By now, your precious bundle of joy has been with your family for three months, and what fun you are having! You’ve weathered through housebreaking and started your very first puppy socialization classes. With most of the fear periods behind you, you’re feeling confident about how your puppy adjusts to new things, and you’re excited to see how comfortable he feels in your home. Yet, puppyhood is far from over, and you can’t help but wonder what awaits in Month Five of your puppy’s life. What can you expect to happen when your puppy hits five months of age?
Things to Look for in Month 5 of Your Puppy’s Life
By the time your puppy reaches age five months; believe it or not, your beloved pooch will have learned 80 percent of all of the things he will learn in his entire lifetime. With this knowledge in hand, it is not difficult to see why it was so important for you to use the first 20 weeks of your puppy’s life to expose him to as many novel and positive experiences as possible. But just because your puppy’s brain is getting full doesn’t mean he still can’t learn new things! In fact, your puppy will have more focus at five months of age than he did previously, so now is a good time to teach your pooch a few new skills.
By five months of age, your puppy will have a very clearly defined personality. Though temperament can be seen as early as six to eight weeks of age, your pup will blossom during this period. It is now that you will start to see those cute little quirks that make your puppy precisely who he is. This information is very important as your puppy is now entering a phase of emotional development that is extremely important to his future growth. You still have the opportunity to shape emotional responses in a positive way when your puppy is five months of age. Now is a good time to help your puppy learn appropriate ways to deal with things like frustration or a tendency to try to guard things whether it be food, people, or toys.
Your puppy should be now feel extremely bonded to you and should actively seek to be in your company as often as possible. This is an extremely positive thing and is likely something that brings you and your puppy much joy. However, during this period of your puppy’s life, your pooch is going to start exploring his own independence. His curious nature will take him places you never thought he might go, and that is why it is more critical than ever that you keep a watchful eye on your pup to protect him from things that might cause him harm.
Your puppy will express his newfound confidence in a number of different ways. You may find that your pooch is more interested in his surroundings than he is in playing with you when you visit a new location or your favorite park. This is a good thing and should be encouraged. You want your puppy to approach new things with curiosity and confidence. It will set your puppy up well if he learns at this age that new things are nothing to be afraid of. In fact, every new thing is an opportunity for fun!
As always, any new experience, person, or animal you introduce your dog to should be framed in a way that ends positively. You should never, EVER expose your puppy to people or dogs that are not friendly. But at age five months, your puppy is still extremely impressionable. With this in mind, a negative experience could have a lifelong impact on your puppy. If you are unsure if a dog or person is friendly or your puppy shows any reticence about being approached, you should listen to your puppy and interrupt the interaction. Your goal is for your puppy to understand that you are worthy of his trust and that you will always protect him from situations that cause him discomfort or distress.
Dogs are very intuitive. If there is a situation, person, or animal your dog wants no part of, there is always a very good reason. By listening to your puppy and providing him with a way of escape when needed, you will reinforce your bond and teach your puppy that his trust in you is not misplaced.
By age five months, your puppy’s housetraining should be well in hand. His bladder control has advanced to the point that if he is taken outside to relieve himself every few hours, you should not have any accidents in your home. It is still a good idea to keep puppy pee pads in your home during Month Five as periodically your pup will get caught short, and it will reinforce his housetraining to have a place that he knows he can go to within your home to pee should the urge strike him.
It is also at this time that your puppy’s baby teeth will fall out and be replaced by his adult teeth. This means your puppy will go through a teething phase where his gums and teeth are quite sensitive, and he seeks to find relief through chewing on things. When it comes to chewing, any item will do whether it is your wife’s favorite handbag, your best leather shoes, or the cord that you use to charge your phone. That is why it is important to provide your puppy with lots of toys and chews that are safe for him to chew on. Vary them every day to help keep your puppy’s interest. It is also a good idea to find some toys that you can stuff with yummy treats and freeze. The coolness of the toy and the treat will help soothe your puppy’s sore little gums.
With teething often comes nipping behavior, so you will still need to work on redirecting your dog’s little chompers towards more appropriate things to sink his teeth into.
At this time, you will also find your puppy’s coat is starting to come in. Though you will still be dealing with puppy coat for many months, five months of age is a good time to begin a regular grooming regime. Ideally, this would have begun in your breeder’s home, largely as a means to desensitize your puppy to the grooming process and the necessary tools involved. If your breeder has begun this work for you; hopefully, you have kept it up at home! If not, now is a good time to start. Your puppy will need to be groomed throughout his life whether you do it yourself or take your pup to a professional groomer. For this reason, it is a good idea to brush your dog several times a week. This will help keep the coat healthy, will remove excess hair, and will prevent any mats or knots in the coat which can be painful for your puppy.
Month Five is a fun time in a puppy’s life!
Your puppy is growing up right before your eyes, and it seems like it is happening far too fast. Thankfully, you will have seven more months with your little pooch to enjoy before he hits age 1! Enjoy your time with your puppy!