Before you take your
puppy home, this page might help you prepare for those first few days and
weeks of working with your puppy and understanding his behavior.
Birth to Two Weeks: Neonatal Period
Two to Four Weeks:
Puppy is most influenced by his mother and
Eyes open, teeth begin to come in, and senses
of hearing and smell develop.
Puppy begins to stand, walk a little, wag tail,
By the fourth or fifth week, eyesight is
Three to Twelve Weeks:
During this period, puppy needs opportunities
to meet other dogs and people.
By three to five weeks, puppy becomes aware of
his surroundings, companions (both canine and human), and relationships,
By four to six weeks, puppy is most influenced
by littermates and is learning about being a dog.
From four to seven weeks:
Don’t discipline for
play fighting, housebreaking mistakes or mouthing – that’s all normal behavior
for a puppy at this stage.
From four to twelve weeks, puppy remains
influenced by littermates and is also influenced by people. Puppy learns to
play, develops social skills, learns the inhibited bite, explores social
structure/ranking, and improves physical coordination.
By five to seven weeks, puppy develops
curiosity and explores new experiences. Puppy needs positive "people"
experiences during this time.
The following occur around the time puppies leave us,
or after puppies leave us:
By seven to nine weeks, puppy is refining his
physical skills and coordination, and can begin to be housetrained. Puppy has
full use of senses.
By eight to ten weeks, puppy experiences real
fear involving normal objects and experiences; puppy needs positive training
during this time. “I’m
Afraid of Everything” Stage--Not all dogs experience this, but most do, and
they’ll appear terrified over things that they took in stride before. This is
not a good time to engage in harsh discipline (not that you ever should
anyway!), loud voices or traumatic events.
Your puppy’s bladder and bowels are starting to come under much
better control, and he’s capable of sleeping through the night sometime
between 8 and 12 weeks.
By nine to twelve weeks, puppy is refining
reactions, developing social skills with littermates (appropriate
interactions), and exploring the environment and objects. Puppy begins to
focus on people; this is a good time to begin training.
begin teaching simple commands like: come, sit, stay, down, etc. Leash
training can begin.
Three to Six Months: Ranking Period
Puppy is most influenced by "playmates," which
may now include those of other species.
Puppy begins to see and use ranking (dominance
and submission) within the household (the puppy's "pack"), including humans.
Puppy begins teething (and associated chewing).
At four months of age, puppy experiences
another fear stage.
Six to Eighteen Months:
Puppy is most influenced by human and dog
At seven to nine months, puppy goes through a
second chewing phase, part of exploring territory.
Puppy increases exploration of dominance,
including challenging humans.
If not spayed or neutered, puppy experiences
beginnings of sexual behavior.
Links of Interest
Potty Training (Housetraining)
Training (and Grooming)