Isn’t 6 Months Old the Age Where A Lot of Dogs Get Taken to Shelters?

Remy, don’t push it.

It might be a myth that 6 months is the age where dogs are more likely to get dropped off at shelters, I don’t know.

But … this is the age where they’re past the cute puppy stage. They might seem a little rebellious. They’re strong and usually untrained. More serious behavioral problems start to emerge if they’re going to. Things like leash aggression, possessiveness, separation anxiety.

Remy the crazy puppy

I’m frustrated with Remy much of the time. He pulls on the leash, jumps on people, pees when he’s excited.

Last week we passed a couple with their pug in a narrow entryway and Remy did his “kangaroo hop” on his hind legs trying to get to them WHILE PEEING! Dear God.

On puppy class “graduation night” he ripped the trainer’s evaluation sheet right out of her hand and shredded it.

He has little impulse control, bites when he’s excited, yips in his kennel at 5 a.m. We can hike with him off-leash for an hour and he never gets tired.

So do any of you still want a puppy? 🙂

It helps to take note of the good moments.

My puppy has a nice temperament. He’s not overly assertive, not at all timid. My puppy loves every single person he meets – all ages, men, women, kids. Likewise, he loves every dog he meets. Even when older dogs get grumpy, he respects their space and backs off, wagging his little stub tail.

He has a solid “leave it.” It’s his best command.

While he does get up early, he sleeps all night without a peep.

He allows us to take away items from his mouth and to reach into his food bowl. He is not aggressive to our cats or our senior dog and hopes they will someday play or cuddle with him. Yet to be determined.

Remy and Beamer

Remy rides nicely in the back seat of my car, doesn’t try to climb into the front.

He doesn’t seem to know he could hop right over the baby gate and doesn’t try. He hasn’t destroyed anything other than our leather leashes, which of course was my fault.

He’s getting better at “stay” and can sometimes stay for 2 minutes or so in the living room. That might not sound like a lot, but I’m proud of my high-energy guy.

He can walk as long as we’d like (I have yet to tire him out). He stays close when off leash. And he cooperates for pictures.

My weimaraner puppy Remy

He lets us touch his paws, ears, nose, tail. He gets silly and squirms but is not aggressive.

He hangs out quietly in my office when I blog or work. He has an off switch, settles in and naps.

He’s resilient, not afraid of anything. Unfazed by firm corrections. If I lose my temper, he just wags his tail and licks my hand, like, hey don’t be so serious!

He’s potty trained! I think it’s been about a month since his last accident.

He’s in the “middle of the pack” with other dogs, almost on the slight submissive side but in a good way. He’s easygoing and friendly, plays gently with the shy or smaller dogs, does not challenge the more assertive dogs.

Remy is a very good dog. We’ve boarded him overnight a few times, and while he did just fine away from us, I missed him.

Yes, I have a LOT of work ahead still, but if you struggle with your puppy or dog like I do, know that it’s normal. It’s a work in progress for me too. I can always make improvements. And it’s more about improving my own attitude than it is about “improving” my dog.

I think how lucky I am to get to help the pup in front of me learn to be a good dog.

Remy … I’ll get there!

In the meantime, well … we’ll try to be patient with one another.

Weim pup Remy

What challenges are the rest of you facing with your dogs at the moment?

2019 update: Remy is a 3-year-old “adult” now and overall a pretty good boy although still a goofy, playful guy!

Related posts:

When you regret getting a puppy

Help! My dog is out of control

How to tire out your hyper, high-energy dog

16 thoughts on “Isn’t 6 Months Old the Age Where A Lot of Dogs Get Taken to Shelters?”

  1. I cracked up at, “Remy, don’t push it.”

    At the risk of sounding like I’m bragging, there’s nothing about my dog at this point that I’d change. There are some behaviors that others would find rude (such as the amount of noise she makes when someone knocks on the door), but I’ve left them as is on purpose. As far as what I want her to do in everyday life, she nails it. She’s got a nice, solid base temperament and she’s past all of the boundary testing phases.

    Thinking back to Remy’s age, though, and even up to about 18 months – definitely more challenging! Most of it went back to a vigorous, independently thinking puppy and teaching her that even if she was bored or didn’t like something, we still set the rules. I believe I read somewhere that 12-18 months was the most vulnerable time for a German Shepherd for surrender.

    1. I have a six month old Cobberdog named Daisy and she is adorable. Just ask the dozens of people who walk by and tell me so while Daisy is anchored firmly to the sidewalk refusing to walk, unmoved by any type of bribe, including chicken.

      There has been a noticeable change in her since turning 6 months, with more zoomies, fewer naps, and an increased need for attention. And the walking. OMG will she ever just walk with me like a normal dog?

      I love your approach of listing what your dog does well. Daisy has a solid sit, stay, down, off, and shake-a-paw. She loves all people and all dogs. She sleeps from 10pm to 6am without fail, sometimes even until 7am on the weekends. She is a potty training superstar, eats well, has no trouble with crate time during the day, and loves a good game of fetch. Her eyes look through your soul and she is an excellent hugger.

