Puppy Developmental Stages
During the first year of your puppy’s life, he will undergo different changes. During each stage, you will observe as your puppy matures mentally, physically and emotionally.
Puppies from birth to 7 weeks
All puppies are born deaf and blind. During this period, their hearing and sight begins to develop. It is important to let puppies stay with their mother during this time as she will teach them important social behaviors such as how to play and how to respect others.
Puppies from 7 to 8 weeks
During this time, the mother will wean her puppies. This is a great time to bring a puppy into a new home as he will easily adapt to a new environment. Remember that around 8 weeks a puppy will need its first set of vaccinations.
Puppies from 8 to 18 weeks
During this time, socializing a puppy is key. It is important to expose your puppy to different people, dogs, and situations. The more desensitized your puppy becomes to different surroundings, the better his social skills will be throughout his life. You may notice that your puppy is particularly fearful during the 8 to 10 week period. Do not force him into any situation, rather encourage him to explore whatever frightens him on his own time and with plenty of positive reinforcement. During this time, your puppy can learn basic commands such as SIT, LOOK, and COME. Remember that around the 12 week period your puppy will require its second set of vaccinations, and its third set at 18 weeks.
Puppies from 4 to 6 months
During this stage, your puppy’s energy level will increase. It is important to give him plenty of exercise as well as mentally stimulating training. Be sure to keep him occupied, especially when left alone. During this time, your puppy’s adult teeth will come in. Keep plenty of chew toys handy, and teach him what is appropriate to chew. When your puppy is 6 months old, you may check with your vet about neutering or spaying.
Puppies from 6 to 12 months
Your puppy is now an adolescent. During this stage, his energy level peaks and he may begin to test his boundaries. Undesired behaviors may arise such as jumping, barking, and pulling on leash. It is important to use consistent training to extinguish unwanted behaviors and reinforce good ones.
Puppies from after 12 months
Your dog is now considered an adult. He may still require some more emotional maturing, but you will notice that this is a time in which your dog is more well adjusted. His muscle mass may increase some, but he has pretty much reached the size he will be. You can begin more advanced training at this stage. Your vet visits can be limited to once a year now unless an unexpected issue or illness occurs.