At 6 months of age, your dog is about 75% of its adult size. This is a relief period for many puppy parents because by this age your fur baby can hold urine for about 7 hours and has possibly begun sleeping through the night.
This stage of life also signifies the beginning of adolescence for your puppy. What this means for you is that it’s a great time to provide plenty of exercise, metal stimulation, and chew toys! With all of their senses refined, this is the time when their intelligence and mischievousness can begin to show. You’ll want to be sure your house remains puppy proofed to keep your curious puppy out of trouble and danger during this time.
So, you’re probably wondering what you should be teaching your dog at this age. You are in luck because we’ve compiled some useful information. Let’s take a look at dog training at six months:
Considering your dog is going to really start testing boundaries around this age, it’s a great time to begin obedience classes, if you haven’t already. Laying the groundwork now to teach your dog how to sit, stay, down, etc. will stay with them the rest of their life.
Classes are not only a great bonding experience, but they also work well to help you better understand and control your dog.
This brings us to another point. It’s much easier to train your dog to walk on a leash as a puppy than as an adult. Even if you have a fenced yard and have no “reason” to leash train your dog, you should reconsider this because you never know when your dog will need to know this skill. Think about vet visits and the fact that you may move to a home in the future that doesn't initially have a fence.
Furthermore, dogs need exercise and walks are a great way to burn off excess energy. Since most walking places are near roads and other dangers, you won’t want to risk keeping your dog off-leash.
Metal stimulation is imperative at this age! In fact, finding ways to burn mental energy is just as important for your puppy as burning off physical energy. It’s fun to come up with new skills that you can spend 3 to 5 minutes each day practicing. Try including a new skill each week.
Another great idea is to buy toys that dispense food. Making your puppy “work” for kibble and treats is sure to keep them occupied. There are lots of such toys on the market, and the best part is you can begin easy and keep upping the challenges as your dog figures them out.
It’s not a good idea to wait any longer before introducing your dog to a grooming routine because your dog’s coat, teeth, and nails will all require regular attention. And, the last thing you want is a full-grown dog that you are unable to bathe, brush, etc.
Easing your puppy into such a routine using short sessions that are filled with chew toys and treats will make the process easier. Here is what to add to your grooming routine at a minimum:
Regardless if you’ll trim nails yourself, or turn to a professional, this should definitely be started at 6 months or before. Even before the nails are ready to be trimmed it’s wise to get your dog used to his paws being touched by gently touching them and then providing a reward. Work toward gradually increasing the time in which you hold the paw before rewarding.
You can brush your dog regardless how short or long his fur is. Obviously this is vital for long haired dogs to avoid tangles and mats, but it’s also useful for short haired pooches as well, as it can cut down on the amount of dog hair that falls out around your home.
The last thing you will want to keep up on is brushing your dogs teeth. Again, this is something you’ll want to introduce slowly and as young as possible.
In the end, your dog is at a wonderful age to learn lots of new tricks and routines. This is the time to take advantage of their curiosity and put it to good use!