Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/a26f9f83/public_html/articles/includes/config.php on line 159
The 7 Stages of Puppy Development > NetSparsh - Viral Content you Love & Share

The 7 Stages of Puppy Development

Let's take a look at the different stages, but before we do, keep in mind that these stages are generalizations ? each dog will progress at its own pace.

Stage 1: The Transitional Stage 2-3 Weeks

The Transitional stage generally lasts from age two to three weeks, and it's during this time that your puppy's eyes will open, and he'll slowly start to respond to light and movement and sounds around him. He'll become a little more mobile during this period, trying to get his feet underneath him and crawling around in the box (or wherever home is.) He'll start to recognize mom and his littermates, and any objects you might place in the box.

Stage 2: The Almost Ready To Meet The World Stage 3-4 Weeks

The Almost ready to meet the world stage lasts from 3 to about 4 weeks, and your puppy undergoes rapid sensory development during this time. Fully alert to his environment, he'll begin to recognize you and other family members. It's best to avoid loud noises or sudden changes during this period ? negative events can have a serious impact on his personality and development right now. Puppies learn how to be a dog during this time, so it's essential that they stay with mom and littermates.

Stage 3: The Overlap Stage 4-7 Weeks

From 3-4 weeks your puppy begins the most critical social development period of his life ? he learns social interaction with his littermates, learns how to play and learns bite inhibition.

He'll also learn discipline at this point ? Mom will begin weaning the pups around this time, and will start teaching them basic manners, including accepting her as the leader of the pack. You can begin to introduce food to the pups starting around the 4th week ? transition gradually as Mom weans them. Continue handling the pups daily, but don't separate them from either Mom or litter mates for more than about 10 minutes per day. Puppies that are removed from the nest too early frequently are nervous, more prone to barking and biting and have a more difficult time with socialization and training. Puppies need to be left with Mom and siblings until at least 7 weeks of age - and preferably a little longer - for optimum social development. Experts say that the best time in a puppy's life to learn social skills is between 3 and 16 weeks of age ? that's the window of opportunity you have to make sure your puppy grows up to be a well-adjusted dog. It's extremely important to leave your puppy with Mom and his littermates during as much of this period as possible. Don't discipline for play fighting, housebreaking mistakes or mouthing ? that's all normal behavior for a puppy at this stage.

Stage 4: The "I'm Afraid of Everything" Stage 8 Weeks to 3 Months

The "I'm Afraid of Everything" Stage lasts from about 8 weeks to 3 months, and is characterized by rapid learning as well as a "fearful period" that usually pops up at around 8 to 10 weeks. 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. At this time your puppy's bladder and bowels are starting to come under much better control, and he's capable of sleeping through the night. (At last, you can get some rest!) You can begin teaching simple commands like: come, sit, stay, down, etc. Leash training can begin. It's important not to isolate your puppy from human contact at this time, as he'll continue to learn behaviors and manners that will affect him in later years.

Stage 5: The Juvenile Stage 3 Months to 4 Months

The Juvenile stage typically lasts from 3 to 4 months of age, and it's during this time your puppy is most like a toddler. He'll be a little more independent - he might start ignoring the commands he's only recently learned ? just like a child does when they're trying to exert their new-found independence. As in "I don't have to listen to you!" Firm and gentle reinforcement of commands and training is what's required here. He might start biting you ? play biting or even a real attempt to challenge your authority. A sharp "No!" or "No bite!" command, followed by several minutes of ignoring him, should take care of this problem. Continue to play with him and handle him on a daily basis, but don't play games like tug of war or wrestling with him. He may perceive tug of war as a game of dominance ? especially if he wins. And wrestling is another game that can rapidly get out of hand. As your puppy's strength grows, he's going to want to play-fight to see who's stronger ? even if you win, the message your puppy receives is that it's ok to fight with you. And that's not ok!

