Neonatal stage: Birth to two weeks, Beginning of the Imprinting Stage (0-4 Months)
The senses of touch and taste are immediately present after birth.
The mother has the most influence over the puppy.
Transitional stage: Two to four weeks, Imprinting Stage continues
Mother and littermates are the primary influence on a puppy’s behavior.
The sense of hearing and smell develop, eyes open and the teeth begin to appear.
A puppy begins to stand, walk a little, wag its tail, and bark.
Socialization stage:Three to twelve weeks, Imprinting Stage continues
Play becomes important as a puppy becomes aware of his or her surroundings by Weeks 3-5.
A puppy’s eyesight is well-developed by Weeks 4-5.
Puppy learns more about being a dog, siblings and mother dog provide critical
learning about polite and appropriate dog behavior from Weeks 4-7.
With littermates, the puppy learns to play, develops social skills, learns the inhibited bite,
explores his or her social boundaries and hierarchy, and improves physical coordination.
Puppy needs positive human interaction as he or she develops curiosity
and explores new experiences between Weeks 5-7.
Puppies raised in commercial kennels get minimal human interaction
in this crucial learning window.
Puppy has full use of her senses
and is refining coordination and physical ability between Weeks 7-9.
Enhancing responses, advancing social skills with littermates (proper contact),
and investigating the surroundings and items takes place from Weeks 9-12.
A countdown clock begins to tick from the moment you bring puppy home until Week 16.
Training is the key to creating a socially self-confident, well-behaved puppy that is strongly bonded to you.
It is also the key to preventing yappy, shy, and/or aggressive behaviors from developing later in life!
Ranking Stage: Three to six months, Imprinting Stage continues until 4 months of age
Adolescence Stage:Six to twelve months
Maturity Stage: 1-4 years
Here are some general guidelines for puppies’ stages of development, adapted from the Humane Society.
The more environments your puppy is exposed to the better they will handle new and changing environments in the future. A puppy must learn how to handle all the noises, smells and new experiences they may encounter. Build positive experiences with vacuums, noisy appliances, cars, bikes, children and other moving objects can make a big difference in how they cope in the future. Give them positive experiences with treats, toys, praise, and assistance through challenges can build up their confidence and create well-rounded adult dogs. New objects like sewer grates, blowing plastic bags, etc can make pups uneasy. Introducing them to these things early can make new things less scary and make them confident and adaptable dogs.
Fear Impact Periods
If puppies have “bad” or scary experiences during this time, the impressions are likely to last a lifetime and resurface during maturity. Protect your puppy by avoiding bad experiences. Immediately remove them from any situation where they are afraid.
First fear period occurs between 8-11 weeks.
Second at either 5 months OR at 11 or 12 months and lasts about 3 weeks.
This critical learning period is the time when puppies are most impressionable and learning more than they will in the rest of their life. What they learn now will have a huge impact of them forever. This stage has so much going on that it is divided up into smaller stages.