Silas is three years old now.
I’ve always been skeptical of the very precise timelines you see for dog development. “Adolescence ends exactly at this age” is just such a ridiculous concept.
Silas has, however, had some breakthroughs that neatly correspond to age markers.
Just before he turned eighteen months old, I snapped this picture on a walk:
I was stunned that he could walk through the park without practically dragging me down the trail. It was like a switch flipped in his brain: “Oh, that’s what she wants. Okay.” And we had a whole walk without him pulling, for the first time ever.
Three seems to be another big milestone for us. We were able to take down the baby gate blocking the upstairs bathroom, without Silas running in to chew the rugs. I can leave the throw pillows on the sofa now, instead of only getting one out when I want to take a nap. He can walk past laundry on the floor without taking a piece for himself.
He’s even stopped a nagging behavior leftover from his puppyhood: he was an inveterate rock chewer as a baby (I assume this was a nutritional problem, given his food allergies). To keep him from eating the rocks and hurting himself, I traded rocks for cookies. This created a second problem. Namely, whenever he wanted a little snack, he would go out to the yard and dig up a rock. He still brings the odd stick or leaf in, hoping that I’ll let him chew it, but I haven’t seen a rock in a month.
We adhered to the management school of puppy training. Our motto was “don’t give him the chance to do it, and he’ll grow out of the urge.” Hence, baby gates, crate training, scrupulous housekeeping, and the Fort Knox of laundry hampers. It took a lot longer than I imagined, but we’re finally seeing some dividends.
Plus, Silas really loves those throw pillows.
Have your dogs had particularly remarkable milestone ages? Did they match up with the suggested calendar?