Puppy to Adult Development stages


The following list of developmental stages will help guide your training plan as well as perhaps temper your expectations as to what will happen when in your puppies’ development.

Important to note is that socialisation does not stop with puppy classes. Whilst attendance is preferred, active participation in your pup’s early development will help both of you adjust to situations later down the track.

Socialisation needs to be supervised and there are usually designated dog parks - not just off leash areas - where you will find like-minded people to connect with while witnessing how amazing your dog is.

0 - 2 Weeks - Neonatal

Most helpless stage

Body temperature cannot be self-regulate

Dam must initiate puppies’ ability to eliminate by way of licking

Eyes and Ears are closed, vocalisation as well as forward crawling movement is possible

2 - 3 Weeks - Transitional

Ears and eyes open

Teeth erupt

Eyes cannot yet fully see

Human handling and scent exposure should start here

3 - 4 Weeks -Awareness

Full sensory awareness

Ability to regulate body temperature and eliminate autonomously

Can ingest food besides sucking

Differing floor surfaces should be introduced

3 - 7 Weeks - Socialisation (Canine)

Body language and specific behaviours is learnt from surrounding dogs (dam etc.)

Status behaviour present

Dam’s authority and reactions to it become discernible

Bite inhibition learnt through play with littermates

Social hierarchy and relationships learned

Dam begins weaning pups

7 - 12 Weeks - Socialisation (Human)

Pup-human bond starts to develop

Mental development

Fully weened and ready for re-homing

8 - 11 Weeks - 1st Fear

Through various stimuli, some can cause a fear reaction

There is potential for trauma to occur which can result in later difficulties for the pup

Careful and positive connection should be established for new stimuli such as thunder, cars, people etc.

10 - 16 Weeks - Hierarchal Classification

Pup becomes more independent

Their confidence grows and they can start to increase their range from you off leash

Mouthing may become more frequent

4 - 8 Months - Flight Instinct

Increased range off leash

You become a known constant and may be less interesting than other distractions, recall may suffer

Teething can cause mouthing, redirection to chew toys is advised

6 - 14 Months - 2nd Fear

Familiar and new situations may elicit cautious behaviour

Sexual maturity will result in cocked leg urination for males and 1st Oestrus for females

Long lasting habitual behaviour patterns can form

Socialisation can help reduce the effects of the puberty blues

Classical Conditioning and positive experiences can guide the dog’s new appreciation

1 - 4 Years - Maturity

Dog will grow to full size

Behavioural issues will surface that have not been previously addressed (resource guarding, reactivity, impulse control etc.)

Associations with objects, people and animals continues

Continued socialisation and exposure to varying stimuli will enable to dog to lead a balanced life

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