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Everything You Need to Know About Adult Dogs

Your dog is confident, knowledgeable, and ready to make their way in the world (that is, of course, on a leash). While dogs of all ages require care and attention, adulthood is a relatively low-maintenance stage in the canine life cycle. It’s also the perfect time to adopt. Adult dogs are likely housetrained and beyond the mouthy, jumpy phases of puppyhood and adolescence. What’s more, they have plenty of active, healthy, loving years ahead of them. Let’s dive into all the milestones of doggy adulthood, as well as review some things to keep in mind during this stage of your canine companion’s development.

What defines the stage of adulthood in dogs

You’re still the leader and caregiver in the eyes of your adult dog, but they may become less of a dependent and more of a companion for you. And while bonding takes place throughout your relationship, many parents of adult dogs report that this is the time when they begin to truly feel close to their fur babies. Often, adult dogs are able to gauge your emotions and moods in the same way you are able to read theirs.

During the adult years, your dog will:

  • Settle into their size and personality. The height and weight of adult dogs should level off, as your pup is fully grown. Their basic temperament is well established by now, too.
  • Mellow out. Your dog’s constant, urgent need to play will probably lessen a little. Your dog isn’t going to curl up with a good book (unless they’re chewing on it) any time soon, but they may not protest if you shorten their fetch session by a toss or two.
  • Continue to mature mentally. Although, the signs of this may be more subtle. At this stage, there won’t be huge jumps in your dog’s development, but it’s still important to provide plenty of learning and training opportunities.

Things to keep in mind about adult dogs

While your dog may not be as obnoxious about asking for it, your dog still thrives on attention from you. Remember:

Exercise (both physical and mental) is a good thing. Even if they graduated at the top of their puppy kindergarten class, obedience courses or one-on-one training sessions keep them mentally sharp and stimulated.

See the vet once a year. A well-balanced diet and plenty of exercise make for a solid foundation, but medical issues can arise at any time during your dog’s life. It’s a good idea for your pup to have an annual physical. (The visit may also include necessary vaccinations or boosters, a dental assessment, a heartworm test, or a fecal exam.)

Now that your pup’s paws are finally in proportion to the rest of their body, surprises are relatively few. Adult dogs require less supervision than puppies, and if you’re looking to adopt, adult dogs make excellent candidates. But remember, even though your dog’s more independent now, they still need plenty of exercise and a good deal of attention from you.

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