Stage 6: The Brat Stage 4-6 Months

The Brat Stage starts at about 4 months and runs until about 6 months, and it's during this time your puppy will demonstrate even more independence and willfulness. You may see a decline in his urge to please you ? expect to see more "testing the limits" type of behaviors. He'll be going through a teething cycle during this time, and will also be looking for things to chew on to relieve the pain and pressure. Frozen doggie bones can help sooth him during this period.

He may try to assert his new "dominance" over other family members, especially children. Continue his training in obedience and basic commands, but make sure to never let him off his leash during this time unless you're in a confined area. Many times pups at this age will ignore commands to return or come to their owners, which can be a dangerous, even fatal, breakdown in your dog's response to you. If you turn him loose in a public place, and he bolts, the chances of injury or even death can result ? so don't take the chance.

He'll now begin to go through the hormonal changes brought about by his growing sexual maturity, and you may see signs of rebelliousness. (Think adolescent teen-age boy!) If you haven't already, you should have him neutered during this time. (Or spayed if you have a female.)

Stage 7: The Young Adult Stage 6-18 Months

The Young Adulthood stage lasts from 6 months to about 18 months, and is usually a great time in your dog's life - he's young, he's exuberant, he's full of beans ? and yet he's learning all the things he needs to become a full-fledged adult dog.

Be realistic in your expectations of your dog at this time ? just because he's approaching his full growth and may look like an adult, he's not as seasoned and experienced as you might expect. Gradually increase the scope of activities for your dog, as well as the training. You can start more advanced training during this period, such as herding or agility training, if that's something both of you are interested in. Otherwise, extend his activities to include more people and other animals ? allow him to interact with non-threatening or non-aggressive dogs.

Congratulations! You've raised your puppy through the 7 stages of childhood, er, I mean puppyhood, and now you have a grown-up, adult dog! Almost feels like you've raised a kid, doesn't it?

Charlie Lafave, author, "Dog Training Secrets!" To transform your stubborn, misbehaving dog into a loyal, well-behaving "best friend" who obeys your every command and is the envy of the neighborhood, visit:

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at

Alabama Public Radio

Pets Are Living Longer
Alabama Public Radio
The specialists don't take the place of your regular veterinarian, but supplement the care your vet provides. Our cat was diagnosed with multiple kidney stones. Her doctor recommended an intricate surgery, and referred us to a specialty clinic that ...
Loving your pet is one thing, kissing it on the mouth is anotherAsahi Shimbun
NLA lambastes ministry's pet tax proposal | Bangkok Post: newsBangkok Post
Pet Vet: Food Safety - WNDU 16WNDU-TV

all 17 news articles »

PETS: Knowing when it's time to let go
Red Bluff Daily News
There is a time in life to hold on, and a time to let go. Matt Weinstein, in his book “Dogs Don't Bite When a Growl Will Do,” said it best. ”In all sorts of situations in our lives… our work, our relationships, and yes, even in matters of life and ...

Wisconsin Gazette

State group starts pantry to help owners care for pets
Wisconsin Gazette
Schneider — University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire psychologist emerita — launched the We All Love Our Pets program in 2006 in Eau Claire. Under the auspices of the humane association, the program furnished pet food and supplies to owners who — because ...


On National Puppy Day: New Report On American Attitudes About Pets, And Their Lack Of Safety In Cars
And now, with National Puppy Day here, I wanted to post again on pet travel safety, focusing on the attitudes and actions of those who travel with their pets in cars. Volvo Car USA has teamed with Harris Poll across four core themes: design, safety ...

Food Safety News

Complaints of sick pets prompt Smucker to recall dog treats | Food ...
Food Safety News
The J.M. Smucker Co. is recalling specific lots of two varieties of Milo's Kitchen dog treats, because the products may contain elevated levels of beef thyroid hormone. The recall was initiated after the Food and Drug Administration informed the ...

and more »

FOX Carolina

Woman reunited with her pets after I-26 accident
FOX Carolina
It's a reunion nearly a month in the making. Today, a "pet parent", badly injured in an accident near Inman on March 1st, will finally get to see her animals, who ran off after the crash along Interstate 26. It's a story we've been covering since that ...

