Unlocking The Secrets of 1 year Old Dog Behaviors

Dogs are beloved companions and members of the family, providing unconditional love and affection. At 1 year old, your pup is officially considered an adult dog, which means certain aspects of their behavior have fully developed. You may observe an increased level of independence and a need for more activity and exercise as your pup matures into their adult body. This article will explore the changes and secrets you can expect in your dog’s behavior as they transition from puppyhood to adulthood which is 1 year old.


Physical Development: Depending on the breed of your dog, your pup might continue to grow past the age of one. Smaller breeds reach physical maturity from about 9 months to a year, while larger breeds can take up to 2 years to stop growing. Your dog will be considered physically mature when they reach their full height and recommended weight for their breed.  

Reproductive Ability:

Most dogs reach sexual maturity by 6 months of age, when they are able to start physically reproducing. While spays and neuters are usually performed after your dog has reached sexual maturity, it’s always best to talk to your vet about what is recommended for your dog’s individual needs. 

Puppy Behavior:

When your pet reaches the age of 1, they may still have the emotional characteristics of a puppy. Your dog will still have some puppy energy, and may still be fighting the impulse to chew everything. However, they should be settling into the routine of your home and learning some socialization skills.  Your pet may also benefit from regular socialization in our doggy daycare program.

No More Puppy Teeth:

At this age, your dog should have all of their permanent adult teeth. This is a great age to introduce regular teeth brushing and pet dental care for a lifetime of health. 

Preventive Care: Annual wellness visits are essential to maintaining a happy and healthy life for your dog. Yearly wellness visits allow us to track and monitor the progress of your pet’s development, physical health, diet and nutrition, and overall well-being. Wellness exams also allow us to keep track of oral health, keep them up-to-date on core vaccinations, and prevent or identify any illness or disease. We may also recommend parasite prevention and heartworm testing. 


Vaccinations are an important part of your pet’s ongoing health and wellness. We will help you determine which vaccines are essential to your dog’s health, and will recommend the timing for administering those vaccinations throughout their life. 

Growth and Development:

By their first birthday, dogs are pretty close to their full size. At this point, smaller breeds are most likely finished growing, while larger breeds will get slightly bigger over the next few months. Either way, you should have a good idea of how large (or small) your dog will end up. You may have noticed that your house is covered in dog fur. Well, your pal has shed their puppy coat and their adult coat has taken its place. From here on out, expect regular shedding, unless you have a hypoallergenic breed. To help keep the dog fur to a minimum, schedule a weekly brush session with your pup. Your doggo reached sexual maturity prior to turning one, and in addition to having higher levels of hormones, they can reproduce. If they haven’t been spayed or neutered, plan a visit to the vet. The timing is perfect since your pup is ready for their one year check up! During puppyhood, your furry friend experienced the vet when they received their vaccinations. Unfortunately for your pup, vet visits aren’t going away. The bad news is they still need to have regular visits. The good news is that unless they get injured or sick, they only need to go once a year. Schedule their first “big kid” appointment around their first birthday. Be sure to talk to your veterinarian about heartworm prevention, flea and tick medications. They also need a rabies vaccine. Depending on your pup’s size, they may be ready to transition to adult dog food. Puppy food is calorie rich and full of nutrients for developing pups. So as long as your furry friend is growing, it’s best to give them puppy food. This means that small breeds can make the switch at 12 months, while larger breeds should wait a little longer. Mix the adult food into their current kibble, gradually increasing the amount day by day. Behavior and Training While they are young and impressionable, pups need a healthy dose of socialization. Ideally, this begins when they are four months old. However, continuing to socialize them throughout their younger years encourages your pup to play well with others. Plenty of visits to dog parks, human parks, dog friendly stores, and even walking around town will sharpen their social skills right up. While you’re out, let them stop to meet new dogs and people. The more time your pup spends socializing, the better prepared they will be for changes throughout their lives.


Your puppy begins to shed some of its goofy nature (unless you have a Lab) and adolescent behaviors that are driven by hormonal influences begin to arrive around 6 months of age, yet depending upon the size of your breed, it may be sooner. A small dog such as a Pomeranian, might mature at 5 months but a large dog, like a Great Dane will be later at 11 months.

Teen aged dogs get better control over elimination, the puppyhood habit of biting – lessens, their ability to focus on things improves and they begin to sense their considerable physical strength and agility.

Your dog will be more erratic and unpredictable than in puppyhood acting like a goofy, playful puppy one moment and then in the next, a teenager obsessed with anything and everything – except you, their owner.

You can have a rebellious teenager on your hand, ignoring you altogether, as they become very curious about the rest of the world and more comfortable wandering off. Due to the flooding hormones in their bodies, new challenges may emerge, like, intentionally mouthing you, more exuberant play including being bolder in jumping and body slamming, they may exhibit more chewing, digging, counter surfing, stealing and escaping. You may find yourself yelling more, pulling your hair out, and chasing after the dog, what fun, huh – going to love those teenagers.

