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A commonly asked question among all-new Golden Retriever puppy owners is “When Do Golden Retrievers Mature?”
The struggles and frustrations of owning a puppy are very real for new pet parents. Many of you simply cannot wait until all of the nipping, biting, jumping and craziness subsides and you are blessed with a calm and mature Golden.
So, when exactly does that happen?
The truth is it happens in stages. Your Golden will reach physical maturity faster than his or her mental maturity.
We’ll discuss the different stages of maturity in detail in this article. Plus, keep reading to the end to discover 7 tips to calm your Golden.
When Do Golden Retrievers Mature?
Golden Retrievers reach their maturity in different stages. A Golden Retriever reaches physical maturity at the age of two, but mental maturity will not be reached until closer to the age of three. Sexual maturity will also differ for males and females, with males being able to reach sexual maturity sooner than females. Keep in mind that Golden Retrievers mature slower than other dog breeds. You will find them to be mischievous well into their adult years! A quality that many owners find endearing!
The Different Stages Of Maturity In Golden Retrievers
Here’s what you can expect in terms of behaviour from your Golden Retriever as they grow up.
The Puppy Stage (8 Weeks – 6 Months)
At 8 weeks old your puppy will likely be brought home with you. During this time, your puppy is cute and cuddly and exploring his surroundings and sleeping a lot.
Training should start immediately when you bring your puppy home. Being consistent with training and the rules of the house will ensure your puppy has a solid foundation of obedience skills.
Your puppy will have a short attention span, so it is best to provide a variety of activities to keep your pup interested and to burn off energy.
Between 8-11 weeks, your puppy will go through a normal fear period. It is important to expose your puppy to a variety of sounds (vacuums, cars, babies crying etc..) and unexpected movements and objects (umbrellas, wheelchairs, kids, bikes, etc..), with positive training and encouragement.
3 – 6 Months
Between 3-6 months old, your pup’s adult teeth will start to come in. This is when the teething and chewing phase starts!
By 6 months old, your puppy’s adult teeth will have grown in. The teething phase is done, but the chewing still persists.
Remember that Goldens are a mouthy breed, to begin with, so they’ll always be looking for something to chew, bite and carry in their mouths. Always keep appropriate chew toys around, because you don’t want your arm or leg chewed on.
Adolescence (6 – 18 Months)
You’re relieved that the teething phase is over, but now you have a rebellious teenager on your hands! This stage is a long one and seems to be the most challenging when your dog is between 8 – 18 months old.
During this stage, your Golden will test his boundaries, and push your buttons along the way! He’ll ignore your commands, and may even have a few accidents in the house, even though he has been fully potty trained and knows obedience commands.
Your pup’s hormones are raging, and your once well-behaved angel puppy suddenly becomes feisty and challenges you and tests his dominance.
Between 6 – 14 months, your pup will go through a second fear period. You may be surprised by your Golden’s sudden fear of something that he was never afraid of before. Positive training and encouragement are needed, to help your puppy overcome his fears.
A second chewing phase begins around 7 – 9 months. But this time it’s not because of teething, it’s motivated by boredom and entertainment.
You’ll need a lot of patience during this time, and it’s important to remain consistent, and positive with training and exercise. Sadly, this is often the time when many dog owners give up on their dogs and surrender them to a shelter.
Adolescence may be challenging, but don’t be discouraged! All of your hard work will pay off.
Noticeable Signs Of Maturity (18 – 24 Months)
During these months your pup will be showing signs of physical maturity. Your Golden will have reached his full height at the one-year mark, and his full weight at 2 years.
Even though your Golden is finished growing, his mental maturity has not been reached yet. At this time, however, you should already be noticing a difference in behaviour. Your Golden will likely be calmer than he was a few months ago.
Many owners, myself included have noticed quite a difference at the one-year mark, and even more at the two-year mark. Keep in mind that females mature faster than males. Male Goldens may not calm down until the age of 3 or 4.
Your Golden should be easier to manage at this time, compared to his rebellious teenage phase, and your consistent training will start to pay off.
Your Golden will still be full of energy and require plenty of daily activity to prevent boredom. Keeping up with training, daily physical activity and mental stimulation will ensure your pup is the amazing well-mannered companion you are hoping for.