Military families separated from pets in Guam after United changes policy WTLV-WJXX
We want our customers to understand that their pets' safety and well-being are our top priorities and that every step is being taken to ensure their comfort and safety. We look forward to providing more information when we complete our review. While we ...

Orlando Sentinel

These therapeutic pets come with hooves and tennis shoes
Orlando Sentinel
“We are here to bring people joy,” declares Susan Nastasi, the horse's handler. “That's what we do.” The horse wears a vest with his name — Shelton — and makes stops in the critical care unit and day-care classroom, where clients with mental and ...


Transporting pets doesn't even make United that much money. Here's why they bother to do it.
Pet transport is a relatively tiny segment of United Airlines' business, but it was thrust into the spotlight this month as several dog incidents, including the death of a puppy on board, sparked an outcry on social media and scrutiny from lawmakers ...
Military family pets could be temporarily stranded on GuamMilitary Times
United Airlines suspends pet shipments, but what if you already have a reservation?Los Angeles Times
Military family pets stranded as United Airlines suspends shipmentsStars and Stripes
Runway Girl Network -Sputnik International -Fox News -United Hub - United Airlines
all 106 news articles »

Bad things happen to pets in Wes Anderson movies. 'Isle of Dogs' tries to make up for that.
Washington Post
A particular kind of darkness lurks in Wes Anderson's Technicolor dreamscapes. In “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Willem Dafoe throws Jeff Goldblum's cat out the window. Goldblum probably had it coming, because in “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou ...
Wes Anderson's 'Isle of Dogs' is often captivating, but cultural sensitivity gets lost in translationLos Angeles Times

all 206 news articles »
Google News

Why Does My Cat Drink Dirty Water?

You know that cats should always have a supply of... Read More

One Of The Benefits Of Using RecoveryPets.Com

One of the benefits of registering your pet with a... Read More

Are You Ready for a Boxer?

Are you ready for a Boxer?The answer is "no" if... Read More

3 Tips For Dealing With Dog Emergencies

Have you ever thought about what you need to do... Read More

But My Pet Will Never Run Away (or Why We Need Licenses)

The city I live in just increased its fees for... Read More

Is Dog Dental Care Necessary?

Caring for your dogs teeth is a vital part of... Read More

3 Tips For Dealing With Dog Emergencies

Have you ever thought about what you need to do... Read More

Water Chemistry For The Discus Tank

Much has been written about the Discus, or Symphysodon aequifasciatus,... Read More

GPS Pet Tracking

If you have a dog or cat that is an... Read More

How To Find a Lost Cat

Losing your cat is a worrying experience, use these 'How... Read More

Dog Grooming and Dog Care

Dog grooming is relatively simple for most dogs. I have... Read More

My Fathers Daughter

My dad was an avid animal lover. We grew up... Read More

Training Your Dog To Save a Life In Water

Occasionally watching Animal Planet does have its advantage. You can... Read More

Successful Dog Training

Dog TrainingSo, we've got a new best friend that needs... Read More

A Cat Tale

My son and I have a cat. Her name is... Read More

Flea Control

Last summer, we added a new pet to our family... Read More

5 Common Grooming Mistakes Made by Professionals

1. Using tranquilizers.This is illegal in many states but other... Read More

Buy Dog Supplements Online

Dog SupplementsA good nutritional program of dog supplements is just... Read More

Secrets of Kitty Body Language

Kittens communicate in a very distinct way. Did you know... Read More

Dogs: Buy or Adopt?

Buy or Adopt - That is the question.If you intend... Read More

Dog Health Conditions and Terms You Should Know...

Some Dogs like Boxers unfortunately, are prone to several potential... Read More

Proper Diet For the Discus Fish

The Discus fish has its habitat in the South American... Read More

Dog Rescue: Is it Right for You?

Ever had a hankering for a certain breed of dog?... Read More

Treat Fleas Naturally and Avoid Vaccinations, for a Truly Healthy Dog

An essential to your dog's health is his/her regular annual... Read More

Dog Behavior Training: Methods of Working with a Shy Dog

Shy dogs are more common than most people think, but... Read More