Watching a four-legged newborn transform into the most faithful friend on planet is pure bliss. And talking about a pup, most of us imagine an adorable dog with tiny feet that make him trip as he walks around the house and eyes, barely opened, always rolling in search of love. He’s always bubbling up with energy and just can’t keep calm as he explores the vivid world. Always ready to chase balls and pee (and also roll in it), a puppy will never let you down, no matter what you expect.
The reason behind their curiosity and unstoppable hopping is simple- they’re excited. Unlike humans, dogs become adults between 12 and 24 months of age. Puppyhood isn’t going to last just a few weeks, be patient.
In the first two years, your puppy will undergo a number of stages of growth and development. However, you’ll only see a pup or an adult in him. This cuddle machine will soon become a safeguard, a best-friend and possibly the best thing to ever happen to you. But, good parenting is must, both for kids and pups. If you expect them to treat you well, you’ll have to treat them and others around you in the same manner. They believe that they are equivalent to human beings and very well recognize generosity and selfishness, claims Dr. Stanley Coren.
To help you with the growth process, we’ve listed the puppy stages here. Knowing these stages of puppy growth and development will help you raise a better dog and will also give you an insight into what to expect in the first 12 months. Puppyhood begins at birth and ends when your dog reaches maturity and becomes an adult. There are 5 to 7 stages of puppyhood but let’s keep things simple, and stick with five until he’s 12 months old.
1. Newborn period (0 to 2 weeks)
If Linda White is to be believed, puppies can touch and taste at birth. However, their eyes and ears aren’t properly open until 10 days old. This the time when they’ll be most influenced by their mother and littermates. They will start their learning process with some simple social skills, management, and the ranking process. This stage is all about eating and sleeping. Newborns need to be fed milk by mother or any other commercial milk replacer almost every two hours. What to expect? Well, they’re too young for it- they’ll mostly sleep.
2. Provisional period (2 to 4 weeks)
There’s a lot that happens in this stage. They open their eyes, develop a sense of smell, wag their tails, stand and walk, teeth start coming in, and a lot more. What to expect? They will now be able to hear you and you’ll hear their first bark. As this period ends, they should be able to see pretty well on their own and use the bathroom without help.
3. Socialization period (4 to 12 weeks)
At this stage, it becomes really important to take them outside into the wider world. Familiarize your pup to other people and dogs. By the end of four weeks, puppies are well-aware of their environments and start really enjoying playtime. Their experiences with people and other dogs from weeks 5 to 7 will perform a major role in how they continue to behave.
Although they’ll begin getting influenced by people after about 4 weeks, preferably you let puppies to be with their mother and littermates for about 2 months. Puppies taken away from their mother prior to 7 weeks are usually noisy, anxious and have little bite inhibition.
By the end of week seven, you may start house-training for your puppy. Your four-legged infant will go through a normal “fear” stage between weeks 8 and 10. This period can be helped with proper training that fills him with positivity and encouragement. After the motivation, true training should begin from 9 to 12 weeks. This is the golden period of learning because your pup is keenly working on societal skills and is paying attention to other people and littermates.
This stage will fulfill a lot of expectations. You don’t have to guide them anymore about where they’re supposed to pee or sleep. They’ll chase the balls and give you endless hugs.
4. Juvenile period (3 to 6 months)
This stage will mark the slowing down of your puppy’s growth process. At 4 months old, they’re already two-third of their adult size. Most of the growth is in terms of strength and skill. Your dog will now start lifting his leg to urinate. Dogs at this stage are most inclined towards their playmates — both dogs and humans.
You can expect teething and chewing issues, and when the pup is about four months old, he’ll go through another fear stage.
5. Adolescent period (6 to 18 months)
Your puppy now recognizes his pack very well. This pack may consist of both humans and dogs and the way he behaves will entirely depend on how he’s being treated by this group. It’s okay for him to challenge you more as he understands his dominance and role in the pack. You’ll have to pamper him a little to make him your best friend.
If not sterilized or neutered, dogs will exhibit sexual behavior during this period. A second chewing stage is likely to begin somewhere between 7 to 9 months where the urge to chew becomes uncontrollable for the dog. The puppy’s adult teeth emerge and only a hard rubber toy can satisfy his chewing needs. Do not expect your pup to behave very well with the strangers and shouldn’t be left unsupervised. He might bite!
Better get yourself ready to handle specific behaviors by knowing these stages of puppyhood and understanding what to expect and at which times. Keeping these in mind, you’ll be able to handle them in a way which is both progressive and inspires the kind of behavior you want.