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Puppies & Puberty!

Advice for your large and giant breed puppy

Around the 6 month mark, it’s safe to say you’ll start to notice a few ahem changes in your puppy’s behaviour. The dreaded humping phase is just around the corner and, well, so is puberty and all the hormones that come with it. Buckle down, this guide is going to get detailed…


Some puppies can enter the dreaded humping phase and begin testing out their new “skills” on cushions, soft toys and in worst-case scenarios, humans! This is normal, natural behaviour that is in every dog’s DNA but remember …


How can I stop my dog from humping?


Watch out for the warning signs. If you spot your pup panting, pawing and licking, try to distract them with simple training cues or toys before it escalates.

Consider neutering. It isn’t a sure-fire solution getting your puppy neutered but it might work (and has other benefits) if the cause of humping is sexual gratification, rather than behavioural triggers. If this is the route you want to take it’s best to discuss options with your local vet.

Action time outs (and repeat!). If your puppy has taken a shine to Aunt Hilda’s leg or Sharon’s armchair, this can be embarrassing for everyone involved. In this scenario, giving your pup a short time out can do the trick.

Puppies and puberty! 

Puppies normally reach puberty any time from 6-months-old and their elevated hormone levels can have a negative effect on their behaviour.

Neutering will not necessarily solve this problem (despite popular advice) but try not to worry – it’s likely that this behaviour will soon pass. If it doesn’t, seek help from your vet who might be able to recommend a professional dog behaviourist.


Female puppies

From 6 months of age, female dogs (bitches) can come ‘into season’ and they are fertile during this time. Bitches are normally ‘in season’ every 6 months (unless they are neutered) and it typically lasts for around 3 weeks. Symptoms include a swollen vulva and a blood-tinged discharge.

Exercise caution with female puppies during this period and don’t allow them to mix with male dogs who are not castrated



Male puppies

As male dogs reach puberty, they will start cocking their legs and you may notice an increased interest in other dogs. Typical behaviour increased confidence with other dogs and/or people.


Keep male puppies well-exercised, enriched and encouraged during all behaviours. Remember to reward them when they’ve been good!





“As your puppy approaches 6 months, it will almost feel like you have a new pet. Your pup is going through changes, but they’re still in the gawky teenage stage, all limbs and elbows! If you spot anything that you’re not sure about during this growth period, members of the Burns Puppy Club can speak to me or one of my colleagues for free.”

Karen Armitage, Burns Nutritional Advisor


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