Mental and Physical Development
Excitement and Surprises Maturing puppies still love surprises and excitement. Puppies this age can be especially excited during playtime, when their owners come home, and when they're just having fun.
Puppies are more comfortable and secure in their environment by this age, and their bodies have matured enough to handle more intense exercises and games. If your puppy isn't allowed to burn off their excessive energy, they can become destructive and hard to handle. Give your growing puppy plenty of play and exercise time to reduce pent-up energy, and indulge your puppy with a few games of hide and seek.
Switching Large Breed Puppies to Adult Dog Food Large breed puppies may be ready to make the switch to adult dog food when they are anywhere from 12 to 24 months old. The transition should begin as your puppy reaches their adult height, so the puppy's size and breed must be taken into account.
Large breed puppies are at greater risk of developing metabolic bone disease, hip dysplasia and osteochondrosis, so you should feed your puppy a less energy-dense diet to prevent premature growth, which could accelerate these problems.
To make the transition, follow the same guidelines you would use for a small or medium breed puppy. The transition should be done gradually over the course of a week to 10 days. At feeding time on the first day, simply mix three-quarters puppy food and one-quarter adult food together. Each day, increase the amount of adult food and decrease the amount of puppy food until it is all adult food. Some puppies are sensitive to changes in diet, so be on the lookout for loose stool or digestive upset. If either of these things occurs, slow down the transition to adult food.
Health and Veterinary Care: Booster Vaccines
If a puppy has been given routine vaccines at eight and 12 weeks of age, they likely won't require any boosters at 12 months. After a puppy has received a vaccine, they require a booster once a year from the date of the last shot. For example, if your puppy received their last distemper booster at four months, they will need another booster at one year and four months.
Puppies at 12 months of age with unknown medical histories should immediately be given routine vaccines for diseases such as rabies, distemper and leptospirosis. A booster shot three weeks later may be necessary to ensure complete immunity against the diseases, even for a one-year-old dog.
Training: Choosing a Trainer
Dog training is not a regulated profession, so you will need to do your homework to find the best trainer for your puppy. Trainers that offer group training sessions with puppies and their owners are highly recommended. At these classes, your puppy will learn to interact with other dogs and people, and to follow your commands despite distractions.
Qualified puppy trainers will use positive training methods that rely on rewards. These rewards may include treats, verbal praise and physical affection. The trainer should never yell or use physical force on your puppy. The right trainer for your puppy will offer classes that are suitable for your puppy's age and experience level.
Ask your trainer how many years of experience they have and if they are a member of any canine training organizations, such as the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. You may also request recommendations from previous clients.