Skip to Content

Does it get easier after the puppy stage?

The puppy stage, generally considered to be the first 6-12 months of a dog’s life, is an exciting time filled with lots of energy, curiosity, and often frustrating behaviors like nipping, chewing, barking, and house training accidents. Many dog owners eagerly await the day their puppy grows out of this trying stage. But does raising a dog really get easier as they mature?

What is the puppy stage?

The puppy stage is a dog’s version of early childhood. Puppies aged 3-6 months are learning to explore their world, play with litter mates, and start learning manners and commands from their human family. Puppies aged 6-12 months continue to grow rapidly and test boundaries with behaviors like chewing, nipping, rough play, and barking.

Key characteristics of the puppy stage include:

  • High energy levels
  • Short attention spans
  • Exploratory behavior like putting everything in their mouth
  • Frequent nipping and mouthing
  • Jumping up on people
  • Potty training accidents
  • Chewing on inappropriate items

Puppies during this stage are also learning:

  • How to interact properly with humans and other animals
  • Basic obedience commands like sit, stay, and come
  • House training skills
  • Not to nip or bite people
  • Which toys and chews are appropriate

Does it get easier after the puppy stage?

The simple answer is yes, in many ways it does get easier after the puppy stage. However, dogs enter adolescence around 6-10 months old which brings its own set of training challenges.

Here is how dog care tends to get easier after puppyhood:

House training improves

Puppies have very limited bladder and bowel control so potty training accidents are extremely common during the first 4-6 months. As puppies get older and gain better control, plus understand correct potty behaviors, accidents in the home reduce dramatically. Most adult dogs can comfortably hold their bladder for 8-10 hours.

Chewing lessens

Puppies explore their world by putting everything in their mouth. They also teethe between 3-6 months which leads to excessive chewing behaviors. As adult teeth grow in around 7 months and puppies get adequate chew toys, the desire to chew everything in sight will reduce.

Energy levels stabilize

Puppies can seem like bouncing balls of energy, running, jumping, and getting the zoomies at all hours. As dogs mature, their energy settles down to a more manageable level. Adult dogs are content with a couple of daily walks.

Nipping and rough play decreases

Puppies love to play rough, wrestle, and nip ankles as they learn to socialize. With age they gain better bite inhibition and understand human skin is delicate. Ongoing training helps curb play biting.

Independence increases

Puppies require constant supervision andentertainment. Adolescent and adult dogs are better able to independently occupy themselves with chew toys while their owners go about their day. This makes dog ownership much less demanding.

Attention span lengthens

The short attention span of puppies makes training difficult. With maturity comes an increased ability to focus for longer periods, making continued obedience training much easier.

Less separation anxiety

Puppies get very anxious when left alone, often crying, barking, destroying items, or having accidents. As dogs get older, they gain confidence and can stay home alone without experiencing extreme distress for longer periods.

What are the challenges after puppyhood?

Though puppies do grow out of many annoying behaviors, dog owners should be prepared for new challenges as their puppy transitions to adolescence around 6-10 months old. This time of major physical and mental development comes with its own struggles.


The adolescent period is often compared to the teenage years in humans. Dogs may test boundaries and refuse to obey commands they once knew well. Patience and going back to obedience basics curbs these defiant behaviors.

Marking territory

Unneutered male dogs may start hiking their leg on furniture or inappropriately urinating in the home to spread their scent. Spaying or neutering around 6 months helps minimize hormonal behaviors like marking.

Excessive barking

As dogs become more territorial of their home during adolescence, barking at outdoor noises and passersby often increases. Blocking sight lines, citronella bark collars, and training “quiet” cues reduces nuisance barking.


Adolescent dogs may try to mount furniture, toys, your leg, and other dogs. Neutering and consistent corrections of the behavior can put an end to embarrassing doggy mounting.


Chewing may resurface during adolescence as dogs teethe again around 7-9 months. Dogs left alone may also act out their separation anxiety through destructive chewing behaviors. More exercise, puzzle toys, and crating when alone prevents damage.


Digging behaviors often emerge in adolescence, especially in the springtime. Providing a designated digging area, limiting outdoor access, and training the “leave it” command curbs digging in unwanted areas.


