When does a pet become who they are?

Like Popeye, I yam what I yam. I’ll get older, learn and experience new things, but my mannerisms, preferences and personality (sorry Emily) are pretty much set. I can say the same about Eko.

Eko matured, developed and went through plenty of phases as a pup.  It wasn’t until close to his second birthday I felt Eko finally settled into himself.  With Penny just seven months old, this means it could be over a year before we figure out who she is.

“Wait. I’m not me?”

In broad strokes, I knew who both my pups were on the day I brought them home. Eko was an outgoing adventurer with a bit of an anxious streak and Penny was a fearless tough-girl by day and a cuddle monster by night. That said, there are still so many nuances to a pet which only develop and show over time. And that development is not necessarily linear.


In terms of physical growth, I swore we were past teething. Eko’s face pretty much says it all. We’re not past teething


True to her sighthound roots, Penny is very engaged by movement – dogs, lures, you name it. If it moves, Penny’s chasing it. We’ll have to really work on managing and directing this drive as she grows

Also true to her sighthound roots, Penny’s begun to disregard my commands when she’s off leash. As she enters her puppy-teenager months, I know that like Eko, she’ll start to push boundaries. It’s up to me to double down on training time (and treat purchases) to help Penny mature.


I’ve started seeing more of Penny’s evil grin at the beach when I tell her it’s time to go. It’s inevitably followed with her sprinting the opposite direction

And when I told Eko we have about another year to go until Penny settles down?


“I’m sorry Will, my ears must need cleaning because I thought I heard you say another year of this.”

I know the rule of thumb is smaller dogs mature at a younger age than larger dogs, but I also know there are so many variables. I’m curious about the developmental experiences of puppies, rescues, adopted adults and adopted seniors. I imagine each case has its own unique challenges and progressions.

So let me know. How and when did your pet become who they are?

40 thoughts on “When does a pet become who they are?”

  1. AmosTravelingDog here again. Since you have added a new addition to your family, when is Penny’s birthday. I got Eko’s last year and included him in the traveling dog calendar. Now it’s Penny’s turn. Thank you.

  2. Our two our seniors, but we’ve still seen changes. It took Jack a couple of weeks to shed himself of the anxious, hyper dog he was at the shelter…and he’s pretty rock steady ever since. Maggie is still evolving – she’s made great strides since we got her 2.5 years ago, but I don’t think she’s done yet…each day she becomes a little more self-confident and brave and gets closer to being her true self.

  3. Sam came to me when he was 2 nearly7 yrs ago and at first he was aloof & was trying to adjust to the new home environment–new bipeds & a couple ‘sibling’ OES’s. Once he felt confident, he began to morph into the goofball he is now. He completely bonded with the female sheepdog and although both OES’s passed a few years ago, he still trys to say hello to any in our neighborhood. I wouldn’t want him any other way though and neither would the patients at the hospital he visits. Everyone loves that silly doofas!

  4. Hmm… That’s a really good question! Since we adopted Sammie at two, you would think she’d already be settled into the dog she is going to be. However, since she didn’t have a stable home in those two years, I’m not sure that’s really the case! The longer she’s with us, and the more we introduce her to, the more I see different aspects of her personality. She’s still plenty puppy, and while I want to encourage that playfulness, I’m ready for her to settle down, too! I guess we’re still trying to figure that question out ourselves.


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