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November 11, 2014

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
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. 11.1

“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?

Comments for When does a pet become who they are?

  1. I’m with Eko… “another year” sounds like eternity :o) Weimaraners are late bloomers, so Easy became a “real” Weimaraner after he turned three… no idea how I survived this 3 years :o)

  2. Elyse says:

    I think in terms of their personality, they are like kids. They are who they will be the moment they pop out. Getting them to behave is a whole different ballgame!

  3. dashlilly says:

    Dash is 7 years and Lilly is 6 years. I think we are pretty set in personalities. And they both make me smile! When one does something out of character — well that’s just a great day. Tell Eko I said “good luck” with puppyhood… it does feel interminable some days.

  4. coastingnz says:

    Our Dally Nico (now 10) seemed mature right from 12 weeks old. If anything he got younger as he got older but he has always been very sensible and mature. Ziggy – well Ziggy is a whole nother story LOL. Like Penny he is incredibly active by day and the snuggle monster come night. We find though break routine for either of them and we’ve got trouble on our hands.

  5. PigLove says:

    Snorts and oinks. I *know* exactly what you mean now that we have a “little one” in the house. I’m not sure who is going to be more happy about having teething behind us – mom, dad, the purr things or me and my tail. They do have their own personality as well. Houdini is living up to his name for sure BIG TIME. XOXO – Bacon

  6. T&S says:

    LOL. Double trouble 🙂

    Double training? 🙂
    My advice for you is to control Eko, she will follow too.

    I am not sure that the caracter changes a lot… I think ours were always like they are now… except trying to push some boundaries in crazy teen months… I think our female is still a teen :-))))
    Our male ridgeback is 2,5 years young, he is laidback, sweet and loves to cuddle.
    He was always gentle to small dogs and loves small kids.
    Our female ridgeback is 1,5 years young, she is very independent, loves to chase everything that moves (especially smal dogs and joggers), doesn t love to cuddle much as our male, but loves to give kisses.

    Love these pictures, they are so sweet 🙂

  7. OhMelvin says:

    Love the photos, they so perfectly correspond to the words. You pose an interesting question… For Melvin, he was about six (but I didn’t get him until he was three and it wasn’t until about five that his health issues were under control and he was thriving, not just surviving) and with Jake, I’m not sure I know yet! He is a complicated, well-layered personality! He’s 7 but I haven’t even had him for two years yet.

  8. Emmadog says:

    We want to get our other Bailie back, the well behaved one! Katie didn’t mature until she was around 3, I grew up pretty quickly, and Bailie, well, she may never grow up! One thing we all have in common is that our first year we loved and chased birds, but we all gave it up after a year. Mom says sadly, we have never given up things like squirrels or wabbits.

  9. Have you ever tried lure coursing with your dogs, I bet penny would love it.

  10. Pat Sieloff says:

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but some RR’s are “perma puppies” and NEVER truly mature. It is possible that Penny will follow in the footsteps of our beloved Tsavo who never truly matured, but was a delight anyway. (We lost her to bone cancer at age 8 several years ago and would have welcomed a 13 or 14 year old “puppy” if given the chance.) If that is the case, tell Eko that you are sorry, but it is beyond your control and he needs to deal with it. Our other RR’s adapted. So can he with a little extra solo venting time with The Rents.

  11. I knew who Boomer and Dottie were pretty much within a few days of adopting them. I could tell Boomer was going to be stubborn and loving and that Dottie was going to be very independent and would only cuddle on her terms. But, you know what? That’s OK, that’s who they are and I love them to bits!

  12. Misaki says:

    I don’t plan on every growing up lol!

  13. pawedblog says:

    Hmm this has made me think! Millie, doesn’t seem to have changed in personality since day 1.. she’s alwasy been fiest and known how to use her ‘cute’. Ellie, too doesn’t seem much different from when she was a pup. But Myfie, he seems to have gone through so many changes. In fact, he seems to be regressing, he’s more of a puppy now than he ever was… think that’s anything to do with him being male? 😉
    Hugs, Carrie & Pups x

  14. Amy Wise says:

    I love this thought concept. It must be different for every dog but I’ll share my experience.

    Chowski has pretty much been the same mischevious rascal since the day we brought him home. His personality has developed over time and as he is approaching 2 I think he firmly has his personality sorted. He has fed off our energy and is a friendly, confident pup who doesn’t take life too seriously. There are also inherent pug traits like loving food and wanting to be the centre of attention!

    We raised him from 8 weeks old so we have seen him develop and mature into the pup he is.

    Things you think will never change (biting and nibbling hands) do but somethings stay the same (not liking to be stroked/cuddled) and you work out it’s part of what makes them, them.

    Killa came into our family four months ago and since then she has changed dramatically. Every day she is gaining confidence and she is less scared of things. Having not been socialised with dogs outside the house or new humans she was very wary. This is changing and our other family members now say she is a completely different dog to when they first met her.

    When a pet becomes an adult (1-2years) I believe they become what they will be for life but like us they continously evolve. They feed off the energy of their humans and learn from the environment around them.

    I think their ability to evolve into a different dog is proven with the
    rehabilitation of rescue dogs. If given a chance most dogs can really shine and become the dog they were meant to be all along.

  15. fozziemum says:

    Hahah gorgeous images as always…and I agree with Carrie..mine go back to puppy behaviour ever now and then..i say it’s a boy thing….love em to bits..but make your mind up dudes 🙂 hugs Fozziemum x

  16. 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.

  17. Another year … oh poor Eko he has a lot to do to keep his little sister in line 🙂

  18. 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!

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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