Koda and Summer, born on April 22, 2018, are five and a half months old. Looking at them, one could assume they would be older as they are long legged, tall and boast broad square heads. Their soft puppy coats have become a bit more coarsely curly than their previous silky bunny fluff. I tell on-lookers how young they are as I apologize for the dogs jumping all over them, hoping it excuses their lack of learned manners.
I am embarrassed to admit this, but my puppies are kind of rude. They do not listen to me. They invade people’s space by throwing their front paws up onto them. They stick wet noses into palms of hands in search of treats. If you dare to sit on the sofa, you are fair game for lap play. You will be jumped over, nuzzled with, and sniffed. Just imagine human children doing this same thing. They would be in big trouble with a scolding and a time out for jumping on the sofa and pulling the hair of a visiting relative. The fact is five month old puppies cannot be compared to five month old babies, who sleep most the day and barely even roll over yet. Our puppies were like that for the first few weeks with us, napping more than playing. An experienced dog owner said, “Enjoy it, very soon this will change.”
This has rapidly changed. Summer and Koda still nap during the day, but the frequency and intensity of their active energy has accelerated greatly over the past couple months. So just how old are these puppies in “dog years?” I wondered. The long held belief is seven years for one year. Looking online I found information to the contrary. The calculation is not that simple. Size and breed is taken into consideration. It is also more of a sliding scale. I plugged in the age of my dogs (5 months) and Australian Shepherd (as Aussiedoodle was not an option on the list). According to the American Kennel Club, Summer and Koda are like six and a half year old children. I believe this to be accurate. They are like first graders.
First graders are learning like sponges (reading, handwriting, tying shoes, swinging a bat at t-ball, dribbling a ball and following classroom rules). My kids at that age were each different from one another in their interests, but they also had something in common. They had to be reminded not to jump on furniture, not to interrupt, not to whine, to say please and thank you, to share, and to be kind to their siblings. This is not that different than what I work on with Koda and Summer. So I guess the American Kennel Club’s calculations might just be right.
It will not be until close two years old that they will be considered adults. Puppyhood is feeling like a long road by these numbers. Teenage years next spring should be interesting. Deep breath… For now I need to focus on my first grade puppies and help them learn their manners and follow directions. They may need a little more recess time to get out all that energy!