While your 16 week Puppy Plan is over, there are a couple of other developmental phases you need to be aware of – otherwise they can come as a shock when suddenly your lovely cuddly puppy turns into a teenager!
The first one comes anywhere between four and eight months and can last anything from a few days to a couple of months. The puppy will begin to wander a little further from you – and instead of coming to you (as he has been doing) he gives a good impression of not having heard you. He may even be difficult to catch or even run away from you.
If this becomes a problem, avoid complete off-lead exercise but keep him on a long line that he can trail behind him (not a retractable lead, which doesn’t allow you enough control and can cause injuries if misused) so he can still get plenty of experience, socialise freely with other dogs but you can prevent him ignoring you when you call him. Often this phase doesn’t last long!
Be careful with a long line not to get rope burns (put a foot on it rather than grabbing it with your hands) or trip people up!
Use the lead, and plenty of rewards when he comes to you, and this period should not last long. If however he discovers that he can ignore you, this may continue for far longer – or even become a habit.
Consider joining a dog training class to help with further training, and give you support and advice with any problems. Ask your vet for suggestions of good established local clubs, use the Kennel Club website to find a nearby Kennel Club Accredited Instructor, or club teaching the Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme.