The way that your puppies would turn out and their puppy behaviors depend on a lot of factors. Heredity plays a crucial role. For example, puppies that are well-behaved and socialized are more likely to come from parents with those qualities. The way that you handle the development of the puppies is also another significant factor, so it is important that you become familiar with the various stages of the development of your puppies.
Familiarizing with these stages of development involves knowing what goes on and what you can expect. It is important to know when do puppies open their eyes. That way, you can prepare and provide for their needs in the right way.
Some facts about the dogs which you should be aware of:
- The puppy stage is not something that lasts only for a few weeks. Dogs only become adults when they are one to two years old. So, if you’re wondering how long is a dog considered a puppy, the answer might surprise you.
- Dogs actually undergo several stages of life, though people tend to categorize them either as puppies or adult dogs.
- There are varying opinions about the actual number of puppy stages that puppies undergo. It could be from five to seven.
Most 2 week old puppies only react when they are hungry, when they need to sleep, or they want to be with its mother, but not much to other things
The First 12 Weeks in Your Puppy’s Life
The first 12 weeks of your puppy’s life is going to be very crucial. Here are some information which you should be aware of about these stages of puppy development:
Birth to the First Three Weeks
This is a very crucial stage for puppies as they very delicate at this stage. Newborn puppies are not capable of a great deal learning during this stage. In fact, they are not capable of anything much then. The mental capacity of puppies right after birth is very low.
Most 2 week old puppies only react when they are hungry, when they need to sleep, or they want to be with its mother, but not much to other things. While it is very important to look after the puppies during this stage, you should also care for the mother.
Most dog mothers would like to stay in a secluded area during the first three weeks after giving. The puppies should stay with the mother. Most pups will stay in their whelping box during the first 20 days of their lives, after that, they would start exploring their surroundings.
Here are some important things to remember about this stage of puppy development:
- When do puppies open their eyes? It is usually during the first two weeks of their lives.
- When do puppies start walking? It is also during this period.
- When do puppies open their ears or develop their sense of hearing? This happens on the same period.
Three to Four Weeks
This stage is very crucial for the mental development of the puppies. Experts say that beginning on the 21st day of their lives, puppies will start to act in a different manner, because their dormant senses are suddenly activated. This is said to be true, across all dog breeds. So, it does not matter whether your dog is chihuahua, a yorkie, or a pitbull.
Day 21 to 28 is a very critical for puppy development, as this is when their brains develop and they are suddenly aware of what’s going on in their surroundings. When their mother moves out of the whelping box, this is the stage that they watch her and wonder where she went. Some puppies will jump out of the box as well so this is the ideal time to expand your puppies’ home.
Weaning should start when the puppies are around three to four weeks old.
This is also the time to add a potty area right beside to where the whelping box is located. If a puppy will be separated from its mother during this stage, that would have a huge impact on its emotional development, because this is when it’s emotional growth is just starting to develop.
It is important to take note that important characteristics like shyness and fear appears during this stage. Any negative trait which might appear during this stage of a puppy’s life is likely to become a permanent trait.
Four to Seven Weeks
Once a puppy reaches 29 days, it will start to venture out of its sleeping area on its own. They may not go far but expect them to start exploring. This is the time to add an eating and playing area which they can use during the daytime when they are awake. This is also the time to move them to the kitchen or to some other part of the house where there is always someone, so they can become part of the family life.
The four to seven weeks is also the time when puppies will start responding to voices and start recognizing people. That’s why you should not have them confined to some back room or to the garage.
A five week old puppy together with its litter-mates will establish a pecking order within their group. Some will be leaders, while other puppies will be more inclined to follow. You should take note of these characteristics. You should be on the lookout for bullies. This usually happens when a dog becomes too dominant. That dog will be the first one to eat and will hog all the toys.
The presence of bully in a litter can cause certain traits in the other puppies to appear which would be difficult to turn around later on. On the other hand, it is crucial to leave puppies in a social group where they can learn how to interact with other dogs. Just be sure not to let a puppy to become too pushy or domineering. If you see those traits appearing, you have to step in right away and correct it.
You should monitor the weight of a puppy week by week.
You should use what you can learn about the temperament of each puppy to decide about how to get them adopted. If there is a bully in your litter, it usually makes sense to have that one adopted first. When the bully in a litter is gone, the other dogs which have become shy, will turn out to be alright later on.