Maturity (2 Years and Beyond)
At the two-year mark, your Golden is fully grown. Mental maturity is reached sometime between 2 years and 3 years old. This can differ between dogs, and not all Goldens will be calm at this age. It really depends on personality and gender.
Many Golden Retrievers are full of energy into their senior years, and many keep up with their silly puppy-like antics. Just watch this cute Golden Retriever in the video below:
However, once your Golden has reached the adult stage, it is when you really start to see the wonderful qualities of this breed. Your dog has become your companion, loving and gentle, still with plenty of energy, but is able to be calm and relax with you at home.
When Do Golden Retrievers Reach Sexual Maturity?
Male Golden Retrievers can reach sexual maturity anytime after 5 months old. A 5-month-old Golden Retriever can sire puppies, but it is very rare. Males don’t show much sexual interest until around the one-year mark when their testosterone levels peak.
Female Golden Retrievers can reach sexual maturity as early as 6 months old, but it’s more common for them to have their first heat cycle when they are older. The first heat cycle usually occurs when your female is between 10 – 14 months old.
When Do Golden Retrievers Get Their Mature Coat?
At the age of 2, your Golden Retriever will have his full adult coat. Before this happens, you will notice your Goldens coat going through different stages of growth.
When your puppy is 3 months old, the adult coat starts to grow. It’s not very noticeable at this point, as it starts with the tail first. You’ll notice the new hair is darker than the light puppy fur.
Goldens do not shed their puppy coat, it gets pushed aside by the new darker hair, and eventually becomes the undercoat.
At 8 months, the feathering starts to become more noticeable, and by the one-year mark, the feathers are fully present along the tail, legs and belly.
It takes a good 18 months to 2 years for your Goldens adult coat to be fully set.
7 Tips To Help Calm Down Your Golden Retriever
Having a calm Golden Retriever doesn’t just miraculously happen, it takes a lot of time, patience and work.
In order for your Golden to be the calm and well-behaved dog you’re looking for, you need to meet your pup’s mental, physical, and social needs.
Here are some top tips to help you:
- Establish A Routine: This involves feeding, playing, walking, and resting at the same time each day. Dogs love routine, it makes them feel safe and secure. It also gives them structure so that they know what to expect and look forward to each day.
- Provide Plenty Of Daily Activity: This high-energy breed needs to burn off all of that energy! Make sure you exercise your Golden daily. Walking, hiking, swimming, and playing fetch are all great ways to tire your Golden out.
- Allow Them To Be Social: Golden Retrievers are very social dogs, they absolutely love meeting people and other animals. Allowing your Golden to interact with other people and dogs is a great way to stimulate him both mentally and physically.
- Keep On Training: Start off with the basic commands, and go from there. Goldens are very smart and love to learn new things. It’s a great way to keep their minds stimulated, and out of trouble!
- Ignore The Bad Behaviour: Is your Golden digging up your garden? What about stealing the tv remote? Your Golden is doing these things to get your attention. If you get angry, or start chasing your Golden to get the remote back, you’ll only be reinforcing his behaviour. He will think it’s a game and keep doing it.
- Give Your Golden A Job: Goldens are considered working dogs. They love to have a job to do, whether it’s fetching the newspaper, or getting the mail for you, they’re happy to do it. It gives them a purpose and they will feel proud. Plus, you’ll be redirecting their energy into an important task.
- Be Patient: A calm Golden Retriever doesn’t happen overnight. It happens with a lot of work, patience and of course age. Young Golden Retrievers are naturally more high-energy, but in time they will start to become more mellow.
As we have learned, Golden Retrievers mature in stages. At 2 years old your Golden will be physically mature, he will have reached his adult weight and height, and his mature coat will be fully set. But his brain may not catch up until the age of 3.
Regardless of when your Golden Retriever reaches maturity, you should enjoy every Golden moment! Life is just too short with these wonderful dogs!
Setting a solid foundation of training and obedience, along with meeting your Golden’s physical, mental and social needs, will ensure your dog is living his best life. Plus, you’ll be blessed with the best companion you could ask for!
When did you notice that your Golden Retriever has matured? At what age did your Golden start to calm down?
Share your thoughts and comments below. I would love to hear from you.
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