It’s helpful to look at these next few months as your puppy’s juvenile phase. Like a kid in elementary school, sometimes your puppy will be a perfect angel and other times completely disobedient. Be patient with them, they’re figuring out their place in the world, and we all remember what that’s like. Just keep calm and make sure you keep them in their daily consistent routine so they know what is expected of them. With your guidance, they’ll follow the rules sooner or later.
Development & Health: Growth Spurt & Sexual Maturity
Around this time your puppy will make a big leap in growing and get closer to their full size. That means you can expect an increase in their playfulness and energy levels. Depending on their breed, they may shed their puppy coat for their adult one, and grooming might help the transition. Be on the lookout for new chewing habits. It's a sign they're teething and you'll want to try a few things to ease their discomfort.
Get ready for the birds and the bees. Between 4–6 months of age your pup will reach sexual maturity. Girls will go into their first heat and boys will take a keen interest in sex. If you are going to spay or neuter your puppy, this is the time to speak to your veterinarian.
Behavior: Challenging and Ranking
You know that age kids cross their arms, stomp their feet and say “No!”? This is that age for your pup. Be prepared for them to cross boundaries and ignore directions. Their urge to disobey and attempt to command isn't to make you mad. They're testing their limits to better understand their place in the pack – your pack. So, don't take it personally. Instead, when they say, “I don't have to listen to you,” calmly remind them “Oh yes you do.” Begin basic puppy training the moment he enters your home and make sure you always reward good behavior.
Nutrition: Keep Feeding Puppy Food!
Puppies have unique nutritional needs and during certain times of growth will require higher levels of many nutrients than adult dogs do, so be sure to feed a food that’s made especially for puppies. Keep feeding your puppy a specially formulated puppy food during this important phase to help your puppy’s bones, organs, muscles and joints to grow.
Purina® Puppy Chow® has a unique healthy-start blend that provides the essential puppy nutrients in the proper quantities.
Inside each bag of Puppy Chow® is a unique healthy-start blend with high-quality protein, DHA and other essential nutrients also found in mother’s milk. For a natural puppy food option, try Purina® Puppy Chow® Natural Plus Vitamins & Minerals, made without any artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. To learn more about why puppies need special nutrition, check out this article.