Changes are now taking place very quickly. You can almost see your puppy grow. He is still a bit awkward, and still enthusiastic about everything, especially play. He probably has lost most of his babyish looks. At seven months he is shooting up on his legs; as he nears ten months he will begin to fill out, unless he happens to be one of those ultra low breeds whose framework develops somewhat differently from the average. His appetite is voracious. He needs more food because of his growth and increased activity, and must still be fed twice a day since he can digest larger quantities at a time.
Psychologically, at this stage a puppy generally becomes rather self confident. He begins to get his own ideas about his rights and independence. You’ll have to be firm more often in order to maintain your authority. This is critical with a large breed, which may need obedience training. Raising a puppy is very much like raising a child. They both need plenty of love and discipline, especially at this age.
As puppies approach sexual maturity, their masculine and feminine tendencies become more apparent. Males become more aggressive; they dislike confinement and feel the urge to roam freely. (During mating season, it is normal for free roaming adult males to travel in packs, following the trails of females in heat.) Females begin to SLTW a stronger homing instinct. This is as critical a training period as early puppyhood. Be firm, and be especially affectionate and tender, to compensate for all the scolding you’ll have to do. Your puppy’s perception of power and ownership of his property and territory is also developing.
Your puppy watches you keenly, trying to understand everything you say. As a matter of fact, he probably does, for the more you talk to him, the more he understands. Talk to him simply and clearlyand often. Dogs love conversation. He’ll even try to communicate with you, too, telling you that he is hungry, that he would like to go out, or that he wants to play. ting proper nourishment when scraps are only additions to a balanced commercial dog food.
Leftover meat, trimmings, and vegetables can be mixed in the food with leftover gravies and soups. But remember that such additions should be limited to not more than 15 percent of the total dietary intake to prevent nutritional or digestive upsets. Fats, especially, are highly palatable and supply additional essential fatty acids. A teaspoon of vegetable oil or bacon drippings can be mixed in the pup’s food occasionally.
Some dogs get bedtime tidbits all their lives; it is very much a household ceremony as various members of the family go to the refrigerator for the same purpose. Make this just a snack: a dog biscuit fed from the hand. The multiflavor dog biscuits now on the market are ideal for snack feeding or as training “rewards.” They are nourishing and offer plenty of taste variety. Feeding too many tidbits, however, and constantly adding table scraps can result in poor eating habits.
Although the majority of dogs of this age are hungry and wolf their food, some may be slow, even picky at times. Do not try to find something your dog likes when he refuses the food offered. If he is healthy and active, remove his dish and give nothing else until the next mealtime. If you let him grow choosy instead of eating what you give him, he may become finicky. Some dogs show good sense by skipping a meal now and then for no apparent reason. A feeding or two refused occasionally need cause no alarm. By always refusing one of two feedings, a dog may be ready to have the number reduced to one.
If you prefer, there is a method known as self feeding, which means that the dog eats from a container in which dry or soft moist food is always available. He can consume as much or as little as he wants whenever desired. This is explained on our posts.
Unless your veterinarian recommends the addition of vitamin mineral supplements, they are not necessary when your dog eats a complete and balanced commercially pre pared food as the major part of his diet. As many problems exist today from excess vitamin mineral consumption as from deficiencies.
It is essential with any feeding regimen that the dog have ample drinking water available continuously. Keep it fresh. Dogs dislike stale water as much as we do and often will not drink unless their water is kept fresh.