This is the fifth blog in the Maple Media series. The intention of this series is to be used as a reference point as to what one can expect or do with their puppy at each stage of development. All puppies are individuals, so this should be used as a guideline and not a rulebook. To see all posts in this series, click here.
Weight: 21.8 lbs
Maple has been growing a ton and is looking/acting more and more like an adult! She is currently 4.5 months old, so within the next month or two she will be transitioning to more adult responsibilities. Once she reaches 5 to 6-months-old, she will be introduced to formal obedience and have clearer expectations.
Around 4 to 6-months-old is typically when people start noticing a change in their puppy's behavior. Their sweet, well-behaved puppy is gaining confidence and is more likely to start being independent. They're adventuring further away, listening less, and are more interested in the environment around them than their handler. Don't be alarmed if this happens and you feel like you've gone backwards in your training; think of it more as the teenage years. It's time to start raising your expectations and working them more like an adult than a puppy.
If you haven't already, be sure to sign them up for obedience classes at the 5 to 6-month-old age range. This is the perfect time to start implementing more structure and setting them up for success as they get older and bigger. Even if they are still being baby angels, obedience at this age is extremely important to prevent future problems.
Maple is still recalling well which means she is still able to enjoy off-leash freedom on hikes. If you cannot recall your pup, they should never be allowed off leash. That goes for any time and any age! It's just as important for their safety as it is for everyone around you. Since we are rapidly approaching the more adventurous age, I have decided to start collar conditioning her for safety reasons. At this point, I will only be using low level stimulation for recall. Maple understands recall really, really well and I would not be introducing e-collar at this age if she did not.
Here is a video from Maple's second session with e-collar conditioning:
Maple has also been visiting quite a few restaurants, ice cream shops and stores! Even though we are past the critical socialization period, it's still important to practice her skills regularly in these environments to keep her well socialized and improving. She is also doing extremely well with potty training to the point I would consider her potty trained now! Here's an update on where she is with her nail trimming:
Maple has really matured this last month and although I am sad to be leaving so much of the puppy stage behind, it is really exciting to be able to do more with her!