Like infants, puppies are innocent social beings. Initially, they stay in their den until their mother comes to feed them. However, as puppies develop into more energetic full-grown dogs, their curiosity increases to explore things beyond their shelter. They can move into your bedroom, chew your shoes, unroll the toilet paper roll, etc.
Sometimes their mischievous behavior may leave you asking, “when do puppies calm down?” To best answer this question, we need to look at all the factors that trigger the pup’s high energy levels and how long they can take to settle down.
Keep reading to learn the reasons behind the high energy level in puppies and the duration they can take to calm down.
What Causes High Activity Levels In Puppies?
There is no single reason to explain why puppies experience high energy levels during their development. This is because all dog breeds and individual dogs are different in their genetic makeup, meaning that everything about their morphological changes, character, and other elements is different.
Let’s look into some of these factors and see how they affect the dog’s energy levels.
Puppies come in different varieties, and so are their energy levels and the time they can take to calm down. For instance, if you have a smaller breed like a Bull Dog or a Teacup Bichon Fries, they may calm down between 6 and 12 months due to their low energy levels.
If your puppy is active like a Border Collie or Australian Shepherd, they may take up to two years to calm down. However, the puppy will only calm down if you can meet their workout demands to counter their high energy levels.
These workout demands may include activities like:
- Sufficient exercise
- Proper training
- Assignment of tasks
- A “job”
For pups falling under Wolfdog breeds such as the American Blue Ray Shepherd, you may have to wait three years or more before the dog calms down. The case is also valid for a German Shepherd or other breed falling under the extreme working breeds category.
The way puppies interact has a significant effect on their energy levels. For instance, exercising your puppies triggers a healthy release of energy from their bodies, necessitating their need for rest. If you fail to work out your puppies, their energy levels will remain untapped, and they won’t stop finding other outlets such as inappropriate chewing or digging.
Another factor that may make your puppy regulate their energetic outbursts is their relationship with senior dogs in your home. Like humans, older dogs have a way of keeping the younger ones behaved. Yes, older dogs punish young ones when they misbehave.
The chances are that the young ones would try to keep their negative aspects, including the ones triggered by excess energy, at bay. This training is free, and you can enjoy it by just allowing your puppy to freely socialize with their seniors.
Female puppies attain their reproductive maturity before male pups, which can possibly initiate a calming effect in them. However, there has not been sufficient scientific proof to support this argument.
Some people also believe that spaying or neutering the puppies can make them calmer right from their adolescent stages. This idea is partially true, as taking away the pup’s desire to mate does reduce certain behaviors. However, the widespread belief is false since you cannot eliminate a puppy’s overall character by interfering with their reproductive system.
What Is the Standard Timeline for a Typical Puppy’s Energy Level?
Do not worry if you own a rambunctious puppy and are not satisfied with the information in the section above. There’s plenty more information to learn about your puppy’s life stages and how they can calm down. Below is a guide on a typical puppy’s energy levels at different developmental stages to give you insights on when an average dog can calm down.
Newborn to 10 Weeks
Newborn puppies are generally immobile. They stay clung together in their den for warmth, and their only activity is suckling to build up their body strength. Their ears and eyes remain non-functional until 10 to 13 days when their eyes open.
At three weeks, the puppies begin to sit and stand. They can also move and explore areas around their whelping box. It is also during this stage that their teeth start coming in.
By the time the puppies become one month old, they have all senses developed, meaning they can hear, smell, taste, and see.
After five weeks, the puppies start using their stored energy to explore their surroundings. They also transition from suckling and liquid foods to solid foods. By the time the pups hit six months, they are old enough to start human socialization.
From week six to week ten, puppies undergo more development and become more energetic. They can run around, play with toys, chew bones, and explore boundaries, among other activities. During this period, the puppy may also develop negative aspects like fear. That’s why it’s essential to start basic dog training at this stage.
From 10 to 16 Weeks
Puppies at this stage can be frustrating. They are more energetic and curious than in any other step mentioned above. They may tear your clothes, furniture and even disobey you. They have a short attention span and tend to forget the rules and commands a lot.
You should train them regularly and at short intervals to establish desired behaviors as well as teach them how to learn. This will pay off in big dividends down the line.
The puppies will also undergo teething at this stage. That means you should keep all your belongings safely tucked away since teething puppies will often chew anything that comes their way. Teething puppies, like teething children, are often irritable and looking for ways to release their frustrations.
From 4 to 6 Months
This life stage is the socializing stage for most puppies. They enjoy interacting with other dogs in play, tussles, and social groups. Others may wrestle with you, chase other animals at home, or chew toys when they lack a playful companion.
This stage is an ideal one for recognizing your dog’s tendencies, strengths, and fears, and attempting to address them before they are too deeply instilled. You should use this period to monitor and work on your dog’s weaknesses like shortness of temper, fear, anxiety, etc. if you are not experienced in performing this type of training, hire a professional to help you out.
From 6 to 12 Months
Puppies at this stage are more grown in size and mental capabilities. You can train them more commands and expect a higher rate of compliance. Also, you should exercise them one or two times a day to manage their energy levels. As they get bigger, their exercise demands become greater — both in terms of duration of exercise periods and level of intensity.
