The stages of puppyhood

Your puppy will go through several different stages of puppyhood as they grow up.  Knowing what to expect while they are in each stage and when these stages can occur can help you prepare and reduce frustration.  

The Puppy Stage - Normally 9-15 weeks

They are a lot like human toddlers – they sleep a lot, are very energetic, have a short attention span and learn about their world through chewing on things.  They are work!  Just like a toddler, when they are out of their pen you should be constantly watching them!!! They learn VERY fast during this period.  This is the time period that will determine who they become as adults.  Socialization is a must!

So what does normal Puppy Behavior look like?

  • Biting and Mouthing
  • Nipping
  • Whining
  • Jumping on people
  • Barking and growling
  • Chewing
  • Digging
  • Chasing anything that moves

The Juvenile Stage - Normally 16 weeks - 7 months

Expect an increase in independence during this phase.  They will be getting stronger and have grown a lot. Here is what to expect.

  • How fast they learn slows down
  • They will be teething (they lose their 28 baby teeth which will be replaced by 42 adult teeth) Sometimes their ears may fall down again.  Just supplement them with a spoonful of cottage cheese each feeding and let me know if they do not come back up.  They will need lots of chews.
  • Teach your puppy self control like not pulling on the leash.
  • They will be in an awkward stage with gawky bodies.  Check their body condition often and adjust food as needed. 
  • Their growth plates have not closed yet so follow the exercise booklet for exercise guidelines
  • Watch that they only play with non aggressive dogs.

The Adolescent Stage - Normally 7 - 14 months

Expect them to test boundaries with you and other dogs.  Also expect raging hormones. Most vets recommend that your puppy be spayed or neutered by 9 months of age.  This will help with behavior during this period.

  • They may start roaming
  • May become defensive and start to bark at strange people or other dogs.  This is the age when they feel the need to defend you, their home, and themselves
  • They may become protective of their toys, crate, bowl, etc.
  • Have a very high need for mental and physical exercise.  You may see intense chewing and destructive behavior start.
  • May start humping
  • Male dogs often get into fights, start marking their territory, and sniff other dogs and the ground searching for where other dogs have been. 
  • Females come into heat at the end of the Juvenille stage or in the Adolescent stage.  They may want to fight other females. 
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