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Puppy Stages


Congratulations!  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.

Puppy Development

Birth to Two Weeks: Neonatal Period

  • Puppy is most influenced by his mother.

  • Senses of touch and taste are present at birth.

Two to Four Weeks: Transitional Period

  • Puppy is most influenced by his mother and littermates.

  • Eyes open, teeth begin to come in, and senses of hearing and smell develop.

  • Puppy begins to stand, walk a little, wag tail, and bark.

  • By the fourth or fifth week, eyesight is becoming well-developed.

Three to Twelve Weeks: Socialization Period

  • 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, including play.

  • 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. You can 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: Adolescence

  • Puppy is most influenced by human and dog "pack" members.

  • 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

Puppy Development

Training Links

Potty Training (Housetraining)

General Training

Crate Training



Training (and Grooming) for Shows




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Cedar Ridge Beagles
c/o Toni Perdew
(the best method to reach me is via e-mail)
Bedford, Iowa
Click here for additional contact information.

Our premises are monitored via video surveillance for your puppy's safety!