From 1 to 2 years
Puppies at this stage qualify to be called adolescents or young adults. They have gone through training and explored a lot in life. They are less curious, mature, and calmer compared to the ones in the stages above.
However, this does not mean you stop training your dog. Instead, you should continue providing your dog with new training challenges to take your relationship to the next level.
When Do Puppies Calm Down? At What Age?
As discussed earlier, most puppies will start to calm down as they approach their maturity age, which depends on the puppy’s breed. By considering the timeline above, most puppies will begin to settle down between six to 12 months.
Besides age, their calm character may be related to some other factors like social structure and exercise.
That said, it is essential to understand your dog’s breed, energy levels, and other character traits that are integral to lowering their energy level.
If you are too busy to monitor your puppy’s developmental stages, you may not be sure whether they have reached their maturity or not. In that case, you can only tell if your dog is about to calm down by watching their growth spurts.
The presence of growth spurts may imply that the puppy is still growing and may take longer to calm down.
Examples of growth spurts that you may observe in your dog include:
- Increased appetite
- Development of a clumsier character like increased aggression and disobedience
- Voracious playing accompanied by increased sleep
- Development of disproportional body parts
If your puppy is experiencing increased energy as part of growth spurts, you can try calming them down by using the following tips.
How Can You Calm An Energetic Puppy?
There are many ways to start training your puppy to help them calm down. Here are a few.
Start Crate Training
Introducing your puppy to a plastic or wire dog crate is one of the best training methods you can employ for your puppy, both for the present as well as the entirety of your dog’s life.
It helps tremendously with house training, establishes a safe and secure zone that your dog will quickly come to appreciate, and it helps you manage your dog in a number of typical situations, including visitors or workmen in the house, traveling by plane or by car, and injury rehabilitation.
Crate training will also help the dog learn to manage negative aspects such as fear and anxiety that may result from loneliness. For best crate training results, ensure that you keep your pup away from too much noise or human disturbance, and do not use the crate as a punishment. Your pup must be confident that their crate is a happy, safe place.
Dogs who are properly crate trained learn quickly how to differentiate between “go time” and “calm time”. In their crate, they know that they are to relax and chill out, and that they will get their exercise at the appropriate time (when you regularly provide it, of course).
Extend Their Social Structure
If your puppy’s activity is causing you trouble, you can calm them down by interacting with them or letting them interact with other dogs. As repeatedly mentioned, you should fully understand your breed’s energy levels to counter them.
For instance, if you own an energetic dog like a Border Collie, you are going to have to establish a an exercise routine that adequately meets their needs. A couple walks around the block each day will not satisfy their exercise requirements.
Allowing puppies to play with other puppies not only helps burn energy, but it teaches them important socialization skills which benefit them throughout life. They learn bite inhibition (how hard is it okay to nip at another dog while playing) and other important limits by playing with other puppies.
Another way to extend your pup’s social structure is by letting them interact with older dogs. If you don’t have other dogs in your place, you can organize playdates or send them to a doggy day care. Older dogs will often teach puppies “rules” about civil behavior during the course of play and interaction.
Control Their Feeding Habits
When do you feed your dog? Perhaps the reason behind your pup’s increased energy levels is because you feed them too late at night.
When full, dogs often experience high energy levels as their food is undergoing digestion. The high energy levels from this will urge the puppies to stay active. That’s why you should always feed your dogs at least 3 to 4 hours before bedtime.
Offer Supportive Training
Puppies have short attention spans. You need patience and consistency to instill training behaviors in their brains.
Maintain training best practices like rewarding the puppies for their good deeds, not punishing them when they are wrong, and teaching them life basics like sitting, staying, coming when called, and more. Doing this established a sound training foundation and will make further training as adult dogs much easier.
Learning burns a lot of energy in a dog. You will likely notice that your dog calms down much more after a short but focused training session than from a jog around the park. Most dogs love to learn — it’s a game to them — and you can take advantage of this desire to both tire your dog out as well as teach them desired behaviors.
It’s beneficial to establish a regular training routine where you perform short training exercises with your puppy. If your puppy learns that each session is a exclusively for training (not playtime with a few “sits” thrown in), they will better understand how to transition between different activities within a day.
So much of a puppy’s excessive energy can be a result of their lack of ability or understanding of how to transition from an energetic activity (playtime) to a calm activity (resting on the floor while you read a book). When activities and context are well-defined, your puppy will soon learn how to “flick the switch” and respond appropriately.
Remember, maintaining a healthy relationship with your dog will allow you to study their behavior and tendencies so you can help them understand when their energy level is appropriate or not.
Of course, puppies need activities to tire them and calm them down, but they also need to learn when and how to be calm. Your puppy can certainly learn the behavior of calming down if you help them.
As you can see, puppies calm down at different ages. Their calmness will depend on factors like breed, social structure, sex, etc. However, there are various ways to reduce their energy levels if the dog’s character is driving you a bit nuts. These ways may include exercise, offering positive reinforcement training, adjusting their feeding habits, and offering crate training.
Additionally, your puppy needs to learn when it’s okay to be energetic and crazy, and when it’s time to be calm and restrained. It definitely should be part of their mental development as well as their natural physical development.