Upon reaching seven weeks, a puppy is considered to be emotionally developed and so is ready for more learning. That’s different from being adult however. A puppy does not have an adult brain yet, which means it is not ready for some types of training yet. Still at seven weeks a puppy should be ready for some crate training. This would help in preparing them from being separated. You should start crate training with two puppies in a crate.
This is not the time yet to separate a puppy from its mother or from the rest of the litter. The mother can teach the puppies etiquette, manners, and social skills which they cannot learn anywhere else. Should a puppy miss those lessons, it might develop several behavioral problems as humans cannot teach those lessons.
Seven to Twelve Weeks
When a puppy reaches 50 days, it should be functioning in a capacity where it is ready to face life on its own. What a puppy learns during this period is going to be retained for the rest of its life. This is also the time when most mothers will stop caring for their puppies, who by this time have developed teeth which could hurt them.
It is crucial to take note that puppies will seek some kind of security from their littermates when their mother rejects them, but it will be inadequate. It would be great if they can be adopted during this time so their new owner can provide the security that they are looking for. The first shots should also be received during this period, particularly from 7.5 weeks to 8 weeks.
If puppies stay within their litter for eight to nine weeks and they do not get adequate contact with humans, things become difficult. From eight to eleven weeks, that is the best period to take a puppy to a new home. Then they can learn new things from their owners and the other pets in their new home.
What a puppy will learn from this period will stay with it throughout its life. So, you have to be careful about the experiences that a puppy will have then and the kind of lessons that it will learn and absorb. This is also the time to introduce the puppy to other people. Take it to walks outside so it can experience other places. It would be a good idea to enroll the puppy into classes for its age group.
The physical coordination of a 10 week old puppy will become refined. When a puppy is placed in a new home during this stage, it will become fearful of everything there. The owner must ensure that its experience in the new home will be a positive one. Housebreaking should start by eight weeks while actual training can start by nine weeks.
When the puppy reaches 12 weeks and its first permanent teeth starts to appear, you have to be on the lookout. You must give items which are suitable for gnawing. It is also important to give them lessons about which items are suitable for gnawing and which are not.
During this time, the puppy will start to challenge the authority of its caregiver, so you need to be ready to train it. Professional training can help a dog understand its role and what is expected of it.
Beyond Twelve Weeks
A 12 week old puppy is still bound to continue developing. Ideally, a puppy should be comfortable in its new home by this stage. This is when it will start to feel the need to develop a pack. By this period, the puppy has developed a recognizable personality and you have to take note of that. The puppy could all under any of the following personality:
- It could be a natural leader
- It could be submissive
- It could be a middle of the road kind of dog
Take note that all dogs have this instinctive feeling of belonging to a pack and to following a strong leader. So, even the most submissive of dogs may suddenly feel the need to rise up and become a pack leader if it feels that everyone else included in its pack is weak and unable to provide protection.
Submissive dogs who end becoming pack leaders end up being stressed about their roles. Their behavior does not make them suitable for the role, yet they end up being a leader. They don’t want to but they end up leading since it is crucial for them.
Many pet owners end up thinking that they have bad puppy because it nips at those around it. In fact, such behavior is an indication on the quality of the owner rather than the puppy. Most likely, the young dog is trying to control those who are in its “pack” because it does not see the humans around it as natural leaders.
Owners must be calm but firm in dealing with the puppies. In other words, you need to establish early on that you are the leader of the pack. Do not let a puppy get away with bad behavior or it will repeat it.
Some Things to Remember During the Early Stages
The early stages of a puppy’s growth are very crucial and here are additional things which you should remember during this time:
- You should monitor the weight of a puppy week by week. It’s not really the accuracy that is important, but you need to establish that there is trend for weight gain.
- Puppies start to mature quickly once they open their eyes.
- You should start increasing the mother’s food during the last few weeks of its pregnancy.
- You should feed pregnant dogs with foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
- It is not necessary to feed milk to lactating dogs as long as you follow diet which is given by the vet.
- Weaning should start when the puppies are around three to four weeks old.
- You can use puppy milk replacers in a saucer
- Puppies can be treated for worms when they are two weeks old, but it is more commonly done when they are six weeks old.
- Intestinal parasites can be transmitted to a puppy while it is still in the uterus.
With these facts and the knowledge about the different life stages of a puppy, you should be able to care for your dogs in the best way. When you understand how puppies behave, you will be able to treat and train them in the right way.