Your dog will show more confidence towards you, which is good…… but as they’ve gained the ability to predict how you will react to certain things they do, they may mess with you. You know, have a little fun at your expense, like stealing the remote control to get your attention, and instigate a game of chase. Needless to say, obedience and manners training is mandatory at this stage if you haven’t started already.

Adolescent dogs become more concerned with their social status and territory and this leads to increased independence, assertiveness, territoriality, protectiveness over possessions, and heightened interest towards other dogs and strangers (with its possible, resulting, potential for heightened aggression as well.) Your puppy, who may never have barked before, may start barking for the first time as an adolescent. Until Rosy, my Sheltie/German Shepherd mix, was about one year old, I had never heard her bark and was surprised the first time she did so while standing on my balcony looking down at a service worker who walked close to the building. Once you realize your dog does bark, the question will be how often it does it. Unless you want your dog to bark a lot, when it first appears, this is the right time to redirect the dog quickly into another focus before barking has a chance to develop into a self-reinforcing behavior pattern. We can talk about barking in future podcast episodes. Now this is interesting and might help explain something you’ve noticed in your dog. Some dogs who were confident puppies, can go through an adolescent stage where they become fearful, startling more easily at new stimuli or strangers as they enter their teenage stage.

Has this happened to your dog?I’ve spoken about the first 3 months of your dog’s life being the critical socialization period, however this does not mean you can stop socializing your dog after 14 weeks, especially if your dog exhibits the adolescent fearful period.

You’ll want to continue your dog’s social education for at least the first year of its life. As Patricia McConnell describes it, “Social animals like dogs and humans have a strong sense of familiar and unfamiliar and dogs need to learn that part of what’s normal and familiar in life is to meet unfamiliar people and dogs.” So bottom line, keep socializing your dog into adulthood.

Other adult dogs may treat your adolescent differently then they treat harmless puppies. Improper behavior from an adolescent such as in-your-face greetings, body slamming during play or direct threats toward adult dogs will not be tolerated in the same way as it might be from a young pup.   Your juvenile is likely to get a “correction” in the form of growls, snaps, and pin downs to send the message to mind their manners. The first fight I ever witnessed between Rosy and another dog, was with one she was romping with at a dog park. Rosy chose to body slam this older dog. The adult snarled at her, but Rosy, looking away, missed the warning, and when she again mischievously threw herself against her, the older dog got angry and let her have it. Wow, seeing my “baby” in a dog fight was alarming but, it didn’t last long, neither was hurt, and Rosy did learn her lesson. Now that Rosy is 6 years old, she herself does not tolerate any youngster who wants to box her face and jump on her head. It’s an immediate pin-down.

Sexual maturity:

It’s defined as the time when a dog is capable of breeding. This stage can arrive as early as 6 months for both males and females, an average is usually 12 months – but if you have a larger breed dog it can take as long as 2 years.

Male dogs start marking and lifting their legs for the first time, and females may also start marking. Not only is the female marking her territory, but she is also advertising her availability to any eligible males. Dog to dog aggression is likely to increase during sexual maturity as dogs become more concerned with establishing territory, social status and access to potential mates.


This is the period when adolescence ends – usually sometime between 1-3 years of age depending upon the breed and individual dog.

Adults no longer experience rapid physical growth. Rather than continuing to get taller and longer, many dogs begin to fill out. The most common change you’ll normally see in your dog’s shape will be broadening of the chest and shoulders.

To your great relief, some of the troublesome behaviors that you may have experienced with your teenage dog start to naturally calm down. Phew! They are not as excitable as when they were adolescents and adults can calm themselves more quickly and relax for longer periods. Your mature dog is more confident as they are now experienced in many social interactions and have reached their physical prime.

This social confidence is a positive trait in well socialized and well trained adult dogs. It can be a pleasure for you to take your dog out in public, but be mindful that this same adult confidence in dogs that have aggression issues, can become dangerous if they are not well managed and trained.

For adult dogs, it’s not the end of their social development and learning. They are still influenced by the environment, and social interactions for the rest of their lives, so continue with established routines, good leadership, socialization, training and new opportunities for exercise throughout your adult dog’s life.

 Realistic Strategies for 1 year old Safety and Your Sanity:

Having a 1 year old dog can be both an exciting and overwhelming experience. As your pup grows, you’ll need to make sure he stays safe and happy—while also preserving your own sanity. Luckily, there are some realistic strategies that you can use to achieve these goals.

