow into a dog which the average owner, living the average life will find difficult to manage, at WKD we only select dogs with a natural level of excitability which is low in usual settings but also rises when you want the dog to be energetic.

As we have said above, most dogs that are bouncy, excitable and difficult to manage at any stage in their life will likely continue to be the same until their body slows them down unless you take a proactive approach. If you want to invest a small amount of time, with little skill required and help your dog to be a calm, reliable and well mannered member of your family then get in touch to find out more about our training services. 

If you are looking to add a dog to your life but don’t want to experience the issues that most owners do then have a look at our current

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Waiting for your dog to calm down as it gets older?

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