Puppy Development Stages

Neonatal Period (0-12 Days / 1-2 weeks): 

The puppy responds only to warmth, touch, and smell. He cannot regulate body functions such as temperature and elimination. Mom does most of the work at this stage. 

Transition Period (13 – 20 Days / 3 weeks): 

Eyes and ears are open, but sight and hearing are limited. Tail wagging begins and the puppy begins to control body functions. Noises like vacuums and daily routines are becoming familiar. Mom is still doing all the work and is necessary to their wellbeing

Awareness Period (21 – 28 Days / 4 weeks): 

Sight and hearing functions well. The puppy is learning that he is a dog and has a great deal of need for a stable environment. Exploration and communication from mom will make him the best he can be


Canine Socialization Period (21 – 49 Days / 3-5 weeks / 1 month): 

Interacting with his mother and littermates, the pup learns various canine behaviors. He is now aware of the differences between canines and humans. 

Human Socialization Period (7 to 12 Weeks / 1 mo – 3 mo): 

The pup has the brain wave of and adult dog. The best time for going to a new home. He now has the ability to learn respect, simple behavioral responses: sit, stay, come. Housebreaking begins. He now learns by association. The permanent man/dog bonding begins, and he is able to accept gentle discipline and establish confidence.


Fear Impact Period (8 – 11 Weeks /1 mo – 3 mo): 

Try to avoid frightening the puppy during this time, since traumatic experiences can have an effect during this period. This is when you need to be careful when implementing any training techniques, so they do not scare your pup. Children or other animals should not be allowed to hurt or scare the puppy — either maliciously or inadvertently. It is very important now to introduce other humans, but he must be closely supervised to minimize adverse conditioning. Learning at this age is permanent. 

Seniority Classification Period (13 – 16 Weeks / 3-4 mo): 

At this age, the puppy begins testing dominance and leadership. Biting behavior is absolutely discouraged from thirteen weeks on. Praise for the correct behavior response is the most effective tool. Meaningful praise is highly important to shape positive attitude.


Flight Instinct Period (4 to 8 Months): 

During this period puppies test their wings- they will turn a deaf ear when called. This period lasts from a few days to several weeks. This is the time to leash train. Put the dog on a very long lease when in the house and practice the "Come" command with correction if necessary.  It is critical to praise the positive and minimize the negative behavior during this time, so reward with treats and praise when the pup gets to you after being called and the lead tugged.