Adolescent dogs get very enthusiastic when greeting people at the door. This leads to jumping on guests. Retraining the “sit” command, keeping dogs on leash for greetings, and rewarding four-on-the-floor behaviors reduces jumping up.

Does training get easier after puppyhood?

The puppy stage lays the groundwork for good manners and obedience. Puppies have very short attention spans, high energy, and extreme oral tendencies. Once a puppy matures both physically and mentally, they are better able to focus on humans and retain what they learn.

Adult dogs love bonding with their owners and pleasing them by performing commands correctly. Continuing positive reinforcement training through activities like agility, obedience classes, hunting trials, or disc dog after puppyhood facilitates an easier time teaching dogs new things.

Here’s why ongoing training gets easier as your dog matures:

  • Longer attention and focus on people
  • Desire to please owners
  • Ability to control their impulses
  • Willingness to work for rewards
  • Understanding the consequences of their actions
  • Having basic obedience already trained as puppies

While adolescence can temporarily make training more difficult again, as long as you stick to positive methods, reward good behaviors, and have reasonable expectations, dogs actually become highly trainable after the puppy stage has passed.

How can owners help their dogs transition smoothly to adulthood?

The key to your puppy successfully sailing through adolescence to become a well-adjusted adult dog lies in two things:

  1. Proper socialization
  2. Consistent positive training


The most important window for socialization is before 16 weeks of age according to veterinary behaviorists. Give your puppy positive exposures to:

  • New environments
  • Surfaces like wood floors, tile, and stairs
  • Sounds like vacuum cleaners, cars, and sirens
  • Sights like umbrellas, flags, and balloons
  • Different people like babies, elderly, disables, and ethnicities
  • Dogs of all sizes

A well-socialized puppy grows into a confident, friendly adult dog.


Puppies should start training the day they come home. Focus on positive reinforcement training and repetitive consistency. Important behaviors to train include:

  • Responding to their name
  • Eye contact
  • Sit
  • Come
  • Stay
  • Leash walking
  • Drop it
  • Leave it
  • Potty training

Structure, guidance, and ongoing obedience work helps dogs mature to make good choices on their own.

Isdog ownership easier after the first year?

Raising a puppy has its challenges but the efforts pay off as dogs transition from adolescence to adulthood around age 1-2. While each dog is unique in their rate of maturation, owners can generally expect the first year of ownership to be the most demanding.

As discussed earlier, most problematic puppy behaviors significantly improve or disappear entirely by adulthood. Physical and mental maturity by the second year means dogs are:

  • House trained
  • Less destructive
  • Less demanding of constant attention
  • More obedient
  • Able to be left alone without anxiety
  • Less inclined to nip or jump up
  • Calmer indoors

However, owners should be prepared to keep training, socializing, and exercising their dogs throughout adulthood. While a 1 or 2-year-old dog is easier than a puppy, they still require daily care and quality time with their human family. Activities and enrichment should be tailored to the dog’s natural aging process through their senior years.

Here is an overview of typical dog life stages:

Age Life Stage
0-6 months Puppy
6 months – 3 years Adolescent/young adult
3-6 years Adult
6-8 years Mature adult
8 years+ Senior

Dog owners find the most enjoyment once their puppy matures into an adult dog around age 1-3 years. But each stage brings special milestones that owners can cherish.


The old adage that puppies are a ton of work but worth every minute certainly rings true. While the first year with a new puppy has many challenges, owners can expect easier times ahead once their cute fluffy puppy grows into a mature, well-trained adult dog. Proper socialization, consistent positive training, reasonable expectations, and daily exercise smooth the transition through adolescence to calmer adulthood.

The key highlights to remember are:

  • Puppies outgrow many annoying behaviors by adulthood like house training accidents and mouthing.
  • Adolescence from 6-18 months can bring new challenges like rebelliousness, territorial marking, and excessive barking.
  • Training gets easier as dogs mature since they gain focus, impulse control, and understanding of consequences.
  • Well-adjusted adult dogs are less demanding of attention, less destructive, and more obedient.
  • Ongoing socialization, training, and healthcare make for happy senior years too.

So take heart, puppy owners! The puppy stage is as fleeting as childhood. Your energetic fur ball will mature into a loyal companion if you put in the work now to guide them. Consistent training will unlock your dog’s full potential to become your best furry friend for life. The future of easier dog ownership starts today!