First of all, it’s important to create boundaries for your pup; however, this must be done in a gentle manner so as not to overwhelm him or her. Establishing rules such as not jumping on people when they come over will help keep them safe and help build trust between the two of you. Additionally, providing plenty of exercise is essential for keeping their energy levels manageable while also providing mental stimulation. Make sure to provide plenty of interactive toys and games that will engage their minds and bodies in healthy ways.

Here are some of those low-level stress signals you may see when1 year old toddlers and dogs are together:

  • Lip licking. It looks like a very quick flick of a dog’s tongue, and it’s one of the most common, but most subtle, stress signals you may see from your dog. You’ll typically see it during a toddler/dog interactions like hugging, kissing, or bumping into one another.
  • Yawning. Believe it or not, yawning is a very common sign of a dog being uncomfortable! It’s a subtle way that a dog may attempt to diffuse a stressful situation, but it’s commonly mistaken for a dog being tired. Watch for this during interactions.
  • Avoidance Behaviors. If your dog is trying to walk or turn away from your toddler repeatedly, allow them that space, and redirect your toddler onto another activity. You may have to physically separate the two if your toddler is extra-persistent!
  • Whale Eye. This is a fancy term for a very specific look you’ll see in the eyes of an uncomfortable dog. They’ll typically be turned away from the child, but still staring back at them with a tense body. You’ll notice that you see a significant portion of the whites of the dog’s eye, hence the name.


I can’t emphasize enough how important this is. As both human and dog parents, we all simply need a break from time to time. Think about that first time you got to enjoy a quiet dinner without your kids, or took a hot shower without anyone interrupting you.

We love our children, but we all need a break from the rigorous demands of toddlerhood.

Our dogs need those same breaks.

As toddlers start walking, they may bump or fall into a dog in the home. They may become louder, will start to experience different emotions, and will become an overall bolder presence in your home.

Despite our child having two professional dog trainers as parents, even we could not always perfectly manage the interactions between our toddler and dogs. So please, don’t expect perfection from yourself!

Instead, consider some of these options to give your dog a break, and to give yourself a break from constant management:

  • If you have a family member that can give your dog a “vacation” away from your home for a week or two, this can be hugely refreshing for a dog that’s struggling with a toddler! (Especially if your kiddo is going through an extra-grabby phase or starting to throw things)
  • Social dogs may benefit from 1-2 days a week of doggie daycare.
  • Create a decompression area for your dog that can’t be accessed by your toddler. Fill it with favorite toys, chews, a comfy bed, and consider feeding their meals in there as well. All you need is a baby gate or a play pen for this!
  • Try to find a way to give your dog some one-on-one time when your toddler is sleeping; even just a 5-minute training session or a game of fetch can provide a bit of relief.


When toddlers and dogs are together, we want these interactions to be fun for everyone! Depending on the size and temperament of your dog and the age of your toddler, here are a few things to try:

  • Let your toddler “help” with feeding time. This might mean just holding a food scoop, dropping a few pieces of food in the bowl, or holding the bowl while you scoop the food. Then be sure to help them understand that dogs must be left alone while eating!
  • Have your toddler feed your pup a special treat that only they are allowed to give him or her.
  • Older toddlers can make great buddies for playtime, especially throwing a ball!
  • We love teaching  to toddlers and dogs – this is an easy and fun way to get even young kids involved in the training process.


Dog aggression towards children of any age warrants immediate professional guidance. There is simply no room for error, especially when infants and toddlers are involved, as even a mild-to-moderate bite can be both physically and emotionally devastating to a young child.

If your dog appears to stalk or stare at your child (not in play), has growled, snapped, or bitten, or if you are seeing a concerning amount of stress signals from your dog, please seek one-on-one professional guidance!

Frequently Asked Questions:

If your dog is between 5 and 18 months of age, he is just experiencing the ups and downs of the teenage years. His bad behavior probably appears as a result of this rebellious phase and his need to test your boundaries. ‍Dogs tend to bury their pain, but their behavior will sooner or later reveal hidden emotions.

If you're anything like us, you'll probably continue referring to your dog as a puppy until they're old and grey! But generally speaking, a puppy is officially considered an adult dog between the ages of 1 - 2 years, once their bones have fully developed and they've reached their final height and size.

While it may seem cruel to deprive your dog of toys, it's a great way to assert your dominance. Instead of leaving toys out at all hours of the day, keep them stowed away. Bring them out when your dog is being good. If they start acting up, you can take them away to show that you mean business.

Adult dogs (ranging from one year old to about five or six) will sleep 8 to 14 hours a day. The amount of time that an adult dog sleeps will vary depending on age, breed, and activity level.


 In conclusion ,understanding the behaviors of a one-year-old dog is essential for developing a strong bond and providing the best possible care. By recognizing their physical and mental needs, providing appropriate training and socialization, and plenty of love and patience, you can ensure that your beloved pup will grow into a confident, balanced canine companion.

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