      I’m hoping this new adolescent phase won’t last too long so I can fully enjoy her excellent qualities! It’s good to know Remy made it through. 🙂

  2. I appreciate the honesty about puppies and teenagers! Remy sounds like a handful, but of course the dog who will be the perfect marathon-adventure-go anywhere pup as an adult probably would be a handful as a pup! The vast majority of dogs & puppies I know who are or were raised to be assistance dogs have issues with excitement and jumping at greetings at Remy’s age (and often beyond). It’s frustrating to want to balance good, ongoing socialization and not rewarding butthead behavior, so I am happy you can see the upside to it with his good temperament around people even though it is annoying to manage or train.
    I think of 8 months old as peak surrender time, because you are smack in the middle of adolescence for big dogs. You get the majority of adult size plus teenager limit testing and impulse control (training? what training?). For male dogs, most people won’t have neutered yet, even if they plan to at some point. And since you can be looking at week after week of teenager, it becomes a cumulative thing of just thinking that this is who your dog is growing up to be or will be rather than recognizing behavioral regression that is part of normal development.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Appreciate your comment. Yes, he got to greet so many people as a little puppy that he still acts uncontrollable during greetings but the plus side is he is very friendly and sweet, just rude and soon to be 75+ pounds. Do you think neutering calms them down a bit or not really? I’m trying to wait a couple more months with Remy if I can.

      1. I feel like that is so confounded with the most typical time to alter! On average, I bet they would probably begin to calm down anyway, at least a bit, by 2-3 months after the recommended time of spay/neuter. It’s a small sample (n=1), but my dog was already beginning to calm down by the time she was 12-15 months old. She was intact until she was 15 months.

        1. I agree. It is so hard to tell – that’s when they settle down, most people who are training are neutering by 1 year, etc.

          My personal take is that neutering could change the types of behavior that you could explain by hormonal impulse. So a dog that is very distracted and unfocused by scents/other dogs/etc. can become more focused, a dog that is already establishing territorial behavior might be slightly less likely to act this way, a dog that roams might be easier to recall train, etc. It’s all degrees and dog dependent. I wouldn’t expect neutering to have much effect on a behavior like jumping on people due to excitement, because it doesn’t seem to stem from or be exacerbated by sex hormones. Of course, I have no evidence for this, just anecdote and logic.

  3. I always thought one year was the breaking point, lol. Probably depends on the type of dog. Having been through a number of dogs ( I’m old, lol) I have to say that, sometimes, the worst puppies are the best adults. You simply work with them longer and harder, I think. Our easiest puppy (lab mix from an abandoned litter) was so good, we called her ‘ganjia dog’. Now, as a four year old, she is still laid back and sweet as the day is long…but don’t expect her to come on command. Our feisty Rory (lab and ??) was the first to make us call a trainer. Now, at almost two, she follows commands like a soldier…and still has energy to play all day. Just like kids…each one is unique!

  4. I’ve always found the first two years to be the most challenging. I remember how I’d come home from work and find Sephi had found something new to chew on. Then sometime after age two, I realized I could leave my shoes or other things out without any more worry. I remember how I had to clean pee from Maya’s kennel at least twice a week even though I let her out often and I seldom locked her in because I worked from home. Then after age two, cleaning only took place once a month but only because of dirt. I remember how I was constantly burying holes Pierson had dug in the yard. Then after age two, I realized my shovel was getting rusty because I forgot to put it away some months ago. I can see how there is a tendency for people to give up their dogs up before they mature. But if they’d just hang on for a little longer, most dogs grow out of these annoying behaviors.

    1. Dawn, my breeder has always said two is the magic age. Train consistently to age two and there’s a switch that flips. I found that to be strangely true. She has always been a good dog, but there were some things that just magically started dropping off as we approached that two year mark. We’ve been able to stop crating her since she turned two.

  5. I I had to laugh reading the things Remy does. Ten years ago had two labs, sisters that had been together since the womb. When they were the same age Remy is my husband was in the hospital, left one evening to run in his room, run out, they could not be trusted 🙂 When I got home yes they were behind the gates even though the gates were on the floor but in the living room on the floor were remains of something I would have sworn was not in my house. Sarah said she didn’t do anything and Honey said Sarah did. I finally figured out the remains wereof a fireplace broom, who knew 🙂 Sarah ate a whole chair and dug holes in the yard but not to just dig, she knew there would be a rock there and she was always right???? They were wonderful fur kids and lost them both in one week, was a very bad time.

  6. “Remy did his “kangaroo hop” on his hind legs trying to get to them WHILE PEEING!” Hahahaha! I’m sorry, this must have been so embarrassing for you, but it’s hilarious!

    You’re doing a great job teaching him about life and managing your frustrations too. Hang in there!

  7. You got my attention at the 1st line. It was the exact line that I used on my dog. I could relate to most of what you had experienced. Like how I had to ensure that my dog doesn’t pull too much while on leash. Or how she decides to chase after birds instead of cats. Indeed, she is afraid of cats more than anything else!

  8. Oh my gosh, this brings back memories, lol! It’s so easy to forget about all those puppy frustrations but it sounds like Remy’s coming right along and there are so many more positives than frustrations. You two make a great team!

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