Reserving A Puppy
Puppy Development Stages
Any training tips can be better understood if we know how puppies
think. And, since puppies' brains are developing while they go through
cognitive stages of development, we need to know what stage puppies
are experiencing to understand what behaviors are normal for that
stage. Before changing or beginning training methods, remember to
check the cognitive development stages for puppies of varying ages.
Birth to Two Weeks:
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 becoming
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
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 me, or after puppies leave me:
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:
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. See the Training page for tips to
prevent/stop puppy dominance, aggression, and/or biting.
Puppy begins teething (and associated chewing).
At four months of age, puppy experiences another
Six to Eighteen Months:
Puppy is most influenced by human and dog "pack"
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.
Note: The above stages are often referred to by different
names, but most authorities agree on the progression of
Reserving A Puppy
Bedford, IA 50833
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