Introduction to Developmental Stages of Puppies

Reading about the developmental stages of puppies is not only confined to student vets; you as a puppy owner ought to learn about it too. It’s the basis to properly time dog training, it will teach you what to expect from your puppy while it’s growing up, and it will help you to mold your puppy into a well-adjusted, well-mannered adult dog.

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Here are the different developmental stages of puppyhood and the duration of each stages that you should know about.

Neonatal Stage

The neonatal stage starts from 0 to 2 weeks old. The puppy is mostly sensory handicap at this stage, so it depends totally on its mother to survive. The puppy is so dependent not just in terms of food but also in terms of temperature regulation and even bodily waste disposal. But curiously enough, renowned veterinarian Dr. Michael Fox discovered that a little stress to the puppy at this stage helps it to develop larger brain and better cognitive abilities when it grows up.

Transitional Stage

This is the third week of puppyhood in which you can start introducing stimuli in the form of touch and safe dog toys. It’s best to pick up and spend few minutes to handle each puppy at this stage. It’s a good dog training technique to talk to your puppies at this stage also because they’re now able to recognize your voice.

Awareness and Socialization Stage

This is the 3rd to 12th week of puppyhood in which puppies are able to use all their senses. It’s crucial not to separate the puppies from their mother and their littermates at this stage to learn important dog skills. Puppies are very playful at this stage checking and tasting everything they see by licking and biting. It’s a good dog training to introduce different sound stimuli at this stage by bringing the puppies to the yard to play.

Human Socialization and Fear Imprint Stage

This stage ranges from 7 to 12 weeks of puppyhood. It is okay to send the puppies to their new homes at this stage, but the window of opportunity for dog training is fast closing too. This should be the best time for the new owner to enroll their puppies to a dog training school to optimize their learning potential and social skills with humans and other dogs.

At 7-8 weeks, your puppy also marks the fear imprint stage wherein any nerve-racking situation is marked by your dog for life. So make dog training positive and make every vet visit a fun activity for your puppy.

Seniority Classification Stage

From 10 to 16 weeks old, your puppy should be able to learn his place in the family. It’s at this stage where a puppy tries to establish social dominance, and if you’re not careful, it will dominate you. Provide structure to your puppy’s life and let it know clearly that you’re the alpha dog in the family by dog training.

Flight Instinct Stage

It’s at this stage from 4 to 8 months of your puppy wherein the dog could be difficult to handle. Your puppy could challenge your dominance at this stage and it could show signs of stubbornness. It’s your dog’s way of resolving the issue of dominance in the family. Try to understand your dog at this stage because it’s going through puberty. And, enrolling your puppy to dog training schools at this stage should mold him to behave properly throughout its life.

Maturity Stage

As your puppy reach 1 year old, it’s about ready to mature physically. Female dogs may show signs of estrus from 6 to 12 months, but they must not be mated until their second estrus cycle. At maturity, your dog can be trusted to be left alone in the house for longer periods of time. If it’s damaging property, be patient. Just put it on a crate while you go out. Eventually it will fully mature and the dog training school session should pay off.

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