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  • Writer's pictureHeather Brendle

Everyone Changes

Relationships evolve and change. We grow, we age, we gain new knowledge and experiences, we learn. The same things happen with our dogs. If your dog lives with other animals or has some animal friends, we need to keep in mind that their dynamic can shift as time goes on. If you have a young dog, they mature and learn so many things in their first few years of life. They hit sexual and social maturity and that can bring its own set of changes.

If you live in a multi-animal household, as your young dog matures, your other animals are also aging. I hate it, but there is no escaping it. I have two dogs who are the same age, but I am still seeing a shift as Tater's energy level has gone down at a faster rate than Thiago. This means, I need to shift things slightly. I need to make sure Thiago is fulfilled and rely less on them playing as a way for Thiago to exert some of his physical energy. Tater can only go in short bursts at this point. It is important to their dynamic, that I make sure Thiago is not pestering Tater, or we could see a problem start to develop in their super solid relationship. That is the last thing I want. Tater still wants to train, so we do that, and Thiago gets to work longer. And then, Thiago gets additional physical exercise to meet his needs.

Dynamics can shift during sexual and social maturity as well. We adopted Tater when he was 15 months old, and I was careful to monitor his canine relationships while he was maturing. Once he hit 3 years old, I breathed a sigh of relief, as I knew he was fully mature. Does this mean you need to live on eggshells until your puppy is 3? No, but just tuck it in the back of your mind and don't assume your dog at 18 months will be the dog they will be at full maturity. It is absolutely natural for adult dogs to mature into a dog selective dog or a dog that does not want to play with every dog they meet. This is NORMAL, do not be embarrassed or think there is something wrong. Know your dog, learn their stress signals and listen to them.

The point of this post is not to make you stressed for the rest of your dog's life, it is to make you aware that dogs change and evolve as much as people do. I guarantee you are not the same person you were at 21. It is natural and normal and if we keep it in mind as our dogs age, it will be good for them, good for us, and good for all of their relationships. Enjoy the journey!


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