Key Life Stages of a Dog 

Dog Puberty

There is one thing that all puppy owners can rely on – and that is that their handsome, cute, offerable puppy will one day grow into a teenage dog, with changes in both behavior and body.

When does dog puberty occur?

Dog puberty is the period between sexual maturity and social maturity and can range from seven months to almost two years depending on the breed (larger breeds take longer to develop). Another view is a time when your hormones are ahead of your brain – similar to what happens with human teenagers!

Behavior changes

At this stage of dog puberty, one of the first things you may notice is your puppy’s behavior is beginning to change. Things you taught them to seem to have accidentally forgotten, and they seem to “forget” the simplest things, whether it’s toilet training, recall, or good walking on a leash. There may be changes in their interactions with you as they get more clingy, or at other times the puppy that held onto every word may seem unaware that you exist at all!

This is a time when your pup begins to see the world through an independent adult’s eyes and rethink their behavioral strategies. You can see how your puppy behaves anxiously or reacts to things that he has apparently taken at his expense in the past.

Other dogs are starting to treat them differently because they no longer have the “puppy privileges” they used to enjoy. They need to reconsider their social skills at a time when their hormones are raging out loud at Pet Medical Center. A teenage male has much higher testosterone levels than adult males! This can lead to competitiveness and even aggression.

Their usual behavior and personality can also appear exaggerated during the dog’s puberty. For example, puppies that may have been a little reluctant can now become very shy, while the brave ones can become overly confident.

Physical signs of puberty in the dog

You can choose not to get your Dog neutered or have decided to castrate after entering the youth. In this case, it is important to understand the physical changes that occur in both male and female dogs.

Symptoms of puberty in bitches

A bitch’s first heat usually begins between six and 15 months of age. Once ripe, it occurs about every seven months. A useful indicator of when your dog’s first heat is going to be is to ask the breeder how old your bitch’s mother was when she first came into season.

The entire season usually lasts 3-4 weeks from start to finish. The first physical signs you tend to see a degree of swelling or redness of the vulva, a small amount of clear discharge, and increased licking of the area. You may find that your bitch needs to urinate more or that she urinates more often when she is not around. Other dogs may also be more interested in her, although at this point she doesn’t allow mating and is even quite aggressive when approached in this way by a male dog. This period can last 4 to 14 days (and an average of 9 days) and is known as “proestrus”.

Do dogs have periods?

In a way, dogs have periods. After the proestrus stage, the female enters the oestrus stage – which lasts approximately 9 days. During this time, you may notice increased swelling of the vulva, enlargement of the mammary glands, and bloody discharge, which can vary from a few spots to a constant trace.

During the heat phase it is very fertile and ready (sometimes very hot!) To breed. Men will also show even more interest in her than before. It pays to be careful both at this stage and for a few days after all the signs of the season have passed, as your wife can still get pregnant if mating – even if it’s just your dog’s first heat.

During this time it is important to go earlier / later when the park is emptier and keep her on a leash at all times as she is attracted to other male dogs. No changes in feeding are required. Due to the hormonal changes, you may notice a slight change in your dog’s appetite. However, this is nothing to worry about. Be aware that the vulva and blood may leak a bit, so you may not want to lead them into specific areas (e.g. carpeted floors!). Otherwise, she may not be suitable for activities like working with you, if you have one Pet at work Politics.

As the physical signs of oestrus wear off, you may find that your dog is becoming clingy or restless due to hormonal changes.

Puppy on a walk

False pregnancies in dogs

False pregnancy in dogs is common and is also known as “pseudopregnance” or “phantom pregnancy”. This is a condition where your body feels like it is pregnant when it is not. When this occurs, it usually happens around 10-12 weeks after their season ends. She can show the following symptoms:

  • Whine and will obviously appear desperate
  • Nest – it will likely try to nest anywhere, anywhere
  • She can own objects or toys and carry them around like babies
  • Increased attachment
  • Decreased appetite
  • Milk production
  • Breast augmentation
  • Milky vaginal discharge
  • anorexia


Fortunately, a dog misses pregnancy passes (usually between 1 and 2 weeks) and usually, no treatment is required. However, if she shows severe aggression or very obsessive nesting behavior, your veterinarian may recommend medical treatment. You can help by removing the objects she wants to “groom” or nest with, thereby breaking the association she has with maternal behavior and making sure you keep her busy and engaged in exercises and activities. It’s worth noting that once dogs begin a false pregnancy, they will have it in any heat.

Symptoms of puberty in the male dog

Males do not have a season like bitches, and once sexually mature they can breed all the time, although they are most fertile between 12 and 18 months.

Usually, a male puppy’s testicles descend into the scrotum very soon after birth, but sometimes they can last over a month and very rarely up to 1 year (although they are usually down 3 months if you are taking your pup for his second Vaccine). Once the testicles fall off and their testosterone levels begin to rise, the puppy will begin lifting its leg to urinate. The elevated hormones can sometimes lead to behavior changes, including aggression, but these vary widely and differ between individual dogs.


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