Physical and Mental DevelopmentFor many breeds, now is when your puppy will do most of his physical growing. By the time he is 9 months old, he may have reached between 80 and 100 percent of his full adult size and weight. All his adult teeth will be in place. During this period of physical development, your dog will mature sexually. By around 5 months of age, a male puppy can produce sperm; by about 6 months, a female is capable of producing her first litter. Talk with your veterinarian about spaying or neutering your puppy as soon as poosible. Spaying or neutering your pet will eliminate the risk of an unplanned pregnancy, reduce roaming tendencies, and lessen certain aggressive behaviors, as well as help prevent the development of many common reproductive cancers. It is highly recommended that you spay your female dog before her first heat to obtain all of the health benefits. Mentally, your puppy is still very much in his youth. Remember, your dog is naturally a pack animal, and now he is beginning to try to figure out how to communicate with other dogs. If you have been working with him on leash, he might be ready for short, controlled walks where he will meet other dogs. Be sure your young dog will walk calmly on a loose leash (not pulling) before introducing him to new dogs. You need to be able to control the meeting, and your dog needs to feel comfortable on his leash for these encounters to go well.
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