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The Social K9
A nine month old puppy is similar developmentally to an 11 or 12 year old human. They are adolescents.
As they become more independent, they are fun, often silly, and capable of learning all kinds of wonderful things!
Socialization Experiences at 9 months:
-Exercise and practice agility. This is the perfect time to teach your puppy that they are physically capable. Taking agility classes at this age will sharpen their coordination, and your dog handling skills. Even if you don’t take a class, add some fun obstacles to your daily walk. Teach your puppy the “jump” command by having them hop onto and over surfaces of increasing height. Sharpen loose leash walking by weaving in and around poles, instead of just walking by them.
-Socialize with other dogs and puppies. This is a great time to have a friend with a younger puppy come over to play. Activities should continue to include dogs and people of all ages. You can even let your dog sleep over at friend’s house. A few practice runs in a different home will make it easier on you and much less stressful for your dog when you go away on vacation.
-Have a play day with other well socialized dogs of all ages.
-Take you socialization to the street; Your puppy is probably ready for street fairs, farmer's markets, busier places with dogs and people of all kinds. Do keep in mind that every dog is different, just like every person, when it comes to socializing. If these crowded places seem like "too much" for your dog, they probably are. Slowly introduce these VERY busy places accordingly.
-Advanced Commands. Puppies are like sponges for learning at this age. As their desire to please you grows, so will the list of commands you can teach them. It is true that you can teach an old dog new tricks. But, at this age, they learn new tricks with such exuberance! Sound like an eleven year old kid you know?
-Enjoy them while they are goofy. Puppies tend act like preteens at this age. They may give you a defiant stare, or run away fast in the other direction when you call them. Be patient and enjoy this stage. Don’t take things too seriously. Your dog will trust you to be a calm and confident leader, and you can begin to trust them to behave